chosing not to work

I met the “room mate” of a friend last night. “Room mate” is not the actual title I would use, “homeless Couch Surfer” is more accurate.

Let’s call the roomie “Pete”.

Pete was a teacher in LA Unified but quit after half a year because “it is too stressful” and now he occasionally substitutes. He is collecting over $400 per week. He never took the classes required by the district to complete his credentialing and doesn’t look to be in a hurry to look for a new occupation that is less stressful. Pete proudly talked about all the free dental work he was provided by the LAUSD care plan with Western Dental and was looking to see how many more days he would have to sub to keep the posh benefits for the next year.

I told Pete about a job position just down the street from where he works – it pays $8 an hour but is full time and also has benefits, growth potential and Pete would then be actually working.

I won’t take anything under $17 an hour, it doesn’t make sense“, said he.

WHAT!?!?! Yes, the Unemployment income is easier to get and he never has to leave his couch, but that doesn’t make it EARNED INCOME.

Assistance payments are too often confused as EARNED INCOME and I am getting angry. I want to see folks paying INTO the system that pays out to them.

Be the working poor, not the poor who sap our ability to give money where it is really needed. I think that if people are not active in a job search, they should not get unemployment. I think if they find their chosen career is “too hard” they should not be rewarded for not being up to the task – they should find the Baby Bear’s Porridge of jobs and land something “just right”.

Why, why, why, why, why!?!?

There ARE jobs out there, not high paying jobs like we all dream of having – but sometimes the benefit from work has to be more than financial – it should be emotional and knowing that you put something into society.  I am offended that Pete is PROUD not to be working and not even exploring the possibilities of other jobs!

One thought on “chosing not to work

  1. I have always been shocked by people’s ability to skate by while exploiting the assistance system. My mother did this all through my childhood (with the reasoning that she didn’t want to “lose time with me”) and it bothered me to no end that she had no qualms living off other people’s money with no effort on her part to better our situation. People who do this need to find some pride and self-respect.

    – Schev

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