The Situation, Day 18

$ 28 Mar 2013

Original Blogger tags: 28 Mar 2013

Not a lot of movement to report, although there are some positive developments.

Rich and I are skipping the Bloodthirsty Vegetarians podcast again this week; he’s got some things he’s busy with, and I’ve got some things I’m busy with. Maybe next week.

I have an initial phone interview scheduled for Monday with a local employer and I’m filling out more job paperwork. If this goes well, it could mean that this job search won’t have to be an extended one and we won’t have to move, at least not for my work. That would be great, and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic, but of course I don’t actually have an offer yet.

Today I certified with MARVIN and I should be paid unemployment for the past two weeks, even though my password for the online system is either delayed or lost in the mail. So I’ll give it another day or two; sometimes mail takes a strangely long time to get here.

I need to report a couple more job applications completed last week and this week, although looking at the Michigan job boards online, I don’t see much in the way of new postings.

We have most of the paperwork finished for our food assistance application.

Grace has actually had some good news (for a change) about her health issues. They may be less severe than we feared, and there might be some things that can be done to improve the situation that don’t involve more surgery (which almost killed her, last time). It’s too early to know for sure, but if she could be free of chronic pain, that would be wonderful. I just hope we can get what needs to be done, done while I still have health insurance through COBRA.

Re: Pb. We spoke today with the state agencies that deal with lead. We will need to get them some paperwork, but the upshot was that they should be able to test our home at no cost to us (since I currently have very little income). They also have grant money to spend on remediation, if it is needed here. And via my network, we’ve got another contact person to talk to for advice about lead — a friend of a friend (thanks, Ken!) Presumably there will not be much news on this until we get test results.

Overall, I’m a little stressed, although not as much as I was in week one. The main problem I’ve having is what I’ve started to think of as a kind of cognitive dissonance. I need to consider a lot of different options and make contingency plans — and they are violently contradictory. For example, I’m planning to both stay here and move, both in-state and out-of-state, and do work similar to the work I’ve been doing for the last decade, work similar to things I might have done further in the past, like web application development or GUI development, and also retraining myself to get into iOS development or Haskell programming or Scala programming or something like that.

Maybe some people are good at this sort of contingency planning but I am finding it a little unnerving and very distracting. I guess that’s probably par for the course. I don’t want to pass up anything that might be a really lucrative and positive change for my family. But one last thought there — when I was 25, and single, and could pretty much pack up all my things in a station wagon or minivan, moving was stressful. Now that I’m 45, with not just a family but a large family — moving sounds really stressful. Add to that a house we probably couldn’t sell sell quickly even at a loss and, well, you do the math.

Grace had what I thought was a very insightful comment. Michigan requires people receiving unemployment to document two job applications completed per week. They also have a rule that says that once you’ve received half the benefit weeks you are entitled to, you have to take pretty much any job that pays market wages and at least minimum wage, even if it is not in your field. There’s some language to that effect; it is a little vague. The net effect, she reasons, is that experienced high-wage workers who can’t find, locally, the kind of work they previously had, will be driven to flee the state. The system will force them to apply out-of-state. I guess that meets the short-term goal of reducing unemployment rolls in Michigan, but forcing people who should be assets to Michigan cities to leave does not really seem like the best long-term solution.

I hear Chicago has sports bars themed after specific Michigan universities, for this very reason. But will there be long-term rewards for those who choose to stick it out?

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