Unemployment: Workforce Center Orientation

So I got a letter a few weeks ago that notified me I was “scheduled to attend a Workforce Center Orientation.” Although they didn’t come out and say it clearly, this was apparently a mandatory seminar in order to keep receiving unemployment insurance benefits.

Today was the big day, so I got out my best pair of khakis and headed over to a [NAME BRAND REMOVED BY EDITOR] hotel in McKinney.

This blog will hereafter be written in bullet points, since I sometimes roll that way:

* I was glad to NOT see any familiar faces, but saddened to see about 30-40 attendees at this meeting. The true faces of the economy.

* The first lady to speak included the phrase “helpful to people in your situation.” Stung a little bit, I must admit. Sure, she’s got a cushy government job where she’ll do mediocre work, leave at 5:00 p.m. on the dot every day, and never go above and beyond her written responsibilities. (I’m not bitter.) I’ve seen this lady’s clones at the DMV and a variety of other places.

* She also said something about “you can get copies if you have ran out.” Governmental grammar?

* The dress code of the attendees ranged from the business casual, polo shirt/khaki look to my favorite dude — who showed up 20 minutes late in a white T-shirt and gym shorts. I’m sure he’ll have employers beating down his door.

* Next lady to speak was kinda nice. Her gig was to talk about networking and using the WorkInTexas.com site to search for jobs.

* She claimed that 60% to 70% of new hires are through networking. A middle-aged dude in a T-shirt hounded her with questions since he was so worried about giving out his personal information. I was hoping he’d launch into a tirade against the watchful eye of the government or something like that, but she was eventually able to get him to a good place.

* They passed around a sign-up sheet for networking meetings. No offense, folks, but my time is better spent networking on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And e-mailing friends and contacts. And hitting the job boards. Which I do pretty much every day.

* I think I’m coming off wrong in this blog. I’m appreciative that the government is trying to help me get a job. But if they knew anything about me, they’d know that this meeting was a complete waste of my time. It was only an hour and a half, but I had to hurry up and get my daughters dressed and fed and over to my mom-in-law’s so she could watch them. All that prep time and driving and meeting would have been much better spent doing my search on my own.

I understand that there are many people out there who need the kind of assistance they provide. I just got nothing out of it.

*  They asked how many people in attendance were veterans. At least five or six people raised their hands, which kind of shocked me. All those years of advertising how the armed forces prepare you for a career after you’re back in civilian life brainwashed me into thinking that these brave men and women would be prepared for their post-military careers. Sadly, this is not the case.

Reminded me of how I wanted to offer my writing help for resumes and cover letters to veterans. Definitely want to revive that idea and find a way to provide my skills.

* In filling out the online profiles, they mentioned how important it is to mention your certifications and stuff. Examples given included HVAC and CNA. I’m sorry, but if you can’t find work in air conditioning in Texas or in nursing anywhere in the country (tremendous nursing shortage, if you didn’t  know) then I’m not sure an updated profile is going to get it done.

* The Web browser crashed several times during the presentations. Some day, the world will learn the superiority of Apple.

* In going over the resume portion of the profile, I was inspired to create an brutally honest resume along the lines of Dudley Moore’s brutally honest ad campaigns in “Funny People.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_ArDB7AJAI

Look for it in a future blog post! (It’ll be much funnier than this one.)

* Took a Boggle break. Trick I learned to get through meetings that doesn’t require doodling skills. Just make up a Boggle board (four letters by four letters) any way you want, then try to find as many words that connect across, up/down or diagonally — minimum four letters to make it harder.

* I did have an actual question, and waited until the very end to ask one of the workers. When I inquired as to whether they had any services for entrepreneurs, he referred me to the chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau. While that did answer my question, it was more stuff I’ve already figured out for myself.

Oy.

Hey, if you’re reading this and in charge of hiring a writer in the Collin County area, hit me up in the Comments section. (There — I think that’ll count as one of my “work search” entries for my log.)

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Unemployment Claim, Part 2

Long story short, since I know my loyal readers are waiting in suspense.

Finally spoke with my rep, who claimed that I had submitted a claim (and been paid) for a week that crossed over into my last position. So then she launched into the Texas code, launching words at me like “misdemeanor” and “felony.” I can’t remember how that happened, other than an accident.

So they ate my first check from this new claim (except for about $28 — guess I got a raise), and I eventually started getting my payments.

And yes, it’s mostly going for diapers, wipes and all forms of baby-fied yogurt.

Twins Update, 7/14/10

At about 4:40 p.m. Central, Alexandra Faye Rose Rubin stood up on her own! Naturally, after all day with Daddy, it was Mommy who found young Alex standing in her crib. (This isn’t about YOU, Daddy.)

It may have taken her a little longer to catch up to Norah in the standing department, but Mommy and Daddy are mega-proud of Alex. And just in time for the girls’ 15-month birthday on Friday!

Sorry no photo available…we were too excited to think about snapping one. Stupid 20th-century parents.

Unemployment Claim, Part 1

Filed a request for payment with the Texas Workforce Commission on Tuesday.

Got a call on Wednesday — of course, the one call I missed all day — from someone possibly named Virginia (she spoke very quickly) “requesting more information.” Guess filling out an online form in its entirety isn’t enough.

Tried calling back several times Wednesday and left messages. On her voicemail, the lady states that she “will get back to [callers] within 24 hours if possible.” (I’m doing my best not to laugh at that.)

Tried calling today several times and left messages.

Decided to go through the 1-800 number this morning, sat on hold for 15 minutes then hung up.

Tried again just now, waited 17 minutes and finally got Yolanda. Yolanda took all my information, then told me to wait for a call back from the 1st person, and if I didn’t hear from her to just leave another message.

To be continued…