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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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My Almost-Not-Quite Interview With 'The Bear'


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Honest Confessions Of The Unemployed
Jimmy Moore
December 30, 2002

This past weekend was described by outgoing Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as “unconscionable.”

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton divulged her disgust with Republicans in the Democratic radio address on Saturday.

Both of these Democratic leaders in the Senate were referring to the nearly 800,000 unemployed Americans who stopped receiving federal unemployment benefits as of Saturday because Congress concluded their legislative session without taking action on extending them further. As a result, nearly 100,000 people without jobs will completely exhaust all of their unemployment benefits each week unless something is done legislatively to stop it.

Predictably, the Democrats in Congress and labor unions have positioned this issue for themselves politically by placing the entire blame for this on the shoulders of President George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress. However, in a move that continues his theme of being a compassionate conservative, President Bush proclaimed last week that Congress needs to make extending unemployment benefits their top priority when the legislative session reconvenes in a couple of weeks. He encouraged Congress to do this quickly and to make the extended benefits retroactive.

Although I support President Bush on many issues, I do not agree with him in regards to extending unemployment benefits. My position on this issue may come as a shock to many readers.

For those of you who were not reading earlier this year, I wrote about how I was unemployed over a 14-month period from May 2001-June 2002. You can read the transcript of my telephone conversation with radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh on the subject of unemployment here. I shared my thoughts about being unemployed at the time in my article entitled
My Chat With Rush Limbaugh About Unemployment.

The topic of my unemployment status stirred up a frenzied discussion on from both conservatives and liberals. I was labeled every name in the book by people who called me everything from a “liberal” to a “poor excuse for a human being.” Oh the joys of being a writer for an online opinion website! :-) I weathered the storm and absorbed the comments that people had in reaction to my article and telephone call to Rush Limbaugh.

Nevertheless, I stand firmly behind what I said and wrote at that time because that is how I honestly felt as someone who had gone through the shame of being unemployed for a long time. The unemployment benefits I received helped my family get through some tough financial times. I am glad they were available to me. I would take them again if I was in the same situation.

At any rate, I am not in favor of extending these jobless benefits to the people who have already exhausted all of theirs. Unemployment benefits (which, by the way, are paid for by employers, not employees) provide essential short-term assistance for people who lose their job for whatever reason. But it was never meant to sustain someone for more than a few months while he went out looking for work.

Furthermore, since tax dollars would be used to provide any additional benefits given to the unemployed, that begins to affect the average American worker. Although it will be tough for people who do not have a job to lose these benefits, it will certainly motivate them to be more diligent in their search for employment. Is restricting their benefits being cruel to the unemployed or is it actually doing them a big favor by making them work harder to find employment?

Additionally, there are a lot of unemployment benefit recipients who have squandered the money given to them on lottery tickets (how much unemployment money was spent on people playing the Powerball game last week thinking they were going to win millions of dollars, hmmm?!), alcohol and cigarettes rather than using it to pay for their mortgage, utilities and food. If the money supply were to be cut off (by not extending the benefits), then the unemployed would be encouraged to be more diligent in their job search. That is exactly what happened to me.

Since that infamous telephone call to Rush Limbaugh in April, I was able to find temporary employment at the beginning of July through Kelly Services, an internationally known and respected employment agency with an office based locally in Duncan, SC. By the time I got home from their office after filling out the paperwork, they had already found me a temporary job with a major company based in Spartanburg, SC.

My primary duties with this company have been answering e-mails, documenting reports into a master database, answering telephones, faxing, mailing and conducting research on the Internet. Although this job has allowed me to use many of the skills that I had already previously acquired in other jobs, I have not been challenged to attain even higher levels of competence in these areas.

Translation: I love the job, but it is a little boring!

Regardless, I have made it my goal to be the very best I can be at my job. Gauging from the resounding chorus of praise I receive each week from my boss, I believe I have succeeded in doing that. They have even told Kelly Services that I have been the best temporary employee they have ever had! I take pride in the fact that I have been a worthy investment for their company.

My original 90-day contract was supposed to end on September 30, 2002. But, because of my significant contribution to the department I was working in, the company decided to sign me to another 90-day contract. If you do the math, then you will quickly realize that my time with this company is drawing to a close. My final day is scheduled to be this Friday, January 3, 2003.

Based on my job performance, they have said that they would love to have me stay with them doing the same work and more. But since the company recently cut 10% of their workforce in November and are rumored to be cutting an additional 10% in early 2003, the prospects of that happening do not look very promising. The company has not given me any indication yet about whether they will be extending my contract an additional 90 days or hiring me permanently.

Once again, the uncertainty about my future looms large.

Regardless of how well I have done my job, it looks like I will be unemployed again after this Friday. What else does a man have to do to prove his worth to an employer? Why would an employer allow an honest, hard working employee walk out the door who has shown proven excellence in his job? Does education and skill level account for anything when it comes to looking for employment these days? These and many other questions linger in the minds of those of us who want to find permanent work in a job that will help us provide for our families. Why is this such a difficult task?

Unfortunately, Kelly Services says that they have not had many employers requesting temporary help in the past couple of months. This does not bode well for me and the rest of the 6.3% of South Carolinians who are looking for work right now. Most companies are just not hiring.

Regardless of what a candidate has to offer a company, it just doesn’t seem to matter in these difficult economic times. This stagnant job market is very disconcerting to a growing number of people who are vying for a very minuscule number of jobs currently available. Is there any hope for people who want to work, but cannot find a job, any job, where their talents and skills can be used most effectively?!

Despite the current uncertainty about my personal future occupationally, I am confident that the poor economic state of our country and of our state today will not continue for long. President Bush will work in unison with the Republican-led Congress to enact more tax cuts that will give more money back to the hard working people of this country. And Governor-elect Mark Sanford will implement fiscally responsible policies and ideas to make South Carolina a better place to live and work in. With more money flowing in the economy, companies will hopefully begin hiring again and offering hope for the tens of thousands of people who are among the unemployed.

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One year after pouring out my soul in this article about my struggles with finding a job, I am happy to report that I was hired about a month ago in a full-time position with a major company in Spartanburg. . . .

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