Sunday, July 31, 2011

Unemployment and Work

Unemployment and Work

By Keith Bunn Jr.
July 31, 2011


According to Google Public Data Explorer, unemployment in the U.S. in the month of May 2011 was at 9.1%. In my home state of Michigan it was at 10.3% for the same month. That doesn’t sound too bad. What!? How can you say that!?  Well, look at it this way. According to, the U.S. population is about 310 million people. That means, just a little over 28 million people or 9.1% are unemployed. That would also mean that about 282 million or 90.9% of Americans are employed. The same goes for Michigan. According to, the population of Michigan is just over 10 million people. That means, just over 1 million people or 10.3% are unemployed. This again also means that just over 9 million or 89.7% of the Michigan people are employed. If you took a test and got a 90.9% or 89.7% right, wouldn’t that be like an A and B? Wouldn’t you have taken an A or B in high school? I would have been ecstatic!!
Look, I don’t like that people are unemployed, but we’re never going to see 0% unemployment state or country wide. In fact, the lowest percentage we’ve seen was 2.6% in 1953 for the U.S. and 3.3% in 2000 for Michigan. The worst we’ve seen was in December 1982 for the U.S. at 10.8% and Michigan’s highest point was in July 2009 at 14% according to the Google Public Data Explorer.
On top of that, a resent study was just released stating that in 2009, entrepreneur activity rose to its highest rate in 14 years. Normally when someone starts their own business, they do it because they were laid off and can’t find work all the while they are considered unemployed and receiving an unemployment check. What I’m saying is, maybe our country’s 9.1% or Michigan’s 10.3% are not accurate numbers due to the fact that those entrepreneurs have not been counted as employed. So things are getting better. We have to start thinking about things from more than one point of view. If there is anything I’ve learned in the past few years is that there is always more than one way of looking at things.


Most of the blogs I’ve posted to date are based on the outgo portion of our finances, but there is another side to it, the income side. The income side is just as important as the outgo side. Because lets face it, sometimes we just need to have a more money coming in. I mean, when your budget is down to the bare bones and you still can’t take care of the necessities of life (food, shelter, clothing, transportation and utilities), then its quite possible you either need a second, part time job or a better first job. Now, do I think that all our problems will be solved when we get a bigger income? Absolutely not! Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge. Too many times I’ve seen family and friends get more money coming in and all they do is increase their lifestyle. Additional income is only the answer if properly applied to your finances. Meaning, applying it in a way that you and your family benefits from it, like catching up your mortgage or rent so you’re not evicted or foreclosed on, paying down your debt so you reduce risk in your families’ financial world, etc…
Like I said, sometimes all we need to start changing our lives is some part time income. For some of you, an extra $1000 a month would absolutely change your lives, but I think sometimes egos get in the way of doing the right things to start winning with money and they won’t take a job like a cashier, deliver news papers or pizzas. I heard this story sometime ago where this big time white collar executive, who was in charge of training people in the company he was working for, found himself in a bunch of debt. Deciding that he needed to clean up his mess, he bit the bullet and got a job delivering pizzas at night. One of the most embarrassing times he had delivering pizzas was when he had to deliver a pizza to someone he was training at work. Don’t let pride get in your way of winning.
So what do we do if a part time job is not the answer? What kind of new job should we get that will pay more? Well, I would suggest that you look inward for that answer. Ask yourself, “what do I like to do?”, “how can I make money doing that?” I heard of a guy who liked to play golf. He went around garage and yard sales and bought used golf clubs. He would then clean them up and sell them on EBay and in one year he made $2 million just because he found out how to take something he liked and made money doing it.
But figuring out what you like and how to make money doing it is just part of the thought process. As Dan Miller, the author of the book 48 days to the Work You Love, suggests that the jobs we have should blend with our skills, abilities, personality traits, values, dreams and passions. If they don’t, then we’re going to be unhappy in our work no matter how much we make. To give you an example. The band Def Leppard  had a guitarist by the name of Steve Clark. After the band made it big in the 80’s with several number one hits, it was reported that on several occasions Steve would be found in the rest room before going out on stage for a concert, smacking his fingers on a sink trying to break them so he wouldn’t have to go out on stage to play. By the band’s 5th album, Steve Clark died from an accidental mix of alcohol and prescription drugs in 1991. Someone who knew Steve said that he had never seen a more unhappy millionaire. That’s sad, but do you want to hear the exact opposite of that? Gene Simmons, a vocalist and bass guitarist for the band Kiss, was reported saying that in all his years of being in the band, he has never taken a vacation because he loves what he does. So what’s the message here?
Being unemployed sucks, but it’s not as bad as the news media is telling us. If you have lost your job or about to, cut your life style down and start figuring out what you want to do with your life. Maybe your job lose is a blessing in disguise. It maybe God pushing you in the direction you were meant to go and then get about doing that. When you find work that you love to do that blends your skills, abilities, personality traits, values, dreams and passions, it will no longer be work, instead it will be a vocation that has turned into a vacation. You will wake up every morning with all kinds of energy and not dreading having to go to work whether you are working for someone else or working for yourself.
This is an awesome quote from Calvin Coolidge that I’d like to share.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  

Get to the business of finding the work you love. It will not only benefit you and your family, but I’ll bet that others around you will benefit from it too.

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