It’s Not Good For A Man Not To Work

I’m pretty unsettled by all the men who have lost jobs in this recent recession.

Absence from the labor market is not a good thing for anyone in a man’s life.  Even when it’s a planned absence (e.g. retirement), purpose is still essential to giving life meaning.

And let’s face it, men’s primary identity is through their life’s work.

I don’t intend to trivialize the role of relationships and Faith in a man’s life, but the reality is that men need work in a different way than women do.

I’m not positing that women don’t value work, they do, and they need it too: Everyone needs purpose and everyone finds meaning in contributing through work.

But I realize the significance it plays for men and their families.

This last recession hit men especially hard, especially those that are older and in manufacturing and construction.

Overall, many older workers who lose jobs never go back to work again. 

21% of workers aged 55-64 who lost jobs in this recession from 2007-2009 were still unemployed as of January 2010.

This has even happened to an uncle of mine.  He was holding onto a part time job just long enough until he could qualify for early Social Security benefits (age 62).

85% of men aged 16-64 were employed in the early 1950s.

Want to guess at current percentage for this group?

65%.

Flip that around and realize 35% of this age group is unemployed.

Alot of this has to do with secular changes in the type of economy we now have, which requires workers to develop AboveShoulder skills, as opposed to relying on BelowShoulder skills.

(Disclosure: I am a Fee-Only Financial Planner. Here’s my website.)