You haven’t worked in almost two years. Time that has been either spent in the house amusing yourself or online playing games and exploring the virtual world. You have been compensated by so many county, state and federal programs you have not been concerned with paying rent, utilities or grocery bills. However, there is trouble on the horizon. The safety net you’ve enjoyed is beginning to disappear. Starting with the cessation of extra benefits at the federal level, your direct deposits are scaling back. What do you do? They certainly don’t expect you to get a job, do they? Why would they have bestowed to you these benefits for over 18 months if they expected you to work? After much contemplation, you decided that the best course of action will be to go find more benefits. You head out into the world to fulfill this quest. You approach a government building. You push the doorbell. The door opens and you ask the person standing at the door, “Where do I get additional monthly benefits?”
You continue to ask people this question and they direct you to various rooms where you can sign up for various programs. One woman even gives you her employee badge so that you may go into the system directly. You thank her and she replies, “No, Thank YOU! We have a brand-new member now!” You make note that this is not the same response as before.
In fact, they are downright friendly to you. The family that was giving you hassle when you first got off the bus has gone inside. You can hear them having fun in the video arcades. If you had stayed, they would have started throwing you pennies.
You enter the system. You are handed a badge, told what time to be in and where to report on your first day. You make note that there are cameras all around the building. They will no doubt see you on the security cameras entering and exiting the building with your new badge. After a few weeks of this routine, you are working in a new department.
But wait, you did not want to work. You just want free benefits.
You realize that you shouldn’t have accepted this position. You want free benefits, and this is how you are going to get them? You can’t believe you fell for their routine so completely.
A few months pass and you get a call from the human resources department. You sit down in the little conference room for a familiar routine. You look at the huge gift basket on the table. You haven’t gotten any benefits in over a year, and they know it. They also know that you won’t be seeking any type of employment. They would like to offer you a “gift”, but under no circumstances is this to be treated as a bribe or reward. It is simply a “good will” gesture toward your years of dedicated service.
You have not agreed to this meeting to try to gain any sort of special consideration. You have simply agreed to it so that you may continue to receive your free benefits.
You are under no obligation to accept and have told them as much. They are careful in their response.
THEY: Thank you for being a valued customer for over fifteen years. We want to make sure that you will not suffer in the transition to a new welfare program. If you accept our generous offer of a one-time payment in the amount of three hundred dollars, we can assure you that you will never have to worry about money again.
YOU: (sarcastically) That’s great! I’ll just be leaving soon anyway.
THEY: (smiling) No, but you will have enough money for basic needs and can pursue an education or begin a new career.
YOU: (dubious) What’s in it for you?
THEY: (smiling) You are a valued customer and we want to continue to serve your needs.
YOU: This seems like an odd way of showing it.
THEY: (smiling) But that’s why it’s a goodwill gesture, to you as well as to you as an employee.
You have a choice here. You can accept their benefits for now and stop looking for work for as long as you want. You’ll also get a small raise in pay. This would be a small amount of money, but you’re used it that. You’d also basically be working for free while they continue to hire and train your replacement. This would all stop if you found work elsewhere.
You can decline their generous offer and get a severance package from their HR department. This would be much smaller and you’d have to quickly find work to avoid falling into hardship.
You can also refuse both offers. This will end your relationship with the company and result in you filing for unemployment after you leave. You’ll be able to easily find new work, but you’ll go without for quite some time.
You can choose to silently weep or curse the company out. Either way, this meeting is over.