Long Term Unemployed: A Mental Death Sentence
You hear the following saying often when describing someone who is long term unemployed: “they don’t want to work.” Is that true? Or has the environment for employees and people seeking employment become so hostile that it is pushing people out of the work force?
We are going to discuss a lot of issues that plague the everyday individual in the work force. After reading this you will see that the long term unemployed have been a forgotten casualty in the war on the poor.
When we hear about the unemployment rate you cannot believe it. The current unemployment rate is supposedly at a better rate than one of the most prosperous times in America, the 1990’s. For example, the unemployment rate in 1999 was 4.1 percent; however, the current unemployment rate is 4.3 percent. It’s a bogus indicator and as long as we rely on this we are in a delusion. To be more in depth, the media relies on bureau of labor statistics data on unemployment by means of how many people are collecting unemployment and how many people filed for unemployment after they loss their jobs.
To really understand please consider the process of unemployment benefits in America and what the bureau of labor statistics unemployment rate really is. You lose your job by being let go or being fired. If the situation in which you were let go or fired is not in bad conduct, you can collect an unemployment check as it is your right because they take a percentage of your weekly pay check for that right. When you file for unemployment it is with the Department of Labor. The amount of people who file for unemployment is the numerical percentage of the unemployment rate we hear of on the news. When they file in a month after filing for benefits they receive an unemployment check every week for 6 – 9 months and then the benefits expire. From that point you are considered employed or nonexistent as those people are considered helped after the filing has occurred and the benefits have been given. From there the government feels that they are absolved from those thousands within the month they applied and have exhausted all benefits. Keep in mind, after exhaustion of benefits you are in many times not eligible to reapply for unemployment and most who cannot get unemployment benefits while still unemployed continue to food stamps and other social service programs. So every month, the department of labor issues the new number of people who filed unemployment for that month, and they disregard all those who have exhausted their benefits, but are still looking for a job and cannot reapply. This means that for the thousands who enter or re-enter the work force there are thousands of people who also enter the long term unemployed, a despondent group of thousands in the United States of America who have given up looking for work.
These long term problems in unemployment started at the end of the Bush era, through the Obama Administration and it is continuing in the present era of Donald Trump.
Here is a combination of reasons as to why many people are long term unemployed. There are people who can’t find a job although they want to work. Many are embarrassed to admit it, but many individuals have not worked for years, let alone months; in addition, the long term unemployed range from all ages and all education levels.
Due to the situation described above that many find themselves in, many have pretty much given up looking for work.
Below are the reasons why people have given up seeking employment:
- Corporate headlocks: This is a term that we at Issue Jab created to define maneuvers that companies use to get over on government regulations and citizens alike. For example, when the Obama care (Affordable Care Act) insurance requirement became law, companies did not want to go in to that expense of purchasing medical insurance for all of their full time employees. In order to get over and avert that law, people were forced to work part time in a way that still takes up most of their productive work week, now with no medical benefits and less pay. Another kind of a corporate headlock is that companies are taking advantage in an employer’s market, for example, businesses have screening processes that are very much demeaning. For example, the multiple hoops one must jump through in order to be considered without even being offered employment: credit checks, criminal checks and drug tests for miniscule jobs like telemarketers or stock clerks is ridiculous and people know it. For a job position that would have been considered a dead end job or a crappy job, employers are holding multiple interviews for. It is demeaning. Another way businesses take advantage of employees is that they will not pay you what you are worth by only paying as much as your last wage, this could be a problem if you want to secure a great job you went to college for but are working at burger king until that chance comes. Also, let us not forget about the software that cancels you out sold to human resource departments by low life advertising agencies that can’t secure a real advertising client. As soon as you put your resume in to Taleo or these other employment software they are programmed to cancel certain words or phrases that sort out a certain type of resume. This means that a computer sees your resume and a human may never. So if you ever wondered why you applied for something you are highly qualified for and never were contacted that could be a reason. In addition to that, should you re-apply and have to log in to the same brass ring or taleo software, it will remember your name or account and always cancel out your application. This means a person with a gap in their employment or someone who has been freelancing or taking care of someone does not stand a chance.
- Long term unemployed discrimination with no consideration happens when you reach the three month anniversary of not having a job. When this happens it feels as if one has fell deeper in to an economic quick sand. Employers see that it has been 3 – 5 months or longer and they just zip by your resume. Going on interviews as a long term unemployed person can even be more depressing as the interviewer will have no compassion for someone who honestly cannot find a job and they can be very verbally scrutinizing of that person. After the verbal criticism they are denied the position. That experience further discourages an individual from going back on the job search.
- The harsh economics of failed job interviews: Whether you drive or take public transportation it cost money to travel to a job interview. For some unlucky folks, they have been going on interview after interview with no sign of getting hired. If you drive it is probably $10 – $20 worth of gas for that trip to the interview, depending on what kind of car you have. If you are taking public transportation in New York City, every time you go on a job interview it cost you $5.75. All of a sudden, you have been on 20 interviews or way more and it adds up. You all of a sudden feel like you are wasting your time and you spent close to $100 or more collectively to hear many forms and phrases of the word “no” by multiple people. Eventually many give up.
- Traumatizing job search experiences: so you are tired of not being heard from by major employers. You get the feeling that hiring software like Taleo has technically told you to shove it. So you get desperate and go to craigs list. You become hopeful as there are a lot of openings and some get back to you. You end up going on the interviews from craigs list and the interviewer is as clean as a public bathroom in Penn Station. Other times the job postings on craigs list are just downright scams. The other portion of the times job seekers encounter on craigs lists are companies that are extremely unethical on interviews. A person we spoke to recalls an employer from a craigs list post comment on the appearance of the interviewee. We started to check a lot of companies posted on craigs list and many of them are not even registered businesses. The employers who post jobs on craigs list are so sketchy in a scam artist kind of way that you may not feel safe filling out a W2 form with them because they will have your social security number. When you hit this low you realize as far as you are concerned, there are absolutely no jobs out there and you stop looking. On a side note, if you do think about working for a company you found on craigs list make sure that company is in fact a registered corporation.
- Survival of fittest: For those who are employed it is the law of the jungle. From the time that companies started to lay people off due to the economy the climate became competitive. However, when Barrack Obama mandated by law that companies must provide health insurance to full time employees it became one thousand percent cut throat accompanied by Afghan like hostility in the American corporate workplace. This happen because employers subconsciously felt that some employees are not worth the extra expense. So they did a corporate head lock and danced around the law. Either they fired individuals who were not worth the expense or they clipped employees to part time. Due to that situation, people were and still are on their toes as to the uncertainty of their job. In response people try to show they are working by being competitive. The definition of competition in the American work force is being cut throat as to show an employer that one is competent by sabotaging another person’s work or by saying something false about a colleague. When you fill a position and start a new job many times you are replacing someone and it gets hostile. Competition ensues and there is tension. It becomes stressful as life for 10 hours a day becomes a warzone. Many end up quitting and looking for another job even if they have nothing else lined up.
In the blizzard of oppression, politicians and legislators have not done enough to help people who have been victim to a very manipulative, demeaning and hostile labor market. Although some things have been done to protect and help a job seeker, it has been too little and too late.
This is very much one of the many reasons why Donald Trump rose to power. For the past 8 – 10 years there are people in America that have not had a job in years and we are talking about the thousands every few months through the years who have filed unemployment, exceeded their benefits and are not in the count any more. So they do not include these thousands of people in the statistics. If you did, the real unemployment rate would be close to 8 percent or even 10 percent unemployment.
So in 2016 and long before that when President Obama and other politicians would go on TV and tout the low unemployment rate and pass it off as the truth, the long term unemployed felt insulted as if they did not exist, as if they did not count. Hence, it very much could be the case that the “long term unemployed” may have been a swing vote as the jobs platform got Trump voted in, although Clinton had more popular votes numerically. However, that cry for jobs and how the unemployment rate was inaccurate made Trump skyrocket through the republican primaries.
It is depressing to keep being rejected interview after interview. To no fault of their own they are ridiculed by people who have jobs and can’t understand their situation. From there, they just live day to day making money somehow and they never return to the work force out of discouragement and no hope.
There should be a public relations campaign in this country matched with more incentives and laws that get the long term unemployed back to work.
What the long term unemployed have been through and continue to go through is traumatic. The way we count the unemployment rate in America needs to be overhauled. You cannot just count the amount of current people out of work who file for unemployment at a current month and not include the amount of people last month whose benefits ran out, are not able to reapply for unemployment and are still looking for a job. If we did that the unemployment rate would be close to 10%. What is also foolish is how politicians and the news just rely on the bogus indicator of the unemployment rate to determine if people are doing well economically and job wise.
Our hearts go out to the long term unemployed.
Don’t give up and do not let them get you down. The issue of the long term unemployed has been ignored and it should come to the forefront of major discussion. We should talk about this topic more than Russia, emails, Donald Trump’s hand infatuation with vagina, or any other three card monty topic you hear on main stream news. If you are in a position to hire someone and you are reading this just know- just because someone has not worked in months or years does not mean they are lazy or incompetent. In fact, someone who gets hired after being long term unemployed work their butts off and are an asset to any company. The long term unemployed can be a breeding ground for mass homelessness, lone wolf attacks, mental issues, extremism and crime overall; may the powers that be do something about this.
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