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OddTod Laid Low by the Law 276

nickynicky9doors writes "The International Herald Tribune has a NYT article on the recent woes of Tod Rosenberg who started 'Laid Off: A Day in the Life'. Mr. Rosenberg started www.oddtodd.com to tell the tale of a laid off guy who spends days watching TV and eating chips. Oddtod became so successful Mr. Rosenberg reaped cash donations and national TV exposure. Unfortunately it also brought the attention of the Department of Labor who have explained the catch of having to be actively looking for work while collecting unemployment benefits. Another dot com bust."
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OddTod Laid Low by the Law

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  • by LightStruk ( 228264 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @01:39AM (#3076258)
    I bet the Department of Labor just wishes they were as successful as this "unemployed" guy.

    • I've been (mostly) unemployed in NYC for almost 8 months now. I've spent much of that time on a new web project:

      http://subintsoc.net [subintsoc.net]

      If someone actually buys the t-shirt we've got for sale on the site, the Dept. of Labor could come after me for making money while collecting unemployment benefits. Then again, technically, it's not a dot-com...it's a dot-net. So maybe Microsoft will come after me instead...

      If you visit, try the new do-it-yourself Terror Warning Generator! [subintsoc.net]

      And remember, Cogito Ergo Rebello...
  • by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @01:39AM (#3076260) Homepage Journal
    Couldn't he claim he was soliciting work while being on TV? That has to beat putting a "Job wanted - mows lawns, watches TV, eats chips, washes cars" ad in the local paper.

    "Will work for 15 minutes of fame"

  • Maybe if he sends the Department of Labor a box of fudge stripe cook-ayes they'll forgive him. :)
  • Is that his voice? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by svwolfpack ( 411870 )
    I would love to see a slashdot interview of todd... what i really want to know is does he really talk like that? For those of you who haven't seen it, definately check him out. I was even going to by his "Home Of The Whopper" underwear, but I had already bought my novelty clothing item of the month... So maybe later!
  • What a loser. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This guy really needs to get a real job. Director of Business Development for a dot com, huh? Good luck, sucker.
    • You know if a company goes out of business, then the Director of Business Development evidently wasn't developing enough business.
      So, not only did he have a pretend job, but it could look like he wasn't even good at it.

      I hope the cartoons work out, as he's found something he's good at.
  • wow! (Score:4, Funny)

    by flynt ( 248848 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @01:46AM (#3076281)
    "$405 a week..."

    That's about 4x as much as I make as an employed college student. Somebody sign me up for unemployment!
  • by RMSIsAnIdiot ( 556315 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @01:47AM (#3076282) Homepage
    Mr. Rosenberg started www.oddtodd.com to tell the tale of a laid off guy who spends days watching TV and eating chips.

    I didn't know CowboyNeal's first name was 'Todd'....
  • The same argument (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @01:47AM (#3076283)
    I wonder if the same argument would apply to someone collecting donations on the street. While it is likely that these people are not collecting unemployment how do they define "earning money". On the same note would gambling also be considered "earning money", I know in Canada winnings are not taxable yet there are some professional gamblers that Revenue Canada is attempting to tax due to the fact they consider it a job.
    • I do know that in Canada, people on social assistance of any sort who win large amounts of money DO NOT get to keep it (at least not all of it). The casinos here in Winnipeg actually do check to see if you're a welfare recipient if you win anything large (over $1,000?) and you don't get all, if any of it.

      Damn good idea IMHO, I've always wondered what the hell people were doing in a casino when they're so 'poor' that they need government assistance of any kind...

  • Maybe... (Score:2, Funny)

    by batobin ( 10158 )
    When unemployment dries up, and your dot-com fails, I've heard that prostitution pays off pretty well.

    Maybe he should try that?
  • Simple Solution (Score:2, Interesting)

    by matrix0040 ( 516176 )
    oh what's the problem .. put in a link to his resume on the page and then he'll be "actively" looking for a job by advertising his skills on the web ! The labor dept and everyone will be happy ! Well he might as well get a few job offers that way ;-)
  • Companies are paying attention to TV now?

    Doesn't that mean we should expect more free wifebeater t-shirts for the stars of Cops? Wouldn't it be great to see a Polo logo or a Nike Swoosh on the next drunken, pantless, 3-toothed hick?
  • by WildBeast ( 189336 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @02:05AM (#3076328) Journal
    Nobody is better at doing nothing than me. To prove my point; he's doing a show about him doing nothing while I'm doing nothing about me doing nothing.

    There, I beat him fair and square.
    • Nobody is better at doing nothing than me. To prove my point; he's doing a show about him doing nothing while I'm doing nothing about me doing nothing.



      There, I beat him fair and square.



      My flatmate beats you up, not only does he do nothing and doesn't do a show about doing nothing but he doesn't even post on slashdot about doing nothing, he just sit in front of the TV for a good deal of the day. He doesn't even do his own shopping, thanks to a broken leg. NOW, try to beat that up (humm, maybe if you have a friend in coma, or dead).

  • Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

    So this guy actually made quite a bit of money from being laid off. I suppose its only fair they take any unemployeement benefits away, being that he now successfully has a (paying) job being jobless. Saddly the people who donated money to him are probably the same people who cast their eyes away from homeless people or those who are on welfare and can't afford a computer and a web diary. Guess being in the media does pay.
    • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by delcielo ( 217760 )
      I know I'm going to get horribly flamed for this but:

      The department of labor is correct. They didn't penalize him for the 9k in tips. They busted him for not actively looking for a job, and while we don't know every minute of Todd's life, it sounds as if they may have been correct.

      Unemployment is supposed to be a crutch, not a wheelchair. If it wasn't enough to pay the rent, and he couldn't find something that did, he should move into a smaller or cheaper apartment. If he has to take a less than desirable job while he looks for one more suiting his skills, then suck it up and do it. I had to. There is no constitutional right to an easy life.

      Everybody around here is very conservative in their outlook on finanances until they get laid off. Then it's all about what they can get while they hang out waiting for their old job to come strolling by.
    • as much as oddtodd did, they would be getting more than a kick in the ass as I walk past them.

      this is advertising in it's best form - he's got talent and shows it in a form that makes people WANT to see it. I sincerly hope he gets hired... and I hope that dollar I sent him (hey that's a buck and 62 cents Canadian!) bought him another cup of java.
    • Saddly the people who donated money to him are probably the same people who cast their eyes away from homeless people or those who are on welfare

      Except, those people have no right to the money they receive. They didn't put any in. This guy is just making a withdrawl from an account he's been depositing money into for who knows how long. And, he only gets to withdraw a certain % of what he put in. It's not a hand-out.

      I have no problem with unemployment. It's the able bodied welfare recepients that have never worked a day in their life that piss me off. I say give them their free food, pay for their child care, their rent, their cable TV, whatever - but damnit, make them do something (anything) for it. Have them pick up garbage or mow taxpayer's lawns for free if you can't find something better for them to do.
  • by Freneticus ( 546178 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @02:10AM (#3076338)
    Leave it to our good ol' Merkin government to make sitting on one's ass and eating potato chips a crime punishable by back taxes.
  • by fwc ( 168330 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @02:11AM (#3076342)
    If this ever ends up in court, there is about a hundred ways that you could explain this.


    Looking at some unemployment requirements, most of them require you to be making "contacts looking for work". If his web site has had a million visitors, well I think I could argue that he's made a million potential work contacts. I suspect if times weren't so bad in his chosen field, he probably would have had dozens of job offers by now.


    After all, isn't looking for a job simply marketing? I think he's done a pretty good job at marketing, although I'm not sure what type of picture he's portrayed of himself...


    Answering emails all day could also count. Perhaps he was answering emails to prove to people he could be useful. Perhaps each email is a job contact.


    I could go on all day. Someone could really have fun with this....

    • by reemul ( 1554 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @04:51AM (#3076559)
      You're defending a guy's right to sponge off of public money and you have a .sig supporting the Libertarian party? Wow, that's irony.

      To be eligible for unemployment, one must actively seek work. Pretty simple. Just noting on a webpage that gets a lot of hits that you are out of work doesn't count, or else just posting a resume on Monster would get you max benefits. The last thing you want to do after you get caught is fight it out in court. Not only will you have zero chance of winning, you'll likely just annoy the gov't into seeking recovery of previous payments and even charging you with fraud. The real moral of this story is that if you are leeching off unemployment and aren't even using some of the tried and true dodges to pretend you are seeking work, then don't draw attention to yourself. I mean, if you can't even be bothered to give cash to a buddy with a business and have him then write you a check for the same amount as payment for a "consulting job" so that you can use the check as proof of seeking gainful employment, why should anyone care? That's just disrespectful.
  • by Caractacus Potts ( 74726 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @02:14AM (#3076351)

    You too can be a drain on society! Join one of our groups listed below. Be as funny as possible while you're at it and no one will think poorly of you.

    • 1. Rich people who file for bankruptcy
      2. Able people who file for unemployment
      3. Healthy people who abuse insurance claims
      4. Smart people who don't apply themselves

    Seriously, unemployment benefits are a lifesaver for many people who don't have the ability or the opportunity to quickly find new work. Don't be surprised if one day it gets as screwed up as medical and car insurance by people screwing the system. YOU ultimately pay for it.
    • 2. Able people who file for unemployment

      You have a problem with this?

      Newsflash: Even if a company is very interested in you, it's not at all uncommon for the interview and hiring process to take nearly a month. This isn't 1999 anymore; companies can take their time and do second interviews, interview multiple candidates, etc. If you try to be even mildly selective in where you work (for example, I want a company with reasonable long-term prospects), and it can stretch to a lot longer.

      Besides, living off of unemployment isn't exactly easy. Unemployment only supplements my meger savings -- it only covers 2/3 of my rent, and I have a lot of other bills and car payments to boot.

      So fuck you.

    • In case you haven't noticed, the economy is officially FUCKED right now... Sure, they're touting that the stock market has started the slow march to recovery, but between the market's performance and real life impact, you have upwards of 4 years (remember how long it took between Bush Sr.'s exiting the presidency, Clinton's moving in amongst the recession, and the time people actually started making money? That took almost 5 years to trickle down to the public's wallets)...

      For the most part, even if you have a degree, you will have difficulty in finding work (though marginally better than those without paperwork or specialized skills)... We had several MAJOR companies declare bankrupcy in the last 6 months, if not die outright... What does that mean? In a job market where no less than 2 years ago was booming, you now have several dozen overqualified people applying for the same job...

      On top of that, most of the things we've come to expect from the booming economy are going to suffer... From real estate through car sales, which in turn will result in a burgeoning population of "working homeless" (if you haven't been paying attention, there's several million people who *have* jobs, but cannot afford a simple home due to taking care of relatives, kids, etc, who live out of their cars, or if they're lucky enough, out of a friend's garage)...

      Everyone ultimately pays for it indirectly, but don't pretend things are as bad as they are due to a few folks who're too lazy to work, a whole lot more people exist who probably work more than you, for far less pay than you would ever expect... Work a bartending or telemarketing job sometime, your official wage will be FAR below minimum wage, and your entire well being will largely depend on tips or commissions... Hardly anything I would call lazy...

      Now if one was to blame anyone, how about the boatloads of IT experts who ultimately swamped the job markets, buying into an unstable employment situation, and spend every day online whining about how it's so hard to find work? What, you thought people were going to go ga ga over being able to order dog food online, when they could just drive to the local supermarket in 5 minutes and buy a can without paying shipping and credit card bills? Flip some burgers kiddies, learn what real work is...
    • You say that like #4 is a bad thing.
  • by dougmc ( 70836 ) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @02:24AM (#3076356) Homepage
    From History of the World, Part I [imdb.com] (and some of it's from my memory [devzero]) ...
    Dole Office Clerk: Occupation?

    Comicus: Stand up philosopher.
    Dole Office Clerk: What?
    Comicus: Stand up philosopher. I coalesce the vapors of human existence into a viable and meaningful comprehension.
    Dole Office Clerk: Oh, a BULLSHIT artist!
    *I forget what the next line was*
    Dole Office Clerk: So, did you Bullshit this week?
    Comicus: *sigh* No ...
    Dole Office Clerk: Did you try to Bullshit this week?
    Comicus: *sigh* Yes!
    Dole Office Clerk: *starts to give him money*
    *then somebody (his manager?) cries that the Emperor wants him to work the palace*
    Dole Office Clerk: Then you won't be needing this!
  • I my self was collecting unemployment from september til mid december. And remaind jobless up until just this week. I stoped collecting because i figured it would help modivate me. ive been living off left over x-mas and birthday money.

    But i have been orderd to repay my unemployment bennifits of 2,020. When i was actively searching for work. So im in the process of appealing that.

    But leave it the government to give you a helping hand and then knock you ass back down. When you decide to try and help your self.
    • A couple of years ago, I waited 8 weeks for benefits (normal wait is 4-6) while I burned through my savings that I set aside for school. During that time I had to move to a more expensive apartment. Shortly after moving, my first meager cheque arrived, adjusted for taxes, and the odd number of days left in the month. Later that week I found a job in a dodgy pharmacy pushing methodone. The place was legit, but it looked otherwise. So I figured, it's December, it's winter, I just moved, I just got my first cheque, and this "job" could dissapear; I'd be crazy to report the income. So I collected a couple more cheques until I was certain that the job was safe. Then I stopped collecting. Total money stolen: ~$1200 or about a month and a half.

      A year later and back on my feet with a real job, the unemployment thugs came after me and sent me a nasty letter asking where the money was. I ignored it and they doubled the amount I owe them, plus a hefty penalty. They basically demanded all the money back, even the money I accepted when I was properly unemployed. I "stole" $1200 and right now I owe the gov't nearly $4000.

      I'd like to know what any one of those smarmy workers at the labour board would do in the same situation. They're the biggest welfare cases of them all. Social workers are gov't subsidized workers, their salary is paid completely by the tax-payer. If that's not welfare I don't know what is. Shuffle some paper, reject an applicant, collect their cheque.
      • . . . Without this kind of theft (no, it *doesn't* belong in quotes), we could choose between larger/longer benefits, or lower taxes (higher wages).


        But this guy is more important than the rest of us, so . . .


        The disgraceful behavior by the government here isn't demanding the stolen money back, or the penalties for not responding to proper inquiries ab out the theft, but that there was no criminal prosecution . . .


        hawk

  • by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @03:20AM (#3076412)
    As somebody currently collecting unemployment, I can say that it's bullshit. First of all, the "maximum" is ridiculously low. Secondly, unemployment benefits are taxed. Thirdly, you don't get to collect unemployment if you earn a fraction of your measly unemployment check. Meaning, I'm bored to tears. They want me to be employed. But, if I get a MINIMUM WAGE job while I'm waiting for a REAL job, then I'm ineligible for unemployment. In essence, instead of getting some grunt job while I'm waiting for a real job, I'm encouraged to stay COMPLETLELY unemployed. It's complete bullshit.
    • by jred ( 111898 )
      I got burned by that a few years ago. I *should* have applied for unemployment. Instead I took a "temporary" job delivering pizzas. I barely made enough for rent & food, at least until my car was repo'd. I've almost gotten my credit cards & whatnot paid back, but I wouldn't have been nearly as bad off if I'd gone for unemployment instead of underemployment...
    • I cannot believe the injustice you have suffered. I can't believe the government hasn't done the rainy-day savings and contingency planning required to see you through your day with as little effort and forethought as required.

      And now they won't get you a suitable job? The cads! When will it stop? When will the promise, nay, the guarantee of low-cost (actually, NO cost) cradle-to-grave care be realized???

    • That's how welfare works too. It pays a small sum, but often more than you'd make if you got a minimum wage job *and* paid out for a bus pass, new clothes, etc. But what you make comes out of a welfare check which means that you basically don't get ahead until you've got a job paying Welfare+$400/month or so.

      IMHO they should take a slightly longer view and let people collect some welfare while working, to ease the transition. The first few months are the hardest, putting out for a lot of expenses and doing it while working 50hours (with travel time).

      There isn't a lot of incentive for people to try if they think they'll make the same ammount and have to work for it. If people could collect welfare fully the first month, half the next, and a quarter the next, they'd be ahead a bit. Enough that they could perhaps make themselves more employable.

      IMHO we should have more programs geared towards getting people a decent job so they don't end up back on welfare, instead of just paying the minimum per month and making it easy to sit on for life.

      I've never collected unemployment (never been laid off from a salaried job) but I've heard it's hell to collect. You'd think they'd make it fairly easy, after all you did have a job, it's not like it's a complete handout.

      But it's much easier to blame "crack mothers" for the welfare state rather than making changes which would get rid of it.
  • The guy can get off pogey and go work at McDonald's. No sympathy whatsoever. He'd better not get any better treatment than they'd give a typical blue collar laborer.
    • But look at the benefits he was collecting, over 400 a week.... He'd lose money compared with unemployment by going to McDonald's.
  • by TrinSF ( 183901 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @04:39AM (#3076544)
    Myth 1: You make that much on unemployment? You lucky fuck!

    Reality: If you filed after Jan 6th, 2002, the California state employment maximum is 330.00 a week, for up to 26 weeks. You can't file again for a year, and you have to have worked a substantial amount during the benefit year to be able to get more. That's 8580.00 to last a year, before taxes. Yes, it's taxable. That's well below the national "poverty line".

    Myth 2: Well, still, it's enough to live on, you lucky fuck.

    Reality: Maybe where you live, but not everywhere. In most major cities in the US, it's not enough for basic living expenses. Move to the country? Well, there aren't any jobs there, either, and less infrastructure. Oh, and if you have any other expenses, you're pretty much screwed. For example, I pay 100.00 a week in child support (a very modest sum), so I have to live on 230.00 a week. If I had a car payment, student loans, or other debts, I'd be toast. As it is, my lease locks me into over 1500.00 a month in rent. Hey, you do the math -- it's pretty grim.

    Myth 3: You're better off getting a job at Wal-mart or something.

    Reality: A "good" basic job might pay the same as the unemployment, but it'll also eat 40 hours a week of job-hunting time -- and management at that McJob isn't going to let you go on interviews every other day, either. Even if the McJob might pay a little more, it may hinder your ability to get Work In Your Field, which is a net loss in the long term.

    Myth: People on unemployment are lazy anyway.

    Reality: A lot of people treat job hunting as a full time job in and of itself, spending hours a day sending out resumes, querying employers, researching, etc. Do they sometimes get depressed and do nothing? Sure -- and that's perfectly normal for such a demoralizing, life-changing event.

    Myth: You're supposed to take any job you can get.

    Reality: In California, at least, there is no expectation that you will "take any job". The state expects you to look for work in your field, and to accept a reasonable offer of work, or explain to their satisfaction why you didn't. A job offer asking you to move 2000 miles is not reasonable, but one with a 20 percent cut in pay may be.

    I could go on and on here, but the bottom line is, it's not a day in the park. I'm one of those people trying to do the best I can to get a job, while working to improve my chances -- which can be tough. For example, I had to get special permission from the State to take college credit classes -- they had to be things that would help me gain job skills, and I couldn't take the classes during any time that would prevent me from working or looking for work. I ended up taking internet-based community college courses that required no deadlines or class meetings.

    People have asked me, "So, that Odd Todd thing, is that how it is?" and I've told them that it's a lot like that, yeah. I get up and I feel crappy that I can't find a job. Like many of my unemployed friends, I don't go out the way I used to because it costs money. There's a lot of inertia involved -- but it's not about laziness and it's not about "scamming the system." It's just about unfortunate economic realities, folks.
    • So you shouldn't have signed a lease for $1500 a month working in an industry that everyone knew was unstable. Declare bankruptcy and be done with it.
    • That's $8580.00 to last a year.

      Compared to around £50 (c.$75) a week in the UK [dss.gov.uk] (with higher cost of living in London than in most US cities), this sounds great.

      Quit moaning.

      • Compared to around £50 (c.$75) a week in the UK [dss.gov.uk] (with higher cost of living in London than in most US cities), this sounds great.

        You say that, but in Virginia at least, you can't draw more unemployment than you've paid into the system. In the UK, even if you haven't contributed a penny in taxes, the taxpayer foots the bill for your dole - forever. There should be a law like this in the UK, or at least a maximum time that you can draw unemployment for before you get cut off. The system as it is is far too open to abuse - which is why the welfare state alone costs over 1/3 of the tax paid.
    • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @08:24AM (#3076927) Homepage

      Myth 6: The benefits system has any kind of internal consistency.

      Reality:

      • Welfare office: OK, let's see. From your description of your domestic situation, I have to record that you are living with a partner as man and wife. As she is a full time student, our procedure says that she must claim benefits for you as a dependent partner. You are therefore not elegible to receive separate unemployment benefit, even though you are attending higher education for fewer than 16 hours per week while actively seeking work.
      • Me: Uh, but wait, to claim married student benefits, we have to provide a marriage certificate, at least three years old. But we're not actually married. So, what should we do?
      • Welface office: (looking around) OK. Off the record, I recommend you lie to us and say you're sleeping on the couch. Then we can lie about you living together as man and wife, and you can get unemployment benefit while you look for work. Also, don't tell us that you're attending higher education part time, as it just creates more paperwork for us while cutting you exactly zero slack.
      • Me: So, basically you're saying that the system is screwed, you know it's screwed, and the best way to obtain the benefits that it's honestly intended to deliver is to lie and scam it?
      • Welfare office: Pretty much.
      • Me: Well, ok then. By the way, I'm doing some irregular teaching assistant work that brings in the occasional $30 or so. How do I declare that?
      • Welfare office: I'm sorry, I seem to have gone temporarily deaf.

      I was pretty young and naieve then, you can tell. The trouble was that I didn't understand that the system is set up to support binary states: In work. Out of work. Nothing in the middle, no gray areas. You practically have to lie through your teeth (with the state's tacit collusion) to get enough to live on, and at some point when you get a job that pays a living wage, you're expected to stop lying.

      Trouble is, once you get used to the idea that pretty much everybody in the benefits system is involved in a huge scam (and that the benefits office colludes out of compassion), it begs the question: at what point exactly does it become wrong to lie, when at $1 a week less, it was OK?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I had something similar happen a few years ago. It went sort of like this:

        Welfare Social Worker: Okay, so you're filing for aid because you are unemployed and denied compensation, so you have no income and no assets.
        Me: Yes.
        Social Worker: Under Welfare rules, you're an "ABOD", an able-bodied worker. So you're ineligible for aid.
        Me: But I'm not getting Unemployment because I was fired for being disabled. Disabled people can't get unemployment.
        Social Worker: Are you disabled, or can you work?
        Me: I can work, but I'm covered under the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.
        Social Worker: Then no benefits for you! *bam*

        Cut to State Unemployment office

        Unemployment caseworker: So you were fired because you were disabled.
        Me: Right.
        Caseworker: Well, if you were fired for being disabled, then that would count as an unfair firing, so you'd be elible for benefits....
        Me: *dazed hungry look* Yes?
        Caseworker: But if it *was* unfair, then you must really be disabled. If you are, you don't qualify for Unemployment Compensation.
        Me: And if I weren't disabled?
        Caseworker: Then you were fired fairly. Either way, NO benefits for you!
        Me: Ummmmm.....
        Caseworker: Have you tried the welfare office?

        Back at the Welfare office...

        Welfare Social Worker: Good news! You don't qualify for most aid, but we CAN give you food stamps.
        Me: Well, that'll help. Now if only I can find a way to pay my rent before I get evicted...
        Welfare Social Worker: Oh no! If someone gives you money to pay rent or utilities, that will affect your food stamps. You have to report any money over 25.00, and we'll deduct that from the food stamps.
        Me:So, I qualify only if I promise not to pay the rent or utilities?
        Welfare Social Worker: Exactly! Have a nice day!

        Completely fucked. *laugh*

    • $1500.00 for rent... Holy crap.. I strongly reccomend moving to the midwest or other technical center and get your cost of living to a reasonable level. My house payment is Less than $700.00 and I live in a upscale neighborhood, (not rich buttheads that all drive SUV's and live in houses that are less than 5 years old) My house is 50 years old, It is a very nice place, awesome, quiet neighborhood that is heavily police patrolled on Foot because of the higher taxes I pay. to the point that my car is rarely locked overnight. granted I drive 45 minutes every day to work (many of my friends in chicago have a 45 minute commute to work and they only live 2 miles from work.. I live 36.) and I dont get the insane $150,000 a year job as a sysadmin.. but I live very comfortably, I can buy whatever I want on Ebay, or thinkgeek.com,bestbuy,whatever most all the time, my daughter has it very well. (yes a man with custody of a child... the HORROR! to all the feminatzi's out there)

      basically my point... Live somewhere where the cost of living is sane. No-place in california is sane.... Hell where in california can you live on waterfront property for less than $700.00 a month?.. they wont rent you a campsite for that. my suggestion is to pack up and get the hell out of that state. your chances of a better life rise dramatically when you start driving east.
      • $1500.00 for rent... Holy crap.. I strongly reccomend moving to the midwest or other technical center and get your cost of living to a reasonable level

        I see this working...

        Welfare Social Worker: So you got laid off in California and you moved here to collect benifits?
        Me:Yes, A poster on slashdot told me it was cheaper to rent here.
        Welfare Social Worker: You know you have to live and work in THIS state for X months before you can collect benifits from our state?
        Me:You mean that poster didn't think seriously about it before he said it?
        Welfare Social Worker: Exactly! Have a nice day!
    • If you filed after Jan 6th, 2002, the California state employment maximum is 330.00 a week, for up to 26 weeks. You can't file again for a year, and you have to have worked a substantial amount during the benefit year to be able to get more. That's 8580.00 to last a year, before taxes. Yes, it's taxable. That's well below the national "poverty line".

      In fairness, though, unemployment is meant to keep you afloat from week to week while you look for a job. It's not not meant to be a long-term anti-poverty program (those exist but unemployment isn't one) and it's misleading to talk about as a year's pay.

      Not to disparage you or anyone who is out of work -- some of my friends are going though the same thing and it breaks my heart to watch. I wish I could be more positive, but I think the reality is that the days of high-paying web development and admin jobs for high school dropouts and liberal arts majors are over, and they're never coming back.

    • See my posts near the top of this topic (about how I've spent a lot of time on my personal web project [subintsoc.net] during my 8 mos. unemployed).

      I've battled the blues almost every day of this depressing time. It didn't help that my city (New York) was ATTACKED and virtually shut down during the month of September. Also, my grandfather died right after I was laid off, my wife and I had to move to a lower-rent apartment, I injured myself during the move, and one of our pets contracted a life-threatening illness. Of course I have nothing to complain about compared to the people I know who lost someone in the World Trade Center. But this whole city has been a really rough place for the last several months.

      Working on Subintsoc.net [subintsoc.net] and other non-paying web projects (such as MiamiStories.com [miamistories.com]) during times that I couldn't get paying work has really helped preserve my morale and sanity, as well as honing my skills and adding to my resume.

      It sucks not to be able to do what you're good at, and what you used to get paid well for. Sometimes doing it for free, and hopefully providing some entertainment to the world in the bargain, is a good way to go.
    • Hey, 330 Canadian Dollars a week? That's UKP 144! Check out The UK Rates [dss.gov.uk] - Maximum UKP53. So you're getting nearly 3 times what we get in the UK. In short: Quit bleating.
    • You've clearly got enough time to cruise the web and post articles on slashdot. Why don't you let us in on the details you haven't listed in your article yet - your frivellous purchases, your inability to save money even in the best of times, and your crappy qualifications. Don't like paying child support? Don't make babies.

      Stop waiting for the government to solve your problems for you.

      • Whoa (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sulli ( 195030 )
        Don't like paying child support? Don't make babies.

        Maybe he got dumped by his wife. Maybe she cheated on him and then got a nice settlement. Maybe it's a she, and these conditions are reversed. Or maybe they never got married. You can't know what the truth is simply from the fact that the poster pays child support - but yet you rush to judgment about his (her) lifestyle choices.

        Lots of people shirk their child-support responsibilities (and not just the "deadbeat dads" the media like to talk about). Here's someone who is trying to be responsible!

      • Stop waiting for the government to solve your problems for you.

        He's not. He's only asking for his money back - money he put into the system fair and square. If the government hadn't taken that money out of his paycheck for years for exactly this purpose, I would have no sympathy for him. But, since he's only getting the money back that he already paid in, I'm on his side. At least it's not coming out of MY paycheck, as it would be if he were on welfare.

        As for your baby comment, well, someone else already responded to that just like I would have. You don't know the details of that and the divorce may have been his wife's doing.
    • by Robotech_Master ( 14247 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @12:37PM (#3078475) Homepage Journal
      Myth 3: You're better off getting a job at Wal-mart or something.

      Reality: A "good" basic job might pay the same as the unemployment, but it'll also eat 40 hours a week of job-hunting time -- and management at that McJob isn't going to let you go on interviews every other day, either. Even if the McJob might pay a little more, it may hinder your ability to get Work In Your Field, which is a net loss in the long term.

      What's more, almost no Wal-Mart or K-Mart or any other retail store is going to give you a full-time job. You'll be stuck at 25 hours a week, maximum, because if they let you work any more they'd have to pay you benefits--and they'd rather have twice as many half-time workers and not pay the benefits.
    • Reality: A lot of people treat job hunting as a full time job in and of itself, spending hours a day sending out resumes, querying employers, researching, etc.

      Yes, let us not forget Bernard Shifman. [petemoss.com]
  • I would set up a repayment plan, since they can't get blood from a turnip, and in my next episode I would talk about my blunder, and why it was wrong.

    Oh, the new donations!!!
  • C'mon, guys, give him a bit of credit. He's followed the dotcom business plan to the letter and made a few bucks!

    Step 1: Register domain name.
    Step 2: ??????????
    Step 3: Profit!
  • Sigh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Raul654 ( 453029 )
    I know I am prolly going to get mod'd down to flamebait for this, but here goes:

    I actually *agree* the labor deptartment on this one. I mean, the purpose of unemployment benefits is to cushion the edge of being laid off and give you a little something until you get back on your feet. If you aren't looking for work, you're cheating the system and the community -- what's to stop everybody from freeloading? Hence, the rule seems a sort of necessity. He should have expect the man to come down on him from the time his website became popular - I mean, don't they always?

    Just my $.02
  • You see? Unemployed programmers not only took the money and ran during the dotcon era, they're all just a bunch of lazy no-account bums who need to go out and get a real job instead of sitting around watching TV eating chips and complaining about those energetic young H1B workers.

    "Odd Todd" Rosenberg does out-of-work programmers a big f*cking favor just when they most needed it.

    So stop eating those chips and send Todd the money you save. And while you're down at the post-office, stop off at Starbucks and get a real job so you can afford to send the poor guy more because, for cryin' out loud -- he deserves it.

  • by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @08:12AM (#3076897) Homepage
    Oddtodd's animation is obviously fictional and hyperbolic. It isn't a videotape, and there is no guarantee it matches reality. I hope the Department of Labor has better proof than the Flash file.

    Besides, setting up a website that generates lots of traffic in order to promote oneself is in my opinion an EXCELLENT way to seek employment. :-)
  • by dgroskind ( 198819 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @08:35AM (#3076973)

    This guy was supposed to have been head of business development at a dot com but you'd never know it from looking at his Web site [oddtodd.com]. His sad sack sense of humour may have gotten him some sympathy and attention but I doubt if an employer would hand him responsibility based on what they see at his site.

    If he's in business development you'd expect him at least to use the success of the site to promote his skills to a potential employer. There's not even a resumé. He actually has some ads at the bottom of the home page and buried behind a link called Odd Todd Officials, but even when you find them they're so poorly done you're not sure what you're looking at.

    From the point of view of getting a job, his site is worse than useless. Let's see how his goofy outlook holds up after another few months of eating potatochips.

  • That this guy has managed to run a very successful dot.com. He gets lots of visitors who are willing to fork over a bit of money here, a bit of money there... and it all adds up.

    What does that mean? He probably was a good director of business, who was screwed because his superiors were idiots. He's actually demonstrated real good business sense here and a company would probably do well to hire him to run their dot.com. :)
  • by pne ( 93383 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:03AM (#3077115) Homepage

    The article said "unemployed people are supposed to be actively looking for work, not spending all of their time answering e-mail, drawing cartoons and getting interviewed on television about being unemployed."

    Well, what does Todd say on a page behind a like entitled "Gimme a JOB" [oddtodd.com]? "you'd have to really pay me alot to take me off schedule on producing cartoons for this site."

    Sounds to me like they have a case.

    Cheers,
    Philip

  • I am 100% sure he did not pay for the right to use a Def-Lepard and Staind Music Clip, nor did he get permission from Nickelodeon for the spongebob theme clip. Granted I think it was neat, and bits of it were funny, but many sites get giged hard by the lawyer leaches on silly things like that, and it takes a little effort to find royalty free music out there. (Or how about a Independant band that would happily let you use their music?)

    although, on a similar note... Does Spongebob Squarepants fall under the MPAA balloon? or would Nickelodeon just go to his house and fill it with that green-substance they keep pouring on people?
  • by Carmody ( 128723 ) <slashdot@NoSpAm.dougshaw.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @09:50AM (#3077403) Homepage Journal
    I have no way of knowing, but I am wondering about the people complaining about their meager benefits, and talking about how they can't afford to pay their bills with their unemployment checks, and how they can't afford living in a $1500 apartment (but would never get a roommate).

    I am wondering if they are the same people who, a year and a half ago, were all buying copies of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and constantly posting to slashdot that government has no business taxing the wealthy (and therefore deserving) to help out the poor (who should just get up and start their own businesses).

    The reason I wonder is that there seem to be fewer Randroids, "you don't work... you don't eat" people, people who complain and whine that underemployed people complain and whine. And there are more people talking about inadequate unemployment benefits, and how the government should help people pay their rent and food while they go to school to improve their job skills.

    I know that it could be a coincidence, but I keep wondering if they are the same people.
    • I printed this, framed it and put it on my fucking wall!

    • I have no way of knowing, but I am wondering about the people complaining about their meager benefits, and talking about how they can't afford to pay their bills with their unemployment checks, and how they can't afford living in a $1500 apartment (but would never get a roommate).

      You have hit the nail on the head - Bay Area types who think owning a 3-series BMW and having their own apartment in the Marina District constitute the lowest acceptable standard of living. $1500 a month? You can move to Milpitas for $750 a month and still be in driving distance to all the same jobs.

      I am wondering if they are the same people who, a year and a half ago, were all buying copies of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and constantly posting to slashdot that government has no business taxing the wealthy (and therefore deserving) to help out the poor (who should just get up and start their own businesses)

      Amen. This site gets so pompus and smug about its so-called agenda, its very amusing. You can boil it down to one theme:ME ME ME ME ME. Whatever is best for ME ME ME ME ME right now is what constitutes the /. agenda.

      • This site gets so pompus and smug about its so-called agenda, its very amusing. You can boil it down to one theme:ME ME ME ME

        So, technologically capable young people are elitist oligarchy when they complain about taxes, and undeserving hypocritical scum when they stand in need.

        I only hope all of us can aspire to your notions of equality.

      • $1500 a month? You can move to Milpitas for $750 a month and still be in driving distance to all the same jobs.

        Re-read his post. It's not like he wants that expensive apartment now; He said he is locked into a lease at that price. I suppose he could break it, but then the landlord would levy a big fat fine and sick collections on him.

        A friend of mine was making $12 an hour and bought a new car with $300/month payments. His wife had to have emergency surgery a month before his health benefits kicked in at his new job, and they took a $12k hit. They couldn't afford to pay it so they looked to the state for help. Their response? "Sell the car." Sure, that would be nice, except he still owed $16k, the car was now worth $14k, so if he sold it he would have to find a $2k loan to pay the difference (good luck with $12k of debt against him) AND would have no way of getting to work.

        This guy is in a similar situation. He signed the lease for the apartment when he could afford it. Now he can't, but he can't break the lease, either. At least in his case, the government is helping somewhat. My friend couldn't get a fscking dime and the hospital was threatening to tack on thousands more in fees and destroy his credit.

        He ended up getting his parents to cosign on a large credit card and dumped the balance onto it. He was barely able to make the payments, but it was either that or tell the hospital to fsck off and kiss his credit goodbye. Sold the car a year later when the payments caught up with depreciation and got $500 back to buy a beater with. Still took him 5 years to pay the credit card off.
    • Us reason based thinkers have jobs, but it's impolite to rub your nose in it.

      You asked.

    • Remember when ESR was going on about how he wasn't going to share his VA Linux money with anyone? Remember that? What goes around comes around.

  • Nowhere does it say that one must spend all waking hours looking for work, so he can simply say it's his hobby, and that he did it in additon to looking for work as required. Anything he put on the site stating he was goofing off can be chaulked up to the concept of fiction and poetic liscence (or does the DOL think there really is a guy named Charlie Brown who keeps falling on his back when Lucy pulls the football away? ... sadly, it wouldn't surprise me.) Finally, the DOL admits that donations are acceptable, and don't constitute a violation.

    This ones a no brainer ... even when dealing with the brainless DOL dweebs! The only question left is ... will Todd use his?
  • Doesn't the unemployment office require documentation of your quest for work? I know the last time I was drawing unemployment (12 years ago, in Michigan), I had to turn in a form every week listing at least 3 "contacts". E.g., go to that small business in Cadillac that's in my field and looks like a great place to work, and confirm that they're still firing, not hiring. Hit two other places in the same industrial park at random. Fill in the form. That's done, it's 10 am Monday, and I've got the rest of the week for _real_ job hunting...
  • In Washington, "actively looking for a job" means making 3 contacts a week. I have collected unemployment three times in my life (when my contracts ran out), and saw the evolution in the process.

    The first time, everyone had to apply in person for the first week. While waiting for the office to open, I stood outside and talked to some people who had collected unemployment a lot before. They talked about cheating the system; they copied business names from a phone book to make them their contacts. Due to widespread scamming of that system, the agency gave up for a while and just said that you had to be looking.

    My last time of unemployment was in summer 2000. The system had changed again. You had to list your three contacts every week on a form that - in theory - could be audited. I wasn't. Three contacts a week didn't exactly take long. If Tod was as worried about his situation as he said he was, I'd be surprised if he didn't try calling a recruiter or two a week. Do that and all of a sudden you're legal.
  • If you want free health coverage in the state of Oregon and are a single person, the maximum that you are allowed to make is $712 a month. I suppose someone pulled that figure out of their ass in the late 80's and it hasn't been adjusted for inflation, but hey. . .
    It just pisses me off that I am being encouraged by the government not to work, or even work less hours.
    bah.
  • by ellem ( 147712 ) <ellem52NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 27, 2002 @11:09AM (#3077846) Homepage Journal
    is downright depressing.

    I would know.

    You send 3 million resume's out to the world no one calls.

    As a goof I listed as experience:

    God/Emporer Of Networing

    One company called and wanted to know what that entailed...

    "You know, setting upsacrifices, virgin burning, the usual."

    I don't blame this guy for blowing off a little steam.
  • In California unemployment is only $230 per week, and it has run out for me and most people I know anyway. Everyone is spending their retirement money now.
    • Nope, under the new law, if you filed after 1/6/02, it's $330 a week max. If you had a claim before then, you get no increase in benefits. Because of this, many people waited until January to file claims.

      Supposedly they're going to make the higher amount retroactive to 9/11/01 for "workers displaced by the WTC disaster".
  • He has a page where he sends prospective employers.. and it says: I can do freelance cartoon ads for you. I can do voiceover work for you. I can do full animation type things but you'd have to really pay me alot to take me off schedule on producing cartoons for this site. Get in touch if you wanna see what I've done in the past and all that.

    You'd have to really pay him a lot to make him do something that would stop him from working on his precious site? Cripes, he's really putting across the right attitude to potential employers! 'If you aren't going to give me $40k a year, go away and let me get on with my site!'

    Frankly, this guy's attitude stinks.

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