Navigating Unemployment And Its Mental Hurdles

Unemployment isn’t just a challenge financially — but also mentally. The effects of unemployment on your mental health can cause a number of negative symptoms to arise during the duration of being unemployed, and sometimes even after it ends. Understanding the mental hurdles associated with unemployment can help you navigate the space and heal according to your needs.

Understanding The Various Types Of Unemployment

Unbeknownst to many, unemployment manifests itself in a variety of forms. Understanding the different types of unemployment can help you understand that there are many factors of unemployment that are out of your control.

This can help to reduce feelings of shame, self-loathing, and a decline in self-esteem. Various types of unemployment include:

  • Cyclical unemployment – This form of unemployment is characterized by a deep connection to the nation’s economy. It refers to mass unemployment caused by certain factors such as the COVID 19 pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Frictional unemployment – This form of unemployment is characterized by people leaving positions of their own volition. It also includes individuals such as recent graduates who have not yet landed a job.
  • Structural unemployment – This form of unemployment is characterized by drastic changes in either the labor market or the economy which result in a lack of workers able to perform a certain role, though there are still jobs available. For example, if a new technology that utilizes AI to perform a task that was previously performed by a human those who used to perform this job would be out of work. In addition, these individuals will not have the skills to work with AI technology, causing them to have to find new forms of employment.
  • Natural unemployment – This form of unemployment is a normal part of the economy and is characterized by a combination of frictional unemployment and structural unemployment. As there will always be individuals searching for new jobs and new innovations in the economy and labor markets, there will typically always be a certain amount of natural unemployment at any given time.
  • Long-term unemployment – This form of unemployment is a particularly negative one and is characterized by individuals being unemployed for more than 27 weeks, while also actively searching for a job for at least one month. This can have a negative impact on the economy when large amounts of individuals experience long-term unemployment, and as a result, are no longer qualified for the roles they once had due to innovations in various fields.
  • Seasonal unemployment – This form of unemployment is characterized by being predictable and relating to certain types of jobs that are only available for a portion of time every year. This includes jobs such as ski lift operators during winter, who are subsequently left without work when the winter season is over.
  • Classical unemployment – This form of unemployment is characterized by real wages being higher than employers are able to afford. This means that employers will hire fewer workers as they cannot afford more — though they may still require the help.
  • Underemployment – This form of unemployment is distinct from other forms of unemployment as it refers to people who are currently working. There are two forms of underemployment: visible underemployment and invisible underemployment. Visible underemployment refers to individuals working on a part-time basis while they desire to work more hours. Invisible underemployment refers to individuals who are qualified to work in a certain field but find themselves working in an unrelated — and typically less lucrative — field.

Understanding You’re Not Alone

As a result of becoming familiar with the various types of unemployment, it becomes clear that you can be experiencing unemployment for a range of reasons outside of your control. In addition, it becomes clear that many are experiencing various forms of unemployment, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Oftentimes, unemployment can be an isolating experience and can affect your sense of self-worth. In order to combat these feelings and experiences, you can take advantage of public assistance programs that can help provide you with the resources that you may need.

In particular, counseling services and support groups can offer you respite from feelings of isolation and shame and help put into perspective the fact that many factors of unemployment are outside of your control.

The more aware you become of the factors that can cause unemployment, the less likely you’ll be to blame yourself and experience negative emotions as a result of being unemployed. This being the case, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the mental hurdles that can come because of unemployment.

Exploring New Avenues

One silver lining that can come as a result of unemployment is the opportunity to explore new fields. Many of us have certain interests that are different from the fields that we work in.

Finding yourself between jobs offers you the opportunity to explore your other interests, and possibly find a completely new career path.

Overcoming Negative Feelings

Negative feelings can be a natural response to any form of unemployment. The first step to overcoming these feelings is understanding that there are many variables that are outside the scope of your control.

Next, it’s important to find the support you need whether that comes in the form of talking to friends, receiving counseling, or joining a support group. Regardless of which path you choose to pursue, you’re more than capable of navigating the waters of unemployment and overcoming the mental hurdles that come with it.

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