It Ain’t Happening


It’s been exactly one month since my former employer gave me the ol’ boot on the ass due to budget cuts.

And since then, I’ve been in touch with a former coworker who continues to give me a rundown of what’s going on which mostly surrounds my abrupt and, what many deem unnecessary, layoff.

I’ve been sort of thinking that with the sudden wave of work they’ve gotten, along with at least four quitting/finding other jobs since my untimely departure, that I would be getting a phone call and a request to come back and help pick up the slack.

Well, as the title of this post implies, it’s not going to happen.

My source recently told me that the company is no longer going to use temps, which means that some of them could very soon be getting their walking papers. If that’s the case then there would be almost no proofreaders left (but they are training others to proofread for the time being). Additionally, this person is also under the impression that one entire department will be phased out. And if that happens then there’d be almost no need for anyone else to be there. For the record, temps make up about 70% of the office crew and the temp agency they use is located on one of the campuses. That could be…awkward.

I’ve seen moves like this happen before and let me tell you, they don’t lead to good things. The outcome is always worse than you can imagine and the emotional carnage is unreal. With all of this happening, it seems that the work done at my former office could be slated for outsourcing.

That’s a far stretch from a few months after New Boss came to town and promised all of us that many of the temps would be taken in as permanent employees of Big Company. Everything was going well and there was all kinds of stuff coming around the corner. We’d be fine for a long time.

The work is most definitely there, but only two have been transitioned to permanent employees and that happened when I was still there. So much for that.

Then as we attended more meetings, the topic of the budget came up. This should have been an indication that things weren’t going to get any better. And during the last meeting, I heard that the information New Boss gave sounded more like smoke and mirrors. It was all so vague that nobody could think of anything to ask afterward since it answered nothing.

Do the math: budget cuts, no more temps, an entire department possibly being phased out.

At this point it seems that the days at Big Company are pretty much numbered for everybody. All I can say is good luck to all of them.

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Is It Me Or…


I was driving down the street today, just minding my own business, when I stopped at a red light. Next to me was a Long Beach Transit hybrid bus.

These buses have been a part of their fleet for quite some time now and the observation I’m about to point out never really occurred to me until today.

So I’m at the red light and I happen to glance over at the bus. Looks familiar for some reason.

And that’s when it hit me.

Is it me or does this bus (or its color scheme at the very least) resemble the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile?

I don’t know. You be the judge.

wienerbus

Whatever the case may be, I suddenly want to stop the next bus I see and ask for a Wiener Whistle. Or drive the Wienermobile around town and pick up passengers at the bus stops.

Karma


As I continue to wallow through the doldrums of unemployment and continuously applying for even the most menial jobs, I get word from a former coworker about the status of Former Employer.

Basically, the questions surrounding my layoff are still being brought up nearly three weeks later and yet there are no answers. Work is beginning to pile up and now they are recruiting former proofreaders who have moved on to other departments to handle what’s becoming more than the regular crew of proofreaders can handle.

The place is apparently in a state of flux with this abundance of work, which means that there is obviously money to be made and a demand for the products they produce.

Yet my assignment was ended because there was no money in the budget to retain me.

This is amusing to me. They could potentially start approving overtime so that they can get more of the work done but if I was still under their employ, the piles would be taken care of in a timely manner. They could also hire new people but that would require training and would also be a setback since they could only proof certain projects.

So many things for them to consider while I’m struggling to find a job.

Karma, man. Karma.

Adventures in Unemployment


I figured I’d write about this topic since its taken on the form of a sitcom.

I could be writing about my awful, almost-in-tears-with-pain stomach virus that I contracted last Sunday but I won’t. All I’ll say is that I went to the doctor today, he confirmed it was  a virus, he prescribed me some medication, and I’ve gone from fearing food to wanting to eat everything I see. You know, to make up for lost time this past week. I’m fine and it’s getting better.

But let’s move on over to the topic at hand: Adventures in Unemployment.

I got my first claim form in the mail last week which stated that it should have been returned by 7/6/13. I got on 7/8/13. I figured that maybe there was a delay because of the 4th of July holiday and that they would take this into consideration when processing my claim. I can only hope because dealing with the EDD can be an…adventure.

Speaking of which, I wanted to register for their online unemployment claim center where recipients can submit their latest claims, update info, etc. While I would have loved to do this for the convenience factor (as well as avoid any processing delays), I couldn’t.

Here’s the thing. Despite doing my research with my previous employer and actually adding up the income of every quarter over the past two years, and that I had submitted a new claim (not related to my previous stint on unemployment), I never got a reward letter stating what I would be getting paid. In fact, it was clearly marked Continued Claim on the top of the letter I received but it had no other information other than what I needed to do next.

So as of now, I’m totally stumped as to what I will be getting. I’m thinking if they are going by the previous employer’s income, hence the Continued Claim, the checks will be about what I was making at my last job and that wouldn’t be bad. The problem is that I don’t know which it will be, and the reward amount is a requirement when registering to use the EDD’s online claim center. I tried a few amounts based on the income of both jobs as well as looking up the reward amount on the chart and neither of them worked. Then I thought I’d give the office a call to see what my reward amount really is.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

I called and got the automated system which asks for your SSN as well as – you guessed it – reward amount. Again, I can’t do a damn thing about it except try to call back and get in touch with a carbon-based being. So I called back and listened carefully at all the options, none of which were “To speak to a representative, press [insert number of choice].” In fact, according to the recording, reps are only on the phones from 8-12 and are processing claim checks the rest of the day. Fine and well, but I called at 11:11 am and there isn’t an option that allows me to get a hold of one. No excuses why I shouldn’t get a hold of someone but alas, I didn’t and still have no idea what my check will be when it arrives. I’m prepared for a shock either way and quite certain that I’ll have to invest in a booklet of Forever stamps in order to keep getting my checks.

In addition to handing out checks and making them extremely difficult to get in the first place, the EDD also offers training for the unemployed so that they can learn a new skill and make themselves more attractive on the job market. I figured that I’m done with proofreading and wanted to try my hand at something, anything, that might strike my fancy since the market for proofreaders is extremely weak – weaker for someone like me without a degree.

So I gathered up some paperwork and drove down to the nearest One-Stop Career Center to get some more information on the training programs.

This was my first mistake. See, there are locations all over the place and I figured that going to the Cerritos office (4 miles from home) vs. the Long Beach office (6 miles from home) would be easier all the way around, right?

Wrong.

I waltzed into the office and was greeted – it was more like I annoyed her on her coffee break – by a female secretary of indeterminable race who spoke with a thick accent. She asked if I needed help and I told her my intentions.

“The training program is [sic] no available right now. There are no funding for programs.”

Verbatim. And I’m the one out of work? The guy who will be paying this woman’s pension?

Well, great. Just great. At a time when I want to transition into something different, the state can’t help. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this.

As I stood there, chagrined and probably looking rather incredulous over what I was just told and how the state can afford to pay someone like this a decent salary, she then asked me where I lived since certain jurisdictions may still have funding. I told her where I lived.

“Oh, you need to go to Long Beach office anyway.”

Grrrr.

The next day I fight my way into the parking lot of the Long Beach One-Stop Center. Hoping for better luck, I walked in there feeling rather confident that I would accomplish something this time.

Then I remembered which state I live in.

There’s never a definitive, this-is-where-you-should-stand location at these offices. You tend to walk in and are approached by some malcontent who treats you as if you are trying to take away their hard-earned lobster harmonica they just won from the claw machine during their state-mandated 30-minute break. That was the case here.

A younger girl asked me if she could help. I asked about training once again, and then the excuses started to flow.

“We’re all full for the time being because, as you can see, the building is currently under construction and we have fewer people to accommodate.”

So not only was coming here a waste but so was her suggestion of going to the Torrance of San Pedro office for the paperwork, filling it out, then returning it to the Long Beach office on Monday.

I looked at her curiously and thought, “Wait. As if I’m not wasting enough gas, you want me to drive to either one of those locations for the paperwork then bring it back here on Monday, when it’s obvious that I can bypass driving all over Hell’s Creation and just show up here on Monday and do the same thing?” I could have but I didn’t want to confuse her.

She went on explaining the program and by then I had honestly cut her off. I stood there looking around the office at those who were already there for training. I felt like a total loser being in the company of backwards-cap-wearing nincompoops who had a case worker assigned to them in order to help them assess what they’d be good at, as if a fry cook requires such an assessment.

A case worker. Nothing makes you feel less human than having someone assigned to you whose intention is to help but whose stigma tells the world that you are less of a human being then most people.

I walked out of the office – and I’m determined not to go back.

I spent the rest of the week looking at various colleges offering two-year degrees in subjects that would interest me. I also hit the streets and pounded on the doors of many local and new businesses down here, most of whom were receptive to my plight and happily accepted my resume.

As of now, I’ve decided that state-funded training is not going to happen with me. Too many hoops, too much bullshit, too much for me to deal with when I can apply the credits I’ve already earned in my college years and put them toward schooling that won’t require me to step into an office full of dipshits and morons.

I will continue both job search and college search on Monday, when the Adventures in Unemployment will surely take on yet another life.

Stay tuned…

I Feel Loved


Okay folks, it was an interesting day to say the least.

First of all let me cut to the chase. I signed a confidentiality agreement with the studio and therefore cannot divulge any information regarding intricacies of today’s shoot. But what I can say is this: you will see me – a lot. This is, without a doubt, the most camera time I’ve ever had with any show. In fact, if you combined all of my time they wouldn’t equal today’s camera time. I will let you know when it airs.

Oh and it was hot out there today. Very hot.

I can also tell you about the networking I did with several other background actors (henceforth referred to as “background”). With all the downtime we have, sharing stories, interests, and the job itself are great ways to pass time. You can learn so much about people if you just sit down, let them speak, and be an active listener. I was with everyone and it was an amazing time and picked up some very positive vibes. They were all good people and it was a great chance to network with all of them.

Also, there was a kitten that had to be under a year of age wandering around the set. And me, being a cat person, immediately befriended said kitty and she took a liking to me instantly. She had no fear of anyone and just wanted a little love. As the day went on and she got more used to us, a few of the background were telling me that I should take her home since I was so attached to her.

Believe me, I would have. But the cost of vet bills and the possibility of her needing to be spayed at a time when I just lost my job wouldn’t have worked too well. And and strictly forbade me from bringing her home. Trust me, I still have the text.

Later, I did notice that those running the location put out cans of cat food for the strays which gave me a little solitude, but I wasn’t entirely happy about the cat’s future.

That was until we wrapped for the day and I saw one of the PAs (Production Assistant) sitting on the ground next to the spotted kitten, petting her. She told me that two of the crew members were going to split the cost of the vet bill and take her home. This totally made my day and I gave the kitty a few more scratches on the head before I went home. She was awesome.

Sadly, no pictures of Kitty. There was a strict policy regarding photography and if you were caught, you were made to delete the image/s and escorted off the set, perhaps never to work on the show again. But she’ll live on in my mind and my heart is at ease knowing she’ll be taken care of.

So why do I feel so loved, as the title of this post implies?

Today was the day when my departure was announced at the Monday Meeting of my former employer. Before it happened, I was getting the play-by-play via SMS from a former coworker who was telling me the reactions from people about my getting the ax. I also was checking Facebook posts. Here are some excerpts from both:

“She is upset that you are gone. Her eyes watered up and she said she couldn’t believe it.”

“I think everyone is really shocked.”

During the meeting, “There was a silence after they said you weren’t there.”

Afterward, there were arguments over looming deadlines and someone said, “Well, you shouldn’t have let David go. You could have put him on [another project].”

But perhaps the best comment of the day was this one:

“There were fireworks in your honor!”

You know, it almost makes me feel bad for what I said in my last post – almost. Perhaps they should have treated me a little bit better and given me a few more chances to prove myself rather than cut me from their budget because as you can see, there’s a world of pain ahead for everybody without me there to help pick up the slack.

And it’s only Monday. I’m not saying the place is falling apart but man, it sure seems like it’s been in better condition. I don’t recall there being this much strife over someone’s departure in my almost 3 years of working there. I was the quiet one who just did his job and went on to the next one and as I stated in the previous post, told very little of my private life to permanent employees which is why I’m finding this outpouring of support so freaking odd.

But just as I’m doing, they need to move on.

By the way, today’s shoot was only 30 minutes from home. You don’t know how happy I am to not have to drive 40 miles round-trip daily to and from my former job.

So between the arguments over my layoff, meeting some amazing people, and nearly taking home a kitten who stuck to me like glue, today I truly and honestly feel loved.

And somehow I keep thinking I’ll be getting a call within the next week…