There goes that PTSD again…

Today’s New York Times had an interesting article about the after effects of being unemployed. (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/06/us/06return.html)

I am professionally interested in the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that people are feeling in the workplace and see working on it as key to unlocking organizational ills. Those who are left behind are bitter for having to do three peoples’ jobs, worry that they will get laid off next, and distrust the leadership who can’t seem to make them feel secure about the organization no matter how hard they try. Up against the global economic collapse, leaders find themselves manning the bilge pumps and fending off mutinies, all while keeping what may feel like a rudderless ship afloat. Those who were laid off have the anxiety of not being able to pay their bills. And it all seemed neat and tidy; address the grief and loss of the organization as a whole, assist in creating agile and transparent systems which have resilience and adaptability.

However, in this article, the trauma that once-laid-off-newly-re-employed workers bring to their next job is discussed.

So another dimension of PTSD is introduced. We need to, then, deal with the systemic trauma on four levels: 1) leaders, 2) survivors, 3) unemployed, *and* 4) the re-employed.  In moving forward out of the “great recession” there are going to be many people who have been out of work for even two years perhaps, whose lives were turned upside down and for whom there may be years of economic recovery in store.

Reminds me of that scene in the original Jaws, when Brody first sees the shark. “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” Indeed.

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One Comment to “There goes that PTSD again…”

  1. Love your writing.

    A part of the PTSD issue is that it most often is a ‘pre-existing condition’ brought into the workplace. Employers, unfortunately, I believe, don’t think the well-being of their employees with PTSD is something they should have to deal with. Have one too many episodes and you are gone. Personal experience leads me to believe this.

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