Unemployment is at an all time high. No group of people has been more devastated than older workers. Older workers are defined as individuals in their 50’s and 60’s. These older workers are at a phase in life when they should be saving for the final years of retirement and living a quiet life. Instead, people must take low-paying jobs, or start spending down retirement funds just to make ends meet. Many have turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the problems of their daily lives. This group is more impacted than younger workers for various reasons. First, they are at an age when the changes in their financial lives are hardest to cope with, having lived middle-class lives for the better part of their adulthood they now have to watch every dollar they spend.
The current economic crisis in the United States has resulted in a breakdown of the emotional and professional lives of many middle-age workers, causing them long term adverse effects. In no time in our past have we seen so much personal hardships and breakdowns in people’s lives then the current crisis of long term unemployment. These conditions have been well noted and documented, as companies have down sized or exported jobs overseas over the last 10-20 years and automation has changed the face of the job market. Needing less and fewer people to do more and more work, jobs that were once fruitful and well paying have been reduced to mindless and low paying positions. These jobs are now sent to other countries where workers fighting for minimum paying jobs will take these positions and live in poverty. All of this has been well documented and prophesied, yet time marches on and more and more companies become wealthy over the pain of our own citizens.
Our very existence in the job market has drastically been changed over the last two decades. Industrialization no longer drives the nation as the United States increasingly becomes a more service based land. Fast paced modifications in expertise and information technology put pressure on workers and companies to garner not only innovative skills and understanding, but challenge the ability to deal with all this change; and, finally, “global competition and emerging new markets in parts of Asia, Europe and other locations have resulted in acquisitions, mergers, downsizing, and the exporting of jobs outside of the country” (Wing Sue, Parham & Santiago 1998).
If the previous decades were labeled a time of massive change and over-whelming prosperity, then the last 20 years were certainly measured as an age of “belt tightening, downsizing, mergers, acquisitions, hostile takeovers and general workplace insecurity” (Wing Sue, Parham & Santiago 1998). Most upsetting, though, is how these companies and their employees are now reacting to each other in the framework of these workplace transformations.
. Historical data available outlines the how and why America’s economic conditions have become devastated by the current economic...