First and foremost, I’m on yet another Facebook break. I’m not posting anything over there but will approve and accept all Candy Crush Saga requests. So to all of my Facebook friends, no, you won’t see me for a bit but I will happily take all the Candy Crush help I can get.
Secondly, if it seems like I’m writing a lot about my current employment status (that of being unemployed), you’re right. If anything, it gives me something to write about since every experience feels absolutely incredulous.
And today was no exception.
I had received a notice a few weeks ago that I had been selected to attend a so-called Initial Assistance Workshop at the local my assigned Career Transition Center (not to be confused with the one that offers little help). Here’s what the workshop was supposed to have covered:
By the time we were finished, all we did was fill out some paperwork that had little to do with any of this. If anything, it seemed like those in attendance were being audited by the state for not filling out proper forms. And while the notice stated that the workshop would run from 9am to 2pm, we were done by 10:30am.
As I normally do, I felt out of place at this workshop. If anything, I felt like the smartest person in the room despite forgetting my Social Security card and having to go home to bring it back. If not, they would have had no record of my attendance and could have delayed my unemployment check.
Anyway, back to why I thought I was the smart cookie. A woman I’ll call Susan was in charge of the meeting and went over the forms we were to fill out, none of which were difficult. While we filled them out, she told us that one of the reasons we were there was because we hadn’t uploaded our resume to the state’s job-hunting service, hadn’t logged into it, hadn’t registered, etc. She called out all of us individually and explained what we needed to do in order to get up to speed.
I was the only one who had everything done right. No further action was required.
And when you go to anything dealing with state assistance, you always get a handful of characters. Today’s workshop was no exception.
One guy who admitted to not being computer savvy said that his computer crashed while he was in the middle of uploading his resume, which he claimed was difficult enough. This was also the reason his unemployment check was delayed. But if he’s not good with computers, it’s doubtful his computer crashed. I’d wager to say that he never did anything in the first place.
A woman left the meeting after a lengthy Spanish discussion with Susan. From what I picked up, she asked Susan if this meeting was going to be in Spanish as well. She told her no and gave her a time and date of the Spanish meeting.
Another woman wasn’t even supposed to be there. Susan asked for her packed and she left.
The guy next to me had questions regarding guardianship and how to list it on one of the forms. Toward the end of the meeting, Susan reminded us that we needed to return next week to return one form. The guy then spoke to Susan about the date, telling her he had a court appearance that same day. I don’t know what arrangements they made and I didn’t want to eavesdrop but it was hard to ignore when Susan said, “You have a court date?” in a voice that commanded attention.
So I will return on Monday to return my form for whatever reason. In the end, I don’t think I accomplished much and will continue my job search on my own. The place is depressing and filled with understandably unhappy unemployed people, but some tend to voice their displeasure about the services more than others and that’s not a vibe I want to be around. It’s bad juju, man. I’m telling you.
But something good did come out of today’s trip.
I got to eat at Dave’s Burgers, a local institution. Dave’s holds a place in my heart not for obvious reasons but because it was the first place I went right after Anthony was born at the hospital down the street. Tiffany, Dave’s owner after the original Dave hung up his spatula, was one of the first people outside of family to learn I was a father.
I hadn’t gone there in a long time so after the workshop I thought I’d catch up with Tiffany who once knew me on a first-name basis and had my order on the grill when I arrived. Yes, those were my Fatty Fatty Fat-Fat Days.
But Tiffany had to do a double-take when she saw me today and was shocked when I ordered a cheeseburger, not my old usual Jumbo Double with everything. It was good to chat with her, even if she is now baffled at how I run 10 miles on the weekend.
“Damn, how the hell do you do that,” she asked with a curious look. And she must weigh 90 pounds sopping wet.
Grrr. I need to find a job – soon.