The last official unemployment figure for South Africa I heard of was more than 27% while many people estimate it to be much higher. Comparing it to a 25% unemployment rate at the height of the Great Depression during the 1930s, we realise we need more than just political promises for South Africa.
Driving through towns and especially industrial areas and seeing how many business premises are empty, I realize that it confirms the high unemployment figures that we read about in newspapers.
Usually we are not very concerned about this, until the day that you hear that it is your job that is on the line.
So what does a person experience who loses his or her job?
Dr Abraham Twerski gives some excellent advice in his book Without a Job, Who am I?
First of all it is necessary to understand what is happening to you. Because we spend so many of the hours we are awake at work, it has a major impact on anyone when all of a sudden you are not at work for those hours anymore.
Who am I?
Work forms a major part of your identity.
When you meet somebody for the first time, the introduction more or less follow the sequence of who you are, where you live and then; “What do you do for a living?” And this is where being unemployed becomes a problem. Previously you would have said I am a welder or a teacher or perhaps a banker,
but now, who am I without a job?
Some people would say they are between jobs and some would rather refrain from going to places where they may be confronted with such a question.
So how do you go about to fill that void and get back on your feet again?
According to Twerski one’s identity comprises of three parts, namely belongingness (a place where you feel you belong), worthiness (a place where you are valued) and competence (a place where you can employ your skills). Your work environment provides for all of these.
That is why your identity is to a large extent determined by what you do for a living.
We also need to realise that if you work 42 hours a week, it is only 25% of the 168 hour week. The other 75% still remains who you are. You are still a parent, a spouse, a friend, a member of a church or club, etc. which should actually form the major part (75%) of who you are, your identity.
Therefore at first the support of all these people can help fill the initial identity crisis one may experience, but instead of becoming depressed,
try to focus on the future and not on what you have lost.
Therefore you should make it your fulltime job to find another job. Yet, what I strongly advocate is to venture out on your own and try to start your own business. Although it may be hard at first, you always have the possibility that it may grow beyond your expectations.
Perhaps you are in need to look for a new career or need to determine what kind of business will suit you best. Consider a Career Direct Assessment which will point you in the right direction. I can assure you, it makes all the difference.
Also tune in to my radio program “Jy die Entrepreneur” Monday evenings at 20:00 and Saturdays 12:30 on Radio Namakwaland www.934fm.co.za.