I’ll forgo the updates of my short story attempts since it has only been a day since I started. Today I would like to take a moment to appreciate someone who probably doesn’t get enough appreciation.
A few months back, I filed for unemployment. This is something that I have never before had to do, and let me tell you, it’s been an eye-opener for sure. It has not been easy to get the money that I personally have paid into unemployment insurance for the past ten years. When I was finally accepted to receive my benefit checks (three weeks after I started filing and two weeks of eating nothing but canned beans), I got a check for barely $100. That’s my weekly allowance. After having a job that paid me 30K a year, and 3 years of working in retail since then, and years of working in retail before that, I get barely $500 a month. How the hell does anyone live on that?
I would love to say that the minimal paycheck was the biggest headache and that I refiled my claim each week and continued to get paid, but the problem with this scenario is that no one can live on $500 a month. So I tried to find work. And working for $20 or $50 or $150 a week messed up my claim, and I lost unemployment again and again, despite the fact that I never had an “employer” in all of this.
And then there was Rick. Rick is the very kind individual at the state employment office who helped me get “self-employment” status when everyone in every other office said my “number” (which no one seemed to understand well enough to explain) was too low by two points. (This “number” the computer calculates from some formula, and no human being in the office has the power to change it or see how it is being calculated.) Every three weeks or so, I get a letter from the unemployment office that I have done something horribly awry, and thankfully I am transferred to Rick. And he fixes my problems. Not only that, but he explains to me why I got the letter and how I can avoid a stopped payment in the future. Thanks, Rick. You seriously deserve a raise.
This unemployment thing is like playing a game where no one gives you the rules in the beginning; they shout out “You broke a rule” in the middle of the game, and you take a penalty for something you didn’t know was wrong.