As the saying goes, give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime. The point is not a new one: teach someone to do for themselves, and with hard work and perseverance, they can make something of themselves.

Hard work doesn’t always produce riches. Life is not fair, and you can be the most moral and well-intentioned, hardest worker in the country and you might still make minimum wage. But I don’t think you work hard just so you can be rich.

To me, the reward of hard work is satisfaction. If physically able to, you work hard and rely on your own talents and ability so you can own the rewards. Given the choice between taking welfare and receiving $200 per week or working 60 hours to make $170 per week, I’ll take the $170 per week job.

Sure, you need to make enough money to live, and that’s a huge consideration. But the satisfaction and self-esteem you gain by working for that $170 is far greater than the $200, because that $200 comes at a great cost.

Those who are able to work, but would take that $200 are paying a heavy price. While taking “free” money, they are slowly becoming dependent on the government. Think back to when you were living with your parents. I couldn’t wait to get out of my parent’s house. When you live with your parents, they get to call the shots. You have to live by their rules. They essentially run your life.

It’s the same when you’re living under the government’s roof. They get to decide what kinds of foods you can eat. They can pick what kind of car you drive. When you’re taking welfare, which is what unemployment is, you are losing your sense of self-worth. It’s a self- esteem destroyer.

People who are unnecessarily on prolonged unemployment are also letting their marketable skills and talents deteriorate. When, and if, they choose to join the workforce, it will take them far longer to get back into the swing of it, and it’ll be far more difficult to convince someone to hire them.

Many, if not most people, on unemployment are trying to get right back in the game. But I know one person who was laid off with me in early 2010 who took his severance and kicked back. When the money ran out, he took the unemployment and will be the first to tell you he doesn’t want to get back into the workforce yet. Meanwhile, I got a new job as quickly as I could, and now I’m paying for him to willfully and knowingly sit around. And I’m sure he’s not the only one.

It’s really easy to sit back and take a check from the government. But it’s like anything else that develops over a long time – they don’t know what hit them when one day they look up at the months that have passed with nothing to show for it.

The unemployment and other welfare safety nets are important because sometimes people get hit with hard times and don’t have anywhere to turn. But without a quick shut off, people can get hooked on them. And when someone becomes a serial welfare beneficiary, they start to lose their self-esteem. They begin to lose their soul. They generally don’t feel good about themselves, and they’re a drag on themselves, their family and society.