Recently, I ran into two separate women who both declared
“My husband has been out of work for over two years.”
Each day that goes by becomes a huge dark cloud over them. Not just for their own mental outlook, but also as viewed by potential employers.
This problem is epidemic, it is horrific and it is 100% preventable.
There are thousands of career coaches writing and speaking on how to do job search better. But my fear is that those who need it most, aren’t getting the information. Wait, they may hear tidbits of the information, but they don’t know what to do with it or, more likely, they dismiss what they hear as not applicable to their situation. They reject advice because it didn’t work for them last time they tried it. The excuses go on and on.
Angry, bitter, depressed. These people who have been out of work for over two years have deep emotional scars.
How to Fix This?
Yes, I have ideas and I know they won’t be easy, but we’ve got to do something. No one should be out of work who really wants to work.
1. Get them together in the same room
When you are alone and depressed, the farthest thing from your mind is to meet up with others, especially other losers like yourself. I don’t care. We’ve got to get the unemployed out of their homes. This feeds the isolation and depression. Rally them together as a group.
2. Give them a purpose
They lack a feeling of purpose, so let’s provide it. Every non-profit is crying for help. Volunteers are needed in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and thousands of other places. Let’s put these opportunities right in front of the unemployed. Have them pick their poison. Get them involved and interacting with others and give them a purpose.
3. Teach them how to be like Gumby
Our world is changing and it isn’t going to go back to the way it used to be. The sooner we can stop craving stability, the better off we’ll all be. Jobs will come and go- frequently. Let’s prepare them for this by teaching coping skills, financial skills and to be resilient.
4. Take Healthcare out of the hands of the employer
Affordable healthcare has to be made available to individuals. It just has to. Please, let’s create organizations that allow anyone to buy into to affordable healthcare coverage. We already see Chambers of Commerce doing it. Why can’t the Department of Labor create a non-profit arm which would allow those who need to buy in to the lower costs of group coverage?
5. Teach entrepreneurship
The long term solution to the instability might lie in entrepreneurial ventures. Solopreneurs could potentially replace the unemployed, if they were given the tools to do it right. There are enough problems to be solved in our country. We just need people willing to take calculated risks and begin providing solutions by building small businesses. No, I am not suggesting government loans or stimulus money. I am suggesting that businesses can be started without a lot of overhead and that starting a business should be made as easy as possible by eliminating some of the barriers that currently exist. Let’s teach people how to do this now.
6. Employers, INVEST in potential employees
I get it. It costs money to train and invest in new employees. I hear employers crying that they can’t find qualified candidates, but I have a hunch they aren’t really looking. It is a great excuse and one they are not taking any responsibility to fix. Fix it and stop complaining already. There is great talent out there and they just need a bit of training.
WE can do this
There are great programs going on around the country. But let’s not rely on the government to fix this dilemma. Each one of us can do something to fix this.
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.