What NOT TO DO While You Are Unemployed
Unemployed People: I Am On Your Side
At my age, 57, I can clearly recall a time in our country when a man (or woman) needed a job, all they had to do is show up at the factory or business they knew was hiring, fill out the necessary application, and go to work. It was that easy. Now those days are only nostalgia to older people like me who reminisce and refer to times like these as “the good old days.”
America at one time in her illustrious history, was ‘the’ super power of super powers--respected at home and abroad. Kept the various industrial and manufacturing bases running day and night to turn out needed products that Americans and people abroad used for daily living. And yes, those days are almost over.
Outsourcing is the new game in town for big companies who want their products made cheaper by people who do not ask for decent wages. It’s the cold, hard truth and we might as well get used to it. Somewhere from our cars being built by Americans to the numerous car lots in our country, something mysterious happened. Cars were suddenly being built in Canada, Mexico, China and other countries who all got a ‘piece of our productivity’ pie. This also is true.
And with the swift and money-saving system of outsourcing came the dark side: Loss of jobs in our country. Men and women who had devoted hard years of their lives to their beloved craft and company were now finding themselves on the street--jobless and some without the pension that they had worked for. Now this, their savings for retirement, was suddenly taken away from them. In olden times, a company would be severely-chastised for acts like taking away a pension that belonged to an employee who had worked, sweated, and sacrificed for their company to stay in business. Not anymore. Our country, if you haven’t noticed lately, is turning into a heartless, non-caring land of greed and opportunists who stop at nothing to make another pile of money only for themselves--even if it means doing away with their employees’ jobs. Yes, that’s the way to do it. Break the back of the older employees and send their jobs out of the country. And you call this fair?
Did you know that in 2011, the Armed Forces is the best opportunity for jobs going in our country? I know first-hand. I have two nephews who are planning on staying in the service for 20, maybe 30 years, then retiring and hopefully, (depending on who is running the Congress and Senate), will have a retirement check and military benefits to live on. And don’t dispute my word. This is a factual analogy and I can testify for it’s validity. These two young men work very hard and are dedicated to their arms of the service--Army and Navy. I would hope that professional politicians in Washington, D.C., would take frequent reminders that our service personnel do more than just salute officers and perform drills. They keep my country free. Yes, that is very corny for me to say, but I mean it.
But my story is about UNEMPLOYMENT, an ugly and ferocious monster who is running amuck in our land even as I write this. By the time I finish and get this story laid out, another 10,000 people will be among the unemployed due to downsizing, lack of work or lack of support from our Federal Government. Funny. Our country came to the aid of Wall Street banking conglomerates, but cannot lift a dollar bill to help our small businesses. It’s the goal of (some) Congressional leaders to do all they can to take good care of the super-wealthy in our country by NOT forcing them to pay taxes like the hard-working middle class who keep this country afloat. Why is this? Are the elite rich a better genetically-bred people than I or my fellow middle class citizens? Huh, President Obama? I would appear that the super-rich literally hold the purse strings and make decisions for our Congress and Senate from behind the scenes while our elected officials appear on C-SPAN, Fox News, CNN and tell me, a gullible American, if you want the truth, that ‘they’ are working hard for the middle class of our country. When, may I ask do you ever work for the middle class? I would love to see your track (and performance) record.
In 1972, summer to be exact, I was hired almost out of high school by a factory in my hometown called, Fairway Homes, a mobile home factory. Not a camper factory, but a plant that built homes for people to live in. I loved the people I worked with. And the pay (back then) was super. The cost of living was not as elevated as it is in 2011. But one day, a fellow employee and I were called to the office one evening and ultimately terminated for not working fast enough. I had to disagree with the greedy-and-now-deceased plant superintendent as I tried to tell him that my colleague and I were doing the work of three men and getting the pay only for one. He didn’t listen. My friend and I were then introduced to the ranks of the unemployed.
I am aiming this story about unemployment at the newly-unemployed people who have just recently lost their jobs for some legal reason or other, for I want to lend them my first-hand experience in What Not To Do When You Are Unemployed and hope that some of my advice will be of help.
DO NOT QUIT - looking for jobs when you are unemployed. Yes, you are entitled to your unemployment funds. That’s one shining star I give to President Obama for fighting Congress for extensions for people who are still jobless and need their unemployment checks in order to live. But budget your time, funds and gasoline for daily searches for a job. It doesn’t have to be ‘the best’ job, but if it pays money and isn't illegal or immoral, go for it. Now unless the job pays LESS than you make on your unemployment check, keep looking for jobs.
DO NOT SIT AROUND - the house or apartment by yourself. Get out in society. Go to the park and talk to other unemployed people. There is comfort in suffering masses. Remember that. You might even form a tag-team partnership with another jobless person and look for jobs together. Who knows? A company just might hire the both of you. You won’t know until you try.
USE THE INTERNET - if have a PC. The Internet is fabulous for helping people look for jobs. Some companies now let people work at home to make their products. You might try this for a change. Change can be just the trick to make you feel better. If you don’t have a PC, your local library just might have one that you can use for FREE to locate a job. Put the internet to work for you. That’s one of it’s duties.
USE THE POST OFFICE - for sending résumé’s to companies who are running Help Wanted ads in your local newspaper. Even if the company doesn't ask for your resume, you will be points ahead by sending them your work history, educational background and other personal information that might help you become employed.
BUY LOTS OF NEWSPAPERS - and search the classified ads each morning--just like a job. Routine will help you forget how and why you lost your job and finding a new job might be a bit challenging, but may pay off in the long run. And yes, circle the possible job leads with a pen and those companies whose ads say, “training provided,” these are valuable companies to seek. You might not be trained for their job that is being offered and after you train, you might love the new plant and job.
AVOID GET-RICH-QUICK SCAMS - who prey on the unemployed. I fell for a really slick scam one time years ago. I had this magazine named, “Money-Making Opportunities,” and my eye caught a full-page ad in color that told of a woman who had lost her job, home, car and everything. (This was what scam artists call ‘the hook’). She said she had found an easy system for making LEGAL money by filling out two pieces of paper and she would send anyone the address where to send the two pieces of paper and $25.00 that I had to pay to get the address. Well, guess what? No such luck. It was a clever scam. No matter how much money ‘someone’ made from this. Just focus on companies who are legit. And phone them if a number is provided to see if they are on the up and up. But do NOT be a sucker for scams who only take (without caring) what money you do have.
PLACE INEXPENSIVE CLASSIFIED ADS - in your local newspaper saying that you are looking for work. Now, if you can afford to be selective, state just what job you are seeking and what training you have, but if you need immediate cash, take some odd-jobs--cleaning houses, mowing yards, running errands for people who are too busy to pay their own bills, any job that will keep your electricity from being turned off and groceries on your table.
VISIT YOUR LOCAL CAREER CENTER - if you have one. Some are called Job Services. This organization keeps listings from employers who are looking for employees. While you are at it, give your Job Services or Career Center a copy of your resume to keep on file to share with potential employers who call looking for workers. Don’t be too picky about jobs--especially in our 2011 economy that resembles an old, wooden bridge across a running river and people are afraid to walk across on the bridge for fear it might collapse.
USE PERSONAL CONTACTS - that you made at your last job. If you were in a service industry, you must have made some contacts with vendors by way of your job. Now you can use them. Call them frequently and ask if they know who is hiring or not. And one of your contacts may have a job that will tide you over until the job you are seeking, appears.
AVOID LAZINESS - this is the number one reason why jobless people cannot find work. I am not being cruel, but it’s a fact. When I was out of work, I lost myself in crossword puzzles, watching television or some other distraction and not finding a job. Keep busy at something. Do not be idle. This can become a mental trend. If you do not have the funds for gasoline to drive to find work, now this sounds cheesy, but swallow your pride and ask a friend for a small loan and tell them why you need the cash. More than not, the friend will lend you the money for gasoline for your car so you can drive to various places to find work. But be sure to pay your friend back the very first paycheck you get. Goodwill is more important than success. Remember that.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS - and you can be your own judge about this one. Apply for assistance at your local welfare services. Sign up for food stamps. It is NOT a disgrace to ask for help. You are entitled for some help. You are NOT a superhuman. You are a human being, a vital member of the human race and do not let foolish pride rob you or your family of needed-help at a time when they need help the most.
These are but a few SERIOUS pieces of advice that I am sharing with you to help you not only cope with, but fight a successful battle against unemployment. Like I said. Unemployment is rough and a hard foe to face in the ring, but you can win if you just keep trying and not give in to the idea that not looking for a job is better than having a job that offers minimum wage.
I wish you, if you are unemployed, the BEST of luck in your job search. I remember well how I found my job at my local newspaper that turned into 23 years of work. I spent a dime (back then) for the cost of the very paper that I would work for, and found the one ad that was advertising for an Ad Salesman to call on local merchants for advertising. And they did train. I applied and was called for an interview the next Monday. I loved the challenge of working for a service/retail business. I had only worked in factories for a living, and this was a refreshing change.
I listened intently to everything my publisher and seasoned veterans of the newspaper told me about how to work successfully and do a better job by being smarter. I thank God for the publisher and the older hands (in years, not age), who took the time and patience to show ‘this’ green hand the ropes of the newspaper business.
Searching the classified ads worked for me.
I hope that some of my advice works for you.
More by this Author
BEWARE: of certain employees that lurk in your workplace. These particular employees are not to be trusted. They are only out for themselves.
Much like my piece on being "a face in the crowd," this one is similar, but not the same. The "taken-for-granted" among us live in silent agony.
I cannot hide my life any longer.