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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Joining the ranks

Today I filed a claim for Unemployment Compensation for the first time, ever.

It's something I really should have done six weeks ago. Somehow I got the notion that I wouldn't be eligible for unemployment payments until my severance ran out. Somehow several other people who were victims of the same round of layoffs got that same notion. A friend of mine has been telling me from the beginning that I should file right away. Like an idiot, I didn't listen to her until I got the official word at a meeting with the people from Pennsylvania Career Link nearly two weeks ago. I opened my claim right away, received my paperwork last week, and filed as soon as I was eligible - which was today.

I haven't lost anything, but if I waited a few more weeks I would have. Some zeroes would have been getting added into a calculation of average weekly income for the last quarter in which I had worked. SO: if you lose your job, contact your state unemployment agency IMMEDIATELY to find out what you should do. Don't take other people's word for it. Except your friends. Listen to them.

Tomorrow is the Job Fair. The weather looks like it will be somewhat rainy here at worst. I don't know what to expect at the fair itself. I printed out 25 copies of my résumé on good paper last week, then thought of a revision this morning and printed out another 10 with the revised text. I changed "Developed and conducted introductory Statistical Process Control seminar" to "Developed and taught introductory Statistical Process Control training course" - emphasizing the fact that I have indeed taught a training course in the workplace, a course that my partner and I developed ourselves. I will hold onto the original 25 copies as back-ups on the off chance that I find more than 10 employers to hand my résumé to.

I came up with this change while doing a bit of soul-searching. Teaching was one of my strong suits at work - well, learning and teaching. I couldn't teach anything I didn't understand myself, though I would sometimes join others in voyages of discovery where we would both be learning things at the same time. Because my mind jumps and dances around as I learn something, I can very effectively help others learn it once I have learned it - whatever is confusing them has almost certainly already confused me. (The worst teachers I have ever encountered are ones who have forgotten what it's like to not understand the material they are attempting to teach.) So if a company has a need for someone with such a skill - well, damn, I'm your man.

But what else am I good at, and motivated enough to do on a regular basis without slacking off? Not painting: painting is clearly something I have to be in the mood for, and apparently that mood strikes me each year sometime in March, which is when most of my paintings have been created. Not fiction writing: I hacked out the backstory to a single tale and then ground to a halt, and there is no internal pressure in my skull from anything else trying to get out. Not even photography: I go in fits and spurts with that, and they seem to be tied to the weather.

But if not any of these things, is there anything I do on a regular basis, anything I feel compelled and driven to do, anything that excites me and thrills me and makes me happy when I do it? Anything? Anything at all?

Well, maybe this.

But how do I earn a living doing that?


marcoshark said...

...Start writing OP-ED for the NEPA newspapers? Hey DB, when I went off to that "vacation I never returned from", I took full advantage of the unemployment benefits that PA offers (the best in the US, I might add)

Just remember to call in every couple of weeks (they don't like it when you forget) and you will be fine!

Look at it this way, you paid into those benefits for how many years?

I can't wait for the "Anger" stage. ABout time someone called out the evil (and they are) owners.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

You have my sincere condolences for having to deal with "the system".

I have no doubt that you'll find the path that you are meant to follow. Just go with your gut.