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Sunday, May 22, 2005


All Who Want To Work, Will. Huh?

I received an email from C.J. who wrote:

"I keep reading that the labor market is getting better but I still can't find a job. What's wrong with me? I actually feel worse now than last year when there seemed to be no hope of finding work at all."

You're not alone, C.J. When the job market is really bad, such as last year, the early 1990s, or the Great Depression, there is little expectation of finding work and the world is sympathetic to your plight because the causes are obviously social and economic, not personal.

However, when times are better and there are jobs out there, your inability to find work starts to reflect on you personally. That somehow you are not good enough, not skilled enough, not looking hard enough, or, worst, don't really want to work. Even in the greatest economic boom, there are still several million Americans unemployed. To suggest that all of them don't want to work is absurd. It may be geographic challenges, industry structural changes, or skill sets.

What is most destructive about the present climate is that jobs are being created in fewer numbers than needed for those entering the labor market, never mind about those who have been out of work for a period of time. Politicians' statements that "All who want to work will find work" is just that, a political statement. Don't internalize it as the truth or you will erode your self-esteem and endanger whatever self-confidence you have left. Stick with the job search and be the source of your own support and empathy.

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