Unemployment Meeting - Take I

Unemployment - Take I - a first hand look into my experiences at my first unemployment meeting at the one-stop unemployment center.

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. 



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Andromachos March 25, 2012 at 01:17 PM
To get back to the crux of the issue - why is it acceptable, even expected, that those who work for the government be allowed to perform poorly, with little motivation - and without consequences. Although there are many government workers who care about their jobs and the services they provide, a too great number are listless civil servants, who rely on the protections granted by the Civil Service Act, to shamelessly ride out their workday with the minimum of fuss. For those motivated and eager government employees, Thank you and good work.
Andromachos March 25, 2012 at 01:26 PM
And to Rosie, Jeff Myers and Ross, I think you will find that the incompetence in government is more directly related to the political patronage involved in their hiring and lack of accountability in certain offices, and the self-protection of managers unwilling to acknowledge the poor performance of underlings as a reflection on their own abilities. Affirmative action or quotas are, at least officially, not in use.
Ross Revira March 25, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Kate Knowles March 27, 2012 at 12:56 AM
As the author of this piece, I want to say thank you for sharing your opinions; I am glad that this important issue is being discussed. @Andromachos - your thoughts are beautifully articulated and I couldn't agree more. While I do applaud those that do their job to the best of their ability, I am focusing on the lack of concern that the majority of employees have for their jobs and the people that should be benefitting from their knowledge. @Jeff Myers and Ross - I appreciate your heartfelt perspectives from both sides, and whether that specific individual was there to fulfill a quota from the state or not, the focus is that she wasn't there doing her job which should be her first prerogative. @Josh - thanks for mediating @SHDad - Thanks for sharing your empathy...keep on going... Keep sharing and please keep reading!
Francis T McVetty March 27, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Kate you may want to think that {I am focusing on the lack of concern that the majority of employees have for their jobs and the people that should be benefitting from their knowledge.} may be in part to the utter lack of concern on the employers part for his/her employees. There used to be a "personal" department, it has been replaced by an HR department and in many cases is really not. It is a shame that some companies put the MOST incompetent people in these departments! You want employees that work hard for you, then treat them like family not just another tool that when it it is not as sharp as it was in the beginning, you just throw it away. You want loyalty from an employee then treat them right.


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