Unlacing Unemployment

  Applying for unemployment was a surreal experience.

I never thought it would be me making that choice. I have made a lot of difficult decisions in my life, but this one seemed anticlimactic. Something that had to be done. But not something I feel particularly good about afterward.

It’s one of those things that is there to help you when you need it. But somehow I feel like I have failed.

They pump this idea into your head that you graduate high school, graduate college, get a reasonable job that will pay more and have better benefits over time, you get married, have children, etc. Apparently this all happens before, or around, 30.

Well! I’m 5 years from that mark. Got though the college part. Lost a not-so-great job that I hated. I do, at least, have a committed relationship. And I don’t even want children.

But I can’t even hold on to a crappy management job in food service. And now I have to file for unemployment. How am I supposed to get into graduate school, do well, get a successful enough job, and live happily if I’ve already started wandering off of the path?

I’m sure things will work out. Or, rather, I sure hope they will and know that I will do everything I can to make it work. But I can’t help feeling that this event has set me back and helped me out all at once. Confusing, I know.

But it isn’t just the feeling of failure that made this such a strange experience.
It’s how complicated the government feels the need to make the whole process. Granted, it IS a part of the government so any language or rules they have for it are going to be practically impenetrable. But, seriously? I applied for it, which was absurd enough with the questions they ask you, but I’m not even sure of what it is I am supposed to do once I get it.

For instance:
-I have to prove that I seriously tried to find a job in person, and not just on the internet. Which is all well and good. inquiring about a position in person is generally viewed as being more professional and shows more interest than just sending in your resume. But…do I have someone sign a sheet? How embarrassing would that be! Or does the state just call up there and ask if I dropped my information off? Or is it something they just take on good faith? I understand the need to make sure people aren’t just taking the money because they don’t feel like working. I just wish they would make things a little bit more user friendly. Or at least give you slightly more specific guidelines.

That’s half of the problem I have with government programs. You have to dredge through all the ridiculous bureaucratic sludge to really figure out what you’re supposed to do. By the time you’ve done that, though, you’ve probably already committed some kind of fraud and have to start covering your ass for a law suit.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s fantastic that we have programs to help us when we are down. It’s just that, we are already down on our luck. Why make things more convoluted on top of that?


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