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Tres Palancas Para Almas Desempleadas

 La Calle (Colombia) 08 June 2019

(Originally published: 07/2009) Exploring the common reactions and coping mechanisms among people facing unemployment, Laura Garcia investigates the psychological ramifications of being out of work. Highlighting the cultural history behind the phenomenon that leads many Colombians to pray to St Jude, patron of lost causes, and Leo Kopp, an industrial entrepreneur revered for his work in alleviating poverty in Colombia, Garcia illustrates the local tradition to ritualise the search for work.  - By Laura Garcia

Laura Garcia explores the common reactions and coping mechanisms among people facing unemployment, from the perspective of the seeming peculiarity of Bogotá's particular local traditions, while discussing the psychological ramifications of being out of work.

Highlighting the cultural history behind the phenomenon that leads people desperate for a job to pray to the memory of St Jude, patron of lost causes, and Leo Kopp, an industrial entrepreneur revered for his work in alleviating poverty in Colombia, Garcia illustrates the ritualisation of the search for work.

Garcia mentions the characteristics of those most vulnerable to unemployment, such as the lack of high school education or the pensioner who can neither find work nor live off their state pension. The suggestion is that the older generation have grown into a cycle where they have no hope of solution, so they hide behind the empty hope of lighting a candle in the company of many others in the same situation.

While psychologists pinpoint the lack of self-definition and the distortion in self-image which are the accompanying consequences of joblessness, Garcia highlights the perversity of seeking solace in seemingly pointless rituals and putting faith in these bizarre 'alternatives' to the job centre that St Jude and Don Leo Kopp represent. Nevertheless, there remains a high rate of unemployment among the young and highly educated, who would think it ridiculous that merely lighting a candle could do anything to improve this state of affairs.

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