…..$600 a week

I just read two reports that claimed the major reason most people aren’t looking for a job was the scarcity of jobs rather than the extra $600 a week that they were getting on unemployment. I’m absolutely certain it’s a case of “confirmation bias.” They were looking for proof that that $600 weekly wasn’t making a difference in people going back to work or trying to go back to work and they found it.

An article in the Economist two weeks ago stated that three quarters of the people in the United States receiving an extra $600 a week were making more money than they were when they were working. I try to stay pretty apolitical in this blog because my experience relates to people finding jobs and people getting hired.

I’ve seen seven recessions since 1973 and I distinctly remember that during the recession of 1973 when I got in the business and during the one in 1986, people tell us that they didn’t want to go on an interview because, “they could make more money on unemployment.”

Well, we’ve been hearing that lately. Our organization works with mostly professional positions. There are 20 of us and each of us interviews 2 to 3 people a day. I heard it twice last week in my practice of placing IT sales people. My associates have also been hearing it an inordinate number of times. This is crazy!

I will admit, jobs are harder to find than they were in the first quarter of this year. We’re in a pandemic and a recession. But this is nowhere near as difficult as it was in 2008 and lots of our candidates are going to work, with or without us. There are jobs out there.

I heard it three times this week from candidates who called me and said that, “Well, now that my $600 a week extra is going to end, I guess I really need to start looking for a job.” This is pathetic. I didn’t say how pathetic it was because my clients might need the skills that these people possess. But the attitude that, “I can make more money by not working than I can working” is absurd.

It isn’t the fact that is so absurd as it is the attitude. All three of these people appear to be “professionals” who have made their money selling with base salaries and commissions. Their claim was that with their unemployment plus the extra $600 a week they could make more money than the base salaries that they had. So, they decided to stay home and now that the money is running out they have decided that they need to find a job.

I guess Congress is going to do something about it. But this attitude sucks. It’s really sad. Imagine what an employer is going to think when a candidate goes into an interview and says, “Well, my $600 a week extra ran out so I decided it’s time to get a job?” Now, obviously some people are gonna be smart enough not to say this. But it might wind up being obvious by analyzing how long they’ve been out of work.

As a society, we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by thinking this way. When we allow our government to lull us into thinking that we are better off relying on them and we are on ourselves, it’s going to take longer to dig out of this problem we’re in.

How much of this is political and how much of it is really the economy? No way to know.

There ain’t no free lunch!


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