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by SixFigureStart | February 12, 2009

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Here's a question: Why did the men cross the road? Unlikely answer: To get to the women's job fair!

Let's back up a minute. A recent study affirmed that our months-long wave of job cuts has affected men disproportionately -- approximately 80% of those laid off were male. That's probably the reason they crossed the gender line. From the Job Expo Job Fair for Women held in New York City on Tuesday, CBS News reported that the queue to enter the event was composed of a significant number of men, perhaps accounting for as much of half the attendees. And as it turned out, there were opportunities galore for members of both sexes (in, among other areas, healthcare, sales, IT and Homeland Security). (The "for women" phrase is supposed to signify a target audience, and isn't meant to exclude men -- at least not in this case.)

Buried under that behavior, there's a psychological component to job loss, one that hits men especially hard. A piece in the New York Times earlier in the month posed that a lot of male self-esteem and confidence derives from interactions in the workplace; women tend not to base their self-worth primarily on their jobs, since many have a greater variety of interpersonal outlets and fill a greater number of social roles. There's also the unspoken stigma of the "stay at home" dad -- the situation is a bit more common, but old thought processes die hard. So "job loss" is often read unconsciously (and incorrectly) as "I'm not worthy." These factors are surely part of the reason why one family therapist the Times contacted has seen a 20% rise in first-time male patients.

Do you disagree? Care to comment? You can -- just click on the link below.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault News & Commentary

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