Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life in the Unemployment Lane

Snow Branch
Raspberries to the NH Department of Unemployment Security for closing my claim request without telling me. I filed promptly on Feb 2. After 3 weeks of hearing nothing, I called yesterday. "That request was closed; you have an open claim in MA". Seems I had 2 (count them, two) weeks left on a year old claim in MA, therefore was not eligible to file in NH. So they closed it and failed to tell me. I've been waiting for absolutely nothing. I was advised I needed to refile when my MA claim expired...which of course, was last week. Can they reactivate the claim that takes 20 minutes to create? Of course not. I refiled. The agent I spoke with "promised" to back date it a week. Do I believe it will happen? Yeah right.
morning walk
Raspberries to the designer of the IVR system for MA unemployment. It's understandable that waits will be long...but get a load of this one: After waiting on hold for 8 minutes, the automated voice comes on and "due to long waits, you should call back later. Your social ends in 8, call back Thursday" Click. Click? You kept me on hold for 8 minutes just to hang up on me? Who designed this call flow?
tree trunks
I was thinking, there are many white collar professionals like myself out of work...can we just go to the unemployment office and help them spruce up their outdated technologies and processes?
Green Marker
So how are people doing it? I'm looking at my 4th week without a dime. Bills are coming up at the first of the month. I can pay them. I have reserves. But so many people do not carry 2-3 months of reserves. Bills go unpaid, cash is running out. I feel sorry for those people. I live under my means and I think I'm in the minority. The feds are extending benefits but what happens when you can't get past the bureaucratic local door?
sparkling snow
Thumbs up to DCU, my local credit union. The sent out a notice allerting us that they are suspending penalties for early withdrawal on CDs. It's a small gesture, but it meant something to me. I have money locked up in CDs and knowing I can use it if I need to, is a relief. I sent them a thank you note! I love my credit union.

Thumbs up to Angel, she is an employment recruiter who knows how to do her job. She knows what is going on in the region, she if familiar with every employer I've worked for. Unlike other recruiters who can't see past the current job they are trying to fill, she takes a more holistic approach. She's a joy to talk to.
And one last observation from the Unemployment Lane. NPR, could you possibly add some tough times success stories to your line up. I can not face the back to back dark stories. Bankruptcy, foreclosure, layoffs, is no one finding the light in this long dark tunnel?
light from above
Some days motivation is hard to find. But one morning last week, I awoke to the sun sparkling on fresh snow, and all seems good, I grabbed the camera and boots. Can I get a job doing this?? Hope your winter is winding down!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February Ride

Many motorcyclist hold a belief that they can not ride in the winter. It mostly has to do with getting their bike dirty. I did not buy my bike to keep it showroom floor clean. I bought it to ride it.
Dirty Bike

I didn't make it though the last round of layoffs. So I was home waiting for my ship to come in when I glanced at the weather forecast. 50's today, showers in the afternoon. The sky was quite blue, as were my spirits. I needed to shake things up.
Two months off the saddle is too long. Time to get out, get dirty, have fun.

The New Hampshire tag on ADV was an hour closer than the MA tag, so I checked out some directions and headed north. A smile formed on my face as I took the first on ramp. Riding...it does a soul good.
February Ride & Tag

The back roads were wet, the main roads dry. Lots of frost heaves. The temps so warm, I cracked the visor, and pushed down the collar. For the first time in a week, I was happy to be out of work.
Airport Diner

Dilbert has a way of putting things into perspective.
Dilbert on Unemployment

I hope you have not been hit by the economy. But if you have, why not just go for a ride?