Financing the Unemployed Networkers

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Fools of Finance

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.

There is occasional anecdotal evidence that some folks treat being on the dole as a means to prop up an unsustainable career lifestyle. Here is one example from an article about the unemployed “losing their lifeline.”

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.

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13 Responses to “Financing the Unemployed Networkers”
  1. cjbr549 says:

    Cousin Eddy, still holding out for that management position….

  2. Rick Beagle says:


    While I agree in part, it still seems as if you are spouting the “tried and true” Republican mantra where as anyone who wants a job can get a job. In areas where unemployment exceeds 15%(and honestly, it is much higher than that for the reason you listed above)it is not uncommon for jobs paying minimum wage (or just above) to receive two thousand applicants. Allowing unemployment benefits to expire is irresponsible, and using these folks’ plight as political leverage in partisan bickering is yet another reason why Republicans were kicked to the curb. Rather than working with their constituents to get the necessary votes to pass in both houses, they go on the news and pander to their base.

    As for you tax and spend comment, let me just say that the Republicans’ mantra of cutting taxes and spending is far worse in my book. Whether you like it or not, at least the Democrats always tried to raise money on the front end to support their back end efforts. The Republicans burned the candle on both ends….

  3. Rick Beagle says:

    I submit this article just as balance to the one you listed TML. The participants do not want to be part of partisan discussions, so I will not provide an opinion.

    As you have come to expect from me, I do not link partisan sites without clear warning, and this is NOT a partisan site.

    Rick Beagle

  4. PW says:

    The extension of unemployment is a doube-edged sword. I have 2 different friends that are unemployed due to involuntary termination. Problem now is that Obama gives them free medical care with either the employer or the insurance carrier paying primarily for it. So no loss of medical insurance. And both worked temp jobs and both were offered full time jobs. Neither accepted the jobs, both paid less then they had made(but not by much)and the jobs paid a lot more then unemployment , both offered nice benefits, but neither accepted because….they would loose unemployment and would have to get up and work every day 5 days a week. Both said they liked being able to sit at home and not do anything when they wanted to, and still get paid for it. Why work, especially since the benefits were going to be extended again. This breeds another type of welfare state. Not everyone is doing this, but a lot of people are. I seem to run across them at work every day. On the other hand you have families where both husband and wife are out of work, and unemployment doesn’t help them, not enough money. Wouldn’t it be more fair to extend it for the needy and not extend it for the lazy asses out there.I am sick of Obama giving away my hard earned 50-60 hr a week pay to people that prefer to sit at home and watch tv all day. Why can’t these people clean gov. buildings, take out gov. trash, shovel snow for the gov., help at a nursing home?? Let them work for the $.

  5. MasterPo says:

    PW is 100% correct.

    Rick – Here’s a radical thought: MOVE to someplace with better employment prospects!

    Yes, I know it isn’t as easy as it sounds. But if the alternative is being unemployed for years and years or being grossly under-employed seems you need to bite the bullet and leave.

    PW is right on the money. Having a hard a fast deadline is the best kick-in-the-pants for someone to take a job. Maybe not the best but it’s something. And you gotta start somewhere. Waiting around and justy hoping for “change” isn’t going to cut it these days. No matter what great plan or stimulus or whatever you want to call it comes out of DC (and regardless of who is President) YOU are still the CEO of your own life and destiny!

    When people want a soft shoulder sometimes what they really need is a hard kick in the ass! Been there many times myself. It really sucks then but looking back it was the best thing to happen to me.

    ps – Oh, that’s right. Being a CEO is now the worse thing a person can be. So I guess you shouldn’t be CEO of your own life. Never mind then.

    • Rick Beagle says:

      “Rick – Here’s a radical thought: MOVE to someplace with better employment prospects!

      Yes, I know it isn’t as easy as it sounds. But if the alternative is being unemployed for years and years or being grossly under-employed seems you need to bite the bullet and leave.”

      You provide a solution and then in the next sentence realize that it may not be plausible. However, I do NOT disagree with you entirely. People should do what they can to get a job, and just to be clear, no one is suggesting unemployment for “years and years”. It doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to realize that the country is in trouble right now, and providing a helping hand through these times is reasonable.

  6. Snowy Heron says:

    PW and Master Po are correct – some people need a kick in the pants before they finally are willing to take a job. I was recently on a business trip to Cheyenne, WY and a cabdriver, who owned the cab service, said he hoped that Congress would not extend unemployment benefits. He has seen too many of his employees do stuff to get fired so that they can collect unemployment, and one of his employees actually asked to be fired!

    What is wrong with people? Do they want to accomplish nothing with their lives except sit in front of the tv? Have they no self respect? When I stayed home with my kids for 6 years, on my husband’s then meager income, I took a retail job on weekends to make ends meet. Maybe it was just a couple hundred a month, and so what if I have a Master’s, I was not too proud to take something like that. I was grateful that it worked with my schedule. People need to get some sense and appreciate their opportunities!

  7. Mary says:

    Well, I can’t say I’ve ever seen these alleged people who want to take their unemployment benefits and sit on their rear ends. Unemployment is so much less income than working. My husband was laid off from his $130 K a year job two months ago and is getting less than $20K per year in unemployment. So he’s maxed out. It’s pretty hard to live on less than $20K a year, no matter who you are and what your expenses are. Plus we have to pay COBRA for continuing our medical benefits, which without the stimulus package help, would be MORE MONEY EVERY MONTH THAN HIS UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS! You can bet he highly motivated to get another job. Oh, and I work too, and we have two kids.

    Another friend got laid off from his $150 K a year job as a software architect and is working contract jobs while he is trying to land another permanent position. His wife doesn’t work. He never considered unemployment for one second. He is busting his rear trying to get contracts (this one ends next month) and looking for work.

    • Rick Beagle says:


      Thank you for your comment, and let me add my voice as someone who has never seen nor met these deadbeats. I don’t doubt they exist, they and I just don’t seem to run with the same crowd. The crowd I run with are people in their 40’s receiving unemployment for the first time in their lives. And trust me, they have zero desire to stay unemployed….

    • MasterPo says:


      No one ever said it was all unemployed people. But there *definately* are a good number like that.

      This isn’t new either.

      Back in the recesion of late 2001/2002 I read many articles in the WSJ about people taking their unemp pay and going on vacation or taking pottery classes or just laying back and taking it easy rather than pound the pavement! :-O

  8. 09allin says:

    i must say that many of the points of view expressed here have merit. My question is this. Where in our coutry is there an economy “booming” enough that it makes sense to move to for employment? I am not unemployed, but am looking for a change in climate. If anyone has some insight into locations and local economies looking for specific talent I would appreciate some information. I am currently located in N.W. Ohio where the economy is fairly dismal at this point in time. I have friends here who have recently become unemployed for the first time in their lives. They are highly talented, motivated, and educated. they too are looking.

  9. MasterPo says:

    09 – What’s your profession? Makes it hard to discuss specifics w/o knowing. 😉

    Regardless of the work you do it’s pretty easy to look up surveys and projections of where the jobs and are not for various fields.

    I agree you shouldn’t (necessarily) just up and move somewhere hoping to find work once you get there. But you can start the search from home or contact a headhunter in the area. No one (of any value that is) will fault someone for wanting to have a job in hand before moving. I’ve done that too.

    Also have to factor in the kind of life and life style you want, if you are married or want to be, have kids or want to have kids, etc etc.

    I would also remind people that it is not without precidence in American (and world) history for people to temporarily go places far from home for work and send the money back. Damn shameful IMO that in this day and age we may yet still come to that! But it is an option too.

    ps- Just wait until next year when the Bush tax cuts expire. Can you say “double-whammy”?

    pps- Oh, that’s right. On MSNBC last week the Honorable (*cough* *cough*) Nancy Pelosi said that allowing tax decreases to expire is NOT the same as a tax increase! Thanks for the clarification Nancy.

  10. Rick Beagle says:

    “Oh, that’s right. On MSNBC last week the Honorable (*cough* *cough*) Nancy Pelosi said that allowing tax decreases to expire is NOT the same as a tax increase! Thanks for the clarification Nancy.”

    And allowing it to continue isn’t adding to our national debt (cough cough). Two wars and we cut our funding?! What retard thought that was a good idea? Oh yeah…..

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