Thursday, November 03, 2011

We Are All The Poors Now

Last week I went to unemployment orientation. This involved taking a bus down to south Phoenix to the Department of Economic Security's office, listening to a presentation, and meeting with a counselor who certified I had been there. It was better than the unemployment bootcamp I went to in Ohio, where they told us that time was running out on our unemployment, that you should always try to find jobs through people you know because that's the best way, and when I met with the counselor she looked at my resume and said, "You have a Master's degree--you shouldn't have any problem finding a job" and dismissed me.

It was extremely unhelpful.

This time around the leader who was doing the presentation gave me faith in my presentation skills, as she merely lead us through our packet of papers and did so fairly incoherently. I mean, I managed to get what she was driving at, but that's because I'm smart. According to her:

--DES will audit our asses on a moment's notice and force us to pay back all unemployment received if we don't hunt for jobs;
--If you do all your jobhunting through the Workforce Connection then there will be a paper trail that will help us in case we get audited,
--And there's no health insurance for single adults available because of "the abuse by a few." At this I almost raised my hand and started arguing; the reason why single, childless adults are getting dropped from AHCCCS is because the state is broke and got a special waiver from the feds to cut the Medicaid rolls. And the Legislature hates the citizens of Arizona (or they are all Republican, same difference most days.)

She also informed us that we should kiss our previous standard of living goodbye; people are only finding work that pays "half or a third or an eighth of what they made before." Arizona is not a high wage state; there's no unions out here and it's completely right to work.

So yeah, life is bleak. We're all the poors now, no hope for the future. I even got turned down by Target, and that's right across the street. I said I was always available and I thought I answered as a positive, upbeat, hardworking person on their little personality test. Guess not. Maybe Jersey Mike's Subs will pay off.


Anne At Large said...

Keep your hopes up, I think people who work for unemployment are trained to depress you. And not be helpful. I got called in once to go to a seminar and they never even asked to see any proof that I'd been applying for jobs (I just kept printouts of the ads for everything I applied for). They just read through all the papers they'd given us out loud and gave me completely irrelevant and useless job referrals because they looked science-y.

Just keep trying, it took me something like ten months to find this job but I'm still applying to better ones just in case. And do you not have COBRA down there? We got 15 months of it after Matt got laid off and it was a godsend. Anyways, fingers crossed for you and I am impressed with how much more productive you are than I was for like the first four months of my unemployment ;)

Kerry said...

No, we have COBRA--that's a federal mandate. Basically until the state went broke, AZ had a very generous state health insurance program called Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System that covered people who would otherwise make too much for Medicaid.

Thanks for the encouragement, Anne!