This is hard to write, but I thought it could provide some perspective on an otherwise “effecting someone else” kind of story. The Federal Government’s decision not to extend unemployment insurance payments to those of us out of work for more than 6 months – well, it hits home. I am one of those considered “long-term unemployed.” And contrary to some Washington newsmakers, I am not laying around at home greedily collecting unemployment compensation.
I am searching for a new job every day, and have been for almost 9 months; networking, volunteering, blogging, applying, interviewing, and interviewing some more. Those who say I don’t have what that employer is looking for; well, OK, you may be right. But I have no doubt there are plenty of organizations that could use my 15 years of human resources leadership experience, Master’s degree and proven successes.
If you think it’s unfair to you, the taxpayer, to pay more unemployment insurance compensation to the “long-term unemployed,” please consider I have paid into the State unemployment insurance funds for more than 15 years. Now I need some of that money paid back, to help my family in this time of crisis.
While the unemployment compensation is 20% of my former salary, it is nonetheless a necessary part of what I need to continue to pay bills for my family’s survival. I have used almost all of the savings I socked away over the past several years, and am now digging into 401(k) plans, and having to pay penalties for using that money.
I’m not asking that you write to your Senator or Representative to get the additional funding. I’m simply asking that you consider thinking differently about the unemployment insurance extension discussion; a situation I never thought I would find myself in.
Thanks for listening to my story. SL
I understand so well. The same thing happened to me at 51 years of age and without it I would have probably lost my home even though I had been saving all my life for just such a surprise lay-off. Saw many of my aunts and uncles in thier early to mid fifties lose their jobs just at the peak of their abilities so I was preparing myself but fell just a couple of years short of being completely ready.
If one is not self-employed my advice is to be ready to retire at 50 and pray unemployment insurance is still available. For anybody feeling smug about their employment status, you better be empathetic because our economic culture does not favor your working once you can be replaced by 30 somethings at half the price and lower insurance risk.