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Stigma Attached to Unemployment and its Solutions

Updated : September 29th, 2020

Walk into a dinner party with strangers and the conversation starts with what you do for a living, children from kindergarten to near adults in high school are constantly faced with the question of what their parents are and what they do; by and by our identities are inseparable from our field of work, position and employment status. Looking at the flip side, each of these casually made remarks holds within them the reactions of shock and pity when the other is unemployed for the time being.

Stigma in the society when it comes to unemployment, for however short a time it may be, can cause distress to the individual and their loved ones – pushing them to their limits both physically and mentally. The proportional relationship between unemployment and physical health is undeniable, but the way it impacts social behavior can often be trivialized and overlooked even though it is just as or even more important. From a simple act, such as living a double life to hide one’s idleness or keep financial distress from your family by continuing to live a lavish lifestyle through credit and debt, emotionally destructive decisions such as these can both waste time as well as curb positive results.

Unemployment and its Solutions

From clinical depression, alcoholism to cope, and even increased rates of suicide, the situation seems grim, but know that unemployment isn’t permanent and the consequences can be dealt with, as can the societal stigmas. The issue is two-fold, both which exist as two sides of a coin.

1.  Questioning Self and guilt

Though it is easier said than done, it is of utmost importance that you do not link your self-worth to your employment status. Blaming oneself for the lack of a steady income, or for being laid-off, can keep you from even getting out of bed every morning, consequently cutting down on your proactive actions to solve the issue at hand.

What’s worse, doubting and guilt can keep you from accepting support or help, and even imagine stigma and persecution where there may not be any.

2.   Stigmatization and pity from others

The reaction of people around you can cause anguish in a large way as well; negative perceptions and even pity and sympathy can function as then looking down on you. It’s all about dealing with the situation at hand, making it essential for you keep your head up high and work towards objective and constructive solutions.

Working through unemployment

The solution to social stigmas when it comes to being a part of the unemployed section of society, even for a few months, is primarily to do with perceptions. Even from the opinion of a potential employer, the need to keep occupied and productive in one way or the other is seen as a positive use of time, not to mention being engrossed will keep you involved, distracted and usefully engaged.  

Keeping busy

Building upon a curriculum vitae and resume in the present job market isn’t about only official work experience and recommendations, in fact, an out-of-the-box involvement in activities is greatly appreciated and makes your resume stand out – pointing towards your active participation in community projects and exercises even at a time of difficulty.

Look to spread out to areas outside your comfort zone and field, focusing on skills such as teamwork, community interactions, multitasking, and initiative – all skills that an employer is bound to notice in an application. Social stigmas and an employer’s hesitation can be handled with one swift sweep, showing both the other and yourself that you aren’t one of the lazy and languid unemployed.

Even as a direct result, a mere volunteering project and a non-profit initiative can lead to employment opportunities – allowing you alternative modes of networking and relationship building and pointing you towards areas you may not have considered before.  

Sharpening your gray matter

A few months of losing touch with constant work can make you lose speed and skill – it is not always like riding a bike and adjusting in your new place of work can be an issue for a while. If you are out of work, keep updated on the current activities in your field, keep your brain cells working and try and explore opportunities in freelance and apprenticeships that may not pay much but will at least keep you in the loop.

Alongside, it is an idea to extend your skills as well, taking certificate courses and updating your resume through learning as opposed to only clear-cut work experience. Stagnation is the greatest worry when one is unemployed, and adding to your aptitude and expertise can only ever help.

Dealing with the hiring process

The constant job hunt is a given through the period of unemployment, and the stigmas often translate into difficult questions in the scenario of a job interview. When and if you are faced with questions regarding your not having procured a job in the given amount of time, steer clear of negative answers that may blame the situation or other agencies. Instead of mentioning the economy of the country, the increased unemployment status of individuals and a company that should have hired you but didn’t, try and bring the conversation back to your achievements and how you have worked through your time without a stable income.

Negative approaches to answering questions, as well as a general defensive attitude will most certainly be counterproductive. Both in handling conversations with family and friends, as well as with potential employers, it is important to stay sharp and positive and not allow yourself to be shaken by remarks that may be inappropriate.

While employers being discriminatory or tactless about your employment status can be unfortunate, the fact remains that the need is ours at the end of the day and we don’t have much choice but to work around their insensitivity and direct the dialog in more optimistic, constructive and beneficial directions, for both.  

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  1. I lived in ga in 2019 and move to florida in 2020 and work for the xmas months in nov-dec. I was told to do a combine wage claim. my question is which state do i file the claim in?

  2. I filed for pua in Ohio back in October 2020.My claim has been in ajudacatuon since 11/1/20.So 2 to 6 weeks is a total understatement! When I call.i am told to basically hurry up and wait some more.I have recently been redetermined and my claim is allowed.but I have one pending issue.How long is too long?

    1. Nicole,

      Unfortunately, nobody has an answer. There are perhaps thousands of pending applications. Please consider the option of visiting an office in the vicinity if safe and feasible.

  3. If you claim your weeks for unemployment and for the next 2 months you still have not received your money. Where can you go in volusia county to talk with a live person

  4. On NYS DOL website, my claim is saying current yet the information is for my old claim with 0 days remaining despite receiving 2 weeks of payments on the new claim and I was able to certify last night. I haven’t received anything; no letters or emails.

  5. I was disqualified for UI benefits for not providing an ID and other forms of identification. How do I fix this?

    1. Hi Mike, I’m in NYS and was at the end of my BYE on 3/14, I was still certifying but wasn’t getting paid. I found out I had to file a new claim because my other was exhausted. I’m still waiting on approval. Maybe you have to file a new claim. I hope this helps.

  6. They say 2-6 weeks it’s more accurate to say 2-6 months; and when you call many of them are rude and unwilling to assist!

  7. someone needs to look into Sharon L. Anton gillette, wyo. or dickinson, nd she is a fraud and has done so many fraudulent things and please look into her

    1. Annette,

      Please report it to the Fraud Division of the Unemployment Office in your state. You can report on the website.

  8. I worked part time for thee years here in florida. I’m currently not working. I’m also retired and collects social security.
    My question is
    Am I qualified to file for unemployment ?

    1. Ruby,

      To be eligible, you’re required to have sufficient hours and earnings. Please use the “Benefits Calculator” available on this website.

  9. So adjudication takes 8 to 12 weeks. Oh okay, that explains why I havent received payment since July. That surely helps just like the rest of the information that you give. And by the way. What’s the NEW reason you can’t get through to the Call Center.

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