The State of the Economy

I’ve been trying not to stray from talking about San Francisco, but today I have to talk about the State of California’s Unemployment Department and the U.S. Postal Service because one of them is to blame for the fact that yesterday, 12/12/2011 I received what was called my last unemployment check dated 4/4/2011 and mailed on 4/5/2011 as the picture shows.

WTF? Seriously? It took over eight months for them to send me my check? I worked for a company in 2010 under the JobsNow! program whereby my salary was repaid by the government. This lasted until the funding ran out at the end of September 2010 and I was helping them out on an equity only basis until I got my next job. In the meantime I started to collect unemployment again. Here’s where things started to get weird.

The put me back on quickly and then in January I got a bump up again because I had earned more per quarter than before because of my job. Then they cut me off because I had used up my money and didn’t have 40 times my weekly earnings to get an extension. I brought in the figures to show them differently and they gave me an extension, but now at the maximum draw for unemployment which they once again cut me off because now that I was making more money from unemployment I still didn’t have enough to qualify for an extension.

Just so everyone knows, if you work and are laid off you have to have earned in a quarter at least 40 times what you will receive in a week to qualify for an extension on your benefits. If you do not, your benefits will stop and you will no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits until you find work again. You’ll be unemployed, but not on the list of people who are unemployed.

So let’s get back to the check…I asked for a hearing again and went down and sat beside the judge who I explained everything to and who was very confused about the whole process and how this came about. She also asked me why when I filed my appeal that I filed it late. Uhm, late? I filed it the day after I received it and dropped it off at the post office directly to get it to them as quickly as possible.

The judge asked me why the post office took so long to deliver the letter. Well how the hell am I supposed to know? I don’t work for the f*cking post office! OK, I didn’t say that, but I’m hoping after she asked that question the answer popped into her head. I followed up stating that I had filled out form until the end of my payment time and hadn’t received the last check. When I received the write up of the trial this wasn’t mentioned, but my denial of further benefits was.

This all leads me to the check I received yesterday, over eight months late. After being denied extended benefits from way back then on the stub it tells me, You may qualify for extended benefits. If you qualify, the claim will automatically be filed. No action is needed on your part. You will be notified by mail of your eligibility.

Great. I’ll be waiting to hear from them in a couple of years.

Why I don’t like working from home

So today, after a minor delay, I get to leave the house to go to work. I’ve been freelancing from home for the past several months and while there are advantages, there are also disadvantages. Let’s take a look from my perspective.


  1. You get to make your own hours.
  2. You don’t have to dress up
  3. You can go at your own pace
  4. You don’t have to deal with work place authority
  1. Family interruptions that break your train of thought.
  2. You can smoke in your home office which means you will smoke more than you need to.
  3. No one will fire you for drinking on the job so you probably drink more than you need to.
  4. You forget about what time of day it is so you don’t eat regularly.
  5. You have to find your own health insurance coverage.
  6. You don’t get out of the house as often.
  7. You get less exercise.

I like job stability and while I’ve just got a temporary in house freelance job which means it won’t be long lasting, it will at least give me a reason to have some focus in my day and to get up and move around. I’ve been trying to stop smoking and since smoking isn’t allowed in workplaces here this will help. I’m one of those people who smokes because I’m bored, not because I’m stressed. I have managed to cut down quite a bit, but now it will be even easier.

I’ll get to be more mobile and meet new people which I always like. Some of them might come in handy in the future which is always a good thing. This will also give me a change to get outside the city since I don’t get to do that very often and it’s usually down the peninsula. I also won’t have my 18 year old cat sitting next to me yowling for attention all day and night. The only bad thing about this, is that I’ll have less time to spend with my daughter which only means that when I do have time I’ll enjoy that even more and it will spur me on to do more with her when I have time to.

So here I go, off to work a journey into the unknown, but at least I know that I’ll have a regular paycheck coming for a little while. I will also be able to count myself as not one of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed for a little while that will hopefully turn permanent. So here I go, full guns blazing!


Digital Babylon

The ways of yesterday are the ways of today. I’m enrolled in the Jobs Now 3 program which isn’t like the original Jobs Now program where you could get a job and your employer would be repaid your salary. Now it’s only a $5000 endowment to the person who hires you, but it’s still not bad. There is a catch now though. You have to go through the Career Development Center where they try and find you a job.

This works fine if you’ve just turned 18 and don’t have a college degree, but for someone like me who has a Bachelor’s degree and has worked in the graphic design area for over 20 years and done web development for a good 10+ years you aren’t going to find anything. They do offer training, but nothing for me because I already have a college degree. Then I remembered something that few people know about or pay attention to…iTunes U.

iTunes U is a part of iTunes where colleges offer courses online. The colleges could be Stanford, Harvard, MIT, etc. They’re good courses and the best part is they are free. You won’t get a diploma from them, but if you’re someone like me who wants to learn Objective-C or Drupal, you don’t really need a diploma. You just need to learn it, then put it to use. For those of you out there like me who are skilled workers looking for a job [techie day labors] This is were you need to look. The classes cover the full range and aren’t just for techie types, but might give you an upper hand if you’ve been unemployed for awhile and want to brush up on your skills.

At the very least it’s free and gives you a chance to learn something new. At the worst, read the last sentence again. The ways of yesterday are not the ways of today and you have to use the new tools that are out there to get a leg up on the competition.