How Job Insecurity Impacts Personal Identity

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Job insecurity may not just cause economic stress to individuals. It also may cause an identity crisis that can negatively impact someone for years. A study featured in this article demonstrates this with a survey of 400 participants tracked throughout 2014. Subconsciously, being employed is a valuable social identity, and when that is threatened a person’s well-being diminishes. Read on for more details.

Key Takeaways:

  • “What do you do?” is usually one of the very first questions that comes up in a conversation between two strangers. For many of us, a job is more than just a paycheck, it plays a big role in determining how we see ourselves. Losing a job can feel like losing a part of who we are.
  • Findings from a new study suggest that the threat of job instability doesn’t just cause economic stress, it can also have a major impact on how we view ourselves and our sense of personal identity.
  • When the loss of a job becomes more salient, people may start to become increasingly aware of being identified as part of an alternative, stigmatized out-group: the unemployed.

““People who perceived their job as more insecure were also more likely to feel less ‘belonging’ to the employed working society; they defined themselves less as employed people,” the researchers conclude.”

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