The Disease Called Unemployed

What prompted me to write this article is I have just watched a video of a recent program on CNBC where a woman is interviewed about a tragic situation that happened to her family. It started with her husband being laid off in 2008.

He was the sole breadwinner and received a moderate severance package. He started looking for work. In the meantime he went through his severance package, his retirement savings and the equity in his home. Finally, his wife went out and found an administrative job somewhere, mainly for the benefits, as they could no longer afford the Cobra healthcare costs, which amounted to $1,500/month for the whole family.

This put a lot of stress on the marriage and has finished up in a divorce filing for this couple, which will break up the family and have a lasting negative impact forever, especially on the kids. In my view this was all caused by an illness, which I call “unemployeditis.” The symptoms of this illness are withdrawal, denial, laziness, self-pity and complete narrow-mindedness. There is no medication for this condition although many turn to alcohol, drugs and/or sometimes even crime.

What is amazing is that, although this disease is not infectious, it is spreading like wildfire across the United States. I am sure some psychologists somewhere have even start “unemployed clinics” to deal with this problem. Something like Alcoholics Anonymous. The more important question is, “What is this disease, where does it come from and how can it be treated and cured?”

To find a cure we must first understand the essence of the disease itself. What is unemployeditis and where does it come from? I was exposed to the cause of the disease during my time as an insurance broker, interviewing potential candidates to join my firm. The insurance business is normally made up of commissioned agents who have no base salary, much like the real estate industry. There is an investment to get licensed and then you get paid on what you bring in.

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