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Say What You Will

We all make jokes about the government and all the red tape involved with doing anything; however, I’d beg to differ when talking about the Unemployment Office.

As you know, I was laid off almost two years ago.  Collecting unemployment didn’t cross my mind until three months later when it looked like it was going to take me a while to find a job, and it was getting tough to make ends meet.

So, I applied, feeling bad about it but having no other option.  Unlike the guys in the following cartoon, I was working on my career…subbing whenever the schools called…

Things went well until that first summer, when my payments stopped suddenly.  I don’t remember if I blogged about it…probably.

Regardless, I called and got hold of a person who was extremely helpful and apologetic, and my payments resumed.

And so I moseyed along…trying to find a job, not getting one, and collecting my unemployment whenever my earnings from subbing were less than my checks from the government.

In January of this year, my benefits were automatically extended another year without me having to complete any paperwork at all.  Yeah, I was surprised too.  No jumping through hoops, for a change.

And so I subbed, applied for jobs, interviewed for a few, didn’t get them, and repeated the process month after month.

Enter in the summer, when my earnings went down to zero.  With school out and teenagers competing with adults for summer jobs, things are slim pickings around here.

Meanwhile, I kept waiting for my unemployment payments.

If you’re not familiar with the process, recipients of unemployment must claim their “weeks” twice a month.  The money is paid the week following.  The unemployment office asks questions to ensure that people aren’t turning down jobs, are still applying, and haven’t earned more than their weekly payments.  This process is done every month until a person either finds a job or runs out of benefits…around two years.

Well, I haven’t been receiving my benefits since the middle of May.  Being my naive self, I assumed that things had backlogged from the end of the school year.

It is only through the Lord’s provision that I have been paying my bills during this time.  Thank goodness for the lessons I’ve learned in how to be frugal.

However, when I needed to pay a bill this morning, I realized that I couldn’t, and that led me to investigate my bank account.

Good grief, but my heart just fell, and I dreaded calling the 800 number to get things straightened out.  There are so many people out of work that the lines stay tied up.

But, call I did, and hold, I did.

And held…

And held…

And held.

Finally, I reached a gentleman who actually sounded happy to be doing his job.  After pulling up my account, he saw that a flag had been put on my benefits.  Apparently, when a claimant files one week in which he/she earns too much for their benefits and then claims a second week of less earnings, a flag is placed requiring further investigation into the matter.

But, and get this…the claimant has no way of knowing this unless something hinky leads that person to make a call.


And this is what happened to me.

That flag led to all of my payments over the last two months being withheld.

I guess with my oh so exciting life…World Cup and job hunting…I had not noticed.

Plus, there’s nothing in the invisible “unemployment manual” that told me to watch for this.

The gentleman was very nice and gently told me that I would have to call the same 800 number again (lovely) and gave instructions for how to get to a live person in the claims department.

Another forever and a half of holding.

But, it was so worth it.

The woman who answered was, once again, pleasant and actually sounded happy to assist me.  No stereotypical grumpy state employee there!

She asked a lot of questions, hit some buttons on her computer (I’m guessing, since I couldn’t see her, but that’s what I’d be doing), tolerated the crunching noises coming from me eating my lunch, and finally announced that the flag had been cleared, and I should be receiving a cumulative payment by tomorrow afternoon.

Praise the Lord for fast service and smiles you can hear over the phone!

Thankfully, I will be receiving a reliable salary where I won’t have to go through this any more, but I’ll always be thankful for the wonderful people who spend hours upon hours each day helping others, less fortunate, with what can be the only financial lifeline available to them.

I Know the Plans I Have for You

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”

Jeremiah 29:11

This is a verse I am holding on to during my long season of semi-unemployment.  Once again, I did not get a job I interviewed for…the subbing position at the Christian school (the one I told you about yesterday).

I am choosing to look at the positives…

  1. God loves me and has my best interest at heart.
  2. I put my name and face out there and received very good feedback from the principal who interviewed me.
  3. I have subbing assignments already lined up for Tuesday through Friday next week.  I was going to have to cancel these because long-term assignments trump one-day gigs, but now I won’t have to.
  4. I don’t have to be concerned about getting off of work early on Wednesday.  This is the day Chicky has her signing ceremony at school.  I will already be there, so that takes care of one thing on my to-do list.

Sounds like I’m reaching for straws, eh?

Not really.  You see, I’m learning that complaining doesn’t do anything but make me miserable.  It certainly doesn’t improve a situation.  I know that I am doing everything I can to find a regular teaching job.

Even though some people may believe that subbing isn’t a “real” job, I have never treated it as anything but THE job.  I have always given my responsibilities 110% no matter what the job title or pay scale.

I have often been over-qualified for the positions I’ve held, but I’ve always taken pride in my work.  I realize that I can use my skills to glorify God no matter where I am.

And so, I continue to trust.

It’s not always easy, but I’ve made the decision, and I’ll stick to it no matter how disappointed I may get.

God will provide.

I Hate Recessions

I’m feeling down right now.

I have not received my unemployment checks for the last few weeks, and I could never get through to a live person when I tried calling for assistance.  Although I kept claiming my weeks, the money still wasn’t coming in.

Today, I finally got to talk to somebody.

It seems that I’m earning $26 too much per week.

Can you believe it?

No note, no email to explain this.

Ultimately, no money.

What this tells me is that I’m supposed to be working less to get the assistance I need…that little bit to help keep me from going under each month.

I’m totally disheartened and frustrated.  It’s not in my nature to take the easy road.


Think I’ll go have a pity party for a while.

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