When I was fifteen, I "hoed peanuts" one summer, weeding the peanut fields of Caddo County for one dollar an hour. Oklahoma summers are brutal, and temperatures were above 100 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks at a time.
Hoeing peanuts is hot, tedious work. If a government agent had offered me $1.25 an hour not to hoe peanuts, I would have accepted that offer.
Thus, I sympathize with American workers who prefer enhanced unemployment benefits to frying burgers for $8 an hour. Who would willingly take a pay cut for the privilege of working a menial job?
Nevertheless, I think it is time for Americans to go back to work. Why?
First, it is well known that the likelihood of getting a good job goes down the longer someone is out of the workforce. And that is true whether you are a fast-food restaurant employee or a lawyer.
People lose work skills if they are unemployed for an extended time, and long periods of joblessness are hard to explain to a prospective employer. A "gap year" is easily explained; a "gap decade," not so much
Second, the longer you stay away from the workplace, the more likely your employer will discover that it doesn't need you. In fact, I think a lot of employers realized during the pandemic that they were overstaffed.
Finally, unemployed people miss out on the nonmonetary benefits of going to work. Employed people learn all kinds of skills that are transferable to other jobs. They learn time-management skills, people skills, and various mechanical skills as well.
Besides, you are more likely to meet Mr. or Ms. Right if you have a job--another nonmonetary benefit of working. Who wants to form a long-term relationship with someone who watches television all day?
You may be saying to yourself that it is easy for me to urge people to get back to work because I am retired. And that's a good point.
But I have made my living as a writer, and I still write every day, and I still work as a volunteer editor for a couple of research journals. I think I am healthier--both physically and mentally--due to having daily work tasks.
Besides, I never took up golf.
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