Friday, January 17, 2014

Hard Week

This has been a very, very hard week.  For many, many reasons.  Most of them are small and wouldn't matter a bit if things were any better over all.  This week has been like having a boulder crushing the life out of me and then pouring salt and lemon juice in the wounds, just to finish me off.  Oh, and rain.  Or at least very, very gray and foggy until yesterday afternoon at some point.
So, you can begin to see where the difficulties of the week are coming from.

I'm still unemployed.  I've applied to at least 6 jobs this week.  I've heard back from none of the jobs I've applied for in the past 10 months.  Even the very patient and helpful person at the contract agency hasn't had anything to even float by me this week.

And Congress voted not to renew EUC.  On the one hand, I can almost see some of their logic.  From the bits and pieces I've gleaned from gong through many news sources (because there is no such thing as unbiased news anymore...) is that people were trying to add things to the bill and the Democrats said "F* that!" and voted no.  I won't get started about how divided politics are around here these days.  I don't need to.  Anyone who even just listens to the news on the radio in the car will know.  Anyone who's spent 5 minutes or less on Facebook will know.  And I won't tell you how much it disgusts me, because anyone who knows me will know exactly how deep that feeling goes. But, on the other hand, the one that's actually attached to my body, I don't get it at all.  Don't they realize that by not funding this, they're hurting millions of Americans and keeping millions of dollars out of the economy?  I can't spend what I don't have, even on necessary things like groceries and gas...

Oh, and the rent was due.  And the car insurance.  And the credit card bills.  And... and... and....
And I looked at the bank account.
And I realized there wasn't going to be any money coming in until Gak gets paid next week.
And I cried.  I cried a lot actually.
I don't have enough money to pay the basic bills after this month.
Sure, I have a 401(k) plan with a good bit of money in it.  But if I touch it, I'll probably end up getting hit with taxes, but not until next April, not to mention screw any hope of retiring at any age.  And if I don't have a job by then, we'll be in even deeper trouble than we are now.
This week alone I've applied for 6 different positions.  Six.  And I've lowered my expectations of pay even further.  Because coming from a tech industry, if I don't get back to work soon, I never will.  You see, my skills are stagnating when it comes to operating systems and what's "current" in the business world.  And even if I was keeping up on things on my own, the first thing prospective employers see is that it's been almost 10 months since I last worked.  Six months is considered a long time.  A year?  Impossible.  So, while I really could use at least 2/3 of what I was making before, it looks like I may have to settle for half or less.  Which may, but probably not, pay the basic bills of this household.  And yes, I can probably lower some of those, but just by going to work, daycare will increase, gas will increase, car maintenance will increase.....  (Unless of course, somehow I get a job that'll keep me home from 11 to 7 every week day and on Saturdays as well, then at least daycare won't go up...)

So, right now I'm at the bottom of my financial, emotional and spiritual barrels.  I've almost licked them dry and I don't see much hope on the horizon.  Oh, sure, I still haven't been told "no" from the place I interviewed at in December, but, February is looking like a long time away financially.  (I really wish I'd get a yes, but you won't start until February XX or a no, we're going to go with someone else.... then I can make better plans and decisions...)

I'm just trying to take things one day at a time and keep my head above water some how.  And with all the gray and other little things piling up on me this week, it has been exceptionally difficult, almost like I imagine climbing Mount Everest as an ant would feel like.  And just as intimidating.

But, on the positive side it's sunny out today.  Cookie sales started yesterday and I have an awesome cookie mom.  So, if anyone wants to help my Girl Scout troop out, let me know.  If anyone has any miracle suggestions on any other fronts, I'm all ears.

Peace and may your barrels be overflowing with good things.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Conservative Logic?

I've had something bubbling and boiling and causing a bit of trouble in the back of my mind since yesterday when I picked Boo up from daycare.  I was listening to NPR, as I usually do when I'm in the LRH, since music and the speakers don't always play nice...

Anyhow, they were talking about the ending of extended unemployment benefits and different Congressional views on the subject.

But first, a brief recap.  Until the end of March of 2012 I worked all but two months or so total since graduating college in 1998 and even before that I worked every summer and a few hours a week in the computer lab at school.  Then I got laid off on 3/26.  I still don't have a job.

Anyhow, one of the things that was said, and made me flip my lid (it's a good thing Boo wasn't in the car yet), was that there are some conservatives out there that think that by not extending benefits it will actually get people to "search harder" for a job.

Really?  You really think that'll help?  You think having absolutely NO income will make a job suddenly appear that much quicker?  Sure, if I want to earn $7/hr flipping burgers.  I hate to tell you that, but I was making four times that when I was laid off.  Under UI I was/am still getting well more than that.  Do you want to know how many jobs I've applied to in the last 9 months?  I've lost track but at least three a week, usually several more.  Do you want to know how many I've heard back from/found a human to talk to?  less than a dozen.  How many interviews have I had?  about 5 phone interviews and one, yes 1, in-person interview in nine (9) months.  And do you know when I applied for that job that got me the in-person interview?  Over the summer.  I had the phone interview in November and the in-person one in December... and they may have a decision in February.

So, you tell me that taking away any and all safety net that I've been paying into for 12+ years is going to make me find a job faster?  So, unless Congress gets their act together this coming week, I have no idea if or when I'll ever see another UI payment again.  I do know that if I don't find something paying at least $20/hr by the end of February, I won't be able to pay rent on the apartment, pay for any insurance, phone, cable or simple things like put gas in the car of food in the stomachs of my family.  And I actually received a very generous severance package to some people I know who've been laid off in recent months....

Oh, and if you're wondering, that $20/hr is still a pretty big cut from what I was making and will make life tricky, but not impossible.