Working Notes: Next Avenue on Boomer suicides, Gary Namie on workplace bullying targets, and USA Today on unpaid internships

With the weekend in sight, here are three pieces well worth a full read:

Next Avenue on Boomer Suicides

Suzanne Gerber, in a disturbing blog post for Next Avenue, examines the large spike in suicides rates among Baby Boomers during the economic meltdown era:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report on suicide rates in this country last week, and the news was shocking. From 1999 to 2010, the age-adjusted suicide rate for 35- to 64-year-olds in the United States was up by 28.4 percent (to 13.7 per 100,000).

The dire economic situation and other pressures may well be the reasons:

Noting that suicide rates tend to rise during times of financial stress — and 2008 might go down in the history books as one of the worst years in modern American history — Dr. Ileana Arias, CDC deputy director, acknowledged, “The increase does coincide with a decrease in financial standing for a lot of families over the same time period.”

…Arias further observed that the spike in suicide rates could be a reflection of a combination of stressors specific to baby boomers. As the sandwich generation, many of us, while fighting our own financial battles, are also taking caring of aging parents, many with dementia, and providing economic and emotional support to our adult children, who are having difficulties launching their own independent lives.

Gary Namie on WBI’s “Target-centric” Perspective

In a lengthy and strongly worded blog post, Dr. Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute writes that in the mix between bullying target and aggressor, he’s taking the side of the target and won’t apologize for the aggressors. Here’s a snippet:

Are bullies demons? Bully apologists abhor “demonizing” abusers in the workplace. What’s the alternative? Revere them. Thank them for showing us how loathsome and dark can be the human condition? Ignore their cruelty foisted on the best and brightest workers whose principal goal of every day is to be “left alone” to do their jobs? Of course, that’s exactly what bully apologists do. We think they stand on the wrong side of the moral fence.

We at WBI are target-centric. We’ve chosen the other side. We didn’t start the U.S. Workplace Bullying movement to treat it as an academic exercise in neutrality. Targets deserve and need support. Institutions do a fine job of defending perpetrators.

USA Today on Unpaid Internships

Susannah Griffie reports for USA Today on a petition drive by a New York University sophomore to press the school’s career services office to stop listing unpaid internships:

Would you ever work up to 40 hours a week for free?

That’s what many college students do. It’s called the unpaid internship.

New York University sophomore Christina Isnardi is publicly pushing back against the trend of unpaid internships by petitioning the NYU Wasserman Career Center to remove illegal unpaid internship postings on its job search website, CareerNet.

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