Here we go again. Awhile back I wrote about how people were buying bottled water, dumping it outside the store, and then taking the cash back in so they can buy cigarettes or booze. Another guy tried it here in Maine and he was unaware that it’s become a crime.
As I’ve noted in the past I have no problem with people who legitimately need assistance, but when you get folks like this guy who purposefully waste money so they can get a pack of smokes it gets my dander up. Here’s my opinion on the matter: if you need to be on assistance then you don’t have the time or money for an addictive habit. Illegal drugs, cigarettes, or alcohol should not be a part of your expenditures during this time. Hey, if you have a job and you’re supporting yourself and your family and you’re an alcoholic have at it. I feel sorry for you, but I’m not going to be the one telling you how to live your life.
However, if you’re on government assistance then every spare nickel needs to go towards feeding your kids and yourself as much nutritious food as you can. Again, this should be considered a transition time even if it takes a couple of years while you work towards a better life.
As some of you may remember years ago I decided to clean up my credit card debt. It took five years of not spending to get those damned cards paid off. Was it easy? Hell no, it sucked major ass. But by buckling down and not buying anything, putting myself on a strict budget, and working my tail off I did it. It’s easy to say, but much harder to do. Point is I understand about giving things up in order to accomplish a goal, so don’t think I’m talking out of my ass here.
And to be fair there are good people who are working towards a better future. I know that some of you have used the program in the past or due to current economic trouble you may be utilizing assistance right now. That’s ok. My beef is when people make a lifestyle out of it or abuse it. But that can be expected when the government makes it easier to stay home than to go looking for a minimum wage job. I personally know people who would rather have another kid to get more money than to go looking for a job.
There are reports of young men here in Maine – in their early 20’s – who get the SNAP benefits, but don’t need it. They work under the table and collect the benefits and then turn around and sell the food they don’t need. This gives them the money they need to go out partying every weekend.
Is there no pride left in our young men? When I graduated school in 1982 there weren’t many jobs to be had in the civilian sector, so I did what thousands of other young men have done throughout history – I joined the service. The Marine Corps gave me a sense of belonging, pride, a platoon of brothers, skills, and a sense of belonging. And one of the biggest lessons I learned in the Corps was to take responsibility for my actions.
These days you hear stories about the younger generation living in basements playing X-box or couch surfing at friend’s houses until they get kicked out and move on to the next place. I know things are tough out there. Reading Calamity’s recent post about poverty you get an idea of just how dismal the picture really is; however, there are ways to support yourself as opposed to going the easy route and getting a free lunch. Especially if you’re single. Kids complicate things, but if you’re young and single there’s no reason you can’t get out there and find a job. It might not be glamorous and it might not start you out at $100k a year, but any job you take is worth doing to the best of your ability.
After You Get the Job
Once you actually land the position show up on time, dress for the job, be polite, be respectful, don’t screw off. If you see something that needs to be done do it. This accomplishes three things: 1) Time goes by faster when you’re busy 2) The job gets done in a more efficient manner, and 3) Some one will be watching you and taking notes even if you don’t see them doing it. Pretty soon you’ll be the go-to guy or gal and guess what? You’ll start moving up the ladder. You’ll get more pay, more responsibility and more training. You’ll become a more responsible individual and the whole process will repeat itself.
I listened to Tony Robbins one time and while I didn’t agree with some of what he said, he did say one thing that made sense to me and I paraphrase here: “Once you have set a goal do one small thing to achieve that goal. Make a phone call, write a letter, talk to your boss, have that conversation with your spouse, write the email, whatever it is, take one small step every day. Do 1% of the task every day and soon you’ll have accomplished 100% of that goal.”
It’s not the easiest road to travel. It’s much harder going to work than it is staying home, but if you force yourself to do it eventually it will become a habit. A good habit.
Once you’ve got that habit down pat then eventually success will come knocking at your door. All you have to do is open it.