Financing the Unemployed Networkers
Congress is debating yet another extension of unemployment benefits because thousands are losing theirs. Democrats want to pay to for it by maintaining an extra tax on employers that was supposed to be temporary. In short, more tax and spend. Republicans want to use stimulus dollars to fund the benefit extension. That makes more sense to me because stimulus funds haven’t exactly stimulated the creation of a substantial number of jobs. Many economists are now saying we may have a “jobless” recovery because employers have figured out ways to permanently lean their operations. Having fewer, more productive employees is good for business.
Gregg Rock, a business strategy consultant, drained his savings after joining the ranks of the unemployed in summer 2008. He was forced to move back to his mother’s home in Huntington, N.Y., for the first time in more than 20 years.
With so many people looking for work, Rock feels his best chance is land a new job is through networking. But it costs him $18 just to trek into Manhattan, not to mention $4 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, where he often meets people who he hopes will lead him to a job.
Rock’s benefits ran out last week. Now, he says, he’ll be forced to drive a cab at night or take a bartending job just to earn enough to keep job hunting.
“Unemployment is what allows you to afford to be out there networking,” Rock said.
Really? We should be paying Mr. Rock to network at Starbucks in Manhattan?
Mr. Rock is a “business strategy consultant.” A “consultant” is typically an independent contractor, not an employee, so I’m confused about how this guy is receiving unemployment benefits anyway. Consultants are always networking. It goes with the territory. I don’t understand why we should feel bad that he is a failure as a consultant. I’m speculating that no one is interested in his “business strategies” which leads to no consulting income.
He laments the fact that instead of “networking” at Starbucks, he may actually need to go to work so that he can continue to look for a consulting gig. He has been “unemployed” since the summer of 2008. (No word on what he did before that.) Isn’t that a signal that Mr. Rock’s networking strategy has failed? There is no market for his consulting services. No amount of “networking” is likely to change that. Maybe needs to hire a consultant to tell him that.
Mr. ToughMoneyLove is sorry Mr. Rock is not doing the kind of “strategy consulting” to which he aspires. I am not sorry that he may have to go to work to finance his networking activities. Maybe he will figure out that it’s time for a career shift.