They Know Not of What They Speak . . .

Image by Sean MacEntee via Flickr

When my husband was collecting unemployment in parts of 2009 and 2010, I heard remarks that simply amazed me. With the extension of unemployment benefits currently in the news, I’m hearing them again, louder and more often. It’s gotten to the point that rather than keep complaining to my poor husband (who, by the way, has been working at the same great job for over one year now) — I’ll just put them out into the blogosphere for others to contemplate.

I have recently been reading some of the online “comments” area after news stories regarding extending unemployment and have seen so many ignorant, often downright rude, comments, that clearly indicate to me the writer has never experienced any of the issues they are complaining about. So – I’m going to address them here and get it all out of my system.

To the folks who say that people on unemployment are just lazy and “living off the taxpayers” – Well, I’m sure there are some people like that, but I’ve certainly never met any — and I know quite a few folks who have lost their jobs. As for lazy – when my husband got laid off, he spent every day searching the job boards, polishing his resume, applying for jobs, and upgrading his computer programming skills to all the latest and greatest web and internet applications. As he had worked in newspapers for his entire career, it was important to upgrade his resume to what is out there now – newspapers aren’t hiring – and there aren’t that many around anyway! He sent a minimum of 10 resumes a day – and believe me, you wait a very long time to get responses. At the same time, he did some freelance development work to bring in money while he was laid off – helping me in my own business as a freelance consultant.

By the way, no one I know can “live off” just under $1,500 per month. And he got the maximum you can get in Michigan.

Others say unemployed people are “too picky” and will only apply to jobs that pay a lot of money. Many commenters were very clearly saying “There are plenty of jobs out there – go to any Burger King or McDonalds.” Okay, this one burns me every time. Aside from the fact that no – not every fast food place is hiring – I actually have two friends that DID apply at several fast food restaurants – both of them college educated, in their early 50s and desperately in need of work. One was told she was “overqualified” and that they figured she would leave as soon as she found a position more suitable and paying more money; the other was told he was NOT suitable because he never worked in the restaurant industry – do they say that to teenagers? I don’t think so.

As for being picky, when you send out hundreds of applications and you only receive 10 replies, maybe 5 of which lead to an interview – that’s not being “picky”. And since – at least in the IT industry – there are typically thousands of online applications submitted, you’re lucky if your resume even gets seen at all. Online job hunting has made getting your resume noticed nearly impossible.

Another commenter proclaimed: “People applying for unemployment should be required to sell all their flat screen TVs, cars, jewelry and toys before getting any money.” How nice of you. Now when one gets a job, he cannot get there because he no longer has a car. I’m sure the answer will be “You have a job now – just buy another one.” Hard to do on minimum wage, which is what you told me to accept. And by the way, we still don’t have a flat screen TV – but this doesn’t impress me anyway. They have them on sale at the big box stores for about $300. But I see what you mean – no one should be getting money unless they’re homeless and without anything whatsoever. Another smart one said if people receive unemployment they should be required to work 8 hours per day doing community service. Um, I thought they were supposed to find work? Oh, I see. They should do that a night because unemployed people don’t sleep.

Uh-oh. This is really getting to me now – I’m going to stop for the time being. Perhaps there will be another post later but for the moment I’ve got to get away from the topic!

Enjoy your holiday preparations!


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