Friday, October 20, 2017

Misconceptions About Unemployment

Unemployment is not all hockey trophies...
Alright! Unemployment again. Time to live it up and party like I have no responsibility since I’m getting free money on the taxpayers’ dime. I’m just gonna sit around, eat Doritos, and play video games for the next six months. My bum ticket has been punched. This is how some folks look at the unemployed. We’re sitting around, collecting free money, and going on vacations while they toil away in the salt mines for sixty hours a week. Can I help dispel some of these misconceptions?

First and foremost, it’s not “free money”, but a fund paid into by virtue of working for at least 18 months (in the state of Ohio, that is). Also, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve worked 18 months or 18 years, you get the same amount of money based on your income for the past year and a half. That is, 50% of your average for six months. Essentially, three months pay. Also, the bills don’t magically disappear when you lose your job. They become magnified and loom larger than life. Expenses have to be cut in other areas.

I’m not eating DoritosTM, though I might be eating the off-brand equivalent, but those are still a luxury. While I was looking for the sales and specials while I was working, now it becomes a necessity. I have begun shopping at Aldi more often, because they have far lower prices than anywhere else I shop. I’m not eating lobster and filet mignon (more like hot dogs and fish sticks, and not even good fish sticks, the ones made with the eyes and gills). I am, however, playing video games. That’s because I still need to be entertained and maintain my sanity. I already own my video games, or I traded in games in order to get a game I want.

Job hunting is not what it used to be. No longer do you get dressed up in a suit, or khakis and a polo, and hit the pavement and hand out your resumes business-to-business. I know, there are some people reading this who aren’t old enough to remember this method. If you did this today, you would be told to go online and fill out an application. That can also go by the name, “SOLICITATION,” for which there are city ordinances written about it. So my mornings are spent with coffee and the internet looking through job postings and the rest of my day is trying to stay busy (the house can only get so clean). Also, there’s the matter of the unemployment website.

...and reuben sandwiches.
The Unemployment website is a gauntlet of probing questions and frustration. When I was collecting unemployment the last time, I had to keep a record of the jobs I applied for. Now they ask for the names and addresses of two companies that you applied to in the past week. Finding two jobs to apply to that you actually want to do is not as easy as it seems, especially if you’re only in one field of work. Luckily for me, I have two avenues I can apply to, but even then, it gets pretty late in the week before I see something I might be interested in. I am not going to apply for any and every job I see, because I want to do something that I will like to do.

Whether or not I was required to look for a job while collecting UC, I would still be looking for a job. That’s because the money is finite and the bills keep coming.

I am signed up for five different websites for job searching. You might think that I am five times more likely to find a job. Well, not quite. You see, the same jobs appear on every website. Also, there are plenty of other listings. These listings are called “come-on ads” and they’re used to get you into a temp agency office and into their database where they can offer you work for not-quite-the-amount that was stated in the original ad (most likely, considerably less). Also, they will add your name to several other databases as well and you will be offered all sorts of jobs doing what you don’t want to do for far less money than you can survive on.

No, unemployment is not a party and I’m not “living it up” in any way. Personally, I would much rather get out of the house more than I do and do something that will earn me money. If it wasn’t for having a girlfriend, I would have no personal interactions outside of my own family. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t normally take a week off from work at a time. I got bored. I preferred long weekends. So here’s to hoping that I find a job soon, so I can start taking long weekends again.

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