Posted by: Admin | September 16, 2009

What If I Could Make A Difference?

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really bought into the concept that one, singular person can make a difference on a grand scale.  Maybe I’m a cynic (correct that, I’m definitely a cynic) or maybe it’s that, I’M just not that one person.  Maybe that one person is someone else…  someone who has the means and/or convictions that I lack. anne frank

But, if I may, for a moment today, I’d like to get on my soapbox regarding the unemployment insurance system.

I got to thinking yesterday after my call to the unemployment office… wow, this system is broken and, at times, it’s working against itself.  I also read an NY Times editorial yesterday that basically suggested the government is celebrating “bringing back the economy” without so much as a glance towards the 15 Million Americans who are jobless.  And, to take it a step further, even if the government were to find a way to “create jobs” it’s likely these jobs would primarily be for blue collar, low skilled laborers.  I mean let’s be honest, many of us who have been dismissed from high paying, white collar jobs should not be hired to build highways or repair potholes.  Not because we are better than that, but because, in the grand scheme of things, we’re better utilized in other areas.

Well, let’s first look at where it’s not working.  I’m stuck in a catch 22 right now.  I want to work, I have an interest in continued education, I’m willing to make less money than I was making.  BUT, I’m not willing to risk losing unemployment checks to “try something new”.  And, the problem here is that anything “new” that I have an interest in, is not supported by the government.  I also cannot creatively find a way to make some extra money, because for each extra dollar I make, the great state of NJ take one of theirs back.  So, I’m paralyzed and held captive by the system and ultimately forced to not work at all, if I can’t find a full time job suitable for my skills.

So then, how do we fix this problem? 

I only wish I had the answer.  There’s a part of me that would like to recommend that I be allowed to collect unemployment AND work part time (gasp!).  Of course that sounds insane and any logical person would say well, if you are “working” part time.. you are, by definition, not unemployed.  And, while that is certainly accurate, I did “lose my job” and, what if I simply cannot pay my bills with my government checks alone?

Take a step of this cliff of insanity with me for a moment. 

It’s fair to assume that I was living a lifestyle that required much of my salary.  It’s also fair to assume that the unemployment checks don’t come close to this amount.  So, why then, am I unable to find a way to SUPPLEMENT my unemployment income (to come closer to what I was making) so that I can continue to live, and pay my mortgage and buy gas and eat food?  I’m lucky, I have a hubby who still brings home a paycheck but many others are not so fortunate.  I can’t imagine what I’d do if I were single, collecting poverty level checks from Uncle Sam and unable to take part time work, or occasional side jobs without worrying about LOSING my government check. 

If I could gain additional income to help myself in my “Pursuit of Happiness”.. which after all, is my right.  Wouldn’t it be a good thing for everyone? 

Here’s how my crazy mind is working.  Initially, I am able to collect unemployment for at least 26 weeks.  I could spend this time, sitting on my butt blogging (mixed in with some internet searching & phone calls about jobs) possibly falling behind on my mortgage.  Or, I could continue to collect this money plus, work part time for 20 hours/wk, continue to job hunt (and blog!) and be able to pay my bills.  All the while, the government would not only be paying me, but I’d be paying them since they are now collecting taxes from the income that I am earning.  In both scenarios I’m collecting money, but in one scenario I’m contributing to the system as well.

Now, I know the argument… people would abuse this system and it wouldn’t encourage them to find full time work, they’d just sit back and collect while they worked part time for as long as they could.  But, in all honesty, isn’t that what’s happening anyway?  The system is set up to protect the nation from the lazy, abusive, uneducated folks who don’t want to work… but this same system is set up to only help those very same people (with Pell Grants for education, basic skills classes, computer training).  All, I want to know is what about ME?  What about those of us, who did all the right things, went to college, got good jobs and would much rather work each day than loaf around in our pajamas.  There’s no incentive for me to trade off my crappy unemployment check for an equally crappy paying, low level job because I still wouldn’t be able to pay my bills.

Am I ridiculous?  Probably.

Can you poke tons of holes in my suggestion?  Absolutely.

If you’ve made it this far and you’re unemployed… maybe you’re thinking, “hmmmm… this doesn’t sound that bad!”  If you’ve made it this far and you’re employed, you are probably wondering “where is she getting the money for the drugs she must be taking!”

But, like I said at the beginning… I certainly don’t believe I have the answers that can change anything.     

And, now that you’ve realized that my brain really is mush and I’m not making any sense, or perhaps I’ve gone off the deep end.. just realize that today’s post is probably because I have way too much time on my hands and I only wish I knew how to fix this!



  1. I couldnt agree with you more. I know a lady on welfare that works extremely part time (I guess our system is a little different in my country) but she cant afford to take more hours because then she loses her medical benefits from the government. that is insane.

  2. You are making sense. I now can’t collect unemployment (well the time ran out anyway) but could only find a part time job with lousy pay. Holy crap, good thing my husband works but it is still pathetically discouraging when I got my first check in 9 months only to cry right after. It’s just not enough. Maybe it will all work out eventually. Until then, bummer to the system. The system blows

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