The Daily Post’s daily prompt today was “I am a Rock.” We were encouraged to write about asking for help. If you’d like to read more about this prompt, check out their blog post: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/daily-prompt-self/
I Need Help
I’m not one to ask for help. I’m more the type that would rather bury herself in a pile of paperwork at work, heap one too many to-do list items at home, and end up a frazzled, weepy mess by Friday than dare ask anyone to lend a hand. Which is why it’s a bit out of character for me to request help now. But I need it. I need help making sense of those who ask for and/or accept help a bit too freely. And by “ask for and/or accept help a bit too freely” I mean “take advantage.”
I grew up in a world where hard work led to accomplishments led to reward. Succeeding in school was non-negotiable. Anyone who wasn’t a student worked and everyone who worked made a decent living. In all fairness, I also grew up in a world where the average house didn’t have internet so it’s hard to know what life was like outside of my bubble of family and friends. But it sure seemed like life was a lot different.
Today, people have an air of entitlement and finding loopholes and/or cheating the system is the norm. Maybe it’s due to the economic downturn. Maybe the moral compass of our society is out of whack. Maybe both. Our government dishes out all kinds of help which—don’t get me wrong—is an important safety net to help families who have hit hard times. But it’s hard to keep that positive outlook about that help when I have seen (both in my professional and personal life) that very help fostering laziness and reliance on the system.
Unemployment vs Working
When the economy tanked, so did the job market. Lots of people lost money, their jobs, their ability to support themselves. And the government started writing paychecks. People accepted that help because they needed it. The recession has been a black cloud hovering over our country for several years. So long, in fact, that the maximum length of time that a citizen can collect unemployment was extended. A couple of times, I believe. But there are no checks and balances. I’ve seen people happily collect unemployment without so much as submitting a single resume or filling out a single application. I’ve seen people purposely botch interviews—or blow them off completely—and turn down job offers so as to stay on unemployment. I’ve seen people purposely under-perform at work to get fired so they can collect unemployment. I’ve seen people quit their jobs and be granted unemployment. Meanwhile, I’ve also seen single moms work multiple jobs to support their kids on their own. And I’ve seen gainfully employed people earning less than those collecting unemployment. And I’ve seen “help wanted” signs at dozens of places around town. So I need help understanding why some people no longer value hard work and how exactly the current unemployment policies are meant to help.
It ain’t cheap. But being uninsured can be even more expensive if you need to see a doctor. So my husband Chris and I are certain that we maintain coverage for us and our newest addition. Thankfully, Chris’ employer not only offers a policy but also pays a portion of the premium. The balance of the cost is deducted from his pay. In addition to paying part of the premium, we are responsible for what the policy says insurance doesn’t cover. We, like everyone else I know who has health insurance, must pay copays and deductibles and coinsurance. And, of course, we must follow certain guidelines to be sure that our claims are paid. From what I can tell, insurance companies have done their very best to make the whole process as confusing as possible. But what about those people who receive their health coverage from the state? I’ve seen some use state insurance to help support their prescription medication addictions. I’ve seen some pop into the ER for minor ailments that would be more (cost-) effectively treated by a primary care physician. I’ve also seen gainfully employed people who are unable to afford health coverage. And I’ve seen people with health coverage incur crippling debt from medical services that aren’t covered in full—or at all—by their policy. So I need help understanding why we aren’t all afforded the same coverage currently only made available to those who can’t afford to buy their own policy.
I maintain that if I had done my due diligence and researched the cost of daycare prior to deciding to start a family, Rylin wouldn’t be here. When I was pregnant, Chris and I began discussing our expectations for childcare, as one of us not working just wasn’t an option financially. I pictured her in a daycare center—one with brightly colored cubbies, certified teachers, and a pre-school curriculum. And then we began pricing said daycare centers. Some of them had a monthly rate higher than our mortgage payment. Not an exaggeration. So we began looking into a more economical option: home daycare. We lucked out. We found a home daycare provider who we like, who only somewhat breaks the bank, and we never question that Rylin receives quality care. Still, as long as I’m speaking honestly, if money were no object I’d have her in a center. But did you know that there is a government-funded program that subsidizes childcare costs at the daycare of your choice? I absolutely understand the necessity of the program (and wish that Chris and I qualified!). And you wouldn’t think there’s a reason to cheat this program, right? Well, I’ve seen parents apply—and qualify!—for assistance despite the fact that one parent is unemployed and fully capable of caring for the child. I’ve also seen parents limit their family size because they can’t afford childcare for another child. So I need help understanding why the burden of childcare costs—and regardless of your income, it is an adjustment!—is only alleviated for some but not all. And more importantly, I need help understanding why any parent capable of providing “daycare” to their own child would opt to send him or her off to a daycare provider instead!
It sickens me to see that so many people have complete disregard for their responsibility and a lack of appreciation for the help they are afforded and/or respect for the government that gives it to them. Those that cheat the system will eventually ruin it for the people who actually need the help and use the help as intended. The fact that some people seem to take pleasure in lying, cheating, and getting everything handed to them boggles my mind and leaves me feeling jaded. And I need help restoring my faith in humandkind.