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Old 12-07-2018, 12:14 PM   #1
Krutch
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The Stigma of Unemployment

What are everyone's thoughts on being unemployed?

I've mentioned before I work in film - a position that requires me to constantly look for work every few months after we wrap production. During these little dips of unemployment, I find there's a very real stigma against not having a job. Like theres something wrong with you if you don't have a job, even if you're financially sound to be as such.

Growing up it was the same issue. I remember I quit my job at American Express just to take a few months to myself and figure things out. During that time, suddenly all friends and family were constantly either teasing or trying to hook me up with jobs, despite telling them it was my choice and preference to remain unemployed for the time being.

I guess I'm just confused why this is such a thing in the first place. Why are there such negative connotations with being unemployed, especially if the person prefers to be, is self sufficient enough to do so, and not dependant on anyone else?

Where do you guys stand on this?
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:19 PM   #2
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I think what you said about being "financially sound" is what stands out to me.

Unemployment only looks bad when you're mooching off of other people, to me. That's when you appear to be lazy and entitled. If you can take care of yourself, whilst periods of unemployment occur, who's to complain?

I mean, if you're filthy rich and just lay around all day spending your fathers money, that looks pretty bad too, but that's sort of a different conversation.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:51 PM   #3
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I think it has more to do with whether or not the unemployed person is collecting government assistance. People get very angry when they think their taxes are paying for someone to sit around and do nothing. At least that’s the way it is my area.
If you’re unemployed and able to pay your own bills, more power to ya!
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Old 12-07-2018, 01:25 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by AquaParade View Post
I mean, if you're filthy rich and just lay around all day spending your fathers money, that looks pretty bad too, but that's sort of a different conversation.
So long as the father is fine with that equation, I don't see the problem.

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I think it has more to do with whether or not the unemployed person is collecting government assistance. People get very angry when they think their taxes are paying for someone to sit around and do nothing.
Even then, what difference does that make? If that person has a job or not - we'd still all be getting taxed the same.

I collect EI between jobs, and sometimes unemployment can last up to 3-4 months. During that time I spend the first half of my day writing - which is work (building a portfolio) - and the other half doing whatever. This seems to rub alot of people the wrong way. But again, I don't know what the problem is.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:08 PM   #5
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So long as the father is fine with that equation, I don't see the problem.
I hear ya. Perhaps there is no problem. It's not for me to point the finger.

I can imagine there is a social stigma around that type of lifestyle because it could implies laziness, lack of ambition, and wastefulness.

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Even then, what difference does that make? If that person has a job or not - we'd still all be getting taxed the same.

I collect EI between jobs, and sometimes unemployment can last up to 3-4 months. During that time I spend the first half of my day writing - which is work (building a portfolio) - and the other half doing whatever. This seems to rub alot of people the wrong way. But again, I don't know what the problem is.
I think there is an argument to be made that our tax money would still be mismanaged or wasted, but in theory, if you have less people collecting unemployment, than you can put that money towards other important expenses.
So sure, we may be taxed the same, but the benefit from paying those taxes could be greater or go towards another important issue.

If you are someone who works hard, full time, and earns all their money, only to be heavily taxed by the government, you become concerned with where that money is going and how it's improving your country.

If you see someone who is also capable of working, taking some time off, and collecting the money you earned, well ...surely you can see why that comes across as frustrating, if not unjust.

But it's more nuanced than that. There's also the idea that if you are capable of working, yet decide to collect unemployment anyway, while you take some time off, you are potentially screwing over people who need that assistance more, due to a serious disability, or whatever the case may be.

But to your personal issue, I'm not sure why you can't see why the fact that you get to lounge around while others have to work, and pay for you to lounge around, rubs people the wrong way. They force themselves to go to work everyday so they can survive, and then they have to give their earnings to you, which supports your lifestyle of "doing whatever".

Everyone's situation is different so it's not for me to judge, but I can totally understand the frustration.

My $0.02

Last edited by AquaParade; 12-07-2018 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:18 PM   #6
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^All good points.

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I can imagine there is a social stigma around that type of lifestyle because it could implies laziness, lack of ambition, and wastefulness.
I guess that's where my hangup is... because you could just as easily flip that statement the other way. It's not lazy or showing lack of ambition if you're taking time off (and the financial hit that comes with that) to try to secure a better future for yourself.

Even if you took a month or two off to laze around, there are huge health benefits to doing so which promotes higher focus and longer life. And one could argue not having a job is a more risk-ridden/ambitious path to take as opposed to playing it safe and grabbing a 9 to 5.

Just different ways of looking at it I suppose.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:33 PM   #7
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My situation is weird, sort of. I am not employed, but I am getting a few tens of dollars a month from my music, and I am engaged in multiple volunteer positions, so it's a bit of a stretch to say I'm lazy. By the same token, though, I am depending on social security and family support for reliable income right now, so in that sense, I do feel the stigma a lot.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:57 PM   #8
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Even then, what difference does that make? If that person has a job or not - we'd still all be getting taxed the same.

I collect EI between jobs, and sometimes unemployment can last up to 3-4 months. During that time I spend the first half of my day writing - which is work (building a portfolio) - and the other half doing whatever. This seems to rub alot of people the wrong way. But again, I don't know what the problem is.
I was speaking more about the people that purposely abuse the system for extended periods. What was said above explains it nicely.
I see nothing wrong with taking a break or using the time to do something productive.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:58 PM   #9
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I just hate that people are so quick to jump to one single conclusion anymore. Are people really so dimwitted these days? Any unemployed person just automatically assumed to be a lazy, mooching basement dweller. Like it isn't possible that MANY are simply between jobs at the moment or got laid off and have had a tough time so far finding something else.

Should true lazy ones be given incentive go get off their butts... sure. Should those who have a hard time finding work have better assistance available, absolutely. Should those who have a hard time keeping a job, be they frequently let go or quit on their own, have available a service that can evaluate them and help them out in the way appropriate -- be it job skills or assistance for those who turn out to suffer mental illness that is getting in the way... sure, I could totally agree to tax dollars going into that.

As for those who are looking and didn't ask to be unemployed, I'd far rather a tiny portion of my tax dollars goes to help fellow citizens down on their luck than pay for someone's frequent expensive trips to Mar-a-Lago.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:20 PM   #10
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Agteed on all counts, Indigo. I'd much rather my tax money go to people like myself who WANT to work, but are having problems finding or keeping a job, or who need temporary help between jobs, like Krutch mentioned. Personally, as a fellow writer, I can understand the desire to take time to focus on that, so I sympathize. If someone's not abusing the system, I see nothing wrong with it. Certainly not like some would, with being resentful of that kind of "break". Sometimes we NEED to take time away from working to find something better or to focus on other things.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:45 PM   #11
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It's one of those things. If I were to walk up to you and ask, "So what do you do for work right now?" and you were to say, "Oh, nothing," and you don't appear to be of retirement age or college age I'd instinctively think a little less of you. Now, as soon as you throw more information ("the nature of my work is sporadic, but decent enough" or "I'm independently well-off") about the why then I'm sure I would go, "Ah! Gotcha! Cool, man." But there'd be that little lull of confusion first, sure.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:46 PM   #12
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Agteed on all counts, Indigo. I'd much rather my tax money go to people like myself who WANT to work, but are having problems finding or keeping a job, or who need temporary help between jobs, like Krutch mentioned. Personally, as a fellow writer, I can understand the desire to take time to focus on that, so I sympathize. If someone's not abusing the system, I see nothing wrong with it. Certainly not like some would, with being resentful of that kind of "break". Sometimes we NEED to take time away from working to find something better or to focus on other things.
I really think there’s a fine line though. I see tons of people working at McDonald’s who would probably like to take some time off so they can write or pursue some other job they are passionate about. Unfortunately, if everyone did that, there’d be no way to support it. I think it’s generally a persons responsibility so support themselves if they’re able to, not ask for unemployment so they can “find themselves” while they take time off or something.

To be clear, I want the people who truly need assistance to get assistance, for sure. And there’s a lot of them out there. So if you don’t need it, I say get off it and make some room for someone who does.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:12 PM   #13
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Lol, yeah, and I'm one of them! Interesting that you even used McD's as an example, since that is my current employer. Most only work such places as "temporary work before starting real career" type jobs, though. Then you have long-term employees who are there either because there are few other good options in their area (like mine- it's probably one of the few jobs that can be said to be steady and/or easily had) or because they simply don't have skills for anything else. Most "good" jobs are either farther away in other towns, or require LOOONG hours or working for days or weeks on end without ever having a day off or even going home. We have a lot of oil-field workers in our area, which is good money, if you don't mind never being home or having free time to enjoy the money.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:49 PM   #14
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I used to work in a place that would hire temporary workers through a temp agency. The hire rate from temp to full time was fairly high and the workers knew that. Some people were good workers, would get close to getting hired on full time and then they would just disappear. I later found out (from one of them) that it was common for people to stop working after a certain # of days because if they worked “too much” they would lose their financial assistance.

It’s people like that that really screw it up for people who actually need the help.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:03 PM   #15
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If I were to walk up to you and ask, "So what do you do for work right now?" and you were to say, "Oh, nothing," and you don't appear to be of retirement age or college age I'd instinctively think a little less of you.
For you, where does that instinct come from? Because that's the part i'm having an issue wrapping my brain around. Having a job or not doesn't even factor into how I'd view someone. There's too many possible reasons why someone would be unemployed that's out of their own control that it's like.. how does that initial news have any effect one way or another?

There's actually more reasons why someone wouldn't or couldn't have a job than there is to have one, so, why does that one possibility of being lazy loom such a large shadow over the other many other possible reasons?
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:35 PM   #16
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I used to work in a place that would hire temporary workers through a temp agency. The hire rate from temp to full time was fairly high and the workers knew that. Some people were good workers, would get close to getting hired on full time and then they would just disappear. I later found out (from one of them) that it was common for people to stop working after a certain # of days because if they worked “too much” they would lose their financial assistance.

It’s people like that that really screw it up for people who actually need the help.
Yup. I had a friend who would say something similar. Was looking for a part-time job so he could keep the unemployment. Dude was living at home, spending all his money on bars and video games. Was ridiculous.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:41 PM   #17
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Those tend to be young, irresponsible people with no families of their own, and typically have not yet been slapped in the face with adulthood. Once that grim reality sets in, though, some of them actually grow up and get jobs.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:43 PM   #18
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It stems from a few things. Obviously if you have no job people will wonder:

1. How are you paying your rent? Where do you live?
2. How are you buying food? Where are you eating?

Obviously people still living with their parents or caretakers, or people living in large families have other people who pay these things for them, making them appear lazy. This is where the, "grown men still living in their parents basement" saying comes from.

I mean unless you win the lottery or are born into wealth, you HAVE to work. Everyone needs to pay bills, their rent, their food, basic utilities, gas for a car or travel fare, then entertainment money, etc. If you don't work and you're not homeless, obviously someone you live with is paying all this stuff for you or you're collecting from the government. If you're not medically disabled, there isn't much excuse.
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