Those “Lazy” Unemployed People

Newcastle University

If I see or hear one more jab about these “lazy,” unemployed people, I’m going to scream!

The other day I was talking on Twitter to someone about how we’re now the “moocher class” because all of us, every single 12,794,000 of unemployed people are perfectly content to just live off of government funds. But isn’t there a recession? Of course there is, but no one seems to take that into consideration. If someone is lucky enough to have a job (and I do mean lucky because people are still getting laid off left and right) immediately assume that anyone who isn’t working is a lazy, worthless, selfish, good-for-nothing who just wants to sit around all day sucking up their hard-earned money.

Riiiiight.

I’m sure these people, if someone told them face-to-face about how hard it is to find work would just shake their heads and say, “isn’t that a shame?” But they would still go on Facebook or Twitter and moan about these lazy people on benefits. Come on, now! People with educations, experience, references, etc. are applying for jobs with 50 up to 100 (as I hear happens in California) applicants. People who are skilled labour aren’t doing much better either. In England, I was just reading an article about how young mothers are using food banks more frequently because they’re expected to live on less than £10 after paying bills. (They want to take their housing benefits away from them too.)

Sure, there are a few people who would rather not work. I’ve worked in the public and seen this in my grocery store check out. It was few and far between. Most people had an income. Most of them handed me stacks of one-dollar bills that they made as a landscaper, waitress, construction worker, or the like. I’m sure these people with jobs don’t even realize that when you’re on unemployment benefits, you have to specify where you’ve been looking for work every two weeks. That’s the same in the U.K. as well.

With welfare and food stamps, you have to apply for that too and a former employer has to sign a form saying, “Yes, this was the applicants wage,” so they know if you’re entitled to it. If you have too much money, they won’t give you the benefits. I was turned down and I worked part-time, making very, very little cash on my own. Without help from my family, I would have never been able to have anything – a one bedroom apartment, food, electricity, etc.

As far as the U.K. goes, I’m ineligible for benefits because Steve’s working at a decent job. His company laid off every single one of their employees a few years ago and he was lucky enough to be able to start a company with some of his workmates. Still, he’s hearing about people in the industry getting laid off and development studios being shut down all the time. We’re budgeted as best we can for the two of us. I would love to have benefits just to give us a little extra boost each month but I’m not eligible.

But I’m lazy and just want to suck up benefits from those hard working people, right? No.

I’ve looked, and have always been looking for work, since this whole economic collapse nonsense happened. I was on temporary contract with the school system and the minute I left for the year before I could even attempt to try working again, things went downhill. I furthered my education and ended up with part-time work. For a while Florida schools weren’t even accepting new substitute teachers even if you had once been employed with them as such. In the U.K….well, you know how well that’s been going. I’ve been here since the beginning of last year and I can’t find squat. In fact, I’m one of the lucky ones who have a career that claims the 4th highest unemployment rate.

I just get so tired of hearing these generalized opinions and accusations over “lazy” people out of work. The photo I saw today that thousands of people were sharing was poking fun of the homeless people who standing on the street corner asking for money or “will work for food” signs. (With the tag line, “Honk if you’re tired of lazy people.”) Granted some who do that may be frauds, or just looking for beer money (if you had to live like that, wouldn’t you want to drink?) but all in all, it’s offensive. I wouldn’t wish these kinds of situations on anyone but I don’t think people are able to even see outside their own situation very easily. Not everyone is sitting around on a couch watching Jerry Springer, smoking pot, and waiting for their next benefit check to be deposited.

These same people that are complaining about these “lazy” people out of work are the same ones who post about how they just bought a new house, new car, were able to quit one job and start another, etc. etc. Great. I’m glad for you but there are a whole lot of other people out there who don’t have those options. “But they can just go out and work at McDonald’s"!” Really? Have you tried? I have. If you don’t have the past experience in retail, you won’t be considered at all. I applied for a customer service job the other day because working at the grocery store eons ago and the library two years ago is customer service. I was sent a message the same day with, “You don’t meet our requirements.” I’ve applied for the most menial jobs to jobs that are in the pay scale of what I made working full-time. Nothing. (The most amazing thing I’ve seen is from the ones who aren’t working but are still on the bandwagon with everyone else, shouting about how people on benefits are lazy. Um…Hello? Are you independently wealthy and forgot to mention that in your profile?) I love, love, love seeing people call out the ones who say something about the blankety-blank people who don’t work. They always respond with, “Oh I didn’t mean you, darling! You are legitimately trying to find work.” Yeah! So are 8.8% of the country so what are you even talking about?

My bottom line is that people should just be aware of the situations around them before  making some inevitably offensive statement.

And while I was writing this, the mailman brought me two job rejection letters. Yup. That.

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