If You Choose To Be Unemployed In 2021, You’re Not Lazy. You’re Smart.
I don’t know why I got back on Facebook.
I guess it’s worth it to engage the handful of people from my past who aren’t completely insane. In fact, the guy who made the post that prompted the comment in the image attached to this article isn’t insane. We might differ on a sociopolitical issue here and there, but I think we could be friends if we lived closer to one another.
As for the person who made the comment. I don’t know this person. And I don’t want to know this person.
But let’s not dwell on one dude, because there are thousands where he came from.
People who blame the apparent labor shortage on enhanced unemployment benefits, additional government stimulus, and a workforce full of allegedly lazy mother fuckers who would rather eat chips and binge Netflix — and smoke lots of weed, I assume — than work.
Let’s run through the reasons why these dudes — largely white and conservative — are so horribly off base and out of line.
It’s the rational choice
Given the opportunity to make a little less, the same, or a bit more on unemployment — alongside a stimulus check here and there and maybe some rent relief — why would you go back to work, particularly in the hospitality sector where lots of jobs sit unfilled?
Who in their right mind would go back to work?
Economists would probably agree, it’s the rational choice.
You not only get paid to stay home, but you have unprecedented access to precious time.
You can do a lot with time
This is the key, particularly for, but not limited to, the hospitality workforce.
I spent four years prior to the pandemic working in bars — by choice.
It’s not easy work. Long hours. Your employers often expect way too much from you given what they’re paying you. It’s super physical. And you have very little time for yourself.
My situation was ideal because:
- I wanted to be there.
- I was surrounded by quite a few hospitality professionals who are better at the job than I was.
- As a result, I had the best people in Los Angeles teaching me the craft of making cocktails.
- I had something to fall back on — working in online content — which, as the pandemic proved, came in super handy.
But, even if I didn’t have something to fall back on, I would have been fine.
Not because I’m inherently special. Because I saw others around me— my former co-workers and friends who worked at other bars and restaurants —reinvent themselves. I would have done what I have watched so many of them do.
Or so I hope.
With seemingly nothing to fall back on, they got resourceful.
Some got into completely different lines of work.
Others started their own businesses in or out of the hospitality industry.
A whole bunch of people worked to get better at their job — mainly designing cocktails — and took their careers to the next level.
Lots of folks followed passions and turned them into everything from side hustles to primary sources of income.
More than a few had their first kid.
The list goes on.
They were able to do these things — and more — in part because government support during a scary and unprecedented pandemic gave them time.
They used this time to their advantage. It was the rational choice.
Get paid to stay home. Make the most of something you didn’t have nearly as much of — if any at all — prior to April 2020.
Again, the economically and personal financially rational decision.
Invest in yourself. Better yourself. Move forward and come out of the weird year 2020 was better off for it.
We should applaud people for making this choice rather than chastise them.
Have you ever worked in a restaurant?
This is what kills me.
Not to bring up the dude who can’t spell “hustle” again, but what does he think is attractive about working in a minimum wage job in hospitality or a similar space?
It is the show you put on for your conservative friends that you have work ethic or aren’t going to sit around on your ass mooching off of people who actually “want to work?”
That’s a conservative false narrative, but we’ll go with it.
Is it because the only way you feel a sense of self-worth is if you consume yourself in work, no matter how soulless and unrewarding it is?
I don’t want to come off as agitated, but I am.
I feel like we shouldn’t have to even explain this stuff.
It isn’t like working in a kitchen or serving people — especially during a pandemic — is all that attractive.
Again, who would willingly run back to this — even if it’s what they call their forever career — when you can do better things with the time you’ve been given?
Then there’s the daycare issue
Consider the following from the World Economic Forum:
Research has found that 22% of US parents said they were either not working or working less because of disruptions to childcare and school.
These childcare shortages are disproportionately effecting working moms.
Wendy Niculescu is ready to get back to work after nearly a year and a half of being a stay-at-home mom…
But one major issue threatens to complicate her return to the workforce: It could take months for the couple to find a childcare provider in Portland, Oregon, with enough space for their two children, ages two and five.
People like your conservative Facebook friends love to post strong opinions and snarky comments about things they have zero on-the-ground experience with.
They think they know what’s going on in California, for example, with everything from homelessness to immigration. Even though they don’t live here and hate places like San Francisco and Los Angeles so much they’re highly unlikely to visit and predestined to not actually learn something about our reality if they did.
They get their picture of places like California and the unemployed across the country and whatever hot button social soapbox issue conservative Republicans use to rile their bases through outlets such as Fox News.
They don’t deal in reality.
They ultimately disparage people who are — ironically — more like them than they think.
They adhere to the most unrealistic conservative mantras — such as pull yourself up by the bootstraps — and choose to ignore the ones that would actually do them and the rest of us some good.
You know — walk a mile in another “man’s” shoes.
If they were willing to do this — to take another person’s perspective — they might secure an ounce of something large segments of our society seriously lack and absolutely need…
Not to mention an understanding of nuance and the specific circumstances that drive the choices — the often difficult choices — people make in their day-to-day.