A “built-in” vacation

January 30, 2010

So you learn things when you work for the Unemployment Office.

One of the things you learn, although it seems like common sense, is that when you are collecting Unemployment Insurance from the State of New York (and other states as well), you are expected to be job-hunting and to be available to take a job if an appropriate one comes up.

(They do have some limits on how low the pay is on those jobs you must apply for/take).

Trouble is, some folks up here – and I would assume in other one-season tourist areas – get used to working April to October, banking money and collecting all winter.

Technically, we call this “fraud.” But a lot of people do it. Usually the investigations start only when someone’s collecting under a couple of names or are working and collecting. The state frowns upon those things.

All the state asks is that you make three job contacts a week and go to any interview they send you on. (That doesn’t not happen often in this economy.)

Like so many folks I used to see on the other side of the table, this is the first time I have actually been laid off. I was without a full-time job for a 2 ½ months when we first moved up here.

Not a lot of job-searching today, as we’d already had something planned. Networking, that’ll be it. Networking.

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Don’t the economy and jobs go together?

January 29, 2010

Even before I start hitting the job sites in the morning, I read a number of newspapers first.

So today, on my third day without a job, the New York Times has an article which tells me that the economy “grew at its fastest pace in six years” last month.

Specifically . . .

The economy grew 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the second straight quarter of growth and fastest pace since 2003.

(That’s based on gross domestic product and takes some economic explanations)

Then we hit the ninth paragraph:

The biggest challenge going forward is the job market.

On net, the economy lost 208,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last quarter, and the unemployment rate rose to 10 percent. As long as the labor market remains weak, consumers — whose purchases make up the bulk of economic output each quarter — will be reluctant to spend money. That means businesses will need to look for other sources of demand, like exports.

I can tell you right now that the job outlook is no better – and probably worse – than it was six months ago. The only thing we have going for us up here on the edge of the Adirondacks is that the tourism industries and outdoor construction will be cranking up again in March and April. Those jobs will last through October,. then folks will be out of work again.

More on that next time.


More irony with my coffee

January 29, 2010

So if the irony of getting laid off from the Unemployment Office, wasn’t enough, I wake up this morning and see that one of President Obama’s main points in his State of the Union Address was “jobs.” OK, sure. I am all about that.

I did my usual search this morning. Remember, I kept my options open while I was working at the One-Stop. I ran through the Albany Craigslist and searched the new listings at the Glens Falls Post-Star and Albany Times-Union. These are actually Yahoo HotJobs searches on those specific cities, anyway.  I will hit Indeed.com next. It’s a webcrawler I discovered when I started at the One-Stop. It does a meta-search across many job sites. You get a lot of mulch, but you also get to control the search pretty well.

I’ll hit some job-specific sites in a little bit, both teacher sites and journalism sites. I use the New York State OLAS teacher site, as well as schoolspring.com. I’ll check journalismjobs.com and the discussion board at sportsjournalists.com . I will also check the local colleges, because sometimes there are jobs listed there that don’t wind up in other places.

The other big thing I did this morning was to take time to establish this blog. I am going to use it to chronicle the job search and comment on other topics. We will have to see where it goes.

I am open to suggestions and ideas. To me, a good blog always includes good discussions.


Not like the other layoffs

January 29, 2010

Only I could get laid off from the unemployment office.

I wonder if that means the economy is getting better.

My layoff message to my close friends, by the way, was a twitter-perfect 140 characters:

“I got laid off effective today. They gave me a month’s severance pay. I will be reinstating myself on the substitute teacher  list tomorrow.”

OK, it had an extra space.

Anyway, so yes. On the afternoon of Wednesday, Jan. 27, I came back from getting a coffee and my boss called and asked me to meet her in the conference room. This usually means I am being written up for something.

This time, I get an official letter saying that since the state Department of Labor has added a full-time person in our office, that we don’t need another in-office person, specifically me.

Understand, there are no hard feelings here. I had worked for the agency for 18 months running a youth grant when the state cut the funding, and they slid me into a job in their One-Stop Center, the New York version of the Unemployment Office. In addition, they gave me a month’s worth of severance, so it’s all good.

I live in the next county over, so I do not necessarily have to go there for my unemployment meetings and job searches. I have already filed for unemployment. I did that Wednesday afternoon, just after checking on the substitute teaching registry and firing a couple notes to local newspaper editors I know.