Earlier this year, I argued that Casey Mulligan’s theory of labor market contradicts introspection:

Ask yourself:

When someone gets laid-off, what is his main emotional reaction likely to be? 


When someone gets a nominal wage cut, what is his main emotional reaction likely to be? 


I was amused, then, to discover that the Handbook of Employee Termination has a whole section on “Dealing with Six Types of Emotional Reactions” to dismissal.  “Crying” is #1.  The whole list:

1. Crying.
2. Shouting and Cursing.
3. Withdrawal.
4. Flight or Fight.
5. Offender. [When the employee is being summarily discharged for a criminal offense].
6. Defender. [When the employee is being discharged for insubordination.]

The “Crying” paragraph is worth quoting in its entirety:

Do not try to make the terminated employee stop crying; weeping can be therapeutic.  Give him or her time to recover.  Maintain your composure while you are waiting.  Do not apologize to the individual, but show your concern.  Offer a tissue or a glass of water.  This will buy time and allow the individual to regain self-control.  Keep your goal of efficiently conducting the interview in mind, and use this time to plan the next step.

Yes, unemployment really is a grave evil.  Fortunately, this evil is avoidable.  We just need to make wages far more flexible.  The first step is radical labor market deregulation.  The second step is a massive cultural shift: We have to know in our heads and feel in ours hearts that wage cuts are the potent, humane medicine that prevents and cures the plague of unemployment.