Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Unix Guardian--As I See It: Surviving a Job Loss

The Unix Guardian--As I See It: Surviving a Job Loss

. . . In the January 17 special edition of Time, titled "The Science of Happiness," Diener's research is referenced, the writer noting that "it takes five to eight years for a widow to regain her previous sense of well-being. Similarly, the effects of a job loss linger long after the individual has returned to the work force."

Equating job loss with the loss of a spouse would, at first consideration, seem overstated. But while the comparison arguably exaggerates the emotional impact of unemployment, it makes sense if losing a job has symbolic meaning beyond the actual event. More than the literal loss of employment, it is the threat posed to these symbolic values that can produce such devastating and lasting emotional consequences.

Coincidentally, in the same article, a book called Authentic Happiness, which speaks to these values, is also referenced. Written by research psychologist Martin Seligman, it identifies the three components that Seligman's research shows to be essential to lasting happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning. The last two may explain why a job loss can be so devastating.

By engagement, Seligman means "the depth . . .


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