This is an excerpt from an email I received from my sister a couple of days ago. I love her, but her attitude in this email demonstrates why there is something terribly wrong with how unemployment compensation is handled by the government and by many of its recipients today.
My unemployment ends after this month, so yes it is time to wean myself off the ‘free money‘ nipple. We almost have our CC bills all paid off. Brian has been working Tons of hours and days down here. Poor guy! I am hoping to be able to wait until after summer before I have to find a job. It will be tight, but we have sacrificed, as you have, to be able to do that for our kids.
Ironically, the next day I see that an extension of unemployment benefits was approved. I guess that means many people like my sister will get an extension of their paid vacation.
My father-in-law set a different example. He was laid-off in November of 2008, and was very diligent about finding a new job. He used the Internet and beat the pavement. He sent out dozens of resumes, hand delivering those to local companies, with follow up calls and visits, all of which resulted in several promising interviews. By the end of December he had two job offers, and by January he was working full time again. There be it for less money than previously, but he was working and earning his own keep and that was important to him. He had always done that. He was embarrassed to have lost his job even though his former employer’s closure had nothing to do with him. Maybe he was lucky to only take 8 weeks of unemployment, but for him that was 8 weeks too many. He took the money because like so many, he had bills to pay and mouths to feed, and more importantly he had not planned for unemployment: he had not saved for the possibility of such a rainy day. There was no need to because like so many he has come to rely on the government for such things.