Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Unemployment Chronicles, Chapter 8

Theme song: "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" — U2

No big job news to impart. The search continues. I have dozens of applications out, a couple of which are for attractive jobs and many of which aren't, but I'm still hedging my bets. If in the end I have to take a non-ideal job to pay the bills, I certainly will. No question. But we're nowhere near the end yet.

Show me the money

I define "the end" as "when the money runs out." If I request my full unemployment benefits every two weeks, I'll hit my max around the 4th of July. However, I don't have to make a request every two weeks. If I have other money coming in, such as freelance income, I can choose not to make a request. I actually have a full calendar year to use up my benefits if I choose to stretch them out.

Also, if I have other money coming in, I'm obligated to report it to the unemployment office. If I make, say, $250 freelancing this week, I'll report that, and my benefit would then be $250 less for this pay period. (In other words, I can't double dip — live on unemployment and bank the freelance money for later.) But that $250 remains in my unemployment account, so I could collect it later. So requesting lesser unemployment payments would be another way to stretch the benefits out.

I thought I was eligible to make my first request for unemployment benefits January 29 and duly did so, and I've been getting worried that no money was deposited in my bank account. So today I called to check on it. Due to my "waiting week" and severance pay, it seems, I need to wait until the 12th to file a request that will actually get me anything. Will do. It's on the calendar.

The nice man on the phone said this info had been spelled out in the materials I received in the mail, and it was, and I read and thought I understood it — but all signs pointed to January 29 being the day to start. Hmm. Well, jumping through hoops is good aerobic exercise, right?

Moving on.

Getting out there

I have an informational meeting this afternoon, which I think is one of those things where a company brings a lot of candidates in at once for the "about our company" spiel. This one is nearby, which I suspect will be its only attractive feature. The guy on the phone was in a hurry and didn't tell me much more than how to get there; I don't even know what industry or position I'm going to learn about. I suspect it's sales. I'm not into sales. But . . . you never know.

I also have a phone appointment today to discuss a position that, on the surface at least, sounds very attractive. It's part-time, too, which would leave me maneuverable for that freelance stuff I like to do. Fingers crossed!

Plus, a friend just called and handed the phone to another friend who had a very interesting lead for me, which I will follow up on ASAP. Thanks again, Lisa!

I also have an in-person interview tomorrow afternoon at a place very near my old magazine job. It's for a marketing position, which is not exactly what I'm after, but still bears investigating.

On the freelance front

Today I had a phone appointment with a client who I thought had fallen off the planet, but who has just been very busy. OY! OK, as a freelancer, I'm going to have to get used to that — people not operating according to my schedule. This will be a big adjustment, because everybody knows, or ought to know, that my schedule is the right one. Deep breath! Sink the chi!

Thursday, I have a client meeting I'm really looking forward to, as it will be divided between writing stuff and web stuff. Did I tell you I'm learning Dreamweaver, the website creation software? I think I did. I like web page stuff. It's like desktop publishing on steroids, and I always liked doing page layout. I'm not a great designer, but I can do production and maintenance like a champ.

And I've been working steadily on that big proofreading project. It's going well, and I will get it done on time, within budget. Hoo-ya.

OK, I'm getting all worked up here. I need to call my coach and make a game plan for these interesting leads. Laters!



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