Category Archives: unemployment

I had my own little Pickup Artist / Brazil day

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I’ve been reading The Pickup Artist, by Terry Bisson. There’s a point in the book where Shapiro (the main character) is calling to find out how his sick dog is doing. There is so much bureaucracy in his world that he gets in this ridiculously long series of phone calls in which he gets the run-around about how his dog is doing, hears recorded platitudes, has to be transferred to grief counseling before he’s even told his dog has cancer, is upsold on a new miracle life-extending drug for his dog which would keep her just barely alive for up to two years (HalfLife™), in case a cure is developed within that time-frame, but then is told his insurance won’t cover it, and has to wait so long on hold to get through to anyone that he dials in the morning, and then carries the phone around with him all day on speaker phone, waiting for somebody to pick up. This is a futuristic story, but so painfully true. The novel reminds a bit of Brazil.

I had my own little Pickup Artist / Brazil government bureaucracy going on today. First of all I spent an hour and half or so waiting patiently at the DMV, just so I could pay them $40 to spend 30 seconds glancing at my  paperwork and various forms of i.d., have me double-check their data entry (twice), and take a new photo. They were, to their credit, very friendly and efficient once I got to the counter. As a bonus I got to try to read while crammed in a room with about 60 other people, many of whom had also been waiting for a couple of hours and had brought along various loud and/or obnoxious family members. I’m surprised nobody busted out a picnic basket. At least I didn’t get picked by the lonely and somewhat confused elderly lady who talked the ear off of the teenage girl next to her. But I did have to listen to her, because, well, she was shouting.

Then, because I’m masochistic, I decided I also needed to call the IRS today. I had already tried to fill out an online form with them on multiple occasions over the last week or so, only to receive an unhelpful error message. I had also tried to call several times over the last week, only to be told that the wait would exceed ½ hour. Today, I thought I better bite it and just wait on hold. So, I put the phone on speaker and carried it around the house with me while doing various things like feeding the animals, going to the bathroom, preparing lunch, etc. Over 45 minutes later an agent finally answered. Things were going along just fine until the IRS employee decided to give me a canned lecture on the importance of remembering that money owed to the government is owed when it is earned, and what did we plan to do differently next time, seeing that we were being gifted this magnanimous extension plan? And no, getting a job wasn’t the right answer, and if I didn’t indicate “compliance,” or basically, state that we had learned our lesson, he would have to put a note in our file. Say what?! {And this is over a very small amount of money owed.} It was condescending, to say the least, and I told him that I knew it was his job to say his script, but that I did not appreciate being treated like an idiot. Poor guy. How would you like a job that required you to be a jerk to people who are unemployed and just doing the best they can to pay their tax bill?

{This upset me almost as much as the day the lady from the unemployment office called to harass me because I hadn’t responded immediately to a job possibility she had emailed me—for a job with a company that I had previously interviewed with and been rejected by. Of course I wasn’t going to apply with them again! “Well, are you even looking for a job?!” she said. Uh, yes. In fact, I had just gone through an interview the previous day. “You’re supposed to get back to me right away, every time.” She sends me another job opp—I email her back within a half hour. Never hear from her again. I have other examples. Here’s a classic from another agency: Me, “Let me check my calendar really quick to make sure I can make that appointment.” Agent, “You’re supposed to be unemployed, so you shouldn’t have anything on your schedule.” OK… so I don’t have 3 step-kids to juggle and a ton of volunteer work. And one car to get 5 people to all of their various activities. If I’ve made an appointment with somebody, I’ve made an appointment—I can probably reschedule, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t have commitments. WTF?}

In spite of the above, over the last 6 months for every one bureaucratic cog that has made me want to cry or pull my hair out, I’ve probably dealt with 3 that were kind, efficient, had a sense of humor, or went out of their way to make things go as well as possible.

What’s your favorite bureaucratic interaction story?

Funk • y

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Funk • y [fuhng-kee]

funk (1) Look up funk at Dictionary.com“depression, ill-humor,” 1743, probably originally Scottish and northern English; earlier as a verb, “panic, fail through panic,” (1737), said to be 17c. Oxford University slang, perhaps from Flem. fonck “perturbation, agitation, distress,” possibly related to O.Fr. funicle “wild, mad.”

noun
  1. cowering fear; state of great fright or terror.
  2. a dejected mood: He’s been in a funk ever since she walked out on him.

verb (used with object)

  1. to be afraid of.
  2. to frighten.
  3. to shrink from; try to shirk.

funk (2) Look up funk at Dictionary.com“bad smell,” 1620s, from dialectal Fr. funkière “smoke,” from O.Fr. fungier “give off smoke; fill with smoke,” from L. fumigare “to smoke” (see fume). In reference to a style of music, it is first attested 1959, a back formation from funky.

funky Look up funky at Dictionary.com1784, “old, musty,” in reference to cheeses, then “repulsive,” from funk (2) + -y (2). It began to develop an approving sense in jazz slang c.1900, probably on the notion of “earthy, strong, deeply felt.” … The word reached wider popularity c.1954 (e.g. definition in “Time” magazine, Nov. 8, 1954) and in the 1960s acquired a broad slang sense of “fine, stylish, excellent.”

For more fun with words, see the Online Etymology Dictionary.

Dis • cour • aged

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Dis • cour • aged

discourage Look up discourage at Dictionary.com mid-15c., discoragen, from M.Fr. descourager, from O.Fr. descoragier, from des- “away” (see dis-) + corage (see courage). Related: Discouraged; discouragement; discouraging.

  1. to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit.
  2. to dissuade (usually followed by from ).
  3. to obstruct by opposition or difficulty; hinder: Low prices discourage industry.
  4. to express or make clear disapproval of; frown upon: to discourage the expression of enthusiasm.

courage Look up courage at Dictionary.com c.1300, from O.Fr. corage (12c., Mod.Fr. courage) “heart, innermost feelings; temper,” from V.L. *coraticum (cf. It. coraggio, Sp. coraje), from L. cor “heart,” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength. In M.E., used broadly for “what is in one’s mind or thoughts,” hence “bravery,” but also “wrath, pride, confidence, lustiness,” or any sort of inclination. Replaced O.E. ellen, which also meant “zeal, strength.”

Productive, but bittersweet weekend

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Productive, but bittersweet weekend.

  • Walked Pilot Butte Saturday (with step-son).
  • Caught up on Glee’s with the twins while older step-daughter had a sleep-over.
  • Hung out with step-son while my younger step-daughter had a sleep-over and the older was out with the sleep-over friends.
  • Made the kids help me weed the raised garden beds for ½ hour (we timed it). That plus ½ hour from two kids yesterday = 75% weeded. A little more effort this week and we can plant seeds.
  • Purged, cleaned, and organized the Lazy Susan, the silverware drawer, and two cupboards in the kitchen (with kid help). Repaired a cupboard door with a hinge that had come loose (later, hubby and son repaired it more permanently by replacing the ridiculously short screws with longer ones).
  • Had a family meeting to discuss switching kid bedrooms. Weighed in, then helped by clearing a spot in my living room home office and dining room area for two bookcases. Moved all the books from the smaller bookcase downstairs (with kid help) and re-assembled in the new spot.
  • Listened to bits and pieces of The Food Revolution.
  • Vaguely wished that I had been able to attend TedX Bend (if only the tickets weren’t somewhere around $60! What’s up with that?! And even the volunteers weren’t going to be able to see the event.)
  • Did some news research for the show.
  • Took out Caesar’s large birdcage from the living room. We had left it in place for a week to mourn a bit. (We also got Caesar’s ashes back yesterday). Put the birdcage in the back yard to be stripped and cleaned sometime soon.
  • Worried in the back of my mind about not finding a job yet and what the next month would bring.
  • Finished the first story out of the new Fantasy and Sci Fi issue.

Did, Did Not

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Did:

  • pay some bills,
  • eat freshly made tempeh bacon {a lot of it},
  • have a nice job interview,
  • complete another show {in which we interviewed Ocean Robbins},
  • eat way too many leftover bake sale goodies

Did not:

  • get out into the sunshine, 
  • do yoga or any type of exercise,
  • see much of my family,
  • drink enough water,
  • get to bed at any sort of reasonable hour

Mortgage “assistance,” recruiters, and forgotten shows

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Today was another busy day with a few unexpected events, but thankfully nothing like yesterday. We’re down one kid tonight to make up for the extra kids earlier in the week, I guess.

This afternoon, I got my mortgage assistance paperwork in for a program that I’ll probably never be able to take advantage of. Because it takes so long to go through that:

  1. I’ll have a job by then, or 
  2. Our credit will be ruined and they’ll have kicked us out of the house already

Ha! 

Seriously, though, it does take about 6 months for this government program to go through; It’s for people who are on unemployment and it makes their mortgage payments for up to a year, interest free. Sounds too good to be true, right? It took me a month to get a slot—and that was after spending every other Wednesday, 3 times in a row, on the computer at noon on the dot submitting and submitting and submitting the application. Finally, three weeks ago I lucked out. Sort of. I got a slot. But their computer system had a glitch that wouldn’t allow me to log back in and complete my paperwork. And they took 3 weeks to fix it. It took me about 15 minutes to fill out the information they were requesting. It would be kind of funny, actually, if I didn’t think that they’re likely to delay the approval process 3 weeks because of their own mistake.

This evening, I also got to meet with a recruiter about a job opp that’s been in the works for a few months now. Apparently, I’m still in the running and will hopefully get an interview soon!

And then I spent several hours at the station. We did a local interview, some editing, and took out some outdated materials from last Tuesday’s show. The station ended up having a mix-up over our new twice monthly time-slot, and on Tuesday, they forgot to air our show! So, they’re going to air it next Tuesday instead. Of course, it’s already online—it’s just going to air in Central Oregon for the first time next Tuesday.

Tomorrow morning I’m helping out with the last day of Kids Radio Camp. That should be fun!

What I did today

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Here’s what I did today: Reviewed my employment profile, wrote essay questions, updated my resume, and wrote a cover letter for one job app. Which thankfully I did get in before the deadline. I hope the quality is OK.

Here’s what else I did today: Bitched and moaned because I’ve felt like ass for the 3rd day in a row. Feels like pneumonia, but I’d love to be wrong.

Weird that hubby and I are super sick, but the kids are not (very glad they’re not).

Guess I’ll be glued to this bed again tomorrow. Oh well, a chance to catch up on even more reading, some House or Glee, or maybe even take a crack at those ATV show notes if I can do them in small batches.