At dinner, the 4-year-old reported that her nursery school classmate, Billy, had a bad day and acted mean. When asked what the teacher did, the 4-year-old replied wide-eyed, “She took away Billy’s job.”
Most of us can empathize with Billy’s symbolic loss of group identity. However, adult unemployment generally is beyond personal control and represents as well a loss of income in addition to emotional grief.
In the U.S., most employed workers in good standing are eligible for unemployment compensation after being laid off. If actively seeking and willing to accept another position, they receive partial wage compensation to tide their families over during a temporary loss of income.