I recently took a trip to Spain. Two days before departure, I got a nasty head cold–which meant flying 11.5 hours sick. I arrived, had one great day–and then got the stomach flu. (I know–I sound like a ton of fun to travel with, right?) The upshot of this is my sleep schedule was totaly screwed up and remained that way for weeks after I arrived home. I was waking up at 3-4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Nothing I tried–exercise; no exercise; melatonin; reading with low light; watching C-SPAN–helped me sleep more/better.
One night, when sitting in the living room at 4:30am, both exhausted and wide awake, I had that fleeting thought–“What if this is the new norm? What if I never sleep more than 4 hours a night?” Fortunately, that didn’t turn out to be reality (as is often true); a week later and I’m back to sleeping 6-7 hours a night.
I think we’ve all had these moments when something in our lives suddenly changes in an unexpected or negative way. We injure our back/knee/etc and hobble around for a week or two. We deal with insomnia. We have a sudden allergy attack that doesn’t seem to stop for a week or two.
Or–we lose our job. And/or are have difficulty finding the next one. If someone stays in this category long enough, they are considered a discouraged worker by the DOL, and there’s a lot of them. What’s worse is a new category being deemed the hopelessly unemployed–people who want a job but haven’t searched for one in at least a year. And there’s over 3 million people in that category.
We, as a nation, have to do better.
There are promising signs in certain sectors: There is some evidence that manufacturing jobs are starting to return to the US from near/offshore. Housing starts hit their highest number in December 2012 since their peak in 2008.
But it doesn’t explain why 3.25 Million people have become so hopelessly discouraged that they don’t even look for work–and haven’t for over a year.
What is the right solution, hivemind?