Friday, April 11, 2008

And That Book’s Closed

Today was my last day at work, and once I handed over my security badge around two in the afternoon I officially ceased to be a staff writer for the Advocate. My boss handed in his badge about ten minutes later, and in retrospect I kind of wish I’d let him go first so that when we were out drinking later I might’ve said “Ha! I outlasted you there.” On the other hand, that would’ve been rude. (Bear in mind I drink so rarely that I’m a total lightweight when I do.)

The first thing I did after becoming unemployed today was walk into the sales office, remove something from the supply drawer, hold it up and announce “As a non-employee, I am not entitled to this Bic pen but I’m taking it anyway and I’m not giving it back.” And I didn’t, because I am a badass. I also consumed company coffee while making photocopies on company paper with company ink on the company Xerox machine. My Boss-Who’s-Keeping-His-Job took me out to lunch, and when we returned to the office I almost reached for my badge to let us in before remembering I no longer had one.

The few members of the editorial staff whose jobs survived the downsizing epidemic chipped in to buy me the most thoughtful present I’ve ever received from someone who wasn’t either sleeping with me or hoping to do so: a framed and mounted copy of the cover from my phone sex story and a bottle of chocolate booze, which I’d mentioned drinking in the story before actually working the sex line. (Except I drank the cheap stuff, whereas my colleagues bought me Godiva.)

I should probably tell you it’s illegal to click on those last two links unless you’re over 21. In fact, I should probably have mentioned that before embedding said links.

Anyway, I have a couple of feelers out, and sent a few snail- and e-mail applications already. Meanwhile, I need a proper libertarian justification for going on unemployment. Right now I’m going with “Well, my employer had to pay the premiums anyway, and if they hadn’t done that they’d’ve given the money to me instead,” except I know I’m lying. So I’ll stick with “The HR lady told me to file and said the company wouldn’t contest it” accompanied by “I’m all for standing on principle, but not to the point of being a damned martyr about it.” If y’all can think of anything better, please do tell me here.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a Tibor Machan quote about it being OK to accept government benefits, as long as you don't lobby for them:

"Getting benefits from a bad practice or institution is only wrong if one supports it and isn't willing to give it up once it is abolished"

So start your parasitic existence guilt-free!

7:23 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Good call, Anonymous! Although I'm still in the market for an excuse with a little more "oomph," like "Collecting unemployment will divert funds from this immoral war in Iraq or over-aggressive SWAT team activities." Although once again I know I'm lying. What I'd really, really like is some way of rationalizing this so that collecting government benefits for up to six months makes me some sort of kickass libertarian heroine.

7:45 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

some sort of kickass libertarian heroine.

Geez, you want it all! ;-)

I don't know about libertarian or heroine, but how about this: Un-employment is an insurrance policy that you and/or your employer were forced to buy. DAMNED right you should collect when you satisfy the requirements! People are forced to pay taxes, too. Do you feel guilty when you take a deduction that others can't take, or when you get a refund? Do you feel guilty if you pay less tax than others?

Personally I'd rather have a job than the un-employment benefits, but you shouldn't feel bad about collecting them. More than likely, over the course of your working lifetime, you and/or your employers will pay in a hell of alot more than you will ever collect.

1:36 PM  
Blogger BakedPenguin said...

If libertarians* had their way, all government spending would be what, between 2-5% of the economy?

We get what 30-45% of our money taxed from us? To pay for programs we totally disagree with? I see no shame in getting that money back, with the Machan disclaimers mentioned above.


*For the sake of argument, let's say "minarchists".

7:19 PM  
Anonymous A Moose said...

...makes me some sort of kickass libertarian heroine.

And what scurvy bastard led you to believe you were not some sort of kickass libertarian heroine?

3:44 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

Jennifer,
If they paid unemployment bennies in real money (ya know, the kind backed with something of value like silver, gold or oil), you might have reason to feel guilty.

Since they are handing out fiat money, take it without shame and spend it quickly while the rubes, I mean stores, still assign a value to it.

I am reminded of an old Soviet era joke: "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work."

10:13 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

PS: I agree with A Moose. You are a libertarian superheroine.

(Only a few of us know your secret identity as The CopperTop, but you can trust us to keep your secret.)

2:33 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Damned Kryptonite.

4:01 PM  

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