Is there any excuse to be unemployed?

JuliaYou may have seen Julia’s post below. She’s one of the many Oregonians who have lost their job in the past year. No issue has been raised with us more than unemployment since we’ve been here, and of course the problem’s not confined to the States.


But should Julia be prepared to do any job that is offered? In terms of its impact on her self-esteem and finances, is taking a job below her previous pay grade a step in the right or wrong direction? And if there are some jobs she could take, does this make unemployment a choice rather than an enforced state of affairs?

We’ll be live from The Dalles in Oregon on Wednesday and there will be cherry farms all around. Would Julia be willing to go picking? She’ll be helping me host tomorrow so we can find out what she thinsk about all of this.

Often during discussions on immigration (whether in South Africa, the States of the UK) we’ve heard how there are some jobs locals just won’t do anymore. Is it about time those attitudes change before the state offers help to the unemployed? Is this a case of what people are prepared to do, rather there being no jobs?

Is picking and choosing the work that we do a luxury that this economic downturn has removed? Is it time many people adjusted their expections of what work can pay and bring to their lives?

97 Responses to “Is there any excuse to be unemployed?”

  1. 1 Rob (UK)
    June 10, 2009 at 02:31

    It’s easy for people to call the unemployed workshy. However, if I had taken any old job when I was unemployed last year for over 9 months I wouldn’t have looked serious about pursuing my chosen career path – and I wouldn’t have got the job I now have.

    • June 10, 2009 at 18:21

      Unemployed since September, I have been a picture framer for 18 years. I have applied to numerous grocery stores, book stores, no REPLIES! Fortunately, I have a SMALL income from selling vintage clothing. I want to work, I also can’t stand the thought of working with the public anymore. I am “unqualified” for anything else. Benefits ran out a couple months ago. :/

  2. 3 Tan Boon Tee
    June 10, 2009 at 06:04

    This cannot be the time for job-seekers to bargain for what they want and least for what they have been expecting.

    When the unemployment rate rises near to or is already in the double-digits in many nations, the question of choice does not arise. Why talk about the salary, pride or self-esteem?

    There is simply no other more viable option, and thus certainly no excuse at all to be unemployed.

  3. 4 Ramesh, India
    June 10, 2009 at 11:27

    Well, that depends on how long individuals can cope without employment. But if they are really aware of the gravity of the situation, they may take more realistic approach. Obama’s ‘Say no to Bangalore, yes to Buffalo’ rhetoric sums up everything about american employment situation. It will not change over night even with protectionist measures. Such rhetorics only help politicians to show the people that they are doing something about unemployment problem. But that is surely not american way of doing business. There is no way CISCO or Nike or GAP producing something inside america!!

  4. June 10, 2009 at 12:38

    Common Market is worth 3 million jobs for Britons. Trying telling that to Euro-sceptics!

  5. 6 Dave in Florida
    June 10, 2009 at 14:19

    Those who pound on their chests and claim the unemloyed are lazy, and should be more like them are always employed — and it’s easy to be a self-bosting loud-mouth when you are yelling about something you know little or nothing about.

    My favorite people are the ones who claim they will sell their big homes, cars, toys, etc, and take a job digging ditches if they have to. Yeah, right! I know three of these self-rightious blow-hards who have lost their jobs — and their attitudes did a complete 180 degree turn when they lost their jobs. “Oh I can’t downsize MY home…!” “I can’t sell MY gas guzzling car…?” “I can’t take a menial job…!”

    When your world comes crashing down around you, it’s an entirely different situation.

  6. 7 Michelle, Philadelphia, PA
    June 10, 2009 at 14:38

    I think it’s reasonable to hold out on taking a full time, long term position until you find the right one. What’s the point of living if you’re not doing what you love? However, in the short term, people should feel obliged to pick up a part time temporary gig to support themselves and not rely on taxpayer-funded assistance for longer than necessary.

  7. June 10, 2009 at 14:43

    We have limited job selection here in Hood River, so many of us have been forced to either take jobs we wouldn’t take elsewhere or create our own businesses. I have a degree in Economics and a minor in Japanese, and have a small housecleaning business in the Gorge. I also work for local radio stations and ski areas, disseminating recreation information. I’m willing to clean houses so I can live here. I can certainly understand if someone wouldn’t want to clean houses (or pick fruit) while unemployed. First, working full time doing back-breaking labor makes it very hard to find another “good job.” Second, there is no incentive to take a minimum-wage job as a stop-gap measure if you can claim unemployment benefits at a higher rate, and still have time to look for work. The unemployment insurance safety net is there to help give people time to find work suited to their skills, not to force them to do “other work” while they look. Julia should take advantage of her subsidized time off to find a job where she can better contribute her skills to society. She has skills and education, and they’d be wasted if she was picking cherries instead of putting her skills to use. See you for pancakes and WHYS today, and hey, come see us in Hood River next time!

  8. 9 jaimesal
    June 10, 2009 at 14:49

    An alternative to be unemployed is to become self-employed, in my opinion.

  9. 10 Crispo
    June 10, 2009 at 14:55

    Is it mandatory for some people to use unemployment as an excuse? Ros, i have been raking my head to figure out how one would use unemployment as an excuse. To say the least, its unfortunate to be unemployed in the first place. I remember quitting my job in december last year. It wasn’t that i had a luxury to do so, but i didn’t see any sense continuing the job.

    To be unemployed can only be used as an excuse in Europe and Usa where people are paid for not working at all. In Africa, you need guts, especially here in Uganda, to quit your job.

  10. 11 patti in Cape Coral
    June 10, 2009 at 15:06

    I know several of my co-workers whose husbands have lost their jobs, and have refused to work for less than a certain amount, because it would be less than what they are getting from unemployment. My husband will hopefully be entering the US (legally!) later this year and he was worried about the job situation, but from what I can see there are some jobs available, just jobs nobody wants.

  11. 12 steve
    June 10, 2009 at 15:06

    There’s no excuse for long long term unemployment, the types that go years without working. If you can’t get a job in that long of time, I think you need to try a new type of job. But honestly, I think there are some important issues that WHYS is not discussing, and it is UK based, such as the election results and the transit strike in London.

  12. 13 deryck/trinidad
    June 10, 2009 at 15:07

    Yes. You can’t find a job, no matter how hard yo try.

  13. June 10, 2009 at 15:10

    I wrote an employment test in a nice some months ago, after a couple of days they wrote back to say I did well and the will be calling me soon for a ‘chat’ after a while, they wrote back saying they have suspended all recruitment due to the global financial crisis, and they hope to call me up soon. Well, it’s been months now and they haven’t called.
    As a youth (by the way I am not un-employed) I may want organizations to recruit, to promote and to raise pay, but I have to be realistic: the companies are not just selling or making any profits, what would I have done if I were the manager, instead of the prospective employee?
    There is no excuse [no justification] for some people to be unemployed; but there is no excuse either for managers to employ people they do not need and cannot pay…
    Such is the world we live in. They say the world economy is ‘picking up’ I hope to ‘they’ are right this time around.

  14. 15 Tom K in Mpls
    June 10, 2009 at 15:11

    When companies go out of business there really is no choice. Now a better question would be, ‘How long will you be unemployed, and why’?

    After that, the posts already here cover it well. The grand bargaining and personal priority reshuffling begins. A slight variation of a favorite saying of mine comes into play, ‘You can measure someones worth by how long it takes to replace them’. In this case ‘you can measure your worth by how long it takes you to get the position you want’. I wish I was more valuable, but I still have time.

  15. 16 steve
    June 10, 2009 at 15:29

    My apologies, WHYS did cover the elections. Having a senior moment here.

  16. 17 Robert
    June 10, 2009 at 16:24

    The is no excuse not to be looking for suitable work. However looking doesn’t mean that your going to get a job within minutes. You will always have people out of work and looking for new employment. There shouldn’t be any shame in that. We shouldn’t be forcing people to take the first thing that comes along but instead trying to find ways of matching up the right people to the right jobs. Unfortunately that takes time.

  17. 18 Anthony
    June 10, 2009 at 16:26

    @ jaimesal

    I don’t know where you’re living, but in America, the odds of someone getting fired, and then becoming self employeed (especially in a recession) and being successful…..well, you have better odds of finding WMD in Iraq.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  18. June 10, 2009 at 16:27

    Help Unemployed!
    This will blow over! Let them feel good about themselves and keep their chin up. College courses, training programs and relocation may help. Some need assistance in the home or with the children. Spare no trouble, it will be well worth it in the long run.

  19. 20 Anthony
    June 10, 2009 at 16:30

    There are always valid excuses, but people who use invalid excuses as excuses is when there is no excuse.

    We should make Marijuana legal for recreational use and commercial use. That will create TONS of jobs (I mean, the U.S. is the biggest importer of Hemp in the world, for legal use too, yet we can’t grow it). That plus boycotting Wal-Mart will create a lot of jobs :).

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 21 Tom K in Mpls
      June 10, 2009 at 16:52

      Boycotting Wal-Mart might help keep wages from dropping and improve income for seniors. Now jobs might move to a different company or state, but they never go away.

  20. 22 Tom D Ford
    June 10, 2009 at 16:47

    “Often during discussions on immigration (whether in South Africa, the States of the UK) we’ve heard how there are some jobs locals just won’t do anymore.”

    That is a red herring.

    The problem is that employers don’t want to pay decent wages to workers.

    There is a long established historical reason that Conservatives are called “Cheap-Labor Conservatives”, they only value humans as cheap labor to be used and abused and then discarded when they are worn out, injured, sick, or too old to abuse any longer.

    If there is not enough demand for a product to pay decent wages then that product ought not be grown, made, or imported.

    June 10, 2009 at 16:50

    Times are hard I agree. I think I would try to read the situation and gained the in depth knowledge required.

    One thing for sure, employment will not be the same for quite sometime. Being idle and lonely at home for me is worse than getting broke. I would rather take a lower paying job instead of being idle. This will make me stay in touch with events instead feeling like a subsidized cabbage in a season that might stretch all the way to my retirement time.

    May be I feel this because I live in Africa where choices are few and living dependends on your creativity rather than what the job market has to offer. I would try to go into self employment like Mama Jane even if I have to train for it.

    The demands that campanies of future become competitive begs for measures to cut down on costs -employment being one of them. More and more functions are going to be automated as if the West is not outmated enough. It might also be argued that some of those companies have fallen out due to sbsidizing their workers (remember bonuses) thereby eating too deeply into their foundations which are now weak.

    For the jobless, I have to see this, relax and reflect on the situation and dosomething instead of remaining in the current confusion.

  22. 24 Steve in Boston
    June 10, 2009 at 17:08

    Just like the real estate bubble that burst, there is an employment bubble that is in the process of a correction right now. People have been overpaid for many years, beyond the point of their economic worth. This anomaly has been supported by easy credit in a number of different ways, including a pervasive “buy-now-worry-about-paying-later” attitude. There are three possible solutions:

    1. The government tries to take from those who have, and give to those who haven’t. This is already done to a large extent through taxation, welfare, food stamps and unemployment benefits, and to increase it further will result in political trouble.

    2. The government can print or borrow money and give to those who haven’t. This is basically stealing from everyone on an equal basis, and ruining our future. This too is being done now to a large extent.

    3. People can realize that “doing what you love” is a luxury that most cannot afford, and that to support your lifestyle you may have to take two or even three lower-paying jobs, and it’s going to come out of your hide. Or you can alter your lifestyle accordingly. If you want to get ahead you have to make yourself more valuable than the next guy, and education is the key. Education that starts in childhood and is a lifelong process.

    Number three is the responsible, adult solution, and healthier for our country, the world, and our future. Unfortunately, adults are hard to find these days. In the US and much of the world you have the opportunity to get an education and make something of yourself. There are winners and losers, and if you don’t work hard you wind up a loser. Darwinism in action.The Obama administration appears to be trying to change this system, but is ultimately doomed to failure because you can’t change human nature.

  23. 25 Matt in Oregon
    June 10, 2009 at 17:09

    It’s great to have WHYS in Oregon! I wish I could join you guys, darn University finals!

    As for the unemployment question I believe that people should take any job they can. Obviously flipping burgers or picking cherries is not a first choice but sapping the system by taking unemployment checks from the government should not be allowed.

    My family owns a restaraunt in Central Oregon and our business has to pay a lot in taxes for others to sit and do nothing, aka “Unemployment Insurance.”

  24. June 10, 2009 at 17:12

    Salaam… In my Iraq, families want only classy jobs for their daughters, and when I say classy I mean : a state offered job with a good salaries, the workplace is close to home, and it’s all better if there’s a perminant means of transport from home to workplace offered by the state… My sis thankfully got that “classy job” while my female cousin couldn’t unfortunately, and so she’s been unemployed for SIX years now… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad… PS, much love and blessings to all of my good friends down there in Oregon, I do really wish if I were there among all of you guys and the WHYS team instead of being stuck here reading about pharyngitis and laryngitis ! 🙂

  25. June 10, 2009 at 17:16

    Hard times necessitate pragmatic solutions. One cannot afford to pick and choose. Rather one has to work to make ends meet especially if a family is involved. Of course people are being laid off as the recession bites harder. So as employers tend to have a leaner work-force, thousands are left to make painful decisions such as how to repay mortgages or even pay their monthly rent or to have a square meal! So able-bodied workers should be prepared to settle for lower incomes and possibly more phsically demanding jobs in the construction sector if they get laid off. Sitting idle at home will only make matters worse.

  26. 28 ecotopian
    June 10, 2009 at 17:19

    During the recession of the easrly 90’s, my college educated husband went and got a job a cannery in Eugene (it’s since been replaced by a federal courthouse). Why? I dunno, a place to live, food to eat. You know, the minor things in life. He now has a job testing software.

    Tell Julie she’s lucky she’s in the Portland area with it’s good mass transit system and lots of opportunities to find employment. We have a 15.3% unemployment rate here in Linn County (the highest rate in the state is in Crook County at nearly 20%). It is a very rural county, unlike Multnomah. There aren’t many opportunities here and many of the farms grow grass seed, which isn’t very labor intensive to harvest.

    My advice to her? Get a job, keep looking for what you want. It will show up.

    For more information about the unemployment rates in Oregon, go to: http://www.qualityinfo.org/olmisj/AllRates

  27. 29 Anthony
    June 10, 2009 at 17:20

    @ Steve in Boston

    Don’t forget the school loan bubble that’s gonna burst. If it bursts in the next couple years, we’ll be even MORE screwed over!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  28. 30 Liz, Seattle WA
    June 10, 2009 at 17:29

    There are jobs out there, however unsavory they may be. And if one is resourceful one will always find a way to make ends meet. I myself have endured a slew of jobs that I was more than qualified to do, and am currently in a position that under-values my worth salary-wise and under-utilizes my skills. Yet I know that this is a temporary situation that I will endure for the time being. In the past, when I’ve been hard-pressed, I’ve found myself working food-service, bartending at bowling alleys, doing menial data-entry, and even working the night shift at a corporate porn shop while I was at university. I never balked at my employment, because I knew that having graduated with honors with a degree in English Literature and Philosophy, I would one day be able to progress beyond these lower-wage, somewhat demeaning jobs.

    I’m not fully agreeing that unemployment is a choice, but what I am saying is that in times like these one must be resourceful and creative. Working a job that seems below one’s skills is not necessarily a bad thing, if one views it as a way to bide one’s time and pay the bills, until the economy settles down.

  29. 31 steve
    June 10, 2009 at 17:34

    @ Anthony

    What are you talking about? School bubble loan bursting? You suggesting that someone coming out of school with $120,000 in debt for a Sociology degree won’t be able to repay their loans from a starbucks income?

  30. 32 Elias
    June 10, 2009 at 17:37

    Take for example an executive male or female secretary who has become unemplyed, how can he or she take work for example picking apples or cleaning the streets, how can such a person keep their self respect to lower themselves that is not acceptable in life, she or he would prefer to collect unemployment benefits under those circumstances. However if they could be paid an equal amount to the jobs they lost they may consider doing a much lower job than they are qualified to do, so as to tide them over till they can get the job they are qualified to do.
    The greed and acesses of certain individuals and institutions that has caused the financial crises of recent times are the direct results of the plight of individuals who have lost their jobs and its the failure of governments to allow it to happen. Like the saying goes “the higher the rise the greater the fall”.

  31. 33 Peter SC
    June 10, 2009 at 17:40

    Its all about survival , staying alive. You are in a deserted island . What will you do? Being unemployed does not mean its the end. Have faith and focus. Focus on staying alive and keeping your children alive. Live your life by staying alive.

  32. 34 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    June 10, 2009 at 17:41

    I lost my job back in May and DESPERATELY searched for ANY job, as I have rent and a car to pay each month. The job I took had “potential” to earn lots, but it is a commission-based company, and my wages are FAR less than what I used to make. I drove from Tampa to Naples JUST to find this ONE job….while I am struggling, I am glad to have A…job..until someone finally offers me something more stable (WHYS…you hiring?) 😉

  33. 35 ida
    June 10, 2009 at 17:43

    There are “reasons” why people are unemployed-and those “reasons” or excuses as stated-did not disappear, just because of the economic downturn. Since some employers are looking for that ‘exact’ match and wont or can’t invest time or money into training, many people are underqualified for existing jobs, due to lack of education and job experience. Now, that engineer that decides to apply for the clerical position is overqualified and, in some cases, probably wont be considered from fear that he will quit when his true job appears. Job offerings will also differ depending on regional demands: i.e. New York City vs Bismarck, North Dakota. And of course, the problems in the U.S. car industry can’t be left out of this scenario. We all know that you can’t put a round peg into a square hole, but what some people are advocaing is to find a square big enough to accomodate the round peg..ahh yes, possible employment, still can’t afford to live-a match made in hell.

  34. 36 Anthony
    June 10, 2009 at 17:46

    @ steve

    Haha, lol. That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying. I mean, people get Majors in Greek or Latin, and they wonder why they can’t find a job. Come on people, if you want to throw away your life join the army, because at least you can learn about communications or computer systems, or SOMETHING you can REALLY use, plus you don’t owe half the amount of a house at the end.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  35. 37 Luz Ma from Mexico
    June 10, 2009 at 17:58

    My husband was unemployed for 2 years. It was not a choice, simply there weren´t any jobs (and he was willing to take a job below his qualifications).

    I don´t doubt that there are people that become very picky when lucking for a job, however, if you have degrees, qualifications, experience, etc. it is very frustrating to see that there are limited jobs or not job at all in your field. I think in the majority of the cases being unemployed is not a choice, and I doubt that there are many people that can afford being in this condition for a long period of time. And sometimes, you have to swallow your pride and take the job that its offered to you (even if it is below the pay that you got before or below your qualifications) simply because you have to put food in the table and pay the bills.

  36. June 10, 2009 at 18:00

    I do not think that people choose to be unemployed. Here in Nigeria, the jobs are fewer than those who seek them, reason why graduates resort to the use of skilled labour to make a living. It is not difficult to find graduates as cab drivers, mechanics.
    I see no reason why people should be without jobs except of course they are lazy.

  37. 39 Not Too Picky in California
    June 10, 2009 at 18:03

    I thought maybe I was being picky until I decided to take any job I could find. Still haven’t found any offers.

    If you think that lower-paid or lower-status work will interfere with your self-respect, does that mean that you do not respect the lower-paid people who work for you?

  38. 40 Tom
    June 10, 2009 at 18:06

    I lost my high tech job in may due to a company merger. I too live in Oregon and find the unemployment situation to be the worse I have seen in the 37 years that I have been working in both the private and public workforce.
    I too am looking for the “right fit’ and find it an employers market out there. what bothers me the most is the ruthlisness of the people looking to hire folks for a paultry sum compared to what they use to pay..

    • 41 Tom K in Mpls
      June 10, 2009 at 18:30

      Personally I love the way the ruthlessly reduced wages drops costs to everyone, including me. But as I have said many times, nothing is perfect and I am looking for the right fit too. Oh well.

  39. 42 Christine
    June 10, 2009 at 18:13

    I don’t think unemployment is mecessarily a choice. My husband has tried to get jobs that vary from retail clerk to painter positions to make ends meet (he’s an architect) and he has been turned down every time due to overqualification. Employers do not want to hire people who they perceive will leave them in the lurch when the job they really want becomes available.

  40. 43 Roy, AZ USA
    June 10, 2009 at 18:14

    I myself recently lost a high paying job and have made the decision to take another job, even if the pay is much lower. I intend to work here until I find another job of similar or higher pay to that of what I was paid at my previous job. There are several reasons for me choosing to work as opposed to seeking unemployment benefits. First of all, unemployment benefits are very low and will not be enough to survive off of. I make more at this job. Second, it is not right to “eat up” tax money by receiving unemployment benefits even when one has the ability to work and generate income on their own. In this economy people must accept the fact that we may need to make sacrafices, even if it means temporarily taking a lower paying, possibly entry level position until that person can find a job equal or superior to what they previously had. Don’t be lazy, earn your money. Unemployment benefits should be reserved for those people who cannot find any employment opportunities anywhere regardless of their job seeking efforts. Those are the people that truly need help from unemployment assistance.

  41. 44 Venessa
    June 10, 2009 at 18:18

    I’ve been unemployed several times. Pride isn’t an issue when you have to put a roof over your head and food in your belly. Sure, I could make more collecting an unemployment check but my own sanity is far more important. I would take any temp work I could and inevitabely it led to great networking opportunities and multiple job offers even when unemployment has been high.

  42. June 10, 2009 at 18:21

    I am tired of hearing of people complaining that they cannot get a job that pays them according to that skills they could offer. Most of us would give an eyetooth to have a job that would afford us housing, clothing, and food.

  43. 46 steve
    June 10, 2009 at 18:24

    Pursuing what you like is a bad thing though. Your caller in India said he went to school in the US, and we have a problem here with people studying what they want in school, spending vast amounts of money (going into debt) with a degree that is absolutely useless. YOu should study and go into fields where there is demand, not study what you like, as what I might like may not be able to provide any kind of income. Certain degrees are pretty worthless, like Philosophy, English, History, Political Science, just basically the liberal arts, and that’s what most go into University to study, and they come out with massive debt and no jobs. Study that which is useful, not what you like.

  44. 47 Taylor
    June 10, 2009 at 18:26

    I graduated over a year ago from a 5-year $200,000 education in architecture. Right now there are 300 unemployed architects in Portland, OR. Where is my bail-out or unemployment? No restaurant would hire me, or coffee shop because “I am overqualified.”
    There are unskilled jobs but they don’t want us because they know we will not stay around very long. You are attacked for not having experience in skilled jobs, and attacked for having too much skill in labor jobs. It’s not about pride its about peoples stereotypes of who works what jobs.

  45. 48 Venessa
    June 10, 2009 at 18:27

    People don’t need to lower expecatations but be realistic. The job market does not offer the same employment it did a few years ago. I applaud those that are willing to take something that they are overqualified for or is not in their area of interest. Survival is a necessity, doing what you love for a living is a luxury. Surely if you take something you don’t want, eventually the market will turn around and one can move on to something better.

  46. 49 Brian
    June 10, 2009 at 18:28

    Many people were barely scraping by before losing their jobs. Taking a job for less pay than they were previously receiving is not a solution at all for them. Whether they take a lower paying job or remain unemployed makes no difference. They will still be unable to pay their mortgage, keep their kids in the same schools they are currently attending, pay their bills, etc. If you’re going to have your lifestyle upended either way, why not wait it out to find a job that meets salary requirements and experience level? There is no incentive to quickly take a lower paying job.

  47. 50 Sofia
    June 10, 2009 at 18:29

    If this global recession has taught us anything at all it should be that learning a skill (manual skill) is just as important as being a techie or an academic. Sometimes the real problem is not that there are no jobs available but that people are unemployable. The skills set required for some jobs require a more that ‘book knowledge’. We have a lot of academics in the world and not enough ‘real’ /practical skilled labour.

  48. 51 Luz Ma from Mexico
    June 10, 2009 at 18:30

    My husband was unemployed for 2 years. It was not a choice, simply there weren´t any jobs (and he was willing to take a job below his qualifications).

    I don´t doubt that there are people that become very picky when looking for a job, however, if you have degrees, qualifications, experience, etc. it is very frustrating to see that there are limited jobs or not job at all in your field. I think in the majority of the cases being unemployed is not a choice, and I doubt that there are many people that can afford being in this condition for a long period of time. And sometimes, you have to swallow your pride and take the job that its offered to you (even if it is below the pay that you got before or below your qualifications) simply because you have to put food in the table and pay the bills.

  49. 52 Tom D Ford
    June 10, 2009 at 18:33

    You have to realize that at least in Oregon, the people who are on unemployment previously did the work that created that unemployment money. The employer may pay that money to our state government but the employee did the work that created that wealth to pay into the unemployment fund.

    If no one had worked there would be no money in the fund.

    In other words, the unemployed worker earned that money before she was laid off and is entitled to some of the wealth that she created by her work.

  50. 53 adrian
    June 10, 2009 at 18:33

    I recently was laid off from a job that i had for 13 years working in a warehouse I had a flurry of emotions in terms of what to do. 1 week later I had another job, woking w/ MRDD. The benefits are better, job is less stressfull, better wrking schedule BUTTTTT I make 1/2 the hrly wage. It seems today in the job lanscape there is a trade of, either you get good pay-no benefits, or mediocre pay and good benefits. What to do?

  51. 54 rob z.
    June 10, 2009 at 18:33

    When you have a family,taking any job regurdless of pay is not an option.
    The welfare support system is different from state to state,and in many cases what the jobs available;fast food or dapartment store work,is part-time and pays less than unemployment.
    Do the math.
    I have been out of work for over 3 months,my last job was for half of what I was paid before.My wife is still working,but she is due to give birth in October to our 2nd child.
    I look every day for work in the area;but I live in Florida,construction is dead and I have no medical training or am I a salesman.
    To those who say they will do anything,try it;if you can pay your bills and eat.

  52. 55 Mary
    June 10, 2009 at 18:34

    I can’t stand it when people say they can’t find a job that pays enough, or won’t take a job that, in their opinion, doesn’t pay enough, and then they accept unemployment…. they continue to pay for cell phone, cable, and make expensive car payments. Car payments, cable, and cell phone are unneccessary expenses and can be eliminated, allowing people to support themselves on a lower-paying job.

  53. 56 Jessica in NYC
    June 10, 2009 at 18:37

    There is one fundamental difference between people willing to do anything and those who are not: dependents.

    If I had children, I would do anything to keep food on our table. I would work as a cleaner or in the fields. However, there is a difference between, taking at McDonald’s, which does not pay for anything, and taking a lower position and pay cut. It’s not about being lazy, it’s about thinking long term what will be in your individual best interest. Unemployment would not cover our rent here in NYC, so it’s in our best interest to find a job ASAP.

    Good luck to everyone searching for work.

  54. 57 Anthony
    June 10, 2009 at 18:38

    Here is something kind of different than what we are talking about. I think people on unemployment (and welfare) should be forced to take contraceptive shots. There is nothing worse than unemployed pregnant people!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  55. 58 Tom D Ford
    June 10, 2009 at 18:39

    You have a bunch of Conservatives in that restaurant who are using Reagans technique of slanders and libels of unemployed people as lazy and just like President Ronald “Dunce” Reagans lie about “Cadillac driving welfare queens” the accusation of laziness is a lie.

  56. 59 Andris
    June 10, 2009 at 18:40

    I live in Latvia and we are going to have 20% unemployment as soon as this autumn, this is nervouse time for many here. From the one hand – I would not be so angry to be unemployed for some time, because I have some little savings and so – I could devote more time for education and maybe – at last to complete my master’s degree – I had no opportunity to do this due to hard work all those recent years. But – prospects are so bad here, that I prefer to keep my job as much as I can. The problem here is – that almost only blue collar jobs are available and government is doing everything to postpone any development (e.g. there is no anything like America COMPETES Act for our country) with aim to lower any ambitions of local citizens, that is how they imagine the increase of international competition of our country. There are much talks that unneded jobs will be created for the unemployed druing the coming season. Some calm the – ‘painting the grass’. It is shame that creative poeple will be pressed to paint the grass in subsidized unnecessary jobs that are created by especially hard earned lats.

  57. 60 Nicole
    June 10, 2009 at 18:41

    The fact is here in Oregon we have two problems, one is a new one one has been a long time coming. The new problem is how high our unemployment rate is and how even low-wage jobs are now less abundant. But the real problem, which has been happening ofr a long time now, is the lack of living-wage jobs. For as long as I’ve lived out here- sixteen years- you could always go out and get a job as a barista or customer service rep just to get by until you found what you really wanted, or decided to leave the state to get it, which was more likely. Now even the crummy jobs are hard to come by and the better jobs are all gone.

  58. 61 Elizabeth Godbey, DeBeque,CO
    June 10, 2009 at 18:42

    Where I live unemployment has left alot of ppl in the construction and oil/gas field industries in a tailspin I myself have had to look for work and my problem being that I havent had aregular job in years and now I am at a loss as well so it would seem to me that my husband and others like him everywhere should be down at their local Social Service’s office screaming to be considered displaced workers and then maybe they would be able to get vocational rehabilitation to be able to get work in altenative area’s and industries.

  59. 62 Erik
    June 10, 2009 at 18:44

    From my experience in Belgium, the problem is the following: labour law is very rigid and does not admit any kind of flexibility on the labour market. As it becomes increasingly difficult to fire workers, employers will hesitate much more longer before hiring someone.This aspect combined with the fact that labour is very costly for employers (because of the social security system and minimum wages), makes it rather difficult (and extremely costly) for employers to hire people. I myself am a self-employed lawyer and hired the services of a secretary, but had end her contract, not because of the wage (which was a pretty decent wage), but because of the social security costs and taxes related to this. The other side of the problem is that unemployment benefits are higher as wages for unqualified workers and there is no time limit. So many people choose to stay unemployed, because it is not easy to find a job (because of the labour market), but also because they get more benefit then they would get from a job.

  60. 63 Andrew in Australia
    June 10, 2009 at 18:44

    The problem is that despite wanting to work, despite lowering your expectations to take anything that is available, employers will not hire you, prefer someone who is most likely less capable BUT also less likely to have a mind that might question them or are too desperate and will put up with substandard conditions an unscrupulous employer wishes to impose. It happens here and it has happened to me recently.

  61. 64 Mike from Michigan
    June 10, 2009 at 18:45

    I was unemployed for about a year and considered myself to be lazy. The jobs are out there whether you’re overqualified or not. Americans complain about not making enough money and jobs going overseas. That’s because we’re greedy and selfish. The UAW (and many unions for that matter) is a perfect example. I believe the Unions have brought down the American auto industry with their selfish ambitions. There are plenty of people out there that don’t make the same money as union workers and can take care of their families just fine. Now the auto industry complains about bailouts and downsizing and we think it’s the CEO’s fault for sending job’s overseas cause it’s cheaper. Some unemployed people need a dose of reality instead of relying on the government for their support.

  62. 66 Chris
    June 10, 2009 at 18:47

    I agree that it is difficult to get a job at a lower level when you are highly qualified. I have been told many times in the past that I am “too qualified” and that they think I will be unhappy with the job because it will not be stimulating enough for me. That’s code for “You’ll leave us once you find something you like better.” I am currently employed, but my company (a major financial institution) has announced that they will be laying off a large # of people in our department. Because we have a small office in my city (Portland) we may have our entire office closed as the company tries to streamline to fewer offices with more people in each office. While the severance I would get is very good, I would be very depressed sitting around trying to find a job and constantly being told I’m too qualified. I believe I would do volunteer work — some kind of work that I would really love doing — to keep myself busy and keep my spirits up. I also find that having a regular schedule helps. Otherwise, days keep going by and you get more and more sheltered and “stuck” in your home, doing nothing except churning out applications and feeling sorry for yourself at the lack of positive response. Everyone knows that the best way to get a job is to network, and that requires getting out of the house and keeping yourself active. So I think I’d split my day – 1/2 and 1/2. Half of the day I do job app work and the other half of the day I do some kind of volunteer work that makes me happy. God knows there are many people out there that need our help, and giving back helps you keep your own situation in perspective. It could be worse.

  63. 67 Pam in Indianapolis
    June 10, 2009 at 18:48

    I’d like to hear more comments in response to the comment heard before about NOT getting hired because you’re overqualified. For one friend of mine, she heard over and over that she was not getting hired for service jobs because there were plenty of people applying who would not leave as soon as something better came along. She finally got a job when she lied about her background and said she was simply a “mother returning to the work force.” In case you’re wondering: yes, she WILL leave as soon as she finds something better. She’s an MBA with 25 years of marketing experience and is about 90% underemployed. I’d also like to hear someone explain why it is you should go in debt to build educational experience, how will that person every pay their debt if they have to lie about their education and experience in this way?

  64. 68 Roy, AZ USA
    June 10, 2009 at 18:48

    As a reminder, at least to us Americans, the purpose of unemployment benefits is to provide you with a source of income to help you survive while you search for a job. The purpose is not to provide you with an income so that you can go off and entertain yourself with recreational activities or volunteer. We must use these benefits responsibly since the funds to operate the unemployment program are limited.

  65. 69 Tom D Ford
    June 10, 2009 at 18:48

    Let’s remind ourselves that Conservative Republicans caused this Re-Depression by pushing through the law in 1999 that prevented any regulation or oversight of Derivatives.

    And all of the jobs losses, all of the homeless families begging on street corners, all of the small businesses like Gottschalks and GI Joes that have been killed off, all of the suicides of people made desperate, all of these problems can be traced directly to the Conservative Ideology of Anti-Regulations.

    You might think that you would be justified in punching a Conservative Republican in the nose, but that would be just as wrong as their Ideology!

  66. 70 Colleen in US
    June 10, 2009 at 18:49

    I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen through my employer’s office that claim to NEED a job and will “take anything” – only to quit after a week or a day. I can also tell you that for people with families; the prospect of having to find another job that pays half of what you made before – versus – staying on unemployment can be a matter of having the financial means to take care of your family.
    However, people need to realise that the well is not eternal and it will dry up. People should take the time allowed by unemployment to seek re-educating or retraining opportunities.
    Even if you may be overqualified for a job; smart employers see that as potential for when the economy has an upturn – potential for putting a current employee to work in their skill-related area – when a position becomes open.
    It does most of us a diservice to lump everyone into lazy, too-good-for, or take-what-you-can labels. It is an individual choice of how to respond to a situation. People can be lazy, they can be choosing a retraining path, or just work as many jobs as needed; to make ends meet. I worked 3 jobs for over a year; and still didn’t replace the salary that I had made before being laid off from an 11-year job. I had to then, revised my expenses to meet my income.
    Last point – minimum wage is a false term. One can NOT live a productive, healthy, safe life – maintaining necessities – on minimum wage. If they really want to call it that; then it should be adjusted to fit what a person really needs to survive.

  67. 71 Liz, Seattle WA
    June 10, 2009 at 18:50

    When it comes to being “over educated” for people graduating from university, I would like to say that if you work throughout college (like I had to in order to pay my bills while going to a private university), you will gain the experience you need in order to have the qualifications that employers require. Education these days is not enough, because there are to many people with 5-10 years experience and a bachelors degree who have just been laid off. Right now is the worst possible time for students to be entering the job market, but I was able to find a job one-week after graduation last year, because I worked throughout my university career.

  68. 72 Sarah
    June 10, 2009 at 18:50

    My husband was laid off and could not find employment in his field. This induced him to open his own business. In Oregon there is a program which helps individuals do this while unemployed. It is like an unemployment benefit. He has been working on it 60 hours a week for the last 3 months. No one can consider this lazy. He is working even though he is receiving government assistance.

  69. 73 Steven from Ohio
    June 10, 2009 at 18:53

    Unemployment should be coupled with volunteer work. Imagine how many public works could be built with all the unemployed construction workers we are already paying.

  70. 74 Alicia
    June 10, 2009 at 18:56

    I think it’s important to point out that unemployment in the United States is NOT welfare – it’s insurance. The money does not come from taxpayers. It’s an insurance pool your employer has paid into.

  71. 75 Mike (not my real name)
    June 10, 2009 at 18:56

    People in Oregon USA are not choosing to be unemployed.
    I am an ex fortune 500 company engineer. I have cut down every expense I have to only what is vital:
    Phone (I am divorced and it is required)
    Internet to look for work (Costs more to drive to free internet)
    Rent (I rent a room at a friends place)
    Food (I am eating junk so I can feed my kids kids properly)
    A car loan (contrary to the propaganda it is impossible to get around here without one)
    Credit card debt used to finance my divorce. (24% interest)
    I get $425/week and it does not cover my expenses.
    The back seat of my car is looming as a home.
    Do you think I want this?
    Taking a minimum wage job will get me nowhere.

    There are all kinds of reasons people perhaps don’t take the first job that comes along. I think that the unemployment safety net should be there without strings attached. I paid for it. Why should I not be allowed to draw from i?

  72. 76 Tom
    June 10, 2009 at 18:56

    If there are fewer jobs available than there are people seeking them, then unemployment is INEVITABLE, by definition. (If there are fewer seats at the table than hungry people, at least some must wait.)

    Volunteer work does not pay mortgages nor feed children. If a person paid (and is in debt for) training at a $50/hr skill, he cannot take 5 $10/hr full time jobs to make up for that loss. Also, even if he somehow DOES find 200 work hours in his week, he has taken 5 jobs for himself, five seats at the table that someone else might also need.

    Joblessness is not laziness anymore than having a job means that a person is actually productive.

    Joblessness is not being idle either. A person without a job can have more time to garden, raise a family, improve a house, help a neighbor, etc. People without jobs often do more for their communities than someone “gainfully employed” as an oil executive.

    Plenty of people with jobs are horribly lazy and do very little all day (except dodge exposure of their lethargy). Investment bankers too lazy to do due diligence at work have destroyed the US economy, yet they still have jobs and are still paid bonuses. Laziness at work is even more destructive than laziness in general, but neither of these have any direct relationship to joblessness.

    Tom from North Carolina

  73. 77 steve
    June 10, 2009 at 18:57

    How does an unemployed person move and sign a lease given most landlords will want some proof of financial security? Say you have no savings, how could someone move?

    • 78 Tom K in Mpls
      June 10, 2009 at 20:00

      I did it. Renters are facing the exact same issues as everyone else. Anyone, business, consumer or government, needs to adapt or die.

  74. June 10, 2009 at 18:57

    G’Day Ros!

    I am a 26 year old entrepreneur of a Green Bilingual Health Clinic in Eugene, OR.

    After 3 years of successfully growing my business, I’ve decided to sell it.

    In this job market- this is a HUGE risk, and to date I’ve encountered all aspects of TRYING to find a job that meets my qualifications in within my immediate community. Craigslist, Newspapers, word of mouth- there is nothing.

    I have applied to HUNDREDS.

    I have even tried to apply for jobs that I wouldn’t ordinarily be interested in: Coffee Shops, entry level positions: I’m overqualified. I cannot get hired.

    I have several educational degrees in International Business and Communications, fluent in several languages.

    I am no willing TO RELOCATE: I NEED TO.

    I have taken my search out of state, and even out of country.

    I’m currently interviewing with many innovative start-ups in the Silicon Valley.

    I have until a certain date: then I’m out!

    This process actually has opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.

    Thanks to the poor job market in Oregon- I think I just might get my dream job.

    Wish me Luck!

  75. 80 Paul
    June 10, 2009 at 18:57

    As for the world telling Americans to get a job. You understand us less than we understand you! SSI is Social Security Insurance which is paid into every payday by every citizen that is not cheating.

  76. 81 Chris
    June 10, 2009 at 19:00

    I cannot move to another location due to a child custody situation. I would do anything offered unless I thought it would be injurious to my health. I’ve turned down one job in my life — dressing up as a chipmunk in the summer heat — because I thought I would faint on the job. I do believe that some people think they are too good for certain kinds of work. I think that the state (whoever is providing unemployment benefits) should set up brigades to do community projects where people who want extended benefits (past the first 6 mo period) have to do work that needs to be done at least one of 5 working days each week if they want to keep benefits. This may be a crazy idea, but at least we’d get some things done that need to be done and some payback for the $ going out in unemployment. I think people would naturally gravitate toward the type of work that they enjoy more. I suppose this would require some kind of infrastructure to be built up to administer such a program, but I still think it would be worth it. I have advanced degrees and professional certifications, by the way.

  77. 82 Tom D Ford
    June 10, 2009 at 19:16

    Let’s look into this accusation of “lazy”.

    That accusation is made against people who worked hard all the way through Kindergarten, Elementary School, Middle School, and High School, and sometimes College, working summers as cheap-labor to try and make a little money and all the time they were told that if they worked hard and did the right thing they would have a decent paying job and a good life.

    And then when Conservatives crash the economy as they do every fifteen years or so and have done every since the start of the US, throwing those hardworking people out of work and killing off hundreds of thousands of small businesses, the Conservatives misdirect the blame for their economic destruction onto their victims and call them “lazy”.

    No, those workers are not in any way lazy, they are just the victims of Conservatism.

  78. 83 Andres: Venezuelan in Trinidad & Tobago
    June 10, 2009 at 19:23

    I consider myself a lucky person who has only been unemployed once in my entire life since I graduated from a design institution. About 11 yeas ago, as I finished my graphic design program I started hunting for a job in the design sector and I was so lucky to find my first job within the first month of my hunting.
    After I lost that job I was unemployed for a short period of time, approximately for four months or so and I must say that those days where the most difficult ones in my entire life. During that period I was upset, easily irritated and depressed.
    After that experience I have never been unemployed again.
    I think that working is a frame of mind. When people have a job, besides being able to pay their bills, they feel quite productive and of course better about themselves.

  79. 84 Vanessa - South African working in Kuwait
    June 10, 2009 at 19:24

    A few years ago I visited Tunisia and there I learnt that there was alot of academic unemployment…….i.e. many educated people without jobs…….people who cannot be absorbed into the main stream economy……the same applies to Egypt because education is free……….the downside of this is the creation of academic unemployment……..as a result of this many educated people in these countries work outside their native land creating expat communities.

    So……..free education ……can lead to academic unemployment and migration to other countries for employment…..

    The solution I think is a change in mindset at school levels………

  80. 85 Gregg in Indianapolis
    June 10, 2009 at 19:25

    The last few years, it is always the same. I hear of a job opening in the Indianapolis, IN. area and then I hear they get bombarded with thousands of applications.

  81. 86 Lee, Ohio, USA
    June 10, 2009 at 19:26

    It’s almost impossible to move somewhere else. Foreclosures have brought my home value to lower than what I paid for it, so it would be a HUGE loss if I sold my house now. That’s assuming that I could even sell my house. There are so many houses on the market due to foreclosure that it is not a seller’s market right now. Some houses in my neighborhood have been for sale for years!

    Ohio USA

  82. 87 Rashid Patch
    June 10, 2009 at 19:27

    Being unemployed is a choice? What idiot says that? That is such a solipsistic, self-infatuated idea that it borders on lunacy.

    Whoever makes such comments is part of the mind-set that castigated the people who questioned the existence of WMDs in Iraq as, “the reality-based community”. Get such morons out of the public discourse, and if possible, remove them from the gene pool.

  83. June 10, 2009 at 19:29

    I am Joseph a Liberia base in Ghana.
    I will agree with some of my friends who have been on air.
    With the bad economic around the world once most be creative to look for money.
    I recently came out with an idea that will help me and many other Liberians.
    I set up a company which I hope that will be big in few years to come.
    The company is called Proudly Liberian.
    At the end of the day, they decision is in the hands of the person that need work.


  84. 89 Carrie, Vancouver, WA
    June 10, 2009 at 19:35

    I would love to be able to move for a job. Would anyone like to buy my house? It’s in Vancouver WA, and I only owe $10,000 MORE than the latest appraised value. I put 10% down last year when I bought it, but hey, it’s lost a little value since then (25%), I’m sure you would it though!

  85. 90 Saunya
    June 10, 2009 at 19:36

    The unemployment crisis in the world is all because of corporate greed and scandalous governments. I reside in the US and over the years huge corporations started sending jobs overseas. Now the US is hit with no jobs, people loosing their homes, car sales down because people can’t purchase car’s. Crime in the US has sky rocketed because people have no way to make money to support their families. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to correct this. The US needs to have US corporations to bring their businesses back to the US. That will kick start the US economy again.

  86. 91 Jeff Hochstatter, Aspen, CO
    June 10, 2009 at 19:38

    I work at an architect company and have seen many of my co-workers get laid off. These people who get laid have gone from being architects to pizza delivery drivers, ditch diggers, and grocery store stockers.

    Unemployment is unacceptable. There is work out there—this work may be not what unemployed people want to do, but job = $$. I agree with the person in Nigeria—unemployment people are lazy. I think people that are unemployed who file for unemployment do so for the $$. The fact is you can get more money filing for unemployment than you can taking a job with less pay.

    I don’t like seeing tax payer dollars go to people who don’t work. No one gives me money for doing nothing—we should be doing the same to others.

  87. 92 Will Morgan, Springfield, MO, USA
    June 10, 2009 at 19:40

    I work in a high end salon, not for the money because I could make more in a chop shop, but for the experience. Experience will cash out better in the long haul. My heart goes out to the people with masters degrees who are applying for a part time receptionist job.

  88. 93 Linda from Oregon
    June 10, 2009 at 19:49

    I’ve been struggling with being underemployed for 4 years. Have masters/20 yrs exper./sngle mom. Ran home business for 4 years so I could help daughter learn to read but couldn’t support us. I’ve gone to countless interviews where I was in the top two, but never the chosen one. I’ve already had to downsize from 2000 sq ft house to 26 foot travel trailer parked on someone else’s land. My car is so old (over 200,000 miles). Believe that being over 55 years old plays a factor even with a great reputation in the field. Don’t get jobs because employers think I have to start higher so never even get starting wage, which would help. Also, employers start looking at you as unexperienced after 4 years of working in position unrelated to my degree/previous experience, so the longer I don’t have a professional job, the longer I’m likely to not get one.

    I feel I am being treated like I’m an irresponsible member of society because I can’t pay my medical bills. Even the “friends” who let me stay on their land think I’m irresponsible to spend money on annual CEU’s to keep my license renewed. When you get paid less for jobs that are less than the level of responsibility I’ve had, co-workers 10-20 years younger give me line by line directions like I have no experience or judgement.

    The only resource I do have, PERS Retirement, I can’t access until after I am on medicare at age 65 because in the meantime I wouldn’t have enough money to get medical insurance. And there are still those in the Oregon legislature who think they ought to have the right to take some of that money away, even though I’m close to retirement, so they can do publicly noticeable cost cutting. I wonder how many of them would have been willing to hide behind a parked car with the police trying to get a client out of the house without killing themselves or someone else. Retirement was an incentive to do that kind of work to begin with.

    When was or where is it that the elder were/are entitled to some respect due to their wisdom? There are all kinds of faces to un- and underemployment in America.

  89. 94 Carlos
    June 10, 2009 at 21:02

    I’m an German engineer working as service division manager in a Middle East country. I must say I’ve never been unemployed, though It was not always possible to work as engineer, but during hard times I took any job I could get. My wife is Canadian, when we married and I moved to Canada, I couldn’t find a job right away, so I worked as a janitor cleaning in a bank and a school. After 5 month I was hired as machine designer and, of course, I quited. The point is, we have to take any job, do anything and get out of it. It doesn’t matter what we are and what we were doing before. We have to work and shouldn’t rely on the unemployment fund.

    Though I don’t think that it is fair to call unemployed people generally workshy or lazy, this type of people is out there and I truly believe that most of the longterm unemployed people don’t do enough to change the situation they are in. There are many reasons for longterm unemployment, e.g. age, lack of local opportunities, lack of qualification, aso. Very often there is more than one reason. In my opinion one of this problems may start unemployment but if you want to work you gonna make it. Longterm unemployment however, changes the person’s mind and perception. So I think that unemployment affect the peoples mind, takes their pride away and makes them selfpity and unmotivated. Ultimately the problem is in your head.

  90. 95 Roberto
    June 11, 2009 at 02:28

    RE “” But should Julia be prepared to do any job that is offered? “”

    ————— I can’t speak for Julia, but she needs to understand as an American living in America, she is not really an American in the traditional sense any more as far as employment and political representation goes.

    She’s one of millions of “customers” the government needs to finance their unprecedented growth and that the corporate structure of finance and insurance milks need to raise the cost of living ever higher. She can be replaced by a foreign national for example, so it’s gonna be a scramble trying to figure out where Americans really fit in their own country.

    All the best Julie. We’ll all be scrambling along side you.

    June 11, 2009 at 10:21

    condition of one who is able to work but unable to find work. Formerly assumed to be voluntary, idleness was punishable by law; however it is now recognized that unemployment arises from factors beyond the control of the individual worker.
    there is no excuse!


  92. June 13, 2009 at 13:04

    No. There is a reason. The poorest people are those who do not know the difference.

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