Unemployment: Too Hard or Too Easy?

Being a hard-working tax payer, I’ve had my opinions about unemployment benefits. People complain about the government being too easy on the unemployed and at the same time they complain things are too hard. Having recently transitioned to a period of unemployment, I’ve found myself extremely frustrated. Both complaints are valid. Unemployment should not be nearly this easy or hard.

Filing for unemployment would have been pretty easy if I wasn’t such a dunce. A few of the questions stumped me and all internet research told me I could also file in person. However, after driving to the employment office and standing in line, I discovered that is no longer the case. I think the state of Illinois needs to make some updates to its websites. Gas is a precious commodity right now!

The part of unemployment that really gets at me though is just how they determine the money you get each week. My understanding is that it’s based off your last salary. It has me wondering if that’s really the right way to go about this. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the gesture. I have rent and student loans to pay. If I had to eminently vacate my home, sell all my stuff and find a new place to live, I wouldn’t have a lot of time to search for jobs. Being between jobs is taxing enough. Still, say someone with a six digit salary gets laid off. Will they be getting thousands of dollars each week to maintain their current lifestyle? Is that really the best use of our tax dollars?

I claim the world is not made of extremes, but those two options are clearly extreme. People shouldn’t be condemned to poverty when they’re laid off any more than they should live in luxury off tax payer money.

Here we face another issue that I’m not sure our society is prepared to answer. I feel like we’d have to reject a world where poverty was an accepted necessity. Our system is set up for there to be winners and losers. The ‘losers’ of our economic system live in poverty.

To me, an acceptable standard of living for unemployment benefits would equal lower middle class. For some people, that would mark a huge fall in their income, for others a huge increase. Anyone who wasn’t already living at a lower middle class level will complain. This is why I think the ‘lowest’ people in our society will have to living at a lower middle class level before this particular issue can be completely solved. I’d much rather Mr. and Mrs. Six-Figure-Salary get thousands of dollars in unemployment if it means I can still pay my rent and loans while I look for a new opportunity.

This photo, “Unemployment Report” is copyright (c) 2014 Mike Licht and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The amount of money people get on unemployment doesn’t concern me as much as much as the requirements to maintain unemployment benefits. At my old job, we’d sometimes get a random person walk in and ask if there were any open positions. This was usually followed by a request for a business card. My boss would always remark that they were probably just trying to prove they were looking for a job in order to keep their unemployment benefits.

Now I know why.

There’s a form you fill out called the Work Search Record. It appears they want you to apply for a minimum of five jobs per week. In order to prove really did apply, they ask for the contact date, the name and address of contact, the person contacted, the method of contact, they type of work sought and the results. How is a person ever supposed to collect all that information for every single job. When applying for national companies, you don’t always know the exact address or even the name of the person you are contacting. I can guarantee most applications won’t result in anything after only a week’s time.

I’ve certainly got phone calls to make. Maybe I will join the people knocking on random business doors and asking for business cards if only to have all that information for at least five places.

I understand that unemployment isn’t suppose to be easy. People need to prove they are really looking, but it seems to me this is doing the exact opposite. Requiring so much forces people to spend time collecting business cards from businesses they don’t care about when they could be applying for real jobs.

I write this post more frustrated than I usually am. This issue is closer to many than most I write about. Still, as always, I have no answers. How much should people get from unemployment? Is it fair to base it off salary? How should the government require people to prove they’ve been actively perusing jobs?

The world has more questions than answers, my friends.

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74 thoughts on “Unemployment: Too Hard or Too Easy?”

    1. But what exactly that is is debatable. I know of some organizations working to provide internet for low income families (specifically for children in school). But not everyone will think people need an income large enough to afford internet. That’s just one example.

      1. Which is open for debate but it’s an idea that both left and right economists like but quibble over the amount. In a global economy, Internet access is making a case for a human right. All just my opinion but I enjoy discussing it.

        1. A human right? I mean, I can see it being a necessity, but you can hardly equate the internet to things like food, shelter or bodily autonomy. Through my studies, I learned one of the qualities of human rights is that, even with out understanding what they are, a person knows when a right has been violated. When they suffer from starvation, lack of shelter etc. they recognize their rights have been violated. The only connection the internet would have to human rights is through education, which might be so in some countries, but not so necessary in others.

  1. Good post, TK. Do you know what a man did in the 1920’s when he lost his job? He found another one. Anything. He wasn’t picky. Hunger is a strong motivator. 🙂 Drive around in most towns and one will see many, many “help wanted” signs . . . no motivation to take one if benefits get more and more extended.

    1. Not sure I agree right here. I was laid off in 2012 and 2013, and looked for work everywhere. Multiple states, multiple job levels and hours. Most of the time I was not qualified enough because the job I applied for had been combined (so two or more people’s jobs were then turned into one) and no longer met the skill set, or I was overqualified, or I was expected to work for free or close to it. It’s not as though I made a ton at my previous job, either. When I applied to jobs at restaurants and such, I was told I had been away from that type of job for too long and they were not interested.
      I do agree that hunger is a strong motivator, but I can also advise not to let that be evident. Lots of people try to take advantage of desperate people in this economy, sadly.
      In my experience benefits did not get more and more extended, but harder to get. When I tried to look for work or freelance to support myself, unemployment froze my payments completely until they felt okay with it again, and told me that if I didn’t go to repeated job search workshops, despite me filling in the paperwork each week with all of the jobs I had applied for, they would cancel my unemployment, or that I would be denied or delayed if I ever filed again.

      1. This sounds un-fun, especially since I will be applying for freelance work, among other things. I am a writer after all. My application hasn’t even gone through, yet. I have no idea what’s in store for me.

    2. That’s too simple of an answer if you ask me. Desperation and hunger also lead to crime. Just because there are help wanted signs doesn’t mean you can’t get denied that job. Hell, I know of people denied work because they are too qualified. Unemployment shouldn’t be easy, but it definitely needs to exist. A person needs the basics just for the interview. A suit, car and gas are a must.

      1. Oh I know. It was more tongue in cheek, but our system is so broken. We have many who are in desperate need of a job. A good friend of mine has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and works at Burger King. Another lady that I gave a ride to the other day works at Taco Bell and walks to work every day. She uses public transportation typically, but that day she missed the bus. She attends a local trade school at night getting her nursing assistant diploma, using public transportation. My father is the HR director for a textile company and has many, many stories of people with degrees who now work as a labor hand in the mill. In the same instance, there are millions who are working the social system and have come to the realization that it is silly to actually work . . . my uncle being one of them.

        1. Going to college for four years no longer guarantees you a great job. People have to pay attention when they go to college. A teacher in high school had good advice when she told me to pick a major that was a thing you do and then a minor or second major that was an interest. Majoring in history is great, but you also need something you do, like teaching, to balance that and earn you a job.

          It seems to me, even based on that comment, that people who desperately want jobs and can’t find them form a much larger group then the people who mooch off the system. There are no numbers out there, but knowing one person who has given up does not automatically mean there are millions. It doesn’t mean there aren’t millions. I think we’d be better off focusing on how to get those people who want work and can’t find it first. It seems to me they are the much larger group.

  2. In NY the maximum weekly benefit is $405…As for proving you are looking for work perhaps a copy of the job application you filled out or if you are sending out a resume the name and address you mailed it to.
    I agree with you about the accepted necessity of poverty…poverty, hunger and homelessness are not necessary in a wealthy civilized society.

    1. I wasn’t sure if there was a limit or not. I didn’t look that far into it. As for proof of applications, I think we do need a little more than that. Maybe print outs of emails saying you’ve applied. Or they could make it unspecific. They can request you show something, anything, that says you have applied for a position.

      Someone once told me capitalism requires poverty because there has to be winners or losers. I don’t know what a better system would be, though. I imagine it’s something humanity hasn’t discovered yet.

  3. Several thoughts: 1. Unemployments benefits should be given only if people work at least 2 days a week on a government project (like planting trees). 2. If the previous requirement implemented there will be tremendous reduction in unemplyment due to following reasons:
    a) many people are not really looking for a job (a spouse works, children need care, wealthy family)
    b) many people are working for cash.

    1. I understand the principle behind your idea of only giving unemployment benefits if people work at least 2 days a week on a government project, but as TK alludes to in her post, requirements like that would take precious job searching time away from individuals on unemployment.

      I also disagree with the conception that “many people are not really looking for a job.” Sure, there are always going to be people taking advantage of the system, but I think that the vast majority are legitimately receiving benefits and doing their best to find jobs. In order to be on unemployment, you have to have had a job and lost it in the first place (meaning you were laid off — you can’t receive benefits if you quit). I doubt that most people who already had jobs and have bills to pay and families to provide for are sitting on government benefits while not trying to find a new job. Also, there’s a time limit for being on unemployment. I think it’s about 6 months, but I’m not sure (TK, please feel free to correct me or clarify!). So any assistance they do receive is quite limited.

      I guess I just don’t like it when people suggest that most people on unemployment are somehow lazy or taking advantage of the system because I think that is a gross generalization and that the majority of individuals are truly deserving and working hard to change their current state of joblessness.

      -C

      1. 1. “I just don’t like it when people suggest that most people on unemployment are somehow lazy or taking advantage of the system”.
        I don’t like it too but did I ever say MOST PEOPLE?
        2. In the USA lately unemployment benefits extended to 2 years.
        3. If you have 5 days a week to search for a job you can work 2 days. Don’t we have a climate change problem?
        4. I know many people whose spouses have thriving businesses or who are multi-millionaires. A family income must be taken in consideration before benefits are paid.

        1. I’m sorry if I misinterpreted your comment. To me it seemed like you meant “most people” because you said that there would be a “tremendous reduction in unemployment.” The use of “tremendous” seemed like you were implying that a majority of people would no longer participate. Sorry for the confusion.

          And yes, I definitely agree with point #4. Family income should definitely be taken into account. I feel like it would be pretty ridiculous for multi-millionaires to be on unemployment. I somehow doubt that very many of the people on unemployment are in that situation, but I haven’t read the statistics so I could be wrong.

          -C

          1. I also want to remind you that many people who get unemployment benefits are working for cash. They would not claim benefits if they were told to work on a government project several days each week. It is sad but people often use all means to explore democratic system.
            You started a very important topic! Best to you!

            1. I agree that that is a very good point, and definitely something worth considering. Like you said, it’s sad that we have to put in so many measures that make it difficult for the many who are worthy of help, just because of the few that take advantage.

              Best to you as well 🙂

              -C

                1. Not acceptable, but it gives us something to compare to other numbers. say that 10% are working for cash but the other 90% are using the system as it should be and going back to work. Then we can say that, overall, it’s working and target any changes to the system at resolving that 10%. If the numbers were switched, and 90% were working for cash on the side, then the program could be considered such a resounding failure as to be completely cut.

                  Of course, there are other number at play. say 10% work for cash and 20% are simply mooching. Then it would make more sense to address that 20%. But just saying ‘lots of people do this’ provides nothing. It doesn’t tell us how small or large the problem is and gives us no direct targets to address.

                  1. It’s a very good observation!
                    The problem is that nobody is able to get these data as everyone who bleeds the system will never tell it to objective data collectors.

    2. I can sort of see how that would work, except that you force people who are apply for jobs to spend time doing something other than apply for jobs. I imagine there will also be people with young children to watch or handicaps that wouldn’t be able to do such labor. If not for those things, though, it could be a good idea. I don’t know if that many people abuse the system, though.

      1. If some people can’t work because they have young children to watch how can they be considered unemployed? Unemployed person is a person who is READY to work but can’t find a job.

          1. If they are poor they will get government assistance. However, they can’t be considered unemployed if they are not ready to work.

  4. I don’t want to pay people to look for a job they like. I want to pay out benefits to people who are looking for a job. Period. I think making people walk into random businesses that have help wanted signs and getting business cards makes them look for ANYTHING. It’s easier to get hired at a job you like when you already have a job. Networking is easier when you are already employed.

    As far as getting benefits based on your last paycheck… I’m not sure I disagree with you on this one.Maybe a flat rate would be better. But that’s very difficult for me to say as I’m already living barely above the poverty level and different people have different ideas of survival. My mother is always telling me that I need to buy clothes because I can’t go naked. I have never been at work naked! LOL! But her idea of what is appropriate for work (brand name) and what I think is appropriate for work (Target – professional, clean but CHEAP) are two VERY different things. It’s amazing what differences we have and I don’t want to get to judgy about it because I’m way more well off than people on the other side of the tracks from me. I’m part owner in a business. That’s saying something for those people over there. – the wifey

    1. On your first point, I have to disagree. There’s no problem with people applying for jobs they like. Now, if they run out of jobs they like, then yes, they need to apply for everything else. But, I can apply to ANYTHING via a phone app. I can apply to more than 20 jobs in less than 30 minutes. That’s getting my name out there faster than going door to door.

      To your second point, that’s exactly the problem. What’s considered basic or necessary is different depending on who you are. I’d imagine different income levels have different definitions of those words.

  5. I feel like one improvement that could be made would be if the unemployment agency had some of the features and functions of job board/work agency; local businesses in the area would have the opportunity to register and post available positions, and the agency would inform participants of the opportunities. At least it would be a step in the right direction of getting people back to work.

    1. I agree. When I went into the office, no one even asked what I was looking for. Imagine you could just give them your resume and they’d send it to employers who told them they have openings. So simple, but I bet it would be effective.

  6. Off the top of my head it seems a good idea that rather than basing it off of gross income, factoring in mortgage/rent plus utilities, cellphone bill, and an EBT stipend (adjusted for family size) for groceries would be a better way to flatten the playing field; and this could be adjusted in light of other family income as well. That way, an unemployed job-seeker would still be able to pay the bills and feed the family while having the resources (time and communications ability) to seek employment.

    And while it may seem deceptively easy / hard to prove you’ve been searching, you have to admit that designing a system for that would be tough, and all they can do aside from monitoring for noncompliance is a series of random audits. So the system probably had to be easy enough.

    1. I do agree on some level. Like you say, it makes sense. It would be the governments way of making sure a person can keep what they’ve earned so far, but not allow them to rise higher without a job.

      They have a system here that’s basically an online job search engine. But I hate it. I want to use Indeed.com. Honestly, I’m not even sure what’s required of me yet. Maybe I’ll get a new job before I have to worry about it.

  7. With issues like this I believe it often comes down to ideology vs practicality. A lot of the comments here have said what they would ‘like’ to see, or what they don’t like seeing. This is somewhat of a fruitless attitude however as we should be looking at what works.
    One might not like seeing more of their tax money going towards people whose motivation to leave the public welfare system isn’t properly regulated, however a light touch or ‘hands-off’ approach may actually work better in certain circumstances, and end up saving money. Likewise, people may not want others to come under constant government supervision just because they are claiming unemployment benefits, however if this is the motivation that is needed then it shouldn’t be disregarded.

    In terms of practicalities it is difficult to actually establish which direction is better. Hunger may be a motivator, as somebody pointed out above me, but its not an acceptable one in modern society. If you have definite skills that someone, somewhere is in need of then it is a distinct economic negative for you to be forced into an unskilled job because of monetary necessity. A good starting point in regards to government aid is the job centre. Expanded services on that front could, perhaps, prove the best means of providing positive motivation combined with practical help. A weekly or fortnightly appointment would prove much prove a better indicator than the contact details of five employers. Interviews, skill courses and so on could be recommended and set up as a means of both proving and inculcating interest in the job market.

    Of course this is just a sketch of what could prove a more positive means of government intervention. Bureaucracy will of course taint any such project. It could be a step in the right direction however.

    1. Everything you say here is spot on. I honestly think most people don’t abuse the system. For those, the system works. My biggest question is about those who do abuse the system. Why do they do it? In addition to your suggestions, maybe government employment offices would benefit from having a therapist on staff. A lot of people get discouraged. Providing them something to help them deal with that depression might help them keep applying.

  8. I was laid off from a job in January of 2009, it took some time, but I got out and found another job. One of the guys I was laid off with STILL has not gotten another job, but I would be willing to bet he stopped looking within a month of lay-off.

    What did he do instead of looking for a job, he bled unemployment for as long as he could and then started bleeding the government for disability.

    It infuriates me that we have so many people living off the government and OUR tax dollars. The mentality that the government will support us is ridiculous. I say 6 months tops on unemployment and that is with serious guidelines being met.

    It isn’t inhumane to expect people to work and earn their fair share, instead of taking from others who do.

    1. I do know that people like that exist and it is infuriating because there are people out there who really do need these services. People who really can’t find a job no matter how hard they try and people who really do have disabilities that prevent them from working. Six months seems extreme to me, though. I know people who looked for work for far longer. While they eventually found a job, it can take more than six months.

      People complain about people who mooch off the government, but I wonder how many really do. I know a lot of people who spent some time on unemployment and I know of only one (who is really the parent of a friend’s brother-in-law’s wife) who abuses the system. I wish we had more numbers on this. Anything we do to prevent moochers should be aimed at the reason why people do that.

  9. I’m not a number person, but I think income should meet essential needs at the very least. But this got me thinking about something else…

    It IS hard to be unemployed not just on a financial level but on a psychological level. I find people who look down on the unemployed to be quite insensitive. Everyone is a part of your community, and they should be treated as such. It’s not just about money.

    I believe most people want to be contributing member of a community, but after getting laid off… you have to restructure your life unexpectedly. Looking for a job is intimidating at that point, and I can see how picking up 5 random business cards just to please a bureaucracy would be degrading.

    I think the key is making sure people still feel like part of the community rather than outcasts simply for doing something many of us do at least once in our lives: losing a job. Making sure this happens is the responsibility of individuals. It’s not helpful or very kind to look down on people who are facing unemployment.

    1. I agree. Reading your comment, I imagined some sort of coffee house like attachment to government employment centers. It could be a lively place with wifi and a scattering of computers for those who don’t have one. People could join in community with others who are in their same position. Maybe it would help everyone stay positive.

  10. I think the reason unemployment is based off of your previous salary is so you can keep up with the bills you already have. I mean, if the amount of money you’re paying to live every month is based off of how much you make at your job, doesn’t it make sense for the unemployment benefits to account for that? I mean, the lengths that someone would have to go to in order to restructure their life to fit the “lower middle class” unemployment check are pretty huge if they were a part of the upper class before. It’s not so much a matter of it being unfair that they get more money, it’s just that they’ll lose their house if they have to accept such a huge salary change while looking for work.

  11. Those who have commented on here – do you even know what you are talking about?

    I live in NJ and we pay into our unemployment program. We get 60% of our salary, but there is a cap at about $540 a week.
    We are required to have 3 contacts a week, but since we file on-line over over the phone they are asked for. But if you get called into a local office you better have those contacts ready.

    Most jobs are posted on-line and normally you don’t know who you are replying to since it’s kept confidential. Businesses no longer want people coming in which is why many choose to use job placement companies to do the work for them.

    I live in a rural area and there are very few businesses to drive around to. Also,, my background is in administration and though I am willing to take a large pay decrease I have no low level experience. Also, again if you really knew what was going on out there you would know businesses now want retail experience to run a cash register. I have applied at Lowes, Home Depot and even as a bank teller – I don’t have sales experience. My current background is in accounting and I have been a receptionist and admin assistant.

    The problem is for every job there are about 100 people applying – especially when you have 3 states applying for the same jobs in each state.

    Ignorance is definitely not attractive when you are down grading people who are just trying to survive in an economy that was created by our greedy government and who have left the American people drowning in the aftermath.

    1. This is why I wrote this post. I’ve only just started to learn about unemployment out of necessity. The only thing I really know is that there are no easy answers. I’ve never been against unemployment, but I do wonder how it could be made more effective. Maybe there is something the government could provide that would help people find jobs fast, meaning the government isn’t paying as much unemployment, and saving everyone money.

  12. I honestly wasn’t able to find any work out of college. I applied and applied. I finally gave in to an “internship” where I basically worked for free, full time, not pay or benefits of any kind. It was difficult driving there every single day for work in L.A. traffic but I did it. It was hard. I wish I could say that everything worked out, but it didn’t I had to give up what I wanted to pursue and had to find something that paid. Being a writer with little to no real world experience is tough. I ended taking a job that paid me $10/hour. After some time, my friend got me another job in a completely random area. I’m a writer doing analytical work now for a shipping company.

    If I had any advice to give, it’s to do what you can at the moment. Anything is better than nothing, especially now.

    1. I agree. The first job I accepted out of college was also an internship in the city. That seems to be the way things go these days, especially for writers. I was lucky in that I got this job within two months of graduation. It allowed me to move to the city I wanted to live in, which made it easier to find a job when the internship was over. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with accepting internships. I don’t really think of them as a last resort… or at least I didn’t after college.

      Up until recently, I was a writer working for an engineering company. Who knows where I’ll land next!

  13. While unemployment benefits are based on your income, even if you are high income I don’t think you get very much on unemployment. Maybe you should check it out and see — educate us all. I’d be surprised if anyone was living in luxury.

    Since finding yourself unemployed can have an awful lot to do with luck, I think it’s really important to have it.

    And it actually helps everyone — it keeps the economy going and keeps other people and jobs.

    Especially during periods of high unemployment, the economy would spiral downward without it. People would stop purchasing from lack of funds, So you would make less products and need a smaller salesforce. Those people lose jobs and cut back on spending, and more people are fired. And on and on it goes.

    1. Yeah, I have no idea if there is a cap on benefits or not. I do think unemployment is necessary. Sometimes I wonder if this conversation is even worth having. Is the system really that flawed? How many people are actually abusing it?

  14. Do you live near the Chicago Tribune? If you do, I’ll ask my friend if she still has any connections. She wrote some columns for them 2 years ago while she was looking for a permanent teaching job after college. Also, as I understand it, they expect you to pay back a certain amount of the money they give you for unemployment once you get a job. At least that’s how things are here in MO. As for your student loans, you wouldn’t happen to go through Sallie Mae would you? Because if you do I can direct you to an area of their site where you can request to lower your student loan payments.

    1. Yes I Do! I’d love if you could put me in contact with someone there. My loans should be fine for now. I’d rather not reduce payments if I don’t absolutely have to. There was a section on the unemployment form that asked me if I wanted taxes taken out before they set the check. The percentages they took were pretty high, but I said yes to all. I imagine, because I did that, I won’t have to pay back much.

  15. Thanks for writing about the way that unemployment is handled in the US and for sparking off the comments. I’m from the UK where we have a different system. In my opinion, attitudes to this popular political conversation often reflect a person’s general stance on wider issues.

    My views are liberal minded… (cue 3,000 word essay)

      1. On the whole, it is a fairly social democratic system where people in need receive help. We have a National Health Service which is fantastic and Housing Support which pays rent for the poor. This generosity is often criticized because it is supposedly possible to live life without ever having to work. We are a wealthy country who uses that wealth to help those in need. There is still a huge disparity between rich and poor.

        Hope his helps.

        Good to meet you and keep in touch on here.

  16. I appreciate the honesty in this post. As someone who hasn’t been on unemployment, I can’t say I’m entitled to much of an opinion, but your post has educated me and made me think. Thank you, and best of luck

  17. I know this is a bit off topic and will probably be an unpopular opinion, but I think one of the main problems we have with the current economic model of the country is the notion of what “work” is and that everyone should be “working”. Now, I am not saying that people should simply live off the work or aggregated sums of others, but frankly there are just not many jobs that need to be done anymore in most industrialized nations.

    Before more people worked because actual things needed to be done, but now most basic labor positions are done by machines or fewer people working with machines. This trend is only more likely to continue. We have to, essentially, rethink our economic and productive models and what we consider productive members of society to be and do. Obviously, such a change will take time, debate, and much trial and error, which we seem to detest in favor of poorly planned and executed quick solutions.

    1. I was told that, more than likely, the jobs we will have in 10 or 20 years haven’t been created yet. Yes, certain forms of working are being made obsolete by technology, but at the same time, other jobs which never existed before are opening. People just have to be open to the change.

  18. It does sound as if all states are about the same. I read one post that mentioned another poster was “an exception to the norm”, after she posted her difficulties just applying for jobs. I disagree. I totally relate to her post. I have been unemployed for almost 6 months and I have to make 7 job contacts per week. With the exception of one claim period (Christmas week I only made 4, told the truth on my Job Search record and I was denied payment for that claim period…….I won’t do that again) I have met the requirements of 7 job contacts a week. Approximately 135 job contacts and I’ve had one interview. I apply for almost anything…….under qualified, qualified, over qualified. I worked for my company 20 years and the approach to job searching today is very different and I think is part of the problem. The almighty Internet may be wonderful and convenient but there is no person to person contact. Your a name with a résumé. Nothing more, nothing less. This is a very touchy subject with me as I spend half of my day just applying for jobs in hopes that someone would actually want to TALK to me. Good luck TK!

    1. Exactly. I’m in this mandatory program (we get that in the Netherlands) that is suposed to get you a fitting job. We learn how to make a resumé, write a letter, go on Facebook, Twitter and stuff.. Hey, I’m an IT guy, who has been working for over 20 years in a lot of different jobs. And in the good old days I got the job, within 10 minutes. I know how to write a letter or a resumé.. I get it, for the less fortunate, who just got to live in our country, this class could actually do a lot for them. I’m just there helping the others out..

    2. I think that’s where I am at an advantage. A lot of companies seems to be looking for younger, almost fresh out of college, workers. As such, I’m having a bit of luck. I am also great with the internet and never participated in a job search without it. I don’t know how I’d go about applying for jobs otherwise! I think the cover letter is where it’s at, not that resume’s aren’t important. The job search process seems to go from online, to a brief phone conversation to an in-person interview. Sometimes it takes two in-person interviews before you get a final yes or no. It’s all so crazy. In some ways, I think the internet has made it easier to apply for jobs, but it’s made it harder to actually know the person or business behind the application.

      1. You nailed it!! The Internet makes it very easy and I’m very computer literate……but it’s very impersonal. Maybe I should change my 20 years of experience to 2 years and see what happens 😉. LOL

  19. A very good post TK! And since I am unemployed, I really think about the same things and the same way you do. Kudo’s!
    However, I live in the Netherlands and the system here may very well differ from yours. Although I believe there are similarities too.
    When you are unemployed here, you may get Unemployment Benefits. This totally depends IF you have worked before, how long you have worked before and what you earned. You get 70% of your last earnings a month. And depending how long you worked your last job, they calculate long you get those benefits.
    I had two years of ‘salary’ and now I ‘fell into welfare’. After the Unemployment Benefits, one is entitled to some kind of Welfare.And that is usually the same for everyone, depending on age and living situation. And it’s not a lot.

    Times have changed and getting a job is NOT easy at all.
    I’m not picky and, secondratecyclist this goes out to you, the ‘help wanted signs’ here also say ‘age between 16 and 20’ or something like that. And I’m 40.
    I had a real good carreer in IT. Well paid, nice car and sky was the limit. Hey, I worked and learned hard to get there. However, I never got the opportunity to get those needed diploma’s.
    No, I got there by working hard. My last boss was about to pay for my education, so I could put that on my resumé. And then the crisis got them and a lot of us had to go.
    Now, I am over-qualified for most jobs and in my area I can’t get a job because I don’t have the diploma’s. Or I’m too old.
    About shitty jobs, hell yeah, I would take them. But everyone is afraid I will leave that job when something better comes up.
    I had a job interview at this telecom provider for working at their helpdesk. Real easy job, usually kids just out of school do it. Tehy told me I could easily do it, but they had their doubts. I might get bored.
    WTF.. It’s a fucking job! Everybody gets bored at some point. Sheesh..

    Nope, TK, I’m with you. Not easy at all!!

    1. I feel you. I’m not that far into unemployment yet, but that’s definitely a fear of mine. I have no idea what will happen from this point on. People are very specific about the person they want and if you don’t fit, you don’t get hired. We don’t like in a world where we can survive as hunter-gatherers. We need a job and all the help wanted signs in the world won’t help if you keep getting turned down. This is why I know Unemployment is a necessary service, but I do think there are some ways it could be improved. In the states, I really think we’d benefit focusing on helping people find jobs as opposed to preventing moochers from mooching. For example, a company could register as being open to people above a certain age. Then, at the very least, that won’t hold you back.

  20. Interesting responses. I wonder how many of your responders have been on unemployment, A few said they had been. I have been, twice in 42 years. Also, I didn’t see any mention that we pay for unemployment compensation via payroll decuctions, In good econmic times, our unemployment system has a monetry surplus.

    1. What do you mean via payroll deductions? You mean that everyone has unemployment taken out of their salary when they have a job? I guess I’m not really against that… I mean, it’s not much different from social security.

      1. I’ll try to get this right, but it’s been a long time since I paid attention to this issue. Employers pay into a state fund for unemployment compensation. It’s a cost of doing business, a % of wages.

        Once there is a sufficient reserve, they may quit paying until their laid-off or fired employees start drawing against their already funded pool of money.

        Some of this may have changed in the last several years, especially in the early part of this century when we had high unemployment numbers.

        I think, but could be wrong, workers in Wisconsin contribute as well, New Mexico workers do not, at any rate. It’s been a long time, as I said.

        Anyway, it is not government money unless the state has huge unemployment numbers, like a few years back. Then these funds needed to be supplemented with tax dollars. So for a state to make it overly difficult to collect is just another way they try to protect business interests and not their citizens.

        I may have some details wrong, since the last time I paid strict attention to this was in the 70’s, but generally, this is how the system works. It is money held in reserve for us, the workers, and should not be overly difficult to access.

        In parts of Europe, you can collect until you are offered a reasonable job through their employment agencies. If you turn that offer down, then you lose your benefits.

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