The Situation, Day 3.5

13 Mar 2013

Original Blogger tags: The Situation 2013

When I left the office today to check the mail, I found a letter from the State of Michigan, regarding unemployment paperwork. Apparently there’s a new requirement — new as of January 2013 — that anyone receiving unemployment compensation has to record my job search on their system — on paper forms, mailed in, or online. I have to log two applications filled out a week, basically — résumés sent, result received back, any interviews, etc. Under pain of having to give back that $362 a week — with interest.

Of course, my first eligible week ends Friday, and I’m just finding out about it now (Wednesday evening). They do not mention this on their web site, because how could you possibly keep a web site current with changing paperwork requirements? Once the text on the web site has been written, that’s it! It’s set in stone!

So I get it, legislators were sitting around and they had a brainstorm — the way to solve all Michigan’s problems was to lean on those lazy unemployed. That’ll bring the jobs back from China and India and make the state competitive again! Those folks receiving up to $362 a week clearly have it too easy, sitting on their asses receiving those cushy checks and eating bon-bons.

But what this overlooks is that I’ve almost never gotten a job this way. All my really good jobs have come through personal contacts and networking, and of course working on my skills. The best jobs are often not posted publicly. If an organization does have to post jobs, it helps if you can get one written with you in mind — someone basically transcribing your qualifications into the “requirements” session, after you’ve had a chat with the person writing the description. You can get a great job that way. Dumping résumés and cover letters on posted positions that I’m not very interested in, or cold-calling, without even having someone who already works in the company and who can vouch for you? Not so much. But I guess I’ll have to do that too. I’m not sure what happens if I get an interview, and an offer, for a job I don’t want, or that won’t pay me enough. Do I have to give Michigan back my $362 (with interest) if I don’t take the first job that offers me a position?

Anyway, it looks like I’ll have to basically conduct two job search processes in parallel — applying for publicly posted positions, so that I can document that I’m doing so, and continuing to actually search for a job I want, by collecting up contacts and leads, writing personal e-mails, and getting up-to-date on a few things that employers might find useful. It makes me wonder if I should just not bother to certify and collect my $362. Oh — oops — did I just discover the actual point of this requirement?

Grace tells me that, best-case scenario, we ought to be able to start collecting food assistance after about 30 days. She also commented that navigating benefits for the jobless… is pretty much a full-time job.

Got another moderate workout in at the gym…

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