Let me explain this

I get grief from people (both to my face and via other people) about my receiving unemployment compensation. Believe me, as a conservative (well, really a Libertarian, but I refuse to give up my opportunity to vote in the primary, so I have remained a registered Republican), taking this money is not an easy thing for me to do. So let me explain myself for those of you who are wondering or those who may have forgotten my story.

  • I worked at the same company, loyally, for 13 years. The company paid into unemployment on my behalf for those 13 years. I did not ask to be laid off. I was not one of those people, some of whom are still there, who complained relentlessly about everything that went on and how they could not wait to find another job. I was not one of those people who actually tried to get another job but decided they had it better where they were. This is not to say I never had a negative thing to say. But I realized quite some time ago how good I had it.
  • I have applied to numerous jobs and companies/organizations as well as kept in touch with a number of contacts over the last year. I could probably open up my Excel file and tell you how many, but then I would probably just get mad upon reading my notes, which typically can be summarized like this: "Emailed X. No response. Left X a VMM. Still have not heard back" or like this: "Emailed Y, who said she would get back to me tomorrow. Emailed Y again one week later when did not hear back. Never heard back."
  • When I did not find a job after several months, to broaden my opportunities, I took two classes that reactivated my teaching certification. If I really wanted to sit around and endlessly collect money for doing nothing, do you think I would have done that? If so, please see my next point.
  • I substitute teach whenever I can. That means every single time the school calls me. Last week I even subbed for the secretary, which was quite an interesting day, let me tell you (another time). I unsuccessfully tried to get on another sub list, which I wrote about before (it was kind of like my summary quotes above, times three). Admittedly, I have not gotten on a sub list for the two public schools near me, but when those school districts rank in the bottom academically and police are called pretty much daily, well, hopefully you can understand my hesitation that sets in before you factor in the child care needed.
  • I realized today that I actually make more on one week of unemployment than I can subbing one week. Despite the fact that subbing is a lot of challenges for not a lot of money, I welcome it because I am grateful for the work; I really, truly care about the students; and I am happy to be taking less unemployment money whenever I do sub more than two days per weeks. Sure, I could turn down the additional sub days to avoid this (who would know), but I am too ethical for that. Just as I was sure to turn in a freelance project to unemployment, even though unemployment would never have found out about it. I cannot go on subbing forever, but if you ask most teachers in the school, they will tell you how grateful they are to have me around, what a great job I do, etc. What a benefit this ends up being for the students.
  • I know people who cheat, in one form or another, on their taxes. Maybe they are not claiming something. Or they are doing work "under the table." Ironically, someone who fits that bill actually had the nerve (IMO) to criticize my being on unemployment, saying I should not keep taking this money. But I guess it is okay if they don't give money to the government?
  • Every time I sub, I am paying taxes on various levels, don't you worry. I am even paying unemployment taxes! And federal tax comes out of my unemployment compensation as well. It is not as if I am not contributing to the coffers.
  • Which brings me to my last point. I have continued to pay my mortgage, my household bills, and a car payment. No one is stuck because of me. I still give a little to church and an occasional "good" cause. And I pump some money into the economy by my grocery shopping, gas pumping, and occasional other purchases. The window company is probably thankful for me, which I paid for via our tax refund (which was money Bri and I paid to the government) and money we had in savings before I was ever laid off.

All of the above is not to say I am an ideal citizen. I have to think if I were a true conservative, by now I would have gotten off unemployment and found some other way to make it all work. Don't you think? But I would hope most of you can understand why I am not ready to do that just yet. If you have read any of my posts over the last year, you probably have a good idea why. I hate taking this money; I really do. But I also hate that I seemed to be close to having a couple of jobs (including freelance and direct-hire) and they did not pan out. This is just why I am where I am now. Like it or not. Right or wrong.


Anonymous said…
Facie-I don't associate myself with one party or another, so I am not sure if it is a conservative vs. liberal thing. I would think more that those who work think those that take money and don't work are moochers. But probably those on welfare wonder why anyone would work when they don't have to. Not saying everyone is like this. I dunno... At least you are working when you can. It does suck that you are better off not working, moneywise. But if you have not turned down a job then what's the big deal. But school will be out soon, so then what? Good luck. I know it is rough out there or else why would unemployment be so high and people have such troubles getting a job.
Sherri said…
Do not feel guilty about your unemployment compensation. You're doing the best you can in a less than ideal economy, job market, etc. We have all been there....

Boy - can people get on their high horses or what? Hang in there. You know you're an honest, industrious person - and that's all that matters.
chris h. said…
I don't have a problem AT ALL with government helping out when people are in trouble. That's why there's unemployment comp in the first place. It's not like you've been a habitual slacker your whole life and expect to be taken care of it -- you haven't lived like you think the world owes you a living. There are responsible citizens and there are leeches...you are certainly the former!
Lynnette said…
I totally agree with everyone's comments. You're a good person, you're not a slacker, and you have such a strong work ethic and good morals that anyone is stupid that thinks you're doing something wrong by continuing to collect unemployment. That person(s) isn't worth worrying about. But it's obvious that this person has struck a chord with you, because you've written about this on more than one occasion. If you were a slacker, this wouldn't bother you so much. Doesn't this person see that? You feel wrongly accused, and you are. I just hope that your accuser has to deal with this at some point in their life, so they can see what it's like on the other side of the fence, and maybe someday apologize for being so hard on you.
Facie said…
Thanks for your comments, everyone. I do appreciate them.

Lynnette, for the record, I have gotten grief directly and indirectly by/from three people. If there had been only one person, I probably would not have thought much about it. But three makes me think there have to be others out there who would agree with these three, though perhaps they would not say it to me!

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