Since my contract gig finished up, I went back on unemployment. Usually, unemployment benefits roll over so if I go on it, work for three months, I can still can hold on to the three months I had before and add on whatever I just earned. When I got my latest unemployment check, this didn't appear to be true and that I had way less money in it than I had before.
This is not good.
I tried calling unemployment to see what's up but I couldn't get through. This didn't surprise me as having been in this situation before, I know EDD is hard to reach. One of the ironies, of course, of recessions is that in order to balance the state budget, people who work in unemployment are laid off so that there's less people to handle the greatly increasing numbers of unemployed.
Because I've gone through this before, I went off to the EDD office because they have a special phone line which makes it easier to get through. I thought this was something only I knew but when I got there, the 10 or so phone banks to EDD were all being used and there was a line of people waiting to use one of the phone banks. Some guy at the front desk was complaining to the desk clerk that he had given up after about 45 tries and while I was in line, I heard somebody tell the security guy that the average wait time to get someone from EDD on the phone-- remember, this is the special phone line-- was an hour.
After waiting for about ten minutes, I finally got my phone but had to give up 15 minutes into it because I had only put enough money into the parking meter for half an hour, not thinking the whole thing would take double that time. When I left, I asked the guard what would be the best time to come back and call and he told me around 8 AM but then told me how to work it from home so that I could bypass a lot of the voice mail and reach an operator sooner. I thanked him and took off, determined that I was going to get up early the next day and call.
The next morning, I got up at 8 (which is early for me when I'm unemployed) and called but once again ran into voicemail hell. After about 45 minutes and about 50 attempts, I finally made it through to an employee who told me to reapply as an extension has been given.
Couple of other things about the unemployment office, one was the obvious class division between people there-- between the people who looked definitely working class and those who weren't. You could tell by those who had iPhones and those who didn't. The guy in the booth next to me was 62 and obviously Upper Middle Class who had been laid off about five months ago. 62 is a bad, bad age to be laid off because no business is going to hire a 62 year old, meaning it's early and not necessarily planned retirement for him or Safeway. The other interesting thing was the 30-something Yuppie woman who walked in listening to music on her Blackberry. She walked in and asked to use one of the computers. I don't know if it's because EDD has some sort of database she can only get there, but I thought it was weird. Could it be that this 30-something yuppie woman was now computerless, or at least internet-less, because of cutting expenses?
Get Me a Bucket
4 years ago