How High Unemployment Hurts the Employed

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Image result for High UnemploymentIn a time when our unemployment has hovered around 9% for over three years it is tempting to think of our unemployment problem as one that affects only the people who cannot find work. The unemployed themselves are the most visible and vocal victims of the bursting of the economic bubble but in terms of numbers they represent only a fraction of the actual victims of the economic malfeasance that has led us to the edge of a second Great Depression.
The Unemployed Have Families Too:
If it were just a matter of unmarried orphans going without work then unemployment would not affect families in the overtly and subtle ways that it does. When a spouse loses their employment it never improves the marriage nor does it make a better home environment for any child. The stress within a home of the unemployed can over time lead to or grossly contribute to family violence, alcohol and drug abuse, depression (of not only the unemployed but their family members as well), and suicide. Children of the unemployed can experience so much chaos in their home lives that it strains their relationship with parents and siblings for the rest of their lives.
Employed people often have unemployed children too. Very few of the college graduates in America in the last few years have had jobs waiting for them upon graduation. More and more children are being forced to move home and depend on the charity of their parents who may have already forked out large sums of money for support during college years. This is a common pernicious problem for many families in America. And it goes far beyond money. There is such a stigma attached to unemployment that it tends to get associated with the parents of the unemployed. Parents may feel, and rightly so as it is happening, that friends, neighbors, and even their own brothers and sisters are talking behind their backs.
The Unemployed Have Friends Too:
No man is an island and every person is to some extent measured by the company they keep. For the unemployed friendship becomes a tenuous thing. For the friends of the unemployed friendship becomes a confusing manner. At first you are supportive and eager to help your unemployed friends but as months go by with no new job for them you begin to have contradictory emotions. You may feel your friends are just not trying hard enough to look for work or even that they are enjoying their time off (a thing you never get) a little too much. Also, you may be tired of picking up the slack for people who have been laid off at your work. And, in the back of your mind there is a voice telling you that you could be the next person laid off but you are denying this as hard as you can. Your unemployed “friend” is becoming a symbol for your frustrations and fears and you don’t really want these friends around reminding you of this. But, they are your friends and you feel very guilty about what you are feeling. This is a vicious cycle which has led to many long-term friends parting company forever.
Unemployment can wipe out decades of friendship between schoolmates, neighbors, close professional associates, college buds, frat brothers/sorority sisters, and BFFs in just six short months. Imagine suddenly losing your best friend you grew up with, double dated with to the prom, went on family vacations with, and celebrated the last decade of holidays with just because of an economic downturn.
The Employed Bear Much of the Economic Burden of Unemployment:
Some of the employed believe they are superior to the unemployed. Some feel that they have been lucky and thank their stars that they still have a job. Many are willing to double their work efforts in order to insure their employment. Some realize that even tripling their efforts would provide no insurance what-so-ever. Most of the employed do start to notice that their work environment has become far less joyful and satisfying. And many come to realize that if they fall out of favor at work that there are plenty (and I mean plenty!) of people out there that are hungry for their job.
This manifests itself in the workplace in several ways. First, as noted above it creates a joyless work environment. And even if you are still enjoying your work you would have to be completely oblivious to not see that many of your coworkers are anxious or depressed or on meds. Second, it takes money out of your pocket! It does this because excess labor means businesses don’t need to pay you as much for it. Even if you have a high-demand job there are many unemployed people training (right now as you read this) to take it from you by working more hours for less pay and being more recently trained. If your company can get someone just as or more dedicated than you for a 25% discount will they do it, Buy the way, do you think you will be getting a generous raise this year,
Finally, it manifests itself in a cutting off of your options and opportunities. Let’s face it, you might not have wanted to work for your present company or live where you are now forever but that is slowly becoming a reality. Do you think the best time to change jobs is in a period of high unemployment, Or the best time to leave your job and take the risk to start your own business, That’s right, at some point high unemployment will make you a wage slave and for wages that are not keeping up with inflation. And, as to promotion at the job; you are competing with better qualified people who are unemployed and willing to take your boss’s job for less than you are making now.
Do you still believe that unemployment is not also the problem of the employed, Do you cling to the notion that the unemployed don’t want jobs, Do you still believe that your own employment is safe, Do you refuse to face the fact that high unemployment is cutting off your future and threatening your present even if you are employed,

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