What's So Funny About Unemployment?

A funny little unemployment blog for your (un) enjoyment

Calling unemployment

with 2 comments

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

2 Responses

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  1. I had the dreaded experience today. I wanted to call at my assigned time yesterday, but they *STILL* haven’t sent me a PIN, so I couldn’t. I had to call the “get an actual live person on the line (eventually)” number today and she had to ask me the series of questions herself in order to register me as having called this week.

    To add insult to injury, she informed me that I probably won’t actually see any payments for six weeks! I can see this is just going to be a festival of delights!


    April 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

  2. Hi, I also collect MI unemployment w/ Marvin (have been for almost 2 years!) and I’ve got a tip for you regarding the dreaded “all circuits are busy now” message and redial attempts…. My time to call is Mondays between 10am and 11am. I set a reminder alarm on my phone for 9:55 every 2 weeks, and I dial Marvin at exactly 9:58 (and approx. 30 seconds). If you wait thru all the talking, it takes about 1 1/2 minutes before Marvin actually asks for your social security number and gets you into the system. By then it is exactly 10am! 🙂 I never get a busy signal calling at 9:58. Works like a charm.


    September 10, 2010 at 4:34 pm

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