Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Unemployment

A lot has been made of America’s unemployment numbers for the past several years. On paper our national unemployment numbers have hovered consistently between 9 and 10%. Thanks to the brilliant mathematical calculations of our government entities, this percentage figure is best paraphrased directly from our over-leveraged white elephant and jackass friends’ mouths (see what I did there, double whammy!) Straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is the definition of who is unemployed, given by the friends we wish we never had in D.C.
Who is counted as unemployed?
Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Workers expecting to be recalled from layoff are counted as unemployed, whether or not they have engaged in a specific jobseeking activity. In all other cases, the individual must have been engaged in at least one active job search activity in the 4 weeks preceding the interview and be available for work (except for temporary illness).
            From this we can deduct that all: college students, part-time employees, seniors attempting to come out of retirement, those on short and long-term disability and those that have simply given up and have stopped applying for jobs – exist in a purgatory like state and simply re-appear when the KGB I mean US Government deem them worthy to be counted.
            It’s a far jump from my soapbox but I’ll try to come back down now. All of the tossing around of statistics and editorials and presidential debates left me thinking about my own unemployment. For a period of about six months following graduation from college having earned my Bachelor’s Degree, I was unemployed. I cold called, sent stacks of resumes online & hard copy, and applied to what may have turned out to be thousands of jobs. And what do I think of it all looking back on it four years later? I wasted six months of my own time and allowed myself to feel unwarranted desperation.
            Coming out of college armed with a sense of entitlement, I expected nothing less than a well to do white collar entry level job making a moderate five figure income. Months upon months passed by and rather than making things happen, I sat back and waited for something to be handed to me. Nowhere in the process did I wake up, realize nor acknowledge that there were thousands of restaurants that needed tables wiped down and dishes washed, retail stores that needed associates, pizzas that needed to be delivered and shipping companies that needed boxes sorted. I was unwilling to hit and hustle, to get my hands dirty. There’s an unspoken aura of accomplishment and personal pride in knowing that you can carry yourself through any rough period. Let’s face it, the KGB US government will never successfully bail you out. They do not have the know how nor the capacity to ensure your success in life financially. It is entirely on you to make it happen. I will say this though. It is definitely not easy to keep your head above water working a minimum wage job until you find full-time employment, with or without an emergency fund. But standing on your own two feet, weathering a storm, and coming out knowing you can get through anything, is the real life in action motto of, “If you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere.”
            Should I ever be face to face with unemployment again, I will be ready for it. I have my six month emergency fund to handle living expenses. I do not see my college diploma as a one way ticket to success, it only gives me a chance to compete in the market place. I am not above nor better than any job, period. Whether washing dishes late at night in the back of a restaurant, delivering pizzas, or sorting boxes in a big box retailer, I will have the courage, fortitude and planning to always be able to  take care of myself with no excuses, or take the “help” from an entity that can’t balance a checkbook.

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