Is more than 99 weeks too long to collect unemployment?
If it seems like you've been jobless forever, this post is not for you.
If you've already moved, cut your cable and landline, and sold your car -- and old jewelry and knickknacks -- to make ends meet, this post is not for you.
This post is for the senators, the congressmen and women, and yes, even members of this fair site who seem to think that we don't need to extend unemployment benefits.
I'm a former editor at a newspaper. You know, that deadwood thing with ink that people used to read before we all had laptops?
There have been a few (cough. gag.) layoffs in my industry during the past few years. For the last two, I've been looking for work. All sorts of work. Journalism. PR. Communications. Administrative. You name it, I've gone for it.
I'll admit that for most of that time my job search was narrowed by geographic location and certain scheduling demands because I was caring for my mother, who had a heart condition.
While Mom was ill, I sent out resumes regularly but without the attention to detail that I usually, uh, employ. When I failed to hear back from prospective employers, I didn't fret, so sure was I that as soon as I spent time tailoring each cover letter and crafting each resume to appeal to each job I would get a call, an interview and the inevitable offer.
When my mother passed away a few months ago, I got quite a shock. Not by her death but by the black hole known as the job market, the black hole that relentlessly sucks in resumes and queries that never again see the light of day. Headhunters and HR departments are looking for specific items on resumes. If you've had another sort of occupation, say editor, it doesn't compute. Quite literally: These days lot of resume submissions are sorted by software programs.
I received a notice from the California EDD last week. My jobless benefits are finished. Kaput. As dead as George W. Bush's chances of getting elected again.
I'm not fretting. Oh, no. I'm in a general state of alarm, with worry about to border on panic. I can't take my mind off my joblessness, and bills for June. It's my personal 9/11.
Like a lot of you, I've been unemployed in the past. Remember the economic downturn in 1992 before Bill Clinton was elected? Yup, I was out of work then too. But in the last millennium if I could get my foot in the door, I got the job. If I went to a temp agency, I could get work the very next day, and a paycheck in a few days.
Last week, I walked into a temp agency, passed the tests with flying colors, and .... Zip. Bupkis. Sartre's nothingness.
Now before you start saying to yourself that there must be something wrong with me -- like three eyes on my forehead or halitosis or a bad attitude, there's not. My suits are professional, my haircut conservative, and my smile liberal. I'm a catch! Caught in a Catch 22 of a job market.
I'm writing this on behalf of all the other people out there like me. Our jobless benefits have run out. Our savings have run out. Our time has run out.