Email Vesta
Blog Home Page

Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Downside to Unemployment Benefits

I get frustrated when I hear people moan and grown about not finding a job. Some look, others don’t because they are getting Unemployment Benefits and don’t want to lose them, so they stay home and get used to not doing the daily grind. That goes on month after month and eventually they look like a real risk to a potential employer.

Haven’t looked at it that way? Think about it. An employer sees a resume and it says this person has been out of work for a year and collecting Unemployment Benefits. It’s possible that this person’s skills are not useful to many employers, or someone along the way would have hired them by now. It’s likely that this person will not be a good worker and the employer will have to lay them off and get stuck paying those Unemployment Benefits in the future.

Employment Benefits that get extension after extension seem like a good idea for both the economy and for workers without work. Give people just enough money to keep them housed and fed but hungry enough to keep them looking for work. That works if there is only one person in the house. But two in the house, one with a job, and the hunger factor is decreased. You’d be amazed how many people accept the one and a half salary alternative because the kids have someone to greet them when they get home from school, the floor gets vacuumed, errands run and chores done around the house and yard. It starts feeling like the Good Life!

People adjust to having less money over time. You cut back, don’t eat out, don’t buy anything new and when you need something, buy used. You can keep your overhead low and go for a long time with one and a half jobs in the family. That half job is Unemployment Benefits. Add to that health care on the State and you are pretty much covered – maybe even Food Stamps to fill the refrigerator.

Problem is – you’re living on someone else's back – someone else's hard labor – someone else's taxes. That employer who laid you off keeps paying your unemployment as long as you are on it. Your state covers the balance. You defend yourself with the fact that you paid into the system for years, but that’s not enough money to equal what you pull out over a long haul. State health care? Taxes a worker paid are what floats that system. Food Stamps? Again a worker paid taxes so you can eat. So while people quietly work a few jobs for cash while still collecting Unemployment Benefits, others are paying so these non-workers can stay home and collect what they consider free money that they deserve.

Nothing is free. Everything needs to be earned and someone is earning it.

I know a woman who used to be a Head Hunter until she was laid off. Yep – she found jobs for people and people for jobs – but she couldn’t find one for herself. Why? Employers are cutting out the middle person and doing the research and hiring themselves. Lots of people to choose from. You put up a flag that says you are hiring and the ambitious people show up at your doorstep. It takes time to sift through the throngs, but someone always stands above the crowd.

My friend decided to do what many unemployed people do – she created her own job. Her drive and intelligence told her there is a need to be filled and she figured out how to make herself the person who fills it. She set herself up in business. That’s ambition and drive.

One of the most important aspects of this ambition and drive is the willingness to work for less money than you used to make, or believe you deserve for your skills. You simply accept what you can – are grateful that it exists and move ahead. People with a sense of entitlement don’t see it that way – and for that reason – they get left behind. That job isn’t good enough for you or doesn’t pay enough hourly wages – well then – stay on Unemployment a bit longer and watch how you become less and less appealing to employers.

There’s risk in everything and although the risk of creating your own job may seem like a mountain to climb – compare it to the risk of those Unemployment Benefits ending and no one wanting to hire you. You still need money and work. So why not do something about it while you have a back-up system of money coming in. Create your own job. Humble yourself and make a list of your skills that people need. Put up a sign on the Community Bulletin board and Craig’s List. Once you start – don’t stop. Talk to people, hand out cards, knock on doors if you need to. There must be something you can do that’s useful to someone. Just Do It!