Friday, July 30th, 2010

image of hobo

I had to go to a class yesterday morning to learn how not to be unemployed. Now that I know, I can get to work on that right away.

In one of those letters “requesting and requiring” my presence, Job Center of Wisconsin asked me to attend a meeting of the newly-unemployed at their classrooms in the pole barn on the north end of town. Roughnecks in hardhats were tearing out the walls and ceiling and otherwise drowning out any useful information I might have gotten while I was there, so I nodded when the speaker appeared to pause for effect. I spent a lot of time pouring over the many brightly-colored handouts they gave us, too, and whenever the PowerPoint slide had the phrase “show of hands” on it anywhere, I raised my hand. Non-participation could mean ineligibility for benefits, so I was one hyper-participating mofo.

The case workers who interviewed me were pleased with my participation, so I must have been doing it right. I’ve successfully nodded my way through plenty of military briefings but applying those lessons to civilian life can sometimes be a little dicey. Civilians are likely to ask a question before they pause, for instance. Nodding makes you look like a great big goober in that case, but that didn’t happen yesterday, thank dog.

My case workers also encouraged me to attend several of the many workshops at the Job Center and, after looking over my resume, suggested applying for several state jobs advertised on their web site and, once again, were pleased when I said I’d already submitted applications for several. Just trying to stay one jump ahead of the game.

I applied for any and every job that I came even close to qualifying for, to make sure it was on the record that I was looking for work, but I’m under no illusions that I’m the only one putting in my resume. I scored particularly well on the last two applications I made but still haven’t been called for an interview. I’m guessing there were a few thousand applicants for those jobs and maybe a couple hundred ahead of me who scored one point better than I did. This becoming re-employed game could take a while.

The class ended with a test. They sat us in front of computers to answer a multiple-choice exam meant to evaluate our abilities to read, do math and solve problems. I may have been a bit too literal on the reading portion because I didn’t score very well, and the math portion pissed me off so bad I gave up at the point when I wanted to give the screen a tap with a sledge hammer. I mean to say, figuring out the volume of a cone is very quantifiable. They gave me a calculator and a cheat sheet with the freaking formula, so why did I come up with a result that was just a little bit off? Not way off. Not a misplaced decimal. Just a teensy bit off. I must’ve done that calculation half a dozen times before I finally gave up, picked “C” and exited the exam.

I did a great job of the problem-solving portion though. Go figure.

Only a Test | 6:54 am CDT
Category: adventures in unemployment, daily drivel, work
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