I have been pondering the challenges of the unemployed daily. I too am looking for a position. The news regarding unemployment seems to be gathering intensity as the depression/recession/economic crisis continues. People are getting angry, frustrated, and tired as the unemployment benefits are running out and there seems to be no job in site. People had hoped for a quick recovery and are disappointed and disillusioned that improvement is taking longer than expected. Politicians and the media are fanning the frenzy because it makes news and gets votes. The stimulus plan funds did not go as far as many had hoped and there is much debate as to the reasons. All in all the flames are being fanned and the fire is getting hotter. But, is that really doing any good?
Don't we really just want things to improve? Aren't there more productive ways to handle the challenge than worry and anger? I think there is a better way and I wrote about it in In The Trenches. For me, much of the personal information has changed since I wrote the book however the basic principles still apply. Below is an excerpt from the book. At the time I wrote it I was living in a rural community with an excessively high unemployment rate. I was in a position to be able to hire people for odd jobs but could find no one to hire. Some of the words are pretty blunt and direct but they are true. (I can also see some ways I would have rewritten and edited it and may do so in a future edition :) Hope it will help dust off any discouragement you might be feeling and give some new ideas to consider.
We will get through this and can be leaner, and financially healthier than ever before. Or, we can be bitter and cynical. The choice is up to each individual and will be clearly visible to all.
Get a job
As an apartment manager, which I do in addition to a full time job, running a ranch, and keeping up the house, I am increasingly concerned about the number of able bodied adults who would rather get behind on their bills than to look for a job.
Yes, the job market is tough. But, if you get up at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., don’t bother to shower or shave why would anyone ever want to hire you? Lazy. An old fashioned word that is very unpopular these days. Yes, I’ve heard about all the hard luck stories and how tough it is and how you just need a little help this month to get you by but it amazes me how a person can have too much pride to work a minimum wage job but not too proud to ask for an extension when the rent is due. I guess the only ones they are kidding is themselves and then get bitter because the help and patience of others runs out.
One thing I see: a hard worker will work and find something to do whether they get paid for it or not. A lazy person will find all the reasons why he just can’t do it today.
What can you do if you are a hard worker and find yourself unemployed? What if you are a lazy person who is tired of being broke? Well, get to work. But “I don’t have a job”, you say. It doesn’t matter, get to work. Wake early in the morning, shower, shave, and look around and you can find work to do wherever you turn. Is your yard immaculate? Is your house spotless? Is your car clean? Is your mom’s house, yard, and car clean? Does the neighbor down the street need help with anything? Does the school need a volunteer to plant some flowers or read to children? Does the widow lady at church need her house painted or lawn mowed?
But why would you want to do any of these things for free? Here are some of the reasons:
1. You will get all those projects and tasks done that you don’t have time to do while you are working. Many projects can be done for free or at minimal cost so you don’t have to break the bank and your family will love you for getting the house, cars, and yard maintained.
2. You will meet new people in the community. Someone may hire you or refer you to someone who can.
3. Some will repay your work with what they have even if it is not cash. This is especially prevalent in farming communities where you could get a freezer full of meat or corn for a few days work.
4. You will be making a valuable contribution to individuals and organizations in your community.
5. You will be known to all as a roll up your sleeves and get in there kind of person. Employers look for this.
6. You will sleep better at night knowing that you have accomplished more than just watching Jerry Springer.
7. Did I say that others will see what a hard worker you are and may want to hire you?
Most of all, your dignity and self-respect will remain intact and it will show as you go look for jobs.
Right now, I have fences to paint, pens to build, and a room to get sheet-rocked. I have no cash. BUT, I have a freezer full of steak, hamburger, and roasts. I also have enough wood to heat a house for the winter. Bartering tools. The hard workers I know are too busy to take on anymore. And the others I wouldn’t hire. And, it must be that no one else will either because they are still unemployed.
The moral to the story is clear. There is lots of work to be done. We need more hard workers to do it.
Oh, and of course, there are those who do a great job the first time and then you hire them back again and they start padding their hours, getting sloppy with their work, or not showing up when they say they will. Guess what? It only will happen once or twice and I will tell others who ask. Good and bad reputations do get passed around.