What's So Funny About Unemployment?

A funny little unemployment blog for your (un) enjoyment

Posts Tagged ‘unemployment agency

Happy 2010! and Reflections on my anniversary

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Sorry I’m a day late with the New Year’s wishes. I spent New Year’s Day sitting and dozing around the house, recovering from New Year’s Eve. (Yes, all was quiet on New Year’s Day at WSFAU.)

This week marks my first anniversary of unemployment. Since the first anniversary is the paper anniversary, the Unemployment Insurance Agency sent me a paper letter to tell me my benefit year was up and I now have to file a new claim. (Gee, thanks. Especially since your agency is now more or less on vacation for the holiday and it’s Saturday anyway.)

Anyway, I never thought I’d be out of a full-time job for this long. I’ve had several job interviews. I have a college education. I’m able to relocate. I do volunteer work to keep busy and keep my skills sharp. I can even speak and read a little Spanish (which my stepmother keeps urging me to put on my resume; but then, she winters in Arizona).

Obviously, my New Year’s resolution is the same as it was last year: Get a Job. Hopefully I won’t still be unemployed or underemployed in 2011.

Happy Festivus! Time for The Airing of My Grievances!

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Happy Festivus for the Rest of Us! Yes, it’s December 23, the official day of every Seinfeld fan’s favorite fictional late-December holiday.

If you don’t know what Festivus is, allow this video to explain:

The Story of Festivus

I haven’t put up my aluminum pole because I’m going out-of-town for the holidays — but, like Mr. Costanza, I do find tinsel distracting. ;)

And this whole year has been a Feat of Strength for me. So my Festivus won’t be over until New Year’s.

However, even a patient person like me can celebrate the Airing of the Grievances. So, it’s time for you to listen up, because I’ve got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re going to hear about them!

My first grievance is with whoever gave this computer a virus last month. Go get a real job and write a real computer program with your time, okay?

Second, I’m always finding ways to be grieved at MARVIN and the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Look, I know our state’s short of money. However, why does that mean you have to delay getting my money into my account? At least be honest and change the MARVIN recording which says you’ll receive your payment on the “next business day” to “two or three business days,” okay?

Third, I’m peeved at Mother Nature. Why does fresh snow have to be so pretty to look at, yet such a pain to drive on?

My fourth grievance — and I mentioned this in my last post but I’m still p.o.ed about it — goes to the Fox Network for taking the wonderful show “Glee” off its schedule until April. At least we Gleeks will have fall season videos by the end of the year, and two cast albums worth of music from the show.

Fifth goes to Nestle. I recently bought a package of its Christmas Shapes pre-cut sugar cookies and made them yesterday. An excellent product for the time-pressed baker: Two dozen Christmas cookies, already ready for you to bake and decorate with a package of icing. Except the icing comes in only one color: red.  Really, Nestle? I had no problem painting the stockings red, but red snowmen? And little red Christmas trees? Next time, how about white icing?

Last but not least, why did my stepmother have to have a birthday so close to Christmas? Because I forgot/was too busy baking cookies to call her and wish her a happy birthday yesterday. :(

News from the unemployment agency

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Good news: The unemployment agency sent me its determination today over my missed call to MARVIN. I didn’t have to wait eight weeks for their decision after all. Plus they sent me a form letter about how I may soon be eligible for extended benefits after nearly 26 weeks of unemployment unenjoyment here in the recession capital of America.

Bad news: They determined I’m ineligible for unemployment benefits for the weeks for which I missed the call to MARVIN. Apparently job hunting and interviewing “is not considered good cause for failure to report timely” under their rules/regulations/laws.

What the ….?

Yes, I know I’m supposed to call MARVIN on time. If I didn’t know that before, I surely know it now.

However, aren’t unemployed people supposed to keep busy job hunting and networking?

So, I ask you, Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, what is an acceptable reason for not calling MARVIN/reporting for benefits? Being on my deathbed? Getting hit by a bus? Being on my deathbed after getting hit by a bus?

Those probably aren’t acceptable reasons, either. You’d determine I could still dial the phone if I were sick in bed.

Meanwhile, I’m still broke.  I haven’t been posting entries to this blog this week because I’ve been very busy applying for every halfway decent job I can find at the mall, on the Internet, or on craigslist.

And my family and I are taking turns reassuring each other that I’ll be okay.

Thanks, Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. You’ll be hearing from me again soon.

Written by Joanne

July 22, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Eight weeks of hard times

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On the suggestion of a friend, I went to the unemployment agency’s problem resolution office yesterday afternoon.

After waiting for about an hour and a half for my number to be called in a room full of fellow unemployed people, the agent told me she couldn’t tell me anything in person. I would have to wait up to eight weeks for a letter telling me whether or not I received my unemployment for the missing weeks. And the remaining four weeks of my claim would also be delayed.

“Eight weeks?” I said. “But I need that money now! Why didn’t they tell me that yesterday over the phone?”

She didn’t know.

I spent the rest of the day and night in shock.

I am broke.

I have no money, except for a few dollars and change in my wallet and jeans pocket, the change in my piggy bank, and whatever I have in bottle deposits. I’m going to have to raid my 401(k) to pay the bills — if they’ll let me.

I may well have to move in with friends or family soon. Not to mention ask them for money.

I am signed up with a few temporary agencies for freelance and temp work. I’ve been calling them since yesterday with no luck. I’m signing up with a few more agencies today.

I don’t like the Michigan Unemployment Agency.

I hate being broke and desperate.

Uh-oh, the sequel

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After calling off and on since one o’clock, finally getting something besides the “We’re sorry, all circuits are busy …” recording, and then listening to various state public service and promotional messages for almost an hour on hold, I just got off the phone with the unemployment agency.

As I said in my “Uh-oh” post, I missed my appointment to call MARVIN nearly three weeks ago. On the advice of friends and not knowing what else I could do, I called the MARVIN line on the next week’s make-up date. And I didn’t get its usual response but one promising me a check.

And then as I went about my life of blogging and job hunting, I patiently waited and waited and waited for my check, for my debit card account deposit, for some form of money to arrive from the state.

None arrived.

Now, I’m a patient person. But my (bank account and) patience neared its end today. I called unemployment when I got home this afternoon.

The unemployment insurance agency representative told me my account was missing two weeks of unemployment certifications from mid-June; the two weeks before the missed call. Even though I had made the make-up call the week after I missed the call.

I made a statement I had missed my last June MARVIN appointment and make-up times because I had been job hunting (true), and the rep took my missing unemployment certification over the phone.

However, it’s not over yet: I now have to wait for a letter saying whether or not the certification she took over the phone was approved (sigh).

The moral of the story, dear readers?

Whatsoever you do in your unemployed life, do not miss your appointment to call your unemployment agency!

P.S.: I was also told I (only) have four weeks left on my original unemployment claim. Please hire me …

Welcome home?

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I am now back home from my weekend trip. I came home to:

Is it any wonder why I don’t like coming home from weekends away?

Written by Joanne

July 13, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Unemployment hits a new high (and our adventures with MARVIN continue)

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This just in: The labor department says unemployment nationally is at a 25-year high, 9.5 percent in June. And it’s still 100 percent here at this blog.

Here’s the link to the YahooNews story.

In other news, earlier this morning I called MARVIN to make up for not calling them last Wednesday.

Something’s odd or changed with the good ol’ Michigan Automated Response Voice Interactive Network: This time it told they’d send me my check when they’ve been automatically depositing my money. (But I need the money deposited into my little debit card account NOW! Not that I’m impatient or anything.) And it said I was still certified. (I had wondered about that; it’s getting towards the end of my initial 26-week unemployment claim).

But the most interesting part of this week’s MARVIN call was at the end: It said to “call back if you’re still unemployed.” Did it miss me last week? Does MARVIN know something about my future that I don’t?

Written by Joanne

July 2, 2009 at 9:21 am

Gotta love The Onion

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One of my old college friends posted a 2007 The Onion story to my Facebook news feed tonight. I thought I’d share it here: Thousands Lose Jobs as Michigan Unemployment Offices Close.

As I’ve said here before, Michigan’s unemployed don’t report to unemployment offices. We file our initial claims over the Internet. Then we call into the unemployment agency’s telephone system — the dreaded MARVIN — every two weeks.

When I first found this out, it did make me wonder: Whatever happened to all of those unemployment agency counselors and clerks who waited on me the last time I filed for unemployment years ago in the pre-MARVIN era? Did they have to hit the unemployment line? Were they retrained for other jobs? Did they retire? Or do they hand out license plates, drivers licenses, and car titles in the one state department most Michiganders still regularly visit in person: the Secretary of State’s Office?

Written by Joanne

April 15, 2009 at 12:33 am

Calling unemployment

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The one thing every unemployed person has to do is the one thing every unemployed person hates doing: Calling their state unemployment department every week or two for their unemployment insurance benefits.

As Suze Ormond said on Oprah today, if you’re unemployed, you’re entitled to unemployment. You paid into the system (and so did your former employer) while you were working. But, as she warned, don’t quit your day job just to get unemployment; the system only pays out if you’ve been laid off. Plus, it doesn’t pay out that much.

We’re also entitled to that money because we earn it by answering the most ridiculous questions whenever we call unemployment. Once we finally connect to unemployment, that is. Ask any unemployed person. Here in Michigan, we’re all assigned a day and time to call the state unemployment system, officially known as MARVIN. Mine is Wednesday afternoon. Thursday and Friday are make-up days, in case you happen to miss your time for some reason (you had a job interview, you fell asleep, you got a life).

However, when we unemployed persons call MARVIN at our appointed times, we usually hear the phone company’s “All circuits are busy now …” recording. It helps to have: 1. A redial button on your phone so you can press it every few minutes while you wait and hope for the line to clear. 2. Experience calling either busy radio station phone lines or Ticketmaster phone lines, and 3. Patience.

When you finally hear the unemployment agency recording — and it’s guaranteed you won’t hear it on the first try — you have to punch the same old numbers into your touch-tone phone and wait for it to ask you the same old questions. The most ridiculous questions they ask are: “Are you working? Did you work during X week? Did you quit a job, retire, or refuse work?” Uh, no, no, no, no, and no. And did I say no?

If I were working, this little blog would be titled “What’s so funny about employment?” And I would not need to live off money the government barely has.

Written by Joanne

April 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm


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