Day 23- The Hearing is Scheduled

April 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm (Uncategorized)

So, on Thursday I got my fourth letter from VEC saying that my employer was contesting my unemployment claim, saying that I was fired on the grounds of “misconduct” and that the hearing is scheduled for April 28th at 9 a.m. I am supposed to be at my telephone at that time and wait for a phone call and the hearing will begin at that time. If there are any written documents I want to be considered as evidence, I am suppose to fax that to them before that time. Since they haven’t specified what they mean by “misconduct” how would I know what exactly I need to fax to them to defend myself against the allegations since they haven’t spelled out what they mean by “misconduct”? Even in court the defendent usually gets to know what evidence someone has against them, a bill of particulars, before they present their defense.


Permalink Leave a Comment

Day 20:The Great Paper Chase

April 21, 2011 at 12:16 am (Uncategorized)

So, on Tuesday, April 19th I received some letters in the mail from the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC). The first letter confirmed that I had made an unemployment claim and advised me that I would qualify for $162 a week in benefits for 25 weeks. That totals $648 a month. I live in a small, rural area in Virginia. After 7 years, I made the princely sum of $10 an hour and bonuses that averaged $350 every two months. Not counting bonuses, that means I grossed $1,600 a month before deductions. I keep reading in the news and hearing on the television all of these people who make statements like, “If they would quit paying people unemployment they would be forced to go look for a job…” I may have even been one of those ignorant souls who thought that way at one time, but believe me, NO ONE can live on $648 a month. $648 a month is not an incentive to stay at home and veg out in front of the telly or internet, no way no how, people who say things like that are just completely ignorant.

That was the first letter. The second letter was a form that requested information from my doctor to verify that my absences were medically necessary and that he had requested that I take a medical leave for my condition. The funny thing is the letter is dated 4/14, the day that I applied for unemployment, but I did not receive it in the mail until yesterday, 4/19 and they want to receive his documentation by 4/22 or they will close my claim. How realistic is it that a doctor is going to fill that out and get it back to them in that amount of time? So, I drove the 35 miles one-way to my doctor’s office to ask him to fill it out. He was at lunch, but his secretary promised to give it to him. She then informed me that after today he would not be back in his office until Monday. So, I have no idea if he will get it filled out and faxed before the deadline, and I feel lucky that at least he wasn’t gone all week. So, I am crossing my fingers and toes that he completed it and got one of the girls in his office to fax it and that it is received in time.

The third letter had my “code” or “pin” so that I can begin reporting my job contacts each week. I must have two a week, and Sunday is the last day to report, so, since I didn’t receive it until Monday, last week did not count, and the first week that you report is your qualifying week, so it doesn’t count, so this week won’t count for benefits either, so next week will be the first week that I can report, and then it will be the following week for the benefits to be paid for that week. So, I might have my first $162 deposit by May 8th, five weeks after loosing my job, and three weeks after taking the initial steps to apply for benefits.

All I can say is, thank goodness I am married and have a spouse I can live off of until I am employed again. I know that is a horribly chauvinistic thing to say, but if I was single I would have already starved by now. It is sad that “the system” is seemingly designed to “kick you when you are down” at every possible opportunity.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Day 17: Just Call Me The Coupon Queen

April 17, 2011 at 11:51 pm (Uncategorized)

Today makes the second week of buying multiple copies of the Sunday paper in order to get the coupons to save on groceries. So last Sunday I bought three copies of the Tri-City paper, and I was able to score the last two copies of this Sunday’s edition. They are $1.50 each, so I have spent a little over $6 in my couponing efforts thus far. I have made the following deals:

1. Free Subway 6″breakfast Sub with the purchase of any size drink. This was an awesome deal @ my local Subway. I gave my youngest two teenagers a coupon and $1.70 each, and they came out with free BLT Subs for their breakfast one morning, savings $6 ( as they are $3 each).
2. $1 off any size Folgers coffee. I had four of these coupons, and my local K-Mart had a deal where you got the 11 0z size for 2 for $6 on their Shop Your Way Rewards program. These are normally a little over $4 each, so I saved $4 just in coupons, not counting the sale price, so, after all discounts they were $2 each. I got two of the Breakfast Blend and two of the Classic Roast, while I do not drink coffee myself, my husband and two older children that are in college were very thankful, they thought coffee had probably bit the budget dustbin after I was fired.
3. $1 off any 4oz or larger size of Colgate toothpaste. My children love the Colgate with Maxi-Strips toothpaste. I normally buy the 4 oz size for $1 at Dollar Tree, but Dollar Tree does not take coupons, so this makes each ounce cost 25 cents. My local Wal-Mart sells the 6 oz size for $2.77, so after the $1 off coupon ( I had three, so I bought three tubes) that made it 17.7 cents an ounce, my children, again, were very happy, they thought I would start buying the larger tubes of Pepsodent that Dollar Tree sells for a dollar, and were quite happy with this purchase.
4. $3.00 off select Bic Razors. We already buy the Bic Hybrid Advance, which was covered under this coupon, they were $5.75 each at my local K-Mart, after the coupon they were $2.75 each, I bought three, so I saved $9.00.
5. $1.50 off the purchase of three Cheerios brand cereals. These are $2.75 each at my local Wal-Mart and we eat Cheerios anyway, I had three coupons, so I bought 9 boxes of cereal (breakfast is covered for a while) and saved $4.50.

I haven’t done my major grocery shopping for the month yet, but so far, in about a week, I have saved $26.50 in coupons alone, and I still have literally oodles of coupons left, so it has been worth the hour or so I have spent clipping them the past two Sundays.

I think I am going to contact my paper and see if they offer a deal for buying multiple copies of the Sunday paper. I think the discount might be worth it. The one thing that I have noticed is that some of the coupons say there is a limit of four per transaction, still, if you are willing to make more than one trip, I think it could be very worthwhile.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Day 14: Applying for Unemployment

April 14, 2011 at 11:32 pm (Uncategorized)

I finally got up the courage to apply for unemployment. I first went to the state of Virginia’s unemployment web site to find out the process, and was pleasantly surprised that I could go online to apply. I went online and answered the questions in the five sections. The online prompts then told me that I would receive my “pin” or “code” in the mail in a few days and once I receive that I can begin calling in or reporting my job contacts online each week. I was also told that it was mandatory that I sign up for the Job Search within 5 business days or my claim for unemployment would be closed. I’ll report back when I have more information, but if you live in Virginia and need to file a claim for unemployment you can do so at the following link:

Permalink Leave a Comment

Day Six of Being Unemployed: Cleaning Out My Desk

April 7, 2011 at 6:49 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

That I would be cleaning out my desk six days after being fired may sound a bit strange to some, as most people probably see to this chore on the day that they are terminated. In my job as the Web Librarian and Support Specialist for a well known Electronics retailer, I normally worked three days a week from remote location at home, and two days a week in the office. As my illness progressed, I was eventually doing all remote shifts until I was terminated over the telephone, so it took a few days for me to be able to come back into the office to remove my personal belongings.

Even getting ready to make the drive into the office was a surreal chore; I dressed as carefully, and nervously, as a preteen going on their first date. I am not even sure why the occasion brought about the “jittery nerves”. After being fired its not as though I had any motivation to impress anyone there. Maybe I was actually dressing for the “now you wish you hadn’t broken up with me but it’s too late” moment that we have all experienced. Surely you know what I am talking about, that moment that you go out on the town, dressed to kill, hoping to run into your ex so that you can see that look in their eyes, the “damn what was I thinking, I am an idiot and I want her back” look.

It took about two hours to bring in the teleworking equipment and to pack up and carry out two boxes. Seven years of my life fit into two boxes. The actual packing didn’t take that long, but the conversations with various and assorted co-workers and supervisors did. Almost all of the conversations followed the same pattern that began with the acknowledgement of “regrets” (I regret/hate that this happened, or, this so sucks/blows) followed by the “statements of loss” (I am going to miss working with you/how will we survive without you/your leaving is an end of an era) then the attempts at “bridging” the loss by bargaining (you will keep in touch, call me, holler at me sometime, we can do lunch/walk at the park/shop together sometime) and finally statements of closure so that we could all move on(well, it was great to see you, you look great by the way, you will not miss us, you will move on to something greater).

I still haven’t filed for unemployment or even began looking for another job yet. I hadn’t actually planned to file in the begining, I was fired, after all. But several of my co-workers seemed to think I should try, and appeal if the company protests the filing. A few other co-workers thought I should try to file for disability. The most helpful comments to me came from one of my former supervisors. She had pulled me off to the side when I first came into the building, and asked me what I was going to do, how I was going to survive. I looked at her and smiled and told her I honestly didn’t know. She nodded and told me that she knew that I had a lot of talents and that I would eventually move on to something better. “In the meantime,” she said, “you need to survive, you need to become ‘the crazy coupon lady’.” She then told me how she buys multiple Sunday papers each week and clips coupons to save on groceries and that she has reduced her grocery bill from $800 to $100 a month for a family of four. She then emailed me a list of couponing sites as well, check them out below if you are interested. Her comments and suggestions to me were the only “practical” comments that I received that day, and I will see this Sunday if her advice was worth coming into the office for one last time.

Coupon Sites:

Permalink 2 Comments

April 1st, Also Known as “April Fools Day”, or Day One of Being Fired

April 1, 2011 at 11:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

In all truth and honesty I can’t say that I was completely blindsided by my termination today. Seeing the shriveled remains of my Red Margined Dracaena plant on my desk was a bad sign that I ignored when I first came back to work on March 18th. I had just returned after an extended illness and exhausting my FMLA leave. The fact that no one in the office had thought to water him, or give him a decent burial while I was away, was a very obvious sign.

I understand that no one is irreplaceable. I understand that companies are in business to make a profit. I understand that they couldn’t give me any more time to recover my health given the needs of the business, but I gave seven years of my life to these people, and for what, I ask myself.

At this moment I have a vision in my head of a scene from the movie, “Joe Versus the Volcano”, when Joe quits. Joe: “You’re telling me nothing. And why, I ask myself, why have I put up with you? I can’t imagine, but now I know. Fear. Yellow freakin’ fear. I’ve been too chicken shit afraid to live my life so I sold it to you for 300 freakin’ dollars a week! You’re lucky I don’t kill you! You’re lucky I don’t rip your freakin’ throat out! But I’m not going to! And maybe you’re not so lucky at that. ‘Cause I’m gonna leave you here, Mr. Wahoo Waturi, and what could be worse than that?”

I completely identify with Joe’s character at the moment, even though I was fired instead of quitting, this has been coming on a long time. I could not have kept doing that job even if they hadn’t fired me.

So the purpose of this blog is to keep a record of my job search and coping with being unemployed in “the Great Recession”. I hope if any of you who are also unemployed stumble upon my blog that you will at least feel a little less alone in the world, and who knows, maybe we can encourage one another to be true to ourselves and find employment that does help us to not only exist, but gives us the means to truly live, fully, honestly and completely.

“Joe Quits” at youtube:

Permalink Leave a Comment