Does unemployment make people lazy?
Sometimes in life things aren’t really what they seem to be and no matter how hard you try to convince others that you are actively seeking employment, the fact that you haven’t found work after one month, five months, or perhaps an entire year, is cause for others to become accusatory rather than empathetic of your situation. They begin to offer “advice” or at times beat you down by saying things like, “you’re not trying hard enough,” or ask the same question every time they talk to you, yes, you know the one, before the conversation even gets started they say, “Have you found a job yet?” Finally, without even being aware of how damaging and hurtful this is, they begin to believe that you have become lazy and just don’t want to work because employment insurance is taking care of your living expenses….
Here’s the reality…
Employment insurance (EI) is not enough to live on! Since you started collecting EI it is maybe one quarter of what you were making when you were employed and now you’re struggling to make ends meet. You had to cancel cable, maybe you had to move somewhere smaller and less expensive, everything you purchase is from the dollar store, including groceries, perhaps you started paying some of your bills with a credit card and racking up huge debt, the kids had to stop participating in social activities and sporting events, the car is now only driven if you have an interview because the gas is too expensive to fill the tank, and the so called “friends” you thought you had stopped communicating with you because you can’t afford to go to dinner or a movie when they beckon. And the cherry to top this off, is your own family is not interested in talking to you unless you answer yes to that one question, “Have you found a job yet?” Well, have you?
It seems everyone you know has an opinion on your situation and for the most part, it isn’t even right or fair. How dare they, act as if you are lazy because you sit home all day glued to the internet.
AAAHHAA! That’s it!
It isn’t the fact that you’re lazy at all; it’s the fact that you have become a hermit! You lost touch with reality and what’s more is you have forgotten that basic etiquette of communicating in person does not include saying “lol.”
I know what you’re thinking; Take a moment…Go ahead, cuss me under your breath if it makes you feel better, then deny what I’m saying is true, and when you get over yourself and the negativity you feel about what I just said, the rest of this article is here waiting for you.
Face it, you don’t go anywhere, you don’t talk to anyone unless they call you, and you spend countless hours sitting behind the wonder-box because you decided that since you can’t afford to put gas in your car to go anywhere, your best solution is to relentlessly search the internet job boards for work. Granted the internet has become the greatest invention since sliced bread and employers don’t typically accept walk-in applicants but why-oh-why are you combating your unemployment with only one resource?
I think maybe you fear the unknown. Somewhere along the way between your last job and now, you, for whatever reason started believing that the internet is a much safer and easier way to find work than actually talking to people. It isn’t the lack of money for gas that stops you, that’s just an excuse; it is the fear that you will be rejected. The internet is your safe-haven from rejection because no one has to see your despair or embarrassment when someone tells you in person “I’m not interested.” At least with the internet all you get is an emailed letter of rejection rather than one that’s in person.
Isn’t it time to give yourself back the power you lost during your hiatus behind the internet? The power I’m referring to is your self-respect, your self-determination, your self-esteem, and most of all, your overall sense of accomplishment and self-worth. By now it must be really eating away at you that three interviews in the course of one year is not much of an accomplishment and you still have nothing to show for all that time you dedicated to your computer.
Sure, you have sent many introduction letters and crafted twelve different resume’s, not to mention the day you spent applying for things outside your scope of experience, but when was the last time you went to an employer’s place of business and talked to the HR director, the hiring manager, or even the receptionist to gather information?
I am not talking about asking for an application, I am talking about asking for an informational interview. This is perhaps one of the most challenging things you can do for your job search but also a critical step in making contact with employers that doesn’t involve sitting behind your computer. Don’t use transportation as an excuse! Ask a friend or family member to take you where the businesses are, use transit, or walk if you need to, but get out there and meet people in person as part of your overall job search strategy.
You want a job right? Then do something about it! Go meet with employers and industry professionals: Ask for information about the company, ask for a tour of the company, have a business card ready with your elevator pitch, and a letter to the employer about scheduling a time with them if they aren’t available to speak with you. After your informational interview, follow-up with a thank you letter and express your interest in working for the company, ask more questions in your follow-up letter…you want to keep the lines of communication open. The employer may not have a job available but they may have contacts with other companies that do. It all boils down to this…
Stop being afraid of rejection! After all, if they reject you whose loss is it really…yours or theirs?
Networking comes in many forms including getting to know people at companies you want to work for. It is all about making contact, not about asking for a job. Even if you have researched the company online, there is still more you can learn in person. While the internet has many great avenues for social networking and making contacts with people in many industries, there is also the face-to-face networking that we as a society have to some degree stopped doing. It has become easier and faster to just send an email but in all reality, you need to get out there and talk to people face-to-face if you want to get off the EI gravy train.
While you may still prefer the internet for networking, then by all means use it, but perhaps try also to find a meetup or business networking group in your field of interest and attend some of the networking events. Who knows, you might even make some friends. Besides, maybe someone you encounter at a meetup or business networking group knows just the right person you should be talking to.
Do I think unemployment makes people lazy?
No, but I do think it can create a lack of self-worth, damage self-esteem, cause depression and anxiety, exacerbate your fear of the unknown, and tends to invite anti-social behavior. All of which can lead to living like a hermit because even the most brave and outgoing people are scared of being rejected, whether personally or professionally.