Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


A recent Zembla TV broadcast stated that people over 50 years have little to no chance finding a job in today’s labour market. It was a Dutch broadcast but I have little doubt that the same statement applies to many other countries all over the world. On top of that, I am an independent contractor (i.e., self-employed) and thus not eligible for Dutch social benefits for employees. Obviously, it does not help that the legal retirement age – and thus the state pension entitlement – is also lifted upwards.

For men, their unemployment status can also make it more likely their wives will divorce them, a new study finds. Whether or not a woman had a job, however, had no effect on the likelihood that her husband would decide to leave the marriage, the researchers said. The findings reveal that despite more women entering the workplace, the pressure on husbands to be breadwinners largely remains, according to researchers at Ohio State University. (LiveScience)

A recent study by ForbesWoman and YourTango found that 75% of women polled, would not marry a man who was unemployed. But regardless of this barrier to marriage, singles are dating more than ever during the recession. Patti Stanger of Millionaire Matchmaker says it depends on gender. Men should avoid the topic or wait until they’re employed to start dating. “If you’re a man and you said [you were unemployed] to a woman, we’d run to the nearest exit,” she told CNN. “If you can’t take a girl out for dinner or cocktails, or even Olive Garden, you shouldn’t be dating.” For women though, being unemployed can sometimes be an advantage. “If you’re downtrodden, the man wants to rescue you. He wants a woman that doesn’t challenge him and doesn’t have a better job than him,” said Stanger. (BusinessInsider)

Although having a job is important, more than 91 percent of single women saying they would marry for love over money. “It is ironic that women place more weight on love than money, yet won’t marry if they or their potential suitor is unemployed,” said Meghan Casserly, Reporter, ForbesWoman. “A job can make or break the longevity of a relationship and the results of the survey demonstrate just what an important role careers play in romance.” (YourTango)

Although the above words may sound harsh, I cannot but agree. Basically, dating or a relationship is unaffordable in case of unemployment. This also brings some ambiguity in my answers to many women’s first, second or third question: What do you do (for a living)? Nowadays, I feel quite fine to answer that I am a writer. Most writers have a certain social stigma anyway. And I would not mind losing this overwhelming 75% majority.

Unemployment usually leads to some form of depression and any kind of depression is a serious handicap for employment. The irony of the situation is that being in a (good) relationship generally makes you feel happier. And feeling happy is likely to improve your prospects in the labour market. In essence, unemployment leads to an accumulation of (social) punishments – or “sanctions”.

Today, I think and feel unemployment makes us reinvent ourselves. The ‘old ways’ no longer suffice. It’s similar to the tales from the superb booklet Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. I am still looking for something in between a penniless writer and a “fat cat” CFO. It’s hard to give up on Love until that moment and I am unlikely to give up anyway.

Old ways, it sure is hard to change ’em. Come what may. It’s hard to teach a dinosaur a new trick.

Lately I’ve been finding out I’m set in my ways. Old ways, can be your ball and chain. Neil Young

Neil Young – Old Ways (1985) – artist, lyrics, Wiki-1Wiki-2


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