Being Unemployed Isn’t for the Fainthearted


It’s just twenty minutes until tomorrow so I’ll start calling Monday yesterday, as in — yesterday, I spent a little over four HOURS at the unemployment office. I filed my paperwork for the final extended benefits plan. If I get approved, I’ll have fourteen more weeks of unemployment insurance checks then I’ll become a “Ninety-niner” that some people are talking about. Ninety-nine weeks unemployed.

It’s hard to believe just how clueless some people are about being unemployed. I was reading the comment section of an article in the local newspaper on the stagnant job market and some of the commentators were HORRIBLE. I didn’t know I was such a lazy, useless bum who is attempting to be a parasite on the backsides of hardworking people.

I’ll tell them what they can do as far as backsides are concerned.

The unemployment office was packed today and I saw all shapes and kinds of misery AND con-artists. I know out of the room of about 500 people, more than one really has no intention of ever finding a job for longer than it takes to accrue more unemployment. Any system is going to have people who take advantage of it. Mostly what I saw today though was people hurting. One lady broke my heart. Her company abruptly shut down last week and when I say abrupt I’m talking “note on the door” style. She was about my age and she was just in tears because she had no idea what came next.

I’ve seen that several times when I’ve gone to file this or that paperwork. Mixed in with the lip ring wearing, saggy pants, hats on backwards crowd who’ve never worked an honest day in their lives are seriously decent folks who have ALWAYS worked and now they find themselves in their fifties and, in too many cases, sixties with no job, no insurance, and — increasingly — no hope.

You get to talk A LOT to a great many people in four hours of sitting and standing in line. I heard several common refrains like “overqualified,” “no experience in X field,” and the ubiquitous “it just looks like no jobs are out there.” In the comments I mentioned earlier, one self-righteous gentleman said with great pride that he’d “NEVER been out of work and if he ever found himself unemployed he DAMN SURE wouldn’t take 99 weeks to find another job.”

Oh really? My mama taught me a long time ago, NEVER say what you’ll NEVER do. You just might be surprised.

People not in the situation LOVE to say things like, “Go get a job at McDonalds or WalMart — they are always hiring.” Um, no, their not. It is an employer’s market right now. Businesses can pick and chose because they know how desperate people have become. The worst thing is, education used to be a bulwark against unemployment, but now, it’s a hindrance to finding another job. For example, I have a Masters Degreee AND all my recent work experience is in education. Someone takes one look at my resume’ and realizes I’m a teacher. Well, they aren’t stupid; they know that I’ll be looking for another teaching job and as soon as I find one — hasta la vista, Baby.

I’ve actually had an HR interviewer tell me that I’m almost unemployable outside of my field because no one wants to invest time or effort training someone who has an established career. I could LIE and say I have no intention of looking for another job in the schools, but I’ve found lying is a pretty low percentage game most of the time. The fact is, yes, if I’m a sales clerk at Target and a principal calls me and says, “come be our librarian,” I am GONE. As Lynyrd Skynyrd put it so eloquently, “Call me the breeze.”\

Unfortunately, the longer I’m out of the library, the rustier and rustier my skills get. I’d love to still be able to look through VOYA and SLJ, but my budget didn’t have room for $120 subscriptions. I sat down the other day and pulled up some the YA section on Amazon. I didn’t recognize much. When you aren’t talking with other librarians and students and teachers about books and computers and research and stuff . . . well, the edge starts to go.

So. What’s the answer? No clue. I’ve got a final fourteen weeks to figure it out before I become one of those people who help artificially inflate the “unemployment recovery rate” by falling off the job seeking roles. If you aren’t getting money anymore, you aren’t counted as unemployed. Go figure.

In any event, keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I’m not panicking because that won’t do anyone any good — especially me. Sorry about the short rambling post — it’s been a trying day and I wanted to vent a bit.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean!

One response »

  1. You have my sympathy as well as thoughts and prayers. Keeping my fingers crossed, too, that you find employment.

    Oh, and if you email me your address, I’d be glad to send you my copies of SLJ when I’m done making my wish list for the month – so you could at least keep up with the reviews. Not much, but something small I can do for you.

    Take care and keep the faith!

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