The impact of demobilization

LEPHALALE — From the end of November 2018, the forecasted demobilisation figure was 932, for the end of December 2018, the forecasted figure is 503 and for January 2019, the forecasted figure is 1 258, which will be a total of 2 693 by the end of January 2019. Therefore, contractor employees are estimated to be 8 539 by the end of January 2019.

These figures were published on the front page of Mogol Post, dated 7 December 2018.

Demobilization, however, is not just numbers on a paper, it affects people, families, and communities.

Mogol Post interviewed Bianca Els, Industrial Psychologist in Lephalale, for insight in this very real issue.

Effect on Individual

“When a person loses their job or when a contract ends, there are various consequences and it has a ripple effect on the person’s entire life. The most immediate consequence is the loss of income. Unless a person receives a substantial severance package or has significant savings, it will cause stress, may cause damage to your credit record or even put you deeper into debt.

Some people have been working at Medupi for the last 10 years. Part of the packages were accommodation, transport and furniture to name a few.

With the ending of their contracts, the burden of expenses is once again their own responsibility. These additional responsibilities, without receiving a salary, causes people to experience more stress.

It is not only the person who lost his/her job who needs to cope with this reality, but also his/her family. Unless the person immediately gets a new job, changes will have to be made. Families won’t be able to spend as much as they used to and will have to retain as much money as possible for any future expenses and other responsibilities. This may include cutting back on expenses that people feel are unnecessary such as medical aid or car insurance.

Unfortunately, the reality is that it may take months or even a year or more to find another position. This may lead to emotional and psychological distress. Losing a job, especially when it is unexpected, can be emotionally and psychologically harmful. The person may experience a sense of disappointment, failure or hopelessness. This may increase during the times a person finds it difficult to find another position.

The loss of income and job security can lead to worry and anxiety, straining family relationships. Individuals who are still fortunate enough to be employed should start implementing steps to stay current on the changes and growth within your industry. This will increase your changes for a new position when you compete with other applicants.

Effect on Relationships

The effect of job loss can have a severe impact on a marriage and relationships. Once one of the spouses loses their job it can put strain on the marriage. Spouses may blame each other for things such as not cutting back on spending, not find a new job soon enough or not making enough provision.

Unfortunately, one of the so-called coping mechanisms people turn to is alcohol. Some people deal with their stress by increasing their alcohol intake or converting their stress into anger. This may potenstially lead to increased spousal arguments, domestic violence, health as well as legal problems.

The increased financial stress and burdens the couple weren’t used to in the past may worsen pre-existing marital and relationship problems. The impact can be on the physical side of the relationship as well. The stress from obsessing over losing their job and increased responsiblities decreases desire and sexual interest. Martial arguments can increase and may lead to lack of communication as one or both spouses shuts down or withdraws emotionally.

How to cope with job loss

Jobs are much more than just making a living to survive from day to day. Our jobs influence how we see ourselves as well as others and how they see us. Jobs give people structure, meaning and purpose. Beyond the loss of income, losing a job directly causes other major losses, some of which may be even more difficult to face.

It includes a loss of professional identity, self-esteem and self-confidence; a loss of your daily routine, loss of purposeful activity, loss of your work-based social network and a loss of your sense of security.

Steps to deal with job loss

Give yourself time to adjust.

Grieving the loss of your job and adjusting to unemployment can take time;

Think of your job loss as a temporary setback, but be proactive in finding a new job;

Express your feelings in a creative way; network for new employment; open up to your family and take care of yourself physically and emotionally.

Staying mentally healthy and positive in the face of repeated disappointments and uncertainty is certainly a difficult task, but is one of the keys to finding re-employment and regaining life satisfaction.”

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