For me it was a nightmare. It all happened so quickly. Before I knew it, I lost my job. The manager did not even have the courage to face me. He sent me a text message informing me of the decision and even added the indignity of putting a smiley face figure at the message’s end.
I was unemployed and in no condition to find a new job. What was I to do? I was in despair when the solution hit me. I remembered reading in the papers about the growing ranks of Americans who have given up looking for a job. I would simply join them right away! I would not even appear on the month’s unemployment statistics. I would proudly claim my right to be non-employed.
My first thought was to announce my new status far and wide to family and friends. I sort of quivered with emotion as I posted my decision on Facebook with a new picture of myself as non-employed and advised all not to worry about looking for a job for me. I would be plenty busy. I was gratified by the number of “likes” I received from my hundreds of Facebook friends.
My first week of non-employment was incredible as people showered attention upon me. Friends invited me over for dinner. Somehow, the media got wind of my decision and soon I was granting interviews right and left. Fox, CNN, everyone wanted to know what it feels like to be non-employed. When I described the despair and desolation that influenced my decision, so many people felt my pain. There were emails and messages from all over offering me comfort and solace. I was truly overwhelmed.
But everything changed the next week. I was old news. The interviews stopped and the emails diminished. I had expected some kind of reaction from the government. Surely with all the publicity, the government had heard of my new status and would soon be contacting me about my non-employment benefits. When nothing happened, I decided to call the government. All I got was an answering machine that advised me to leave a message. I kept calling and calling but never heard back.
By the third week, things were looking bad. No one seemed to understand. My Facebook friends abandoned me. I went to the supermarket and explained to the lady at the checkout that I could not pay because I was officially non-employed. She called the manager and they took back all the items in the cart. The final straw came when I filled up my gas tank and likewise explained my situation to the person at the counter. She called the police who promptly arrested me. I remember shouting over and over again: “But officer, you don’t understand! I’m non-employed! This is a big mistake!”
At that point, I woke up and my nightmare was over.
The purpose of my narrative is not to belittle the plight of those who cannot find employment. Quite the contrary, it is to highlight that the unemployed are real people with real needs and obligations that must be addressed.
So many times I feel I am in the world of my nightmare. Government reports give the impression that a person can simply leave the employment ranks (and the unemployment statistics) and enter into an unreal world of the non-employed. Legislators call for showering all sorts of benefits upon this group as if their action diminishes their need for meaningful employment. Media turn ordinary misfortunes into tragic melodramas.
Meanwhile in the real world, true solutions are ignored. Nothing is done to address the destruction of the moral fiber of our country. No one wants to admit that the heart and soul of any economy is found in the institutions of family, community and faith. that are the firm foundation of any kind of prosperity. What we need is a return to order. Anything else is a nightmare.