How It Works

I have not been nearly as active on my blog over the past 2 weeks, primarily due to some changes in employment.  In my life I have run an outsourcing call center (and every department within it while working towards the throne), and managed a hotel.  I have a solid sense of business operations, and a very out of the box approach to operating business.  I am no risk taker, but will confidently proceed by the tenet of “I’d rather ask forgiveness than permission.”  Without a little ingenuity you will never get anywhere.

Regardless, the hotel industry (as it turns out) is as tumultuous and unruly as the outsourcing call center industry was.  I am very comfortable in fast paced and challenging situations (or would have never accepted a job as a GM of a hotel with no hotel experience).  But after a couple of years the hotel ownership changed.  And, as is typical in such situations, the GM position was eliminated so the new owners could “run the hotel”.

After about a week of not having a job, I was approached by a local business leader asking if I would be interested in working for them on a commission only basis.  Their budget is tight (as is everyone else’s), and the clientele has been diminished due to high turnover, not to mention the economy.  There is no client caseload to work beyond what is already being worked, which represents the best clients of prior employees who were part of that rapid turnover.  All my income would come from my own prospecting for the most part (meaning no income until I build my own clientele).  I told them I would meet with them on it later that day.

I researched it a bit, because honestly I cannot accept a job that will not pay anything at all without other income.  My primary concern is how commission only work, when no income is made, effects unemployment benefits.  I found that the following is reported on the Texas Workforce website:

How do I report Pay Rate for commission or self-employment? 

  • If you are self-employed, report your profits. This is the net amount you make above your expenses. If you worked but do not have profits to report, indicate the number of hours worked and report zero dollars ($0) earned.
  • If you earned commissions, enter the total of commissions AND any earnings in Pay Rate and select Commission/Other from the drop-down box on the right. If you worked but do not have commissions to report, indicate the number of hours worked and report zero dollars ($0) earned.
  • Report all earnings for the week in which you earn them, not when the employer pays you.
  • Report your total earnings before deductions (gross pay), not your “take home” pay.
  • You can adjust the estimated amount after your employer pays you if necessary by calling a TWC Tele-Center.

At this location.

I then consulted with the local office and am told that yes, it is true that if you work for commission (or are self employed) but have no earnings, you are eligible for full benefits.  You can earn up to $100 before benefits are reduced.  This seems like a decent safety net, and allows me to learn a new business unit and industry.  Even if it isn’t intended for long term (obviously I have a few lines in the water at all times right now), I see it as a good way to make work and build a local, struggling business (which really is critical for the area) with my efforts.  Most important to me, I am not just sitting around the house being unproductive.

What they failed to tell me is that by reporting that I had worked 4o hours, it disqualified me.  To be honest, I am working quite a bit more than 40 hours to make this work, and investing my own personal (and highly limited) cash into gas and other business related expense).  Because of the honesty, along with the fact that I put forth an effort into making this job work,  I am now a “full time employee”.  Even though I have yet to have any income (I spent $90 on gas today and yesterday so I could earn a $40 commission in 11 more days….the going is tough right now in the beginning and the account will  more than likely yield over the next several months) and may not have any real income for another 11 days as I am only paid once I have collected.

It is of course maddening to deal with such bureaucracy.   And it is more than disappointing to find that you are going to be several hundred dollars short of meeting your budgeted household needs.  Such challenges are part of life, no matter how much it sucks.   So, from that perspective anyway, this is just another ripple to wade through.

But the most disappointing thing is what happened when I called to find out why they had unwritten rules about how they paid me my money.  I was told that perhaps if my employer would cut my hours it would help fill the gap (in short).  Basically, work less so you can take more from us.

At this point it all became clear to me.  The purpose is not what I had thought it was.  Obviously, it is not set up for the people who work to succeed.  That benefits no one but The People.  No, the system is designed to help The Government.  We are encouraged to take benefits from them.

I was reminded of how often, while running a call center, I would have a young mother who would tell me that it was better, financially, for her to not work and get welfare.  And I have seen many times someone who makes less than $1200 a month be told they make too much to qualify for aid to get basic dental work done on their kids or help with school lunches.

We are encouraged to suck from the government teat. The desire to create and innovate is waning in America, replaced by a Big Brother that wants to placate and control.  In most states it starts at birth.  In Texas it is WIC (Womens, Infants, and Childrens) Program.  While participants are theoretically encouraged from all walks of life, in reality it is only those frugal enough to accept free government vouchers for things like apple juice and baby formula.  It is a great program, ensuring a minimal dietary quality for many kids who otherwise may not have even half of their true daily needs met.  Poor parenting is definitely very hard to see.

But this encouraging of reliance upon government assistance and intervention is alarming.  As a person who has a work ethic, and is proud to work hard to achieve (to an almost fanatical competitiveness), it was among the most insulting things I could imagine to suggest that I now have to choose between my dignity and feeding my family.  And if this choice must be made, why it cannot be part of the written policies that are published (and smugly referred to by the supervisor at the TWC call center) online.

So that is how it works.  This is what our nation has become.  For Big Brother to work properly, you must rely on him.  Otherwise he is more like an obnoxious landlord.  And there is only so much money available in that.

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5 Responses to “How It Works”

  1. Theology Of Good Works Says:

    […] How It Works « Bigfatfurrytexan […]

  2. Jan Bushong Says:

    Thanks to the Rush Limbaugh wannabees this sort of talk is usually taken for granted.

  3. Arletta Deetz Says:

    Thanks to the Glen Beck wannabees this stuff is sometimes taken as fact.

  4. Stanford Rombough Says:

    I’ve come too far to accept to the demands of the republican fringe!

  5. Gus Severyn Says:

    Useful information as per usual, ty. I do hope this kind of thing gets more exposure.

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