The Tale of Three Unemployed Workers.
Warning this blog is not Pollyanna! You may take offense to it!
This is the tale of three unemployed middle management workers. They all had similar jobs at the same company and they were all about the same age of about 45. Samantha had a Masters degree, Joseph had 4 years at an average college and the same with Stephen. They all worked for a company that fell on hard times and in June 2008, all three were marched into a room with about 150 others.
In this room, a man they never saw before explained he was hired to help them all through this tough transitional time. Yes you guessed it; He was the “axe-man”. He was hired to give them notice and tell them about how sorry the company was that they had to let them all go. He told them about the 3 months pay they would receive and how the company would “help them all” find another job and made other unrealistic statements.
After the meeting, in which several people left crying and in shock, security escorted them all out and they were given boxes of all of their stuff that was at their desks. That’s right the pictures of the family, the baseball pennants, even the company awards they had won, were now in a cardboard box with a label that had their name on it.
Now, we get to the story of Samantha, Joseph and Stephen. After 3 days of shock they each took action. They all went to the unemployment office and filed. They all found out that they cannot collect for three months because their employer was still paying them for that time, but they were glad they were registered.
Samantha immediately brushed off an old resume and started to rewrite it to get a jump on her job search. Joseph figured he had some time so he didn’t do much to find a job. Stephen woke up each day and made a list of companies in his field that could use his services and sent 10 resumes a day and followed up with phone calls every day to the people he sent resumes to.
After about 2 months, none were employed. Stephen was still making his list, sending his resumes and making his phone calls, however now his list included categories that were less than his original job skills. They included retail chains, restaurants and small firms.
Samantha was perfecting her resume and talking to people who were in her field. She was finding that all of her middle management friends were being let go as well. She would have coffee with them and commiserate. She was not talking to people who might be hiring, just the unemployed friends she had made. She was starting to get discouraged and would just send one or two resumes a week to people who posted on job boards. She was not getting any return calls.
Joseph was thinking about thinking about writing a resume. After all he still had another month of pay coming and then he still had unemployment insurance to collect.
About 2 weeks, Stephen gets a couple of interviews with retail chains. They are looking for clerks and store managers. The District manager was doing the interviewing for new location of a clothing store. He interviewed Stephen and he said to him, “Why would you want to work here? This is less than half your old pay, and frankly about as much as you would make collecting unemployment?” Stephen did not want to collect unemployment and he did not want to stay home so he convinced the district manager to hire him. Stephen was now a salesman/clerk at the clothing store making about $550 a week and working long hours.
Now six months have passed. Samantha wants her old life back. She wants that middle management job. She is embarrassed and depressed now. She is collecting $600 a week on unemployment and is starting to fall behind on her bills. Joseph has found daytime TV and loves to do whatever he wants. That is, whatever his $600 of unemployment insurance will pay for.
Stephen just got a raise of about $50 a week, but he is still working long hours. Sometime Stephen even “clocks out” but stays behind when the store is really busy just to help out.
A year has gone by now. Samantha has borrowed $20,000 from her parents to keep from selling her house in a down market. Joseph was evicted and is living with his mother. Stephen is now the store manager making $750 week plus an occasional bonus. Good news for Joseph and Samantha, Obama just increased the unemployment insurance to 99 weeks. Now they have another year to collect. Oh happy day for both of them.
Almost two years have gone by now. How weird is this? Stephen gets a call last week from one of the VP’s of the company. It turns out that the district Manager who hired him, just left to go work for the competitor. They want to know if Stephen feels he ready to take on the new role. They feel that his efforts in the store and past experience would make him a perfect candidate. He accepted and is making about 80% of what he used to make before the layoff. He also gets a car allowance and a paid cell phone.
Samantha just went on another interview and the person interviewing her said, “Why are you out of work so long?” She gave them the standard “it’s the economy” speech; but they picked someone else.
Joseph’s mother is started to get very agitated. Joseph just lies around the house doing nothing but watching TV. No job, No prospects, No nothing; just $600 a week from unemployment insurance. In fact, sometimes he even makes the joke “I am working for the government!”
As we enter sometime today, Stephen spends most of his time in the corporate office, where the Senior management staff is eyeing him for a bigger position in corporate, Samantha found a job making about half as much as she was making before. It took her almost 3 years. She owes her mother $35,000 and lost her house anyway.
Joseph is just elated because Obama extended unemployment insurance another 13 months! Joseph’s mother wants him out but can’t throw her son on the street because, after all, he is her son.
In this tale 3 people took three different actions to the same circumstance.
What would you do?