The first time I found myself in a position to file for unemployment was a real humble moment.  I had been ‘downsized’ from a company that said they were closing their doors.  I called my dad as I left the office that final day and was sobbing as I told him I was ‘fired’.  I’m putting those words in quotes, because depending on my mood, I tend to tell the story a little differently. 

Being downsized implies the workload decreased and/or my position had become redundant.  Being fired implies I did something wrong.  Anytime we are let go from a position we can’t help but wonder why, and if we did something wrong.  For purposes of this story, however, I’m going to vary between both as it is relevant. 

As I was on the phone with my dad, he said the first thing I should do was file for unemployment.  I became indignant and said no way was I going to file, I am fully capable of working and if this company couldn’t see that (fired) I would find someone who would!  My dad helped level set me by explaining that I did nothing wrong (downsized) and that until I find another position I was fully able to file for, and collect unemployment (downsized), unless my actions caused my termination (fired).  Since I was in fact downsized, I went ahead and filed for unemployment.

Every time I called in to collect they asked if I had been able, willing and available to work full time those previous two weeks.  Every time, I answered yes.

This scenario brings me to a point that I see becoming more and more prevalent:  people filing for and collecting unemployment while not actively looking for work.  I have heard everything from “I’m in school and this helps pay my bills” to “I have (however much) left on unemployment so I’m not in a rush to find something”.  Regardless of their ‘reason’ (c’mon, these are all excuses for not working), the bottom line is they are able, but NOT willing or available for full time work.  Therefore, they should be disqualified for unemployment.  I would hate for the benefits to go away for those who truly need them, versus those who aren’t working and actually choose not to.

If the state had other controls in place to prevent taking advantage of the system, I wonder what the unemployment rates would look like.  I wonder if those going to school, or waiting until their unemployment ran out, would actually find work that would suit their schedules/needs.  I see ‘help wanted’ signs all over town.  It’s hard to walk past a restaurant that doesn’t have one hanging in the window.  It may not be your ideal job, I get that, but it’s honest work for honest money. 

What these people are doing is wrong. The laws dictate you MUST be able, willing and available for full time work to collect unemployment wages. 

If this post upsets you, please note that it should.