Wrestling With The Angels

‘Jacob Wrestling with the Angel’ by Gustave Doré [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AJacob-angel.jpg)

It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to write. I’m been busy giving away the last of my belongings. Yes, you heard that right but I’m not going to write about that today: that’s a post for another day. I want to share with you my take on what happened recently.

I want to expand a bit more on what I raised in an earlier post. The recent events with my family is actually an example of what is wrong with that part of the social safety net that is supposed to help the unemployed and homeless.

I strongly believe some of the people who have tried to help me in the past, such as some members of my family and the past four employment assistance centres I’ve worked with, are good people and don’t like seeing me where I am right now. That demonstrates the best in human nature and I am grateful these angels of mercy are trying to help me.

Having said this, good intentions does not mean a good understanding of how to fix the problem I’m in. While I’m always willing to accept help that offers temporary relief and support, the one thing — something I’ve repeated often in my blog, my videos and my ads — is to find work. I don’t want to receive handouts forever. I don’t want people to offer me places to couchsurf forever. I want a job and sometimes I can’t seem to get that point across to those trying to help me, and I end up getting into an emotional wrestling match with these angels. I want help in getting my problem fixed, not mask the symptoms to this problem.

So why am I getting frustrated to the point of friction about finding a job? Why does it appear — even though in fact it is not — that I’m biting the helping hand?

To answer that, let me explain what the positive benefits of having a job:

Financial self-sufficiency – I can take care of myself by paying the rent and bills and not depend on the kindness of friends, families, and even strangers to cover that.

Giving back and not taking – I’m contributing to the social programs that make Canada a great country. By working, I’m doing my part to keep businesses going through healthy consumerism that keeps other people employed. The taxes taken off a full-time paycheque go to maintaining the basic infrastructure that is necessary for a stable Canada. It pays for the retirement of those elderly who are not working. I’m not a drain but a benefit.

Psychological benefit – Working is not just earning a paycheque. I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. It also gives social contact with other people who start off as co-workers but could become friends down the road. Some people who I still call friends to this day were either co-workers or a former employer. Being unemployed is a lonely experience and some of these generous angels don’t seem to understand the psychological damage it does. They misread my frustration, my anger and despair as some sort of betraying reprisal.

Advance in my future employment endeavours – Down the road, if I am working and I do a great job of doing so, I’ll get promoted, which means an improved ROI for the company I work for, and more revenue for the government to spend on social programs.

Now, let’s get back to what I said before about this frustration being a symptom of a breakdown in the system that is supposed to get people back on their feet. I mentioned before we have people assigned to helping those out of work and the homeless who have no previous background experience. They’ve never been homeless and slept on buses, fast food restaurants, or in a park like I have. They’ve never had to couchsurf. They’ve never viewed $20 as a lot of money like I now do. They’ve never lost hope. They’ve never wonder if there was a way out of the trap they are in. They want to help but they don’t how to fix the problem.

That’s where the malfunction is, and why I’m wrestling with angels.

Thanks for reading.



2 thoughts on “Wrestling With The Angels

  1. Enjoyed reading your article. I can – somewhat – appreciate where you’re coming from as a good friend of mine has been in much the same boat for a couple of years now. He’s now working as a flagger on road work sites & construction projects until something better opens up.
    It wasn’t difficult for him to get into this type of work.
    Another ‘easy entry’ kind of work which can sometimes pay cash daily (nice !) is driving taxi. The licensing is pretty easy & the schedules are really flexible, I’ve found. I started driving a cab after retiring a few years ago. The money isn’t great but it sure helps.

    1. I apologize for the late reply. I had a house-sitting gig in Toronto and I just got back yesterday.

      There are times like this I regretted not learning to drive. I never thought I needed it since I lived in Toronto during the time and the TTC, for all its faults, got me around town. The number of times I did not get an interview for a job opening because I did not drive is huge.

      Like your friend, I’m willing to do things outside my comfort zone if I have the skill sets to do them. It’s nice to see I am in good company surviving in this Age of Austerity and the jobless recovery.

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