The Trauma of Unemployment

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The emotional stress associated with unemployment is understood only by those who are unemployed. Often, even people closely associated with the unemployed such as spouses or other family members don’t fathom the emotional pressure and pain that settles in on those without sources of income and places to go to called work.

Unfortunately, some jobless people stay in transition for a long time. Today the main reason is usually the current economic condition, but it isn’t the reason all the time. In fact, some people get quickly transplanted into new jobs, but others get held back due to their lack of a solid plan and inability to make decisions. Have you noticed that some people procrastinate decision making and agonize even over the simplest kinds of decisions? For example, some people take forever to make a menu choice in a restaurant, while others wait impatiently for the last person to decide. Or, maybe you had a boss who couldn’t make even ordinary decisions and who constantly maneuvered just to avoid the need to make the decision? There are reasons that such phenomena exist and I’m certainly not competent to attempt to provide those reasons, but through my work as a career coach I see such indecision at times with my clients.

So, how can a career coach help with such issues? Well, it’s not the job of the career coach to conduct a session like a psychologist would. And sometimes even psychologists don’t know how to or neither prepared nor qualified to. A career coach, though, can at least help narrow down the choices and assist in the decision-making process by, say, guiding clients to the right personality assessment tests, or by listening carefully to clients’ affinities or certain successes from the past, or, if appropriate, by guiding clients to other recommended professionals with advanced degrees like Ph.D.’s who are expert in counseling regarding career, job search, and workplace issues.

Honestly, most people don’t know what they want in terms of a job unless they see it in context. People can’t predict the advantages and disadvantages of a profession or a job unless they can somehow identify with it. Perhaps a friend or someone else can tell them the good, the bad, and the ugly about it. And even in that case, the future is highly unpredictable. I’m sure that at one time or another, you asked someone for an opinion of the company the person worked at. And I’m equally sure you received an answer. But was that answer a valid one? Or was it only that person’s opinion about the boss? Certainly, if the boss treats us nicely, we’ll say the entire company is great! And if the opposite is true, the entire company stinks! Everything’s always relative, isn’t it.  Does this topic ring a bell?  What are your stories?  Feel free to comment.

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