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Contributed by James Rothenberg on 06/10/2011
Stephen Sweet's (Associate Professor of Sociology), and co-author Phyllis Moen's (McKnight Professor of Sociology at the University of Minnesota) article "Dual Earners Preparing for Job Loss: Agency, Linked Lives, and Resilience" has been accepted for publication in the journal Work and Occupations.
The article draws on a two-wave panel survey and a third wave of in-depth interviews to study how 78 dual-earner couples prepared for job loss and the implications of preparation for career, financial, health, and emotional well-being following job loss. The study found that personal and social resources predict preparation: those displaced workers who prepared had higher energy and higher incomes prior to job loss, and also worked for employers who provided advance notification. Couples’ egalitarian career strategies are associated with lower levels of preparation, as well as limited options in the face of displacement. Less preparation is associated with less favorable career adjustments following job loss, as well as more severe health and emotional challenges. The study suggests that when individuals or couples are positioned to plan and prepare, they can make meaningful adjustments in their lives and careers. While it is beyond the scope of the study to recommend specific policy initiatives, the findings indicate inherent problems in assuming that individuals or families can effectively bear the burden of risk in a turbulent global economy through acts of personal preparation. Indeed, many existing institutional arrangements may discourage preparation rather than enhance it.
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