Many resources list “unemployment” as a form of insurance. The purpose of this type of insurance is not to guarantee particular lifestyle choices, but rather to provide temporary assistance to those who become unemployed through no fault of their own. The intention of unemployment insurance is to protect employees from employer necessitated adjustments such as lay-offs, down-sizing, etc. Qualifying requirements are determined by each state including eligibility, benefit amounts and length of availability. In all states there are standards to mandate that you at least appear to not be taking advantage of the system.
These mandates include reporting any earnings outside of your benefit amount, reporting job offers made- accepted and/or declined- and in some cases providing evidence that you have been actively seeking employment. Some states offer extended benefits if and when the unemployment rate is extremely high but in general, the maximum benefit schedule is 26 weeks.
Too often, disgruntled employees abuse the unemployment system and end up hurting themselves in the end. Let’s imagine that you’re one of them. You’ve been dutifully working a job you had to scour to find. It’s exactly the right place for you to be in your career development plan, and you’ve been the right hand man/woman for management through all of their most pressing endeavors. You don’t deserve to be laid off. It shouldn’t have happened to you. As gracefully as they tried to break it to you, you’re still mad at your old boss and want to “make them pay” by squeezing as many unemployment dollars out of them as possible. After all, it’s their fault you’re out of work now; their poor planning and mistakes have now forced you to have to worry about putting food on the table for your family. Right?
Ever heard the old saying, “the borrower is slave to the lender”? Well, it’s just as true today as it ever has been. Becoming a chronic collector not only puts a gap on your resume, it also takes time away from the daily skill-maintenance and development you get from working and forces you to tread down employment paths that may completely detract from your career goals.
Spending all day typing, interacting with coworkers and customers, learning new software products and social-media devices are all benefits of employment, friends! I have seen it over and over: candidates who stay out of the work force for any extended amount of time lose their flare. They become unfamiliar, unaware, slow and awkward- in a variety of ways. Chronic collectors also become bait for terrible jobs. The employer paying your unemployment knows that in order for you to continue collecting benefits from them you must prove that you have absolutely no other means of, or opportunities for income. Thus, they know that if they offer or find you a job and you decline it, your unemployment which, remember they are paying for, is denied and they can wash their hands of you. What if the job you were offered isn’t what you want to do? Irrelevant. Unfortunately, any emotions about losing a job do not entitle anyone to just collect unemployment for the sake of it. On the flip side, they know that if you’re smart and you want to continue collecting you’ll accept and do whatever job they offer you. You are not in the driver’s seat in either case. Quickly, your career steps become very little about you.
So, if you find yourself laid-off or let go for any reason surrounding lack of work all you can do is pull yourself up by your boot-straps and go at it again. Take control and get after it as quickly as you can. Chronic collecting will only hurt you in the long run.