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Feeling Angry About Unemployment

Anger comes with the territory when you're unemployed. Channel that anger by letting everyone know what unemployment is doing to us. We're real people, not numbers and percentages.

I haven’t seen too many articles about anger in connection with unemployment, especially long-term unemployment. So I thought I’d write one.

Now and then, I do feel angry. Angry that I was laid off, angry that I can’t find my “dream” job no matter what I do, angry that my chances of finding a job diminish with every passing day, angry that I’m forced to spend now what I’d put away for my retirement, angry that I can’t replace it, angry that I need to think two or three times before I make a significant purchase.

I’m not normally the kind of person who likes to acknowledge feeling angry. It’s too strong of an emotion. Instead, I might say that something makes me “mad.”  But anger? That suggests an out-of-control rage to me; “anger” feels upsetting and a little scary. So while I occasionally recognize feelings of anger in myself, I usually try to channel them into more positive, productive activities. It’s good to acknowledge anger, but not useful to dwell on it. 

There’s no question, though, that there’s a powerful undercurrent of anger out here among us un- and underemployed people.  And we all deal with it differently.  The sad thing is, the anger may end up only hurting us more.  When I did a search for articles about anger and unemployment, the information I did find was pretty bad.

One article on the Everyday Health website notes “Long-term unemployment brings depression, anger, stress, and a lack of self-confidence…Over time, it can produce self-destructive habits such as drinking, smoking, drug use, and relationship problems.”

It may also lead to the self-destructive habit of overeating, according to an article on the Psychology Today website. “Research has shown that anxiety, defeat, anger and depression are common in the jobless,” it notes. “These are symptoms of ‘threat stress’…constant exposure to threat stress can release a flood of hormones that have the potential to alter body shape and eating habits.” 

All this stress can trigger an increase in the hormone cortisol, which can make us crave sweet, fatty, high-calorie foods. While these foods make us feel better, temporarily, because they increase the production of what the article calls “reward” chemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, too much of these foods can cause weight gain, which can adversely affect our physical health in many ways.

How do we deal with all of this? We can watch out for “emotional eating” when we’re not really hungry. It helps if we exercise more, which increases opioids – feel-good chemicals – and decreases cortisol production. In general, we need to find healthy ways to reduce our stress, like massage, yoga, or meditation. (Of course, good jobs would help even more.)

So anger is a very real part of this unreal unemployment mess. It wasn’t supposed to be this way for us Baby Boomers, you know? At one time, we had it all. I think that’s what makes this that much harder for us to accept.

Too many Boomers have been hurt terribly by prolonged unemployment and frankly, I wish this were a lot more obvious to the rest of America. I encounter these people every day at the online discussion boards, where we “gather” to share our stories.

I think that one of our stories, about the actual negative impact of chronic unemployment on one real person’s life, should be told on the network news every single night.

Then maybe we wouldn’t be the only ones feeling so angry. And then maybe something would be done about it.             

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

S. Miller September 20, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Hi, you are not alone, I know how you feel for a long time now I have been unemployed. There have been times I worked but the pay is very low. Next thing I am not working applying for unemployment again. There is no jobs out their that is really hiring. They post these none existing jobs to tease you. So if you decide to go back to school you are stuck with a bill, and there is still no jobs.
Fran Hopkins September 20, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Thanks for your comments! I'm really sorry for what you're going through. I actually did go back to school for a graduate degree, thinking it might enhance my employability, but so far it hasn't helped at all (and you're right, I'm now slowly paying back my student loans). I hope things get better for you -- for all of us out here -- soon.
precious pisces September 22, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I'm not unemployed at this time, thank God! However I struggle to cover the cost of monthly expenses. In my humble opinon waiting a someone to hire you is a waste of time in this economy. What I have done is put my hustler hat on and turned a outside hobby into income. I also sell snacks, juice water, chips etc. at my desk at work. My good unemployed people find you a hustle and make a little money until you can do better. God Bless and hope is still alive!!!
Fran Hopkins September 23, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Thanks for your comments, precious pisces. I'm glad that you've come up with ways to cover your expenses. I don't agree that actively searching for employment equates with "waiting for someone to hire you," though. I don't know any unemployed people who are waiting around for a job to come to them! We've been working hard for a very long time to find good jobs.
Nancy September 24, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I'm also unemployed and grow more desperate everyday. I became unemployed during the recession in '08 and have had only temporary assignments that are few and far between. Those temp jobs did extend my unemployment benefits but I ran out of benefits in May. I now have no income and have family helping keep a roof over my head, and have applied for social services. I never in my life thought I'd be in this position. I've worked as an executive assistant for 20 years and can't even get an interview. The last temporary assignment I got was in June. I'm on a wing and a prayer. If anyone hears a any Executive Assistant positions out there, please let me know. BTW, I've applied to Starbucks, Walmart, Target, all dept. stores..it seems no one is hiring. I'm truly at a loss. If you need to contact me, please do so at nj5301@aol.com. Thank you

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