Six Degrees of Joblessness

And it hits home. Joblessness. A word I have gone over in my Just Words class many times, but not for these reasons.

Working backwards:

-ness: state of

-less: without

job: paid work

joblessness: The state of being without paid work.

First it happened on the news. “255,000 Americans file for unemployment in one week.” “The Metropolitan Opera lays off entire cadre of musicians and chorus singers.” “Restaurant owner lays off 4,500 employees in one day.” The numbers are staggering.

Then it happens to people you almost know, by a closer degree of separation. A student says people are struggling all around her. They are out of work and don’t have money. Another goes a step further and says her parents lost their jobs and can’t pay their rent. Your mind spins with solutions. You can fix this for them, right?

Another layer falls away. A family member drove across town to go to work, knowing there was a stay-at-home order, hoping his job would still be there in the morning. It wasn’t.

Closer. Someone is laid off. Who will be next?

My parents are retired. My partner and I are both teachers, so we think we are secure. They need us, right?

Published by Na

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