Do not go sour on life

OK, there's not a lot to be happy about when you're unemployed.

It's not funny.

It's a pretty disgusting experience.

Unemployment often makes people very unhappy, dispirited, and bitter. Emotionally, unemployment can be like a serious disease. It's draining.

It makes people feel vulnerable, and that usually doesn't create a good mental state, for anyone. Some people get defensive, sometimes nasty. They have a lot of good reasons for it, too:

  • Aggravation from the social environment
  • Lots of time and effort trying to get work for little or no result
  • Self respect

Aggravation from the social environment

Unemployment is a part of nearly everyone's working lives. It's quite common for anyone to have spent at least some time out of work. Despite which, there's a tendency to look down on the unemployed in mainstream society. That's insulting, and it seriously aggravates people out of work, who are feeling lousy enough without having to go through the pecking order rituals.

Unemployed people have enough problems without feeling like social cripples. It's very unfair and hypocritical to patronize the unemployed, purely because of a situation which they hate, and which wasn't their idea in the first place.

If someone breaks a leg, you don't sneer at them. If there's a death in a family, you don't laugh at that family.

Unemployment can be very like either of those cases. It's like a broken leg, in the loss of mobility and capacity, and the pain of injury, just in another form. It's like a death in the family because it's a loss to the family, a vital support that's gone.

People suffer immensely in these circumstances, and only jerks abuse or denigrate suffering people. The aggravation is fully justified.

Lots of time and effort trying to get work for little or no result

The amount of time and effort unemployed people put into trying to get work wouldn't be believed by those who haven't been in that situation.

The word for this process is infuriating.

It's not lack of trying, it's the reality of how the employment market operates. To describe getting a job as easy is ridiculous.

The only people who can get jobs easily are those who are so highly qualified, or have some form of expertise so valuable, that the jobs come to them.

Imagine you spent every day, for years, doing something very complex, and very slow, which achieved absolutely nothing.

Now imagine that you also have to find your way somehow through every bill, every expense, as best you can, and you've got little or no money to do that with, and no choices.

Unemployed people are unhappy because they have a lot to be unhappy about.

Self respect

With the loss of a job, comes loss of self respect, for many. They're used to being relatively well off, financially, and it can come as a terrible shock to be unemployed and really struggling.

Almost as much of a shock, or more, in some cases, is the loss of social status. Suddenly they're second class citizens. That can impact severely on personal sensitivities. In Western societies, the so called norm of middle class values has been based on income and social status for generations.

Losing that status, along with the job, is a terrible hit to self respect, for those who've lived their whole lives in that mainstream society. They used to be their own idea of good, respectable, people. Now they've become the people they used to look down on, and it's are real shock.

Some people simply can't cope with that. They despair, because it's a social nightmare for them. Their friends, relatives, and everyone else, is normal, according to their values, but they aren't.

Hardly surprising, is it, that so many people experience severe mental effects, when unemployed. There's been nothing in their lives to prepare them for it, in fact, quite the opposite, they were brought up to believe it was almost a crime, or immoral, to be unemployed.

So, overall, if you don't see crowds of people in the streets singing songs about how great it is to be unemployed, there's a reason for that.

Don't go sour on life

The trouble is that the unhappiness can become more of a problem than the unemployment. Most people are perfectly capable of talking themselves into feeling really bad, all the time.

It doesn't help.

OK, things are lousy.

What use is it, to keep reminding yourself?

A broken leg doesn't get better because you keep saying Ouch.

Nobody's suggesting lying to yourself, or pretending things are wonderful, or not dealing with situations.

But if you keep looking at the ugly side, you'll miss seeing anything else. It really is quite easy to make things a lot worse than they need to be.

You need to find new things, new pleasures, new ideas, as well as a job.

Obviously, you also need to be doing things you can afford, but if you check out some of the things you really like, you'll find a way of doing that. Happiness is mainly mental, and it's free.

Unemployment is a bastard of an experience.

If you let it get to you, you're letting it win. Let's face it, that's not an option. You don't need to suffer on principle, as well as in fact.

There are things in life that aren't about money, social status, and being just plain miserable.

What's real inside every human being can't be paid to be happy.

Happiness isn't something you can really buy or sell, or borrow.

Unhappiness is always about specific things, not everything.

People in jobs can be miserable, too, and often for the same reasons as unemployed people. They get aggravated by their positions, frustrated by their work, and their loss of self respect in menial jobs. They have wages, sure, and they spend them on antidepressants.

Never allow yourself to be anything or anyone less than yourself.

You'll find you do know how to deal with these situations, cope with the aggravations and disappointments, and keep your self respect healthy.