Four months ago I was “let go.”
After crying quite a bit and wallowing as a guest at my self-pity party, I took action. I filed for unemployment and waited to see if I would be approved. Upon receiving the 'good' news, I knew there would be difficulties ahead, yet I saw a glimmer of hope. I obtained paperwork from the state noting that if any scheduled appointments with the unemployment offices were missed, any questionnaires were not filled out or I forgot to claim each week, my benefits would be frozen for up to two weeks.
The first meeting was a disorganized disaster. I arrived right on time only to be given an application and told to “sit at any table and you’ll be called soon.”
An hour and a half later, eight of us were sitting crammed around a woman’s desk as she talked…and talked and talked, telling us what we must do and how, most importantly if we didn’t follow through with the requirements, our benefits would be frozen.
Feeling even more discouraged than when I had walked in, I left wanting to click my red heels, hoping that home sweet home would be getting my job back. Was this what it was like to be on unemployment? Would the next meeting result in feeling so hopeless?
For the next few weeks, I diligently claimed my benefits, scouting the mail for any letter labeled Department of Labor. I was soon summoned to appear for a meeting. I would need to complete a Work Search Record detailing my efforts job searching. Slightly hopeful, I was looking forward to see what the unemployment office had to offer me.
The meeting had already begun and I as walked into the conference room flustered, as I am never late, I was surprised to see 25-30 people sitting at tables filling out paperwork, many of them with confused looks on their faces.
As the meeting went on, I slowly my hope diminishing as frustration and anger rose to take its place. I did not have a chance to follow the employee as she haphazardly went through the pamphlet that was absently tossed my way; I was too busy filling out the required work search record that I had not even noticed was on the back of my questionnaire.
“Do not ask me any questions regarding unemployment as it will be a waste of my time and I will not be able to give you the right answers,” said the 'counselor.' My head snapped to attention and I looked at her with a puzzled look on my face. After handing in my work search record and signing the sign-in sheet, I stormed out of the office so angry, my prepared work search record crumpled in my white knuckles.
We are people who have lost our jobs. We do not have benefits, we are granted allowances based on good behavior. I watched that clock that afternoon. 15 minutes. That’s all they needed to establish discouragement and obtain a stroked ego.
Tomorrow, I will continue looking at the clock and obtain a perseverent attitude for time waits for no one.