Losing a job

What happens when you lose a job?

UNEMPLOYMENT

ISHFAQ AHMAD

Recession is when a neighbor loses his job.
Depression is when you lose yours.

A job is work for which you receive regular payment, a responsibility, a particular task or piece of work. This is what comes to mind when this three letter word is talked about, discussed or mentioned. It's more than that. Our jobs are much more than just the way we make a living. They influence both how we see ourselves as well as the way others see us.
 I see the latter as harsher and more embarrassing. If you have no job, you are a non functioning member of the community. Others can see you as lazy or work-shy. Work gives our life structure, purpose and meaning. It creates our professional identity. Our self esteem and self confidence know no bounds, as does our sense of security. It is the glue for our social networking.
 Without work you become invisible. Unemployment in Kashmir is a big issue. Governments have made it a chimera for the educated youth, for future generations and for those who will follow after us. The Government needs to think hard about its policies and concentrate more on ensuring that there are good quality jobs for our well educated young people. It is well documented that there are hundreds of government jobs unfilled, because no one in charge can get their act together to build a sound and fair recruitment system. The well educated young people are then forced to take up menial jobs which are below their educational standard, just to make a living. Many unscrupulous employers are quietly disposing of the employees, who perhaps can be replaced by a friend’s son or daughter, or those whose face does not fit as well as a colleagues' relative. There are limited employment rights here. The consequence of this is that many employers in this particular sector pay minimal wages and treat their staff as totally disposable, which in fact they are, as so many people are fighting for work.
So what happens when someone loses a job? This is not the West. There is no welfare state here. So how do these people cope? How do they feed themselves, how do they support and feed their families. Just think about it: if you have no income how do you feed and clothe yourself, how do you plan for your future? The answer is you cannot. No money for food, clothes, medicine or simply mobile phone. You become a liability for your family, instead of an asset. You have no future and can make no plans. In effect your life is on hold. This leads to illness. Depression sets in and this leads to other illnesses, like high blood pressure, heart disease, trauma, but more worrying is drug dependence. They drug up to the eyeballs just to keep away the thoughts of despondency.
Without work you cannot participate in society. You cannot marry, and if you are already married, how do you face your wife or feed your children? Elderly parents can be an enormous pressure. Their need for medicines could mean the difference between life and death for them if there is no son or daughter working to support them. The consequences can be even more far reaching. The government can suffer the backlash from unemployment, especially from the young. They are not likely to be philosophical about being unemployed; they are more likely to go out and cause trouble, like theft and vandalism. This means the whole society suffers and pays the price for the lack of opportunity.
The police could also be targeted as they are the local face of the government. We have been seeing this recently and in the past too. This in turn ruins the reputation of the State. A State with opportunity is good for everyone, not just the ones given the opportunity. Everyone can participate in society and society improves with mass participation. Everyone feels that they have a stake in the growth and well-being of the State. When everyone feels included, there is less likelihood of trouble on the streets and people will want to invest in the State, making more jobs and more prosperity which can only be a good thing.
Full or almost full employment means that the State can grow and there will be work for future generations. At present there’re so many young people without work that the State can only look forward to a less inclusive society where the haves and the have-nots will always cause conflict. Unemployment is a very personal experience but can easily become a State's experience if no action is taken. The Government needs to consider urgently what action is required to tackle unemployment.
(Feedback at ishi.sai@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Mar 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 25 Mar 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 26 Mar 2013 00:00:00 IST




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