Job Insecurity is Killing Us
From Lynn Parramore at AlterNet:
Research shows that the purgatory of job insecurity may be even worse for you than unemployment. And it’s turning the American Dream into a sleepwalking nightmare. From young temporary workers to middle-aged career veterans, Americans are being pushed to their physical and psychological limits in what has the makings of a major national public health crisis…
Job insecurity is nothing new for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Since the ’70s and ’80s, a shifting labor market and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, fueling the perception that a job is a temporary affair. Globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and recession have conspired to make confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that few can enjoy…
Authors of a recent study in Michigan found that insecure workers were significantly more likely to meet criteria for major or minor depression and to report a recent anxiety attack, even after taking into consideration factors like race, education, poorer prior health, and higher likelihood of recent unemployment. Conclusion: Many of those who have managed to hang onto their jobs during the Great Recession are getting mentally and physically wrecked – often more so than those who have lost their jobs.
My last career almost destroyed me. Hanging on to what little business I had as a computer consultant became pure torture. Fortunately, I had given my clients the name of a local group who could take over when I quit some and was fired by others. Even the couple of subsequent years when I was unemployed were better than just hanging on at my previous job.
We don’t have kids or a lot of debt and the Wife’s business continues to thrive. I had a full time job for awhile, but hated it. I am well-suited for the part-time job I have now and really enjoy it. Recently, I made the acquaintance of an older guy who expressed a need to bring someone along in his business, but couldn’t afford a new hire in this economy. I’ll see him again next week and will offer my services part-time at a ridiculously low wage.
At my present employer, we’re losing someone at an average of one per fortnight. Most of the young new hires can’t cut it and others are leaving for supposed greener pastures. They invariably have problems following the work schedule, arriving on time and following instruction. Since we are part-time, the rest of us gobble up the newly available hours.
For me, the big lesson was that a full-time sedentary job was a killer. I need to be up and moving around. I also need to be talking to customers. This is the first time in decades that I have not woken up in the morning dreading going to work. My shift is over before I know it and I constantly maintain a feeling of celebration.
Sure, I could be making more money, but I love what I am doing and have time to take care of the many responsibilities around the house and at the Wife’s store. My hope for others is that they not only find jobs, but also ones they like. Despite the published numbers, there are damn few people out there with good communication skills and a strong work ethic. Many businesses have grown tired of looking and stopped advertising for employees. My Wife, for instance, only considers customers for new hires. They have built a relationship and there are few surprises on either side.
I have come to find that a disciplined fifty-something in good physical shape and with a lifetime of practical experience is a rare commodity.