14 Stories About Unemployment That'll Make You Think Differently The Next Time You Hear "No One Wants To Work Anymore"
I think it's time we all learned to have a little empathy.
1. "Being unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits aren’t the same thing. If people are receiving benefits, they have been found eligible to do so. That usually means they're required to look for and apply to job openings every week that they receive benefits. By and large, these people are hustling and legitimately trying to find work. Unemployment benefits in most states are low, certainly not enough to 'make money' off of."
2. "Here's what people don’t understand: Looking for a job is a JOB! It takes hours and hours to search for openings, write cover letters, fill out applications that already have the same information on the resume, and send follow-up emails and phone calls. We're not just sitting around eating bonbons."
3. “The notion that, 'At least you still have a guaranteed income of sorts.' Nope. Unemployment is not reliable. I once made $25 one time off my new Etsy page, my only sale since being unemployed. I reported it to unemployment like I'm supposed to. They haven’t paid me in SEVEN WEEKS because of that one-time income I was honest about."
"I call multiple times a week and am always told a deputy is reviewing my income to see if I deserve unemployment benefits. They don’t know when it’ll be completed or if I’ll ever get paid the past seven weeks of unemployment. Meanwhile, I’m battling long-haul COVID (which is why I’m unemployed to begin with), and both my boyfriend and I have gone deep into credit card debt just to pay standard bills, all because I made $25 once, seven weeks ago."
4. "The whole 'no one wants to work anymore' complaint. I cannot explain how much that pisses me off. I've worked great jobs and unbelievably awful ones. At this point, as much as I want to work, I cannot continue to put up with being treated like trash by my boss and coworkers and having no backup from management when sexually harassed by customers. I am struggling but holding out for a job that I can have safety and dignity in, and one that pays an actual living wage. It isn't worth risking my physical and mental health, much less my life, just to say I have a job."
5. "The waiting for unemployment benefits is the worst! Between background checks, contracts, online interviews, etc., the process for an answer is a total nightmare."
6. "The idea that I was lazy and wasn’t doing anything with my life when I was unemployed. I left an incredibly toxic job when I was 23 without having another one lined up (that’s how freaking toxic it was) and wasn’t getting any interview opportunities. I had to build a spreadsheet to keep track of all of the jobs I'd applied for!"
"I was finally able to get my mom to stop berating me when I showed her the spreadsheet and she saw that I had 23 open applications within my field and had gotten six rejections that week after having already received 20 form letters of, 'While you’re very qualified, we’re moving forward with other candidates.'"
7. "For post-grads especially, I'm sick of hearing that if you can't find a job, it's just because you're being too picky. I was regularly encouraged by people to apply to jobs completely outside of my range of interests and expertise 'because everyone has to start in a job they don't like.' I held out for a couple more months and am really glad I did, since I eventually found myself a job I'm really happy with."
"Absolutely, it was a luxury that I had the savings and support to be able to do that. But for those who can, I would say don't allow yourself to be discouraged. You got that degree for a reason, and you're qualified for more than the first poorly paid job that comes knocking at your door."
8. "I'm disabled, and one doctor told me that I'm just using it as an excuse to not have to work. He also told me that if I did steroid injections, physical therapy, and took a multitude of prescriptions, I could be 'normal' and find a job. I have Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Nothing is fixing that."
9. "Honestly, job hunting is about 9,000% more exhausting than having a job (or six). So, please, have some sympathy when somebody takes a week off from their unemployment."
10. "We're not lazy 'welfare queens' getting 'fat off the government.' It's so hard being unemployed. Everything that gave your life structure is gone, you're sad and stressed because you just lost your job, have no idea how you're going to pay rent or eat, and applying for unemployment takes weeks and is a serious drop in income. All of this led to a serious depression for me, and I'm terrified of ever losing my job again because I know how easy it is to slip back into that headspace, and how hard it is to get back out."
11. "I've been unemployed for a year and a half now. I worked at a hotel for 15 years and got laid off in March 2020, when the pandemic was starting to take hold in my area. One of the most irritating lines I've heard during this time period is, 'There's jobs everywhere right now. Just find SOMETHING!' No, there are NOT jobs everywhere, and hiring is a much more hands-off process than it used to be, with employers rejecting you solely on the basis of your resume. And, also, because employers are being super picky, because they CAN be!"
12. "I stay home and my husband works, and because of that, people think I'm a 'kept woman.' I stay home with five kids, I cook three full meals every day, I homeschool, we do arts and crafts, music, and we play outside. Also, my house stays impressively clean for having five kids. The only thing my husband is keeping is me from losing my shit over these kinds of comments."
13. "My parents are very religious, so they pressured me to marry young and start a family right away. Our first child was born while we were both in college, and we could only afford tuition for one of us and couldn't afford childcare at all, so I dropped out and became a full-time stay-at-home parent. Once our youngest started school, I tried to get a job. Turns out, not even the minimum wage jobs in our area want to hire someone with a 16-year gap on their resume."
"I have no degree, no useful work experience, and am only available for limited hours because I have to be home in the mornings to get the kids ready and in the afternoons when they get home. I've been working my ass off as a parent and managing our household for 16 years, but can't even get hired at a fast food restaurant. My college credits are all useless now, so if I want a degree, I'd have to start over. I love my family, but It's incredibly depressing and I feel stuck."
14. "I've heard: 'You need to stop being lazy and suck it up. Be an adult.' Well, I’ve been dealing with chronic liver failure for several years now. It causes severe abdominal swelling, weakness, pain, trouble breathing, and low blood pressure, among other things. I’m being an adult by taking care of my health and obeying my doctors. I’m the opposite of lazy. I guarantee that if the people who've said this to me had the same health issues I have, they’d shut up real fast."
Do you have any unemployment stories to share? Tell us in the comments.
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.