Monday, February 2, 2015

Unemployment: It’s like being in the army

Author:  Barbara Perone
              Writer | Editor | Reporter | Technical Writer | Proofreader

These days, being unemployed is a lot like being in the United States Army – nobody really wants to be there and everybody involved can’t wait until it’s all over so they can return to a normal life.
Nowadays, once you join the military you can be called into active-duty any time. Same thing with getting laid off from your job – it can happen at any point during your career, sometimes without warning.
Just like an exhausted solider who is redeployed year-after-year, with all the constant layoffs in this country it’s a given that the equally tired worker will wind up reapplying for unemployment benefits over-and-over and will be considered lucky if he can collect for more than a year.
Soldiers go to boot camp to learn the necessary skills they need to battle the enemy. Today, many unemployed white-collar workers “battle” a depressed job market by learning new skills and joining a professional service group or job club.
Like the civilian recruits, most job seeking “newbies” get thrown into an unfamiliar situation with a bunch of strangers. But, the “recruit” learns quickly that it’s essential to pitch in to help her “unit” so that everyone can “survive the war.”
When one member of a job group is successful, and actually finds work, the rest are truly happy for that person; that he or she is leaving the group, ready to move on to better things. Still, like an Army buddy who returns home just ahead of them, the remaining “soldiers” can’t help feeling a little envious because they’re still stuck “fighting” in the same lousy “war” and there is no way of knowing when they will ever be “discharged.”
Just like in a real war, there are also real casualties of unemployment; the people who die because they can no longer afford medical insurance. We’ve all lost a few “soldiers” in our “war” and it’s never easy to see talented people come to such an end. Each time it happens you think that it’s wrong, that it shouldn’t have happened that way. Unfortunately, it does happen and it seems to be happening all too often.
Sad times like these, added to the inability to change one’s circumstances no matter how hard one tries, are the very thing that can cause soldiers and job seekers alike to become clinically depressed.
Yet, they can’t allow themselves to wallow in despair for any length of time because they’ve got a job to do. Whether it’s protecting the homeland or reaching their goal of finding suitable employment so they can provide for themselves and their family.
Along with the sad times, though, there are happy times. The laughs we share during picnics, holiday parties, and networking events where we eat a little food, have a few beverages, and swap our “war” stories with one another; just like real soldiers when they have a chance to get a little R & R.
Finally, the main thing soldiers and job seekers seem to have in common is that they have no way of knowing when “the war” will finally be over.
Let’s hope, for all of our sakes, that our “war” will be over sooner rather than later.

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