“No one should have a pity party” for me just because I’ve been laid off…

Why not?

Because, “In good years, with a good bonus,” I “earned as much as $400,000”.

Quoting this 40-year-old mid-level employee who spent more than 15 years in the world of finance and the past five at Bank of America in New York, Sarah Kershaw referred to her in The New York Times towards the end of her piece, “Wall Street Exodus: Fear, Panic and Anger“.

Lady, hats off to you… a mature response, especially considering that this lay-off is undoubtedly hurting you, in more ways than one. Truly, I’m not being patronizing.

Several thousand others in the finance world have recently lost their jobs. Many others, in various industries, have also been laid off from their jobs in recent times, and yet others who’ve suffered in previous recessionary conditions.

No matter what the circumstances, job loss causes more than financial strain… it can trigger shame, embarrassment, and the initial shock could have a far deeper traumatic impact on the individual. Lay-offs even cause immense anger. An investment banker in his 30s who was also laid off from the Bank of America office in New York said, “It’s not head count. We’re not cattle.” Well, you bet, no human being must be considered so.

Even so, how many comfortably employed individuals ever give even a moment’s thought to the people who lose their jobs as a consequence of racial prejudices in the workplace? What is the trauma such individuals experience? What is the psychological price that these people have to pay? Are these people from minority groups “cattle”? What research is published – and how frequently – in the mainstream media, when people lose jobs on account of racial discrimination towards minority groups? Or worse, when new immigrants are just not hired due to ‘skills-discounting’ that occurs in organizations; stemming from latent negative perceptions when evaluating person-job fit issues. Here’s a model from Cultural Psychology of Immigrants edited by Ramaswami Mahalingam to illustrate the role of prejudice.

It isn’t ‘pity‘ that the minority groups expect. After all, this is a free country, right? Indeed, no research is required, after all, to understand fundamental rights of human beings – from one to another. All that is required is respect and equality as a fellow human being – no questions asked. That, in essence, is the ‘pithy‘.


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