Job Hunt Week 26: Please Sir, May I Have Some More?
I have a part time job! Delivering the Washington Post – a job I did over ten years ago and I have no idea why I didn’t think of it sooner. But I finally thought of it last week and there you go – I have a way to net about $500 per month. I say net because this is a “rural” route and I have to drive about 60 miles daily. Paying for the gas takes a huge chunk out of what the Post deems a reasonable rate to pay their carriers so that’s a definite downside to this job. Losing half a night’s sleep is another, but I’m learning to nap when I can. However, the solitude and peacefulness of this route is a definite bonus. I also get a lot of uninterrupted time to listen to WMAL and I happen to like Grandy and Andy in the Morning.
The main topic of conversation this morning was the extension of unemployment benefits to 99 weeks. In case anyone hasn’t done the math, that’s almost TWO YEARS our government has decided to pay people NOT to work. I felt like I’d gone to bed last night and woke up in a Nanny State. Oh yeah, I did.
I have mixed emotions about this. It’s really, really hard to find a job, any job, that will keep a family afloat. And as much as I dislike knowing that our government is spending money we don’t have, and money my children will now never see, a selfish part of me wonders how much harder it would be if we weren’t paying people not to work. If everyone really had to go out and get a job because there was no bottomless unemployment insurance.
On the flip side of that, if the government wasn’t spending money to keep people sitting on their butts and not getting jobs and more people were pissed off, maybe they’d actually concentrate on getting the economy back in shape so that there would be jobs for those who want to work. It’s a vicious cycle that will have me pulling my hair out soon.
Here’s what really set me off: Good old Tom Harkin (D-IA) saying that the Republicans need to have a little compassion. I have of course drastically paraphrased here. But WTH?? Have a little compassion? At that point, I missed a box, had to turn around and redeliver the paper, and picked up my cell phone to call in to the program to vent. Have a little compassion? How about getting off your democratic ass, do something to actually FIX the economy (like helping small business people create jobs so maybe I can FIND a job) and stop throwing money at people. Help people help themselves. Something Americans used to do all the time but now seems to be a foreign concept.
I find this incredibly ironic. In his full press release, Harkin went on to talk about families who have been unemployed for over six months (yep, that’s me) who have exhausted their savings (me too) and are hanging by a thread (ditto.) So the Senate just absolutely HAD to pass a bill that they don’t have the money to pay for, which we, the American people, will be paying for at some undetermined point in the future. I’m not sure how, since no one has a job and half of the working population doesn’t pay income taxes, but they’ll figure that out later.
Okay, let me get back on track because there’s so many things wrong with this scenario that I could go off on tangents all day. I got through to a producer, stated my case, and was put on hold to talk to Grandy and Andy. My case being that I AM one of those people that Harkin is oh so concerned about but I don’t qualify for those unemployment benefits. Am I pissed? You bet. Partly because a little part of me secretly wishes someone would hand me money too, partly because our government is so fricken out of touch it’s scary.
While I was on hold, a woman came on who used to work at the Department of Labor who wondered, and I kid you not, if these people claiming unemployment were just paper carriers who no longer had a route or were they actually a skilled workforce. I’m misquoting a bit because I was too intent on trying to deliver my papers to write down exactly what she said, but I actually yelled at the radio in outrage after she made that comment. Lord save us from out of touch people. Here I am, delivering papers because it’s the only job I can get, and I am a well educated person (I think three undergraduate degrees still counts as educated?). Then they went on to talk about the amount of insurance being given out on average and how it works out to like $7.50 an hour and you’d be better off working at Target or something.
Let me tell you a little story about Target. I have applied there, as well as Wal-Mart, Giant, Safeway, etc., you get the idea. Target called me yesterday to set up an interview. I missed the call and got back to them back one hour and ten minutes later. I was really excited – it was the first response I’d gotten from any employer in over a month. I called back as soon as I got the message and finally got through to Paula who had left me the original voice mail. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Hi, this is Jeannine Dudzinski and you left me a message that you’d like to set up an interview.”
Paula: (insert mental gum chewing): “Oh yeah, what’s your name?”
Me: “Jeannine Dudzinski”
Paula (pauses and I can hear paper shuffling) “Yeah, well, I’ve filled up all of our spaces for interviews on Wednesday. So we’ll keep your application on file and if it hasn’t expired when we set up another interview day, you’ll probably get a call. If it’s expired, you’ll have to reapply.”
Me: “So let me make sure I understand you correctly. In the one hour or so since you offered me an interview, you’ve completely filled up your schedule and I may or may not have another opportunity to interview?”
By the way, I missed the call because I was trying to nap after my route – a mistake I won’t make again.
To wrap up about Grandy and Andy, I never got to speak to them. They ran out of time and I was hung up on. Probably a good thing, I was pretty pissed off by then.
How do you win against these kinds of odds? I heard a statistic yesterday that in 2007 there were approximately two people applying for each open position. Today there are 5.5 people for each position. Are they counting the people getting unemployment who have stopped looking? And my last question to ponder – I thought that in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits you had to prove you were actively looking for a job? How are folks receiving benefits for 99 weeks AND still in the category of discouraged and stopped looking? Or is this another category that I’m missing? Maybe I’m one of those people who are too stupid to understand. The only thing I can come up with for sure is that I will continue to plod along and do that best I can until it’s time to vote people out of office in November.