Feeling Guilty about collecting unemployment…no more!

Just a little history: I was laid off one month before my precious baby girl was born and didn’t really mind too much in the begining because I had planned to be on maternity leave for about 12 weeks anyway.  I figured I would use that time to find a job.  After my daughter was born I decided to just continue with graduate school and live off the unemployment and suppliment with student loans as needed while continuing to leisurely look for a job.  I had already been enrolled in graduate school for a year by this time and had two years left.  Well, I am now coming to the end of my unemployment compensation (in the begining of June) and have felt incredibly guilty the entire time.  This is my journey:

I thought I might be eligible for the “No Worker Left Behind Program” but there were so many people signed up for it that there was a lot of changes in the qualifications and one of them had to do with what was considered “jobs in demand”.  Social work, my field, was considered “in demand”.  However, because I was persuing a Master’s Degree and already had a Bachelor degree in Psychology they decided that I already had enough education to get a job.  Okay…not so much, I live in Northern Michigan there are very few jobs in the field as it is and if there are jobs, there are at least 100 applicants per position or more from what I’ve been told.  So I was told that I could petition this and prove that a MSW is different and can provide more options for getting hired than a B.S. in Psychology.  It doesnt take a genius to answer the question but I jumped through the hoops and got denied.

I also applied for WIC (Women Infant Children program) hoping that I might get to suppliment my groceries so that my daughter would have healthy choices for food or even to off set the cost of groceries even a little bit.  No such luck, we made $100 per year too much to qualify…are you kidding me?  I know people getting the benefits who make more than us but because their husbands are in construction or another similar field they can write off their losses and it looks as though they make a lot less.  I’m not suggesting doing that because I could never lie and take away something that should be used for others in need (more than my need, anyway…).  So, I didnt fight it. 

Still feeling guilty and applying for every job that came about.  I continued to interview to each place that called me back (I think I’ve been on about 4-5 interviews, one of which didnt even have a job available) and most said that I was a good candidate (one said perfect :)) but my internship schedule was so inflexible that I would not be able to work full time and do my internship.  With only 9 months of school left, I cannot justify quitting school to take a job that would not allow me to finish the degree I had put so much time, energy, and money into.

So, I just completed my FAFSA form for school to determine grant money and student loans and guess what my estimated family contribution is supposed to be: $1006 for the year and they are granting me $20,500 in student loans for the 2011-2012 school year.  Isnt that nice of them?  Not really!  I have never once received any assistance for school minus a $300 scholarship from a local business women’s group.  I have been in school for 8+ years without any government assistance and I have paid for all of my education through student loans, savings bonds, and working more than one job while in school.  I have close friends and family who have had their entire schooling paid for and many of them live more luxurious lives than I ever have.  It is infuriating.  So I have decided from this point on that while I will continue to apply and interview for positions in which I am qualified, I WILL NO LONGER FEEL GUILTY for accepting unemployment for this very short time in my life when I will be working the rest of my life and will probably overpay in taxes so that others can screw the system and have an easier time getting through life than I have for most of my life. 

I dont want to get down on people accepting assistance for short periods of time in their life because that is what the assistance is there for.  It just really irritates me that some people manage to live their whole lives without worrying about how they will surrive because someone is always picking up the pieces for them.  I realize that Social Workers are supposed to be empathic and helpful in these situations and I am and always have been but our purpose is to help these people feel empowered to make changes in their lives in order to better themselves, not find ways to continue living off of government assistance.  So I repeat, more for myself than others, I WILL NO LONGER FEEL GUILTY FOR ACCEPTING UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION…

Thank you for all of those who continued reading my rant 🙂


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nanny Anna
    Feb 20, 2011 @ 12:50:04

    There is no shame in taking temporary assistance when needed…that is what it is there for. Unfortunately some (if not many) take advantage of assistance programs, which can create a negative stigma attached to these programs.

    Take the help now. Once in your new career you will be paying into these programs through your employee taxes and such, so you will be paying it back, in a sense.

    I found your blog on the Weekend Blog Hop…however, I don’t see a follow link. How are we suppose to follow you? Please let me know if you add a link, because I would love to follow your blog.



    • princesspipersmama
      Feb 20, 2011 @ 22:59:08

      Thanks for your comment Anna. I am still trying to figure out GFC. I am open to suggestions. For some reason I was having a hard time with wordpress…Ill work on it. Thanks again.


    • princesspipersmama
      Feb 21, 2011 @ 10:14:48

      Hi Anna, I found out that my wordpress site will not allow for GFC unfortunately. I do have an app for you to follow me on twitter and by email near the top on the left side of my page. I hope you decide to follow. Take care.


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