Unemployed try to cope with stress of job hunting
By Ashley Williams
Losing a job could have devastating effects on family life and a person’s overall health, said a leading sociologist.
Clifton Brown, who teaches sociology at FAMU, made his observation in response to concerns about the number of business closures, mergers and layoffs in Tallahassee.
“If you know that the company is closing and you find out that there are other things that you need to do, as far as finding a new job there is a level of stress but there is no psychological effect,” Brown said. “People respond better when they know what is coming. Walking in and finding that you’re fired is one thing but finding out that the company is going through financial issues gives you time, so it is different. Initially the psychological effect would be anger. ”
In Tallahassee, Kohl’s and Sports Authority are closing their locations, while Avis recently merged with Enterprise, causing several people to lose their jobs at its location on South Monroe Street.
The unemployment rate as of April 2016 nationally is 5 percent, meaning 7.9 million people are out of work. In Florida the number of unemployed is 472,000.
Florida’s seasonal unemployment rate is 4.8, while nationally it’s 5 percent. Retailers across the nation deal with financial issues every day, some more extreme than others. The trickledown effect often is felt in Tallahassee where a growing number of national chains are constantly opening. Competition or mergers often affect the longevity of those businesses in certain locations.
Employers of these stores have found new jobs or are in search. Sports Authority filed chapter 15 bankruptcy. That will affect 450 Sports Authority’s located in 27 states and thousands could expect to be without a job. It’s unlikely that provisions will be made for employers who will be left to find a new job.
But no matter the reason that leads to unemployment, losing a job brings some struggles. Take Kelli Kunda for example. She had been working at Sports Authority for 10 years and now has to adjust to looking for work in a crowded job market.
“I networked through my customers and have been overwhelmed with job offers,” said Kunda, who along with her coworkers were notified three to four months prior to the closing. “I want a Monday-Friday job, if I can’t find a job I’ll just go back home to Tampa.”
The psychological effects of losing a job can vary, causing stress or even depression. One has to figure out what is there to do next before the pressure mounts.
“From what I’ve seen at the Sports Authority, the employers are fairly young so majority of them have this job just to pay for school and living cost,” said Emmit Hunt, an academic Advisor of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at FAMU. “So it’ll be easier for them to find a new job in retail or even fast food.
“Now, someone that has a family and kids to take care of can cause financial trauma, and would be more devastating and cause family disruptions.”
Tracy Germain was unexpectedly terminated from her job as a sales associate at The Shoe Department in Governor’s Square Mall three months ago and she is still unemployed. The search has been agonizing, said Germain, a college student with rent and other cost of living expenses.
The stress has been overbearing and a sense of uncertainty
“The fact that I have to worry about finding a job in an ample amount of time to have all my bills paid,” she said. “It is hard to get back on my feet. I’ve had a few job interviews and doing the best I can.”