Unemploymet Blue: Mind Over MoodWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
Our lives are tranquil and smooth so seldom, it seems. We have our ups-and-downs, our good days and bad days, our sunny moods and black moods. The less we swing in opposite directions, happier we tend to be. The biology of our bodies craves balance and consistency -- changes in our thought patterns and emotions interrupt regularity of our nerve pathways leading to chemical inbalance and internal disturbances.
Stress kills because stress is critical determinant of how we think, how we feel, how we react: all activities which terribly upset that silent body chemistry. Events cause stress: death or illness of a loved one, fear of terrorism, divorce, exposure to violence or a personal attack, financial setbacks, loss of a job.
We cannot remove event: it happened. We cannot control stress: our bodies have already reacted. We can only control our mind and use its enormous power to move ourselves back closer to normalcy and serenity.
Unemployment plays havoc with our emotional system. We rapidly cycle through anger at what has happened, grief at what we have lost, fear of what lies ahead, and recurrent shockwaves of shame, anxiety, and despair. We take a number of hits all at once: loss of occupational identity, economic pressure, family anxiety, and humiliation of job search. How can one little mind fight all of that at once?
One step at a time.
Assess your situation objectively so you can set your priorities in order. If you are eligible, register for unemployment immediately while identifying everything in your life you can live without for immediate future: entertainment, treats, brand foods, non-generic household staples, driving for pleasure, gourmet cooking, and eating out. Check your credit cards and major loans (house, car) and see if there are arrangements you can make to just pay interest until you're back to work. Early contacts and planning may reduce your immediate financial burdens which will, in return, reduce your level of anxiety and fear.
Resolve not to ruminate about unfairness of your layoff and identify some activities which will allow you to keep that negative brooding at bay when it quietly sneaks up on you.
Asking for support starts with bringing your family on board so they know how you're feeling and how they can help. Even a totally self-absorbed teenager may be willing to pull their part when family's survival is at stake. Explain how you are going to organize your job search and how you will need to count on them when you're feeling rejected and worthless. Identify a time when you will all meet together, once a week, so you can fill them in on what has been happening and get ideas from them which might make your next efforts more successful.
Employment Under A MicroscopeWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
A certain amount of oversight is involved in almost any job. The more important, more highly skilled, more successful position, lower degree of oversight. At bottom rung of economic and social ladder - laborers, maids, easily replaceable positions - more watchful are powers that be, less secure are workers, more personally vulnerable are they to any mistakes made.
When money or similar valuables are intermixed with poorly paid employees, level of oversight reaches outsized and intrusive proportions. Diamond workers in South Africa submit to body cavity searches after every shift, a humiliation society normally limits to convicted felons or known drug traffickers.
In United States, low-level workers in finance and banking are closely observed for cash or figure discrepancies. Too many errors lead inevitably to termination. The larger amounts of money involved, more significant mistakes become. A fast food register a few cents out of balance differs markedly from a bank cashier imbalance of several hundred dollars.
The more pure cash is involved, more difficulty there is in tracing a paper trail of transactions to establish where a discrepancy occurred. I just returned from three days in Las Vegas, American capital of cash. Surely nowhere else in country handles thousands of hundred dollar bills that change hands in that town, to tune of several billion dollars annually.
For years, in counting rooms it was one pile for house, one pile for government, and one pile for "the boys." Untold millions were siphoned off for East Coast crime czars. The government hated being cheated of their fair share. The gamblers could care less where money went as long as they had a fair chance of winning and their play rendered them free rooms, free shows, and free food. It was symbiotic - a mutually advantageous relationship. Any worker foolish enough to try to cheat uniquely expert cheaters at top, found their final reward in unforgiving desert where flesh melts quickly and bone fragments blow quickly away in beds of long-dry rivers.
Then corporations moved in and "the boys" faded away into their old street rackets and burgeoning drug trade. The corporate-owned casinos are no longer in business of skimming: they can make legitimate returns for their shareholders through huge returns guaranteed by house advantage in every transaction. To add to gaming cash, they moved to ensure a profit in related areas: rooms, food, and shows.
Even owners and managers, with their accounting-oriented perspective on world, recognize their vulnerability to greed, cheating, and theft in huge cash side of their business.
Casino worker oversight, while not yet approaching body-cavity-search level, is perhaps most organized and intrusive in western world. It ranges from dealers clapping and showing open, empty hands, to two or more floor walkers (depending on size of jackpot) co-signing on every hand-pay slot win. It involves floor men watching every table bet, box men watching every roll of dice and its payoff stacks of chips. It requires supervisors to watch floor men, managers to watch supervisors, undercover security men to watch both workers and guests, and eye-in-the-sky overhead cameras that can observe and detect every one of a million transactions per day.