Category Archives: Unemployment

Adventures in Self-Employment

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.

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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Unemployment



I am going to try to refer to myself as “self-employed,” rather than “unemployed.” I am sure that right now I am in the same boat with thousands of Americans, frustrated that I can’t get a human being in person, much less on the phone, to answer all of my questions about how to properly fill out my paperwork. I am not the type of person to ask for help, but I have needed to, and it has been a whirlwind of government offices and forms and automated messages that seem to have me constantly traveling in circles.

It has been about one month since I was on someone’s payroll. I have rewritten my resume more times than I can count. I have responded to every craigslist posting that seemed reasonably relevant. I have ignored my shop to look for a “real” job without acknowledging that I am a confident, capable, creative young women who owns her own business. So while I will continue to polish my resume and continue to apply for jobs, I am taking a moment today to appreciate what I have accomplished on my own.

I am self-employed, not unemployed. I guess I should go back to the unemployment office to correct my paperwork…

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Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Unemployment