16 Common Disadvantages/Drawbacks of Being Unemployed (Debt, Depression,…)

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

How do you feel about unemployment? While some might not worry about being unemployed, others see it as a curse. Before you decide whether you would love or hate it, perhaps you should consider just how negatively being unemployed could affect your life…

Let’s face it, everything in this world, except love, costs money. Unfortunately, simply existing seems to cost money. We have to pay for the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the places we stay, the transport we use. There seems to be a cost for everything, so while there’s the perk of free time and not being “chained to a desk” when you are unemployed, there’s also the challenge of affording to simply exist comfortably.

Being unemployed can be downright uncool for many reasons. Below are 16 of the most common disadvantages of not having a source of income from a job.

Why being unemployed is no fun at all – 16 downsides to being unemployed:

1. Depression can set in.

Yup…good old depression! It’s no fun for anyone; not for you or those that love you. When you don’t have any of your own money, it can be, quite frankly, depressing. What starts out as feeling a little blue could lead to full-blown depressive behavior, and that’s unhealthy mentally and physically. 

2. Low self-esteem develops.

Being unemployed can lead to feelings of not being good enough, being a failure, being useless, and so on. These feelings could be absolutely untrue, but when you are unable to provide for yourself and those you love, it’s hard to feel good about yourself. 

3. The burden of debt mounts up.

Debt is something that can drag heavily on your shoulders, especially if it’s mounting up. If you already owe money to people and need to make loans for food, school fees, transportation – you’re going to start feeling the burden of all the debts you need to repay. 

4. You will have to do without. 

Being unemployed often means you have to learn to do without. Even if you have somewhere to stay and food that is freely available to you, you won’t have the funds to go to the movies, buy clothing you like, treat yourself or a friend to dinner. Instead, you will have to get comfortable with “doing without”.

5. Over time your skills will become rusty, making you less employable.

If you are only unemployed for a short period of time, your skills and expertise may very well remain current. But, what if you are unemployed for years and during that time your skills become obsolete or the industry you are qualified in undergoes great changes? You might find that you become less employable with each passing month as you won’t be able to keep your skills current. 

6. Relationship or marriage pressure increases.

If your significant other is suddenly left with the full financial responsibility, they may start to crumble under the pressure. Unfortunately, few relationships survive when one partner feels as if the other isn’t pulling their financial weight in the relationship. This could place tremendous pressure on your relationship. 

7. Inability to provide for your family/children.

Everyone wants to be able to provide for their family or children, but that’s not always possible when there’s no money available. If you’re unemployed, be prepared to feel inferior or unable to provide, and in some instances, you can expect your family members and children to feel the same.

8. No savings for the future/retirement.

Being unemployed can really throw a spanner in the works when it comes to planning for the future. If you don’t have a regular source of income, you won’t be able to save towards your future retirement. That could make your sunset years a little difficult to enjoy.

9. Lack of funds to cover medical expenses if you are in an accident or fall ill.

What happens if you are unemployed and suddenly you or one of your children falls ill or gets injured. Affording the medical bills is going to be tough, especially when you have no way of paying for them.

10. Financial distress can set in as you can no longer pay your bills.

Many people find themselves struggling with financial distress. This is when the bills pile up to such an extent that they are actually insurmountable. When financial distress sets in, it can lead to anxiety, depression, and even a breakdown. 

11. Your social life may be impacted as you can no longer afford to do anything/socialize. 

It’s one thing to have friends that don’t expect you to have money, but your friends are probably going to want to go out and do things together, and some of those things are going to cost money. After a while of being unable to pay to go out, they may just get the impression you aren’t interested in spending time with them. As a result, your social life may come to a grinding halt when you run out of money. 

12. An emotional roller coaster may ensue if you define yourself by your career.

Many people define themselves by their career paths, their achievements, their jobs… so, how do you define yourself? If you are the same as most other people, not having a job may lead to a flurry of emotions as you try to navigate life with this inner sense of failure. 

13. You could become homeless.

If things get bad enough when you are unemployed, and you can’t afford your rent or mortgage, you may have to move from your home and eventually end up homeless. Of course, staying with family and friends is an option, but for how long?

14. Laziness can set in.

The longer you remain unemployed and settle into your ways, the more chance there is of getting used to not working …laziness can set in. This can be a problem for future job prospects as well as your image. 

15. Boredom may lead to listlessness or life dissatisfaction. 

When you’re unemployed, there might be a lot of time in the day where there is just nothing to do. After a while, the novelty of free time wears off, and boredom sets in, which very often leads to feelings of listlessness, life dissatisfaction, and eventually depression. 

16. Poor self-care. 

The longer you are unemployed, the more difficult it is going to become to look after yourself. Financially, of course, it will become hard to afford the products and grooming sessions you might have easily afforded before, but it’s more than that. When someone has no actual daily purpose, it is not uncommon for them to start letting themselves go. The result? Poor self-care and a poor self-image to match. 

Last word

If you have managed to romanticize the freedom of unemployment in your mind, perhaps give the above points some careful consideration. How do the pros and cons of being unemployed weigh up? You decide!

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who share their experiences and knowledge about the "Seven F's of Life".

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.