On Unemployment

Ever since a shaggy, beetle-browed caveman discovered the importance of trade, we’ve had the problem of unemployment.

Theoretically, the perfect society would be one in which every man has a job producing something of benefit on which he would receive a fair return in the form of wages. But the fact is, even in our free enterprise system (which is unquestionably the best system going), we are always going to have people who are unemployed.

Even during periods of boom and high prosperity, we are going to have a certain percentage of people out of work. Between these waves of boom, we are going to have make-up periods to unstuff the pipelines and even things out. This is perfectly natural and to be expected. And it is during these lulls in the economic scene, which overall is an upward climb, that we read and hear about the great numbers of unemployed.

This is a situation with which we have to live. And we’re going to continue to live with it for some time in the future.

But I want to make a point here. While a statistical group is always unemployed, no one individual in that group has to remain unemployed.

By this, I mean that I believe any given individual can get himself out of any particular group by his own efforts. They’re not all going to do it because that’s the way people are, but any one person can. He can think of ways to get himself gainfully employed, if he’ll think, if he’ll do some studying and research, and above all, if he’ll stop being socially-directed and become inner-directed. That is, if he’ll quit just going along with his crowd, doing whatever they’re doing, suffering when they suffer, and eating when they eat.

When you just blindly follow the crowd, and this applies as much to a company as it does to an individual, you’re running a calculated risk.

If everything goes along all right, you’re fairly safe. But when things get rough, as they will be from time to time, you’re in the same boat with everybody else.

One of the problems is the tendency of people to rest on their oars during good times, assuming that their prosperity is really nothing more than they deserve. And then, when a little economic storm comes up, they find themselves in the middle of the lake.

Good times are times to build, to plan, to work at gathering the harvest, to build a firm and solid foundation under your house and your life.

Then you’re pretty well set no matter what comes up.

Here’s an interesting little sidelight on this unemployment thing. It is said that even in areas hardest hit, the employment offices are jammed on Mondays, fewer show up on Tuesdays, still fewer on Wednesdays, hardly anyone shows up on Thursdays, and, on Fridays, the places are practically deserted. This would seem to indicate that a big percentage of the unemployed don’t even want to put in a forty-hour week looking for work.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m as concerned about the unemployment situations when they come up as anybody else. All I’m saying is that when a person finds himself on the outside looking in, he should examine himself, his experience, background, and abilities, and try to come up with a workable solution for himself. Not just sit down and holler for help because that happens to be what the rest of the boys are doing.

You see, when a man begins to think, he is really becoming a man.

Ask yourself right now, “What would I do if my income just stopped?” See if you can come up with three, four, maybe ten possible solutions. These are interesting mental problems, and the answers might amaze you.

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