7.5 things to understand about unemployment

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

First thing's first. If you came here because you are unemployed, and you are struggling to cope, let me point you to some fantastic people who may be able to lend a hand.

Mental Health Assistance

Financial Assistance for Job Seekers

Other people just like you

With that said, let's take a crash course in unemployment together.

1 / It's a spectrum.

Any discussion about unemployment needs to mention under-employment too. Even amongst those who have a job, around 8.7% are not getting enough work. Almost a tenth of those in the workforce are still starved of work - so even if you technically have a job, it may not mean you're out of the woods.

Sadly, another side of under-employment too, is under-payment and wage theft. It may be that the amount of hours you work is enough, or even more than you'd like, but the bills are still not being paid with the remuneration your employer gives you.

Under-employment creates an entirely unique set of problems on its own - if anything, in some cases it may be worse, as often the outward perception might be that anyone with any kind of job must be 'fine'. Under-employment challenges that assumption.

2 / It's societal.

Did you know that 44% of Australian jobs exist in firms that comprise of 20 employees or fewer?

Small businesses, though, also happen to be the most vulnerable when times are tough, with little to no spare cash to keep afloat when the cash flow stops.

Whatever is bad for small businesses, is bad for jobs. If times are tough for small businesses, there will necessarily be fewer jobs to go around. If there are fewer jobs to go around, fewer people will find themselves holding one. It's simple maths.

Unemployment tells us about society, not about individual people. Someone being unemployed tells you nothing about their character, their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations, their motivation - nothing; other than that statistically, they are likely to be among the most financially vulnerable in society.

3 / It's debilitating.

We all want a better life. 'Social mobility' refers broadly to the societal factors that influence the difficulty a given person might be faced with when trying to improve their quality of life in general. Social mobility is influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to:


Home ownership

Poverty and disadvantage

Family origins

Mental health

Racial or religious discrimination

Domestic violence

Drug abuse

And, of course:

Employment, which is one of the most significant contributors to social mobility of all of these, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

A lack of employment is a lack of means to change one's life for the better.

4 / It's restrictive.

Unemployment takes away peoples' freedom. It prevents people from exploring their fullest potential, and limits their lives to being little more than a daily struggle for survival.

5 / It's consuming.

Unemployed people are 2.5 times more likely to die by suicide than their employed peers. Perhaps unexpectedly to many, this, at least theoretically, makes employment one of the most efficacious strategic areas in which to focus suicide prevention efforts. Employment is more than food on the table; it is status, it is access to development and training, it is social enablement, and it is meaning. It is purpose. It is a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and a reason to battle through the hard times. Sometimes, evidently for some, their job is quite literally the only thing keeping them alive.

The shortage of jobs, then, is more than a political issue, and more than a financial hiccup. It is a threat to life itself.

6 / It's normal.

The truth is that most people experience unemployment at one time or another. The circumstances may vary, but it is just about a universal experience. That should create space for some empathy and self-assurance. You are not alone.

Likewise, experiencing unemployment is no direct indicator of your quality as a member of the workforce. As explored above, when tough times fall on businesses, they are robbed of their ability to function as the providers of life-giving employment. That is not your fault.

7 / It's urgent.

The median period of unemployment is just over 100 weeks - around 2 years. This means that when people do experience unemployment, it is likely to hit hard - taking them out of work for, potentially, years at a time.

Unemployment is a crisis at every level of society; for the individual, the household, the family, the social circle, the city, state and nation.

.5 There is hope.

Much like opening Pandora's box, it is hope that emerges last, as a faint glimmer. As challenging, and as soul-destroying as unemployment can be, there are is definitely a way forward.

The first priority is your own mental health, which will very likely take a big hit when unemployment comes knocking. That is normal. Get a hand lifting the load you've been given. Check out the resources at the top of this post.

Keep fighting. If the fight means applying for one job this week, then do it. If the fight means staying on the line while Centrelink hold music plays for 45 minutes, do it. If the fight means asking a family member, or a friend, if they can take you in for a bit, do it.

Most of all, though... unemployment can be an opportunity. Regardless of how you felt about the job you lost, this can be a chance for something better.

So why 7.5? Because that is the percentage mark that unemployment reached during Australia's Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020. To reflect this, 7.5% of "Go Get Em's" revenues are gifted quarterly to a local micro-business, to help them get underway.

(Follow the instructions in-game to go in the draw!).

What did you think of these 7.5 things about unemployment? Comment below, or drop us a line!

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