Frustration Friday: Fired Up About Firing

There's been a discussion around the blogosphere about how people (especially the 3 p crowd – politician, pundits, and preachers) don't seem to get that our unemployment situation is not just about people being fired.  I'd like to chime in and add my own bile, in my own distinct idiom.

So, as I've noted before, a lot of people have contempt for the unemployed.  There are many reasons I've come up with: mean-spiritedness, ignorance, and a deep fear of some kind of unemployment cooties.  I'd like to further expand on the whole "ignorance" thing for a moment, cut with a slight examination of misplaced moralizing for flavor.

Several times I have asked myself "why would people choose to look down on the unemployed?"  What I myself noticed is that it often seems those who think ill of the unemployed are convinced the jobless have some kind of horrible moral flaw like drug abuse or laziness or some other kind of failing.  So as far as I can tell the unemployed-bashers figure that some horrible personal moral flaw has led to the unemployed being the unemployed.

Or in short, the tut-tutting moralizers figure the unemployed basically got fired or are unhireable due to their this personal or ethical weakness.  Note these moralizers usually have jobs, often saying stupid things about the unemployed.

What these moralistic morons miss is that people loose their jobs – and cannot find jobs – for many reasons that have nothing to do with laziness and other personal failings.

People loose their jobs for many reasons beyond those that get people fired.  They get laid off (which has affected many people in this economy).  Their position gets moved and they can't relocate for understandable reasons.  Their company goes belly-up because of managerial incompetence or bad luck.

For that matter some people graduate from college and have no work.  They didn't even get to work up to being fired.  They'd love the chance to get fired as it means they at least had a job.

People also can't find work for many other reasons that have nothing to do ethical problems.  There's no work in their area.  They have some outdated skills that were useful just a short time ago.  Their cyclical industry is in a serious down cycle.  They're not getting hired due to stupid reasons, from incompetent HR to weird requirements for age – and the favorite "don't hire anyone who doesn't have a job" rule we've heard of.  They're recent graduates and don't have enough experience.

All of the above is on top of the fact that, with the Great Recession, a lot of jobs are gone and aren't coming back.

These issues aren't due to moral failings, or laziness, or anything else on the part of the unemployed.  They're due to a troubled economy (screwed up by a lot of greedy goons who did have ethical problems) and a re-aligning world economy, on top of the rapid changes in business and technology.  It's a tough time for good people and bad.

I don't think a lot of people get that many good people don't have jobs for reasons unconnected to moral issues.  Perhaps they don't want to.  Perhaps they're ignorant.  Perhaps they're just a bunch of pretentious asses.

But either way they're wrong.

Steven Savage