Monday, July 25, 2011

Interview With First Person To Become Unemployed In the Great Recession 2008- ?

Cletus Ellett Tells All

[Editor’s Note: Extensive research has determined that Mr. Cletus Ellett of Dolesville, Tennessee was the first person to be laid off from his job as a result of the Great Recession.  Still unemployed, Mr. Ellett agreed to an exclusive interview with The Dismal Political Economist.]

  1. What was your job before you were laid off?

Mr. Ellett - Outstanding in His Field

Mr. Ellett:  I was a line supervisor for the Acme Corporation.  We make mail order kits for catching Road Runners.  One day in early 2008 I was called into the manager’s office and told that my job was being eliminated because they didn’t need to produce so many kits.

  1. What was the process of your layoff?

Mr. Ellett:  I was paid up until noon, and then I got to use my unpaid lunch hour to clean out my locker.  I  went to a seminar with the Human Resources Outplacement Team entitled, “Your Great New Future Working for Someone Else” where they explained how strong my future was in a new, high paying job with some other company.

  1. Did they give you any advice or help on finding a new job?

Mr. Ellett:  They gave me a card with this e-mail address.  They said I could send an e-mail to the Outplacement Service any time, and I would get an automated response within 72 hours.

  1. Did you get any financial settlement?

Mr. Ellett:  They said they would pay me for unused vacation, because they had to under the law.  They told me somebody named COBRA would let me continue my health insurance, but I would have to pay $1,373 every month if I wanted health insurance and if I applied for unemployment insurance I could get $284.50 a week to help pay that bill.  I also got a company pen, but to tell the truth they didn’t give it to me, I took it when I left the Seminar.  I didn’t take the pad, however, that just didn’t seem right.

  1. How has your job search been going?

Mr. Ellett:  It seems the only people hiring are the Outplacement Groups because demand for their services is so strong.  I applied with a couple, but it turns out they don’t need line supervisors.

  1. How difficult have your finances been?

Mr. Ellett:  Well they re-possessed the house, turns out somebody named Jeffrey T. Spaulding  in England bought my mortgage and when I tried to talk with him and see if he would give us some more time, it turned out nobody knew who he was or where he was.  We rent a trailer, use food stamps, go to the free clinic, get additional food from the food bank and were doing okay until the unemployment ran out. 

Q. What happened with your old company?

Mr. Ellett:  They had a great year. After they laid off one third of the work force all the executives got big bonuses.  I know because the President of the company told me about it when he was telling me how he wished he had all that free time that I now had.  I told him I hoped he would have all that free time soon too, but apparently he didn't get it, because he thanked me for that thought.
  1. So What is Your Biggest Financial Concern?

Mr. Ellett:  The federal deficit.  Me and my family can get by, but I sure do worry about the size of the deficit.  That, and the situation in Greece.  And my biggest concern is that they want to raise taxes on Hedge Fund managers, I mean, how unfair is that?

  1. Really?

Mr. Ellett:  No, I was just messing with you.  Everyone I know is only concerned about jobs.  We just sit around and wonder why the government doesn’t know that.

  1. So how do you make ends meet now?

Mr. Ellett:  I'm a thief.  I steal. I found out that rich people have a lot of money and stuff, and so I steal from the rich.

  1. Oh, like Robin Hood and then do you give it to the poor?

Mr. Ellett:  No, I keep it.  I am the poor.

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