One upside to being unemployed

Besides not having to shower in the morning or even put on pants that is. It may be better than having a crap job, at least that is the thrust of this Time article.

A new study says that, income notwithstanding, having a demanding, unstable and thankless job may make you even unhappier than not having a job at all.

Of course, I’m not sure that exactly applies to me. My job is not overly demanding. It was definitely unstable there leading up to notice of my lay-off. And I wouldn’t say it was thankless. It could sure be tedious and boring, but I liked that the fact that I worked in a library, that I was contributing to the purpose of such an institution even if what I did was not always that interesting or challenging.

Here are some numbers:

Unemployed people in the Australian study had a mental-health score (based on the five-item Mental Health Inventory, which measures depression, anxiety and positive well-being in the previous month) of 68.5. Employed people had an average score of  75.1. The researchers found that moving from unemployment to a good job raised workers’ scores by 3.3 points, but taking a bad job led to a 5.6-point drop below average. That was worse than remaining unemployed, which led to decline of about one point.

And here is a conclusion that made me smirk:

Perhaps employers could be persuaded to be more mindful of the mental health of their workers — happier employees are a benefit to their employers. “The erosion of work conditions,” the researchers noted, “may incur a health cost, which over the longer term will be both economically and socially counterproductive.”

Because while I believe that some employers may have good intentions when it comes to being mindful of their employees mental health that on the whole it is not high priority. Getting stuff done is, regardless of how it beats up employee moral.

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2 responses to “One upside to being unemployed

  1. having a demanding, unstable and thankless job may make you even unhappier than not having a job at all.

    I am exhibit A. I left what had been–before things took a dizzying nosedive–the most fulfilling, enjoying, highest-paying job I ever had. But the situation at work had become like something out of Kafka. I never slept better than that week after I left. And it hasn’t always been easy, financially, but I made it work, and it was absolutely the right decision for me. I just didn’t find constant misery an acceptable trade-off for stability.

    • Yes. I recall that.

      I think I’m someone who tends to strongly crave stability. I don’t function well with uncertainty. Probably not a good sign for someone who wants(wanted?) to be a writer. What could be more uncertain, right.

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