I should know better than to watch the Rachel Maddow show. (Actually, I love her, and her show. She is one of the brightest — and most intelligent — people on TV, news or otherwise.)
But listening to her report on the GOP snubbing of the unemployment extension really hit home, and quite literally. I’ve been receiving an unemployment check (full or partial, depending on my freelance work…what little that has been) for the past 15 months. During this whole time, I have been on many interviews, sent out a ton of feelers, responded to gawd knows how many job postings. The majority of my efforts were met with nothing. A few warranted phone conversations. Even fewer turned into actual meet-and-greets. But none came with job offers.
There were times that it appeared the job market in SoCal was starting to pick up a bit. Jobs were popping up on the boards. Recruiters were calling. But the majority of the jobs would have required hellish commuting (granted, I would have to actually land the gig first). And by this point, we had set the ball in motion to relocate to a much more affordable area that also was pointing to a possible FT job.
So we up and moved. We put our house on the market. We began the process of uprooting our lives to a place that was calling us, and seemed to be calling itself “home.”
I maintained my unemployment while continuing to reach out to prospective employers. I joined Ad Clubs and networked my ass off. I even applied for a government job that would only allow 25 hours/week for the first year. And for the first 4 months after relocating, I’ve gotten a few small freelance projects, but mostly relied on the unemployment checks to live and pay for my COBRA benefits.
Last week’s unemployment stub stated that I was down to my last $900 in benefits for this claim. I kept telling myself that I was eligible until at least November. And after what happened today, I wonder if that would be the case. Seems the Republican Senators managed to squash any hopes of passing the jobs bill, including an extension of weekly unemployment benefits for millions of people out of work more than six months…just like me.
I can stomach some of the election-year posturing. What I can’t stand are the comments like “unemployment benefits are the reason why people don’t want to go back to work” and “we don’t want to give checks to people who only want to use it to buy drugs” and “unemployment encourages people to breed.” Well, fuck you very much! I have been busting my ass looking for work. I have NOT been sitting around, eating bonbons that I bought with the money I received for unemployment. It has helped keep a roof over my head, food on my table, and health insurance in case of an emergency.
Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about whether or not my benefits will be extended. Thankfully, a relationship I’ve been cultivating for the last 12 months has finally resulted in an actual FT job offer.
Thankfully, I start a new job on Monday.
But, thankfully, I won’t forget what these pompous assholes in Washington (and I mean on BOTH sides of the table) are doing. They spend more time and effort protecting the have’s from the have not’s. Protecting their piece of the pie that seems to keep getting bigger while the “little people” watch theirs shrink.
I’ll also make sure to keep my ass employed with everything I’ve got. I don’t want to endure this long of an employment drought again if I can help it. But maybe it’s time that some of these naysayers in Washington find themselves on the unemployment line. There are elections coming in a few months.