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All posts for the month February, 2015

The Lovely World of Unemployment

Published February 24, 2015 by mindfulofchatter

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As most of you know, I was let go from my job two weeks ago. It was done in a highly unprofessional way. So unprofessional, I had to laugh. I mean literally sit in my car and laugh out loud. That may have been a bit disconcerting for any passersby.

So now I am looking for a new job, and I have applied for unemployment. Since I was let go do to lack of work and her needing to consolidate costs, I thought there would be no problem. I am so silly thinking that when dealing with any sort of government.

I have gone online and applied for my unemployment. I have ‘claimed’ my weeks (all two of them) and provided all the information required. At this point (two weeks claimed) I ought to be getting some sort of feedback or a payment. At least one would think that. I really have to stop thinking.

I also received a letter from the State telling me I qualified for SEA. SEA stands for Self Employment Assistance. In short, the State will let me work on opening my own business rather than look for a job. I will still receive my unemployment benefits, but I won’t have to do the job searches and job search related activities. It won’t extend my benefits, nor will it increase them. This is good news should one wish to start their own business.

As part of my unemployment maze, I had to report to my local Workforce Center and have a face to face a consultation. So off I went with my resume in hand (as requested in the information section). The gal I spoke with was fun and almost helpful. She gave me a few places for job related activities (reading articles on resumes, interviewing and such). She rejected my ‘old fashioned’ resume and told me the way I ought to build it. She explained web crawlers that look only for keywords in your resume. When you apply online, a web crawler scans your resume for key words. You may get an interview, if you have the proper keywords. No one seems to actually read a resume anymore. This point is driven home by a local company that has been looking for a receptionist for over a month. I have several years experience as a receptionist, but since no human is reading my resume, I am rejected with a computer generated rejection letter telling me I don’t have the proper experience. With no human interaction, they will be trying to fill their job openings for a long time.

I hate my new resume. It is ugly. It is basically a bunch of keywords with a list of the jobs I have held. No dates, no explanation of duties. But this is an electronic resume. It is made strictly for online applications so the web crawler will find the keywords. I was also told to change the keywords according to the job description.

This could get to be exhausting. I am now supposed to read the job descriptions, and change my keyword resume to use the keywords found in the job description. I am tired just typing all that. I am not very excited about this new job hunting world.

I also asked my fine consultant about the SEA program. She handed me a pamphlet and told me she didn’t know anything about it. Wait. Isn’t the SEA program part of what is offered at the Workforce Center?

I went to my local SBA (Small Business Administration) office. The lady there knew a lot more about the SEA program. She told me they get a lot of people in there asking about it for the same reason I did. The Workforce Center doesn’t have a clue about their own program. She asked me several questions, gave me places to call, and some papers to read regarding self employment. She even thought my business idea was very good. She was also impressed that I knew I needed to find how to answer some of the SEA questions. Apparently, most people don’t. And right there on the one of the forms she gave me its says ‘Applications for the SEA program can be gotten at your local Workforce Center.’ It seems no one has told the Workforce Center that.

After my little trip to the SBA, I came home and made the telephone call to the State office to get a SEA application. The lady I spoke with was very nice (and funny). There are a lot of questions I have to find answers to, so it won’t be a walk in the park getting the application done.  I also asked about my benefits claim. What I found out was this:

My unemployment claim is up for review. It is in line for a case worker. I will not see any benefits for 6 – 8 weeks. And that is if my former employer does her part and tells them the same thing I told them.

Six to eight weeks. Wow. Way to go State. I still have heard nothing from them regarding the status of my claim. Had I not asked, I may not have ever known until they sent a letter telling me I do not qualify. Hopefully, the S.O. and I will manage to keep my phone and car until payments kick in.

It is no wonder so many people end up homeless. And not by their own choice.

When You Just Can’t Keep Your Dog

Published February 17, 2015 by mindfulofchatter

Artey1January2008

It happens. You can’t keep your dog any longer. Sometimes an owner dies and family members want nothing to do with the pet that is left behind. You get a dog, but you completely unprepared for what it take to have a dog. Guess what? Dogs do not train themselves. You have to actually put in some effort to have the perfect dog.

I have a perfect dog. She is a dog blob for the most part (this means she is more than happy to be a couch potato). She sits, stays, heels, does not jump up on people, all those nice qualities we like see in our dogs. She is easy to handle. She is a very well-mannered dog. But she did not come this way. I worked with her everyday. I touched her ears, teeth, feet and rubbed her body all over everyday while she was a puppy. I put in the work to have a nice dog.

I have also moved a number of times with my dogs. Yes, I said dogs. I have almost always had multiple dogs. It can be done with patience, and having a well-mannered dog (or dogs) makes it even easier. I also took great pains to be sure my rental was always clean and well-kept. My last apartment manager came up for the move out inspection and was amazed I had a dog. It can be done.

But people are often unprepared to have any kind of pet. They get a dog and find out it isn’t working in their lifestyle. They get a breed that doesn’t suit them. Or sometimes it is simply a personality clash. It happens.

My S.O. and I recently adopted a Jack Russell Terrorist. I have had a Jack before. I KNEW what I was getting into. He came to us as a foster dog and immediately became a family member. It is called foster fail, even though everyone wins.

Our lovely little man came with some issues. His former owners loved him, but could not handle him. They saw him when he was ten months old and cute as snot, and adopted him without doing any breed research. I give them credit. They tried. I also give them credit for turning to a rescue to re-home him. He came to a safe place.

And this what all this post is about. I don’t care why you can’t keep your dog. But do not post him on Craigslist or some other freebie ad place. It is dangerous for your dog. You have no idea who is taking him. Some many dogs are killed or abused by going to an unknown home.

Call the breed rescue. They will try to get the dog in foster care. They will keep him safe. They will carefully screen anyone interested in adopting him. Most rescues will even take mixed breeds. If you have Jack Russell mix, most rescues will still take him.

If you can’t keep your dog, make that decision as early as you can. Take the time to screen potential homes. Ask for a re-homing fee. It doesn’t have to be a huge fee. A re-homing fee helps ensure that the people coming for your dog actually want a dog. They are willing to pay for the privilege of having one.

TAKE THE TIME TO ENSURE YOUR PET IS GOING TO SAFE HOME. You made a commitment to having a pet, and it fell through. You owe your pet the time it takes to properly re-home him.

Pets are a commitment. They will not train themselves. They need exercise, food, and medical care. They are not disposable items for entertainment. Don’t get a pet of any kind if you are not willing to do the research and spend the time, both physically and emotionally. Do breed research BEFORE you get a pet.

And keep him safe. Even if you can’t be there for him any longer.

Getting Let Go With No Grace

Published February 14, 2015 by mindfulofchatter

Unemployed-merl

I am once again unemployed. I was released from my once beloved job on Monday.

When I began this job just shy of two years ago, I thought it was going to be an opportunity to grow my skills and help grow a small business. I was promised things on the first interview. I was told of a vision for a growing small business.

Neither the promises nor the growth came to be.

This is an embroidery business. To put embroidery onto your shirt, jacket, sweater, hat, or whatever, the design needs to be digitized. This turns the design into something the embroidery machines can read. Once the machines can read it, they reproduce it onto your garment. I was promised I would be taught to digitize. This never came to be. Oh, I was shown every 3 – 6 months how to click right or left for curved or straight lines, but this is not teaching anyone how to digitize. One promise down.

Next up – sales. I was to earn a commission on all new sales I brought in, plus commission on re-orders from those sales. The catch was there was no commission on digitizing, and other little details of the orders. So a $600 sale netted me about $40 in commission. Honestly, without my sale, there would be NOTHING TO DIGITIZE. Can we say cheap?

I was also let down on sale follow ups and other little things. But little things add up, and after a while I had had enough. Why bother to go sell when I don’t make anything from the sale, and there is no follow-up from the owner. I lost sales because of the lack of follow-up. Add to this the sudden discontinuation of my commission on re-orders. I am not longer a happy camper.

I attended two weekly meeting for this business. I didn’t know it was required by my state to be paid for them, so I went and spend over 3 hours a week for work without pay. And one wonders why I didn’t want to go any longer.

My paid hours didn’t increase. I was still working part-time and trying to live on what I made. I did this because of what I was promised when I started this job. But I was failing to make ends meet every month. I had very few bills, the cheapest apartment in town, no credit cards and no cable T.V.. And I still could not make ends meet. I don’t know about you, but this gets old very quickly.

Business policies came and went like the wind. One day we did this, the next we did that. Yes, we will take apparel supplied by the customer. Wait. No,  we don’t. Wait. Yes, we do. Oh just a sec. No, we don’t. But we did. Even though it was posted in the shop that we did not take customer supplied apparel. I gave up trying to keep policies straight.

And then the death knell came.

The business owner became an area director of a business networking organization (one of whose weekly meetings I attended).

The focus switched from the business to the networking organization. Things slipped at the business. The attention to detail became fuzzy. I caught several mistakes the owner made on orders. The work that went out the door was sub-par. I saw it. I think others saw, as well. But the owner did not. And still doesn’t.

I was left in charge of the business more and more often as the owner went to meetings for this organization. A vacation was spend overseas, and I ran the business for a month all on my own. Since I was never taught to digitize, I was set up with someone who did it for a living. Things were taken care of, maybe not perfectly, but taken care of. After all, I am not the owner and can’t make the deals an owner can.

When the owner returned from vacation, I sat with them and told them that I did not make enough money. I needed a raise of some sort. I outlined the promises made, and the why I had taken the job and stayed on.

I got the blank stare. I got blamed for moving (I moved in with my S.O). Somehow, not making enough money was my fault. Not the part-time hours. Not the days of no work. Somehow, it was all turned on to me.

We limped forward. Nothing was the same between us. It was time to move on.

Then on Monday, I reported for work as usual. The owner was out of town again. I had always watched the shop on these occasions, but I pulled up and the new sales gal was there. When asked point blank what is going on, she lied (the poor girl ought not lie, she sucks at it). There was no work (again). The owner then texts the new girl to have her tell me there is no work. Professionalism at its finest.

After I return home, I get a voice mail from the owner. The owner let me go via voice mail. Okay, so now that is professionalism at its finest. Who the heck lets employees go via voice mail?? It is stated in said voice mail (which I saved, just in case) that I should return my set of keys and pick up my final check. Okay, Roger that.

I showed up at the appointed time, keys in hand. The owner was no place to be found. The new girl had been left to take care of it. I could not believe it. I have never worked for a person so afraid to do their own dirty work. It is appalling to leave not only an employee to do this, but a new employee to boot (there is only one employee. Well, now there is only one employee).

Oh. My. Gosh.

So I am free to find a better employer. In the meantime, I am honing my crafting skills. I have learned how to make real mini top hats (Real hats. No cardboard, no craft foam.) I will be all right. There will be a new job for me at some point.

And this time, I will be far more careful about who I work for.

The Ultimate Running Man – The Flash!

Published February 2, 2015 by mindfulofchatter

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I am all caught up on Arrow. Now I am watching it week to week like everyone else. So now is the time to catch up on The Flash.

Barry Allen made his debut on The Arrow. When we first meet Barry, he just young man with no special powers trying to solve his mother’s murder. He came to Starling City to help with a murder investigation, meeting Felicity Smaok and Oliver Queen. He kinda has a crush on Felicity, and Felicity kinda has a crush back, but things in their respective lives are pretty chaotic for it really go anywhere. He does find out the Oliver Queen/Arrow connection, but keeps the secret

Barry is forensics tech who works with the local police. He ‘adopted’ father raised him after his mother was murdered and his father jailed for it. We see the night of his mother’s murder more than once as Barry remembers different details. He was about 8, and kept trying to tell people (the cops) that he saw a yellow streak with a man in it, in the room with his mother. No one believed him. In fact, they all still think it was a little boy’s mind trying to make sense of a horrific scenario. But Barry firmly believes what his eight year old eyes saw, and continues to search for the truth.

Star Labs in Central City has built a particle accelerator. It is a much anticipated night when they turn it on for the first time. But something goes wrong and it explodes. 17 people are killed (or are they??). Barry was supposed to be there, but ended up in his lab seeing the explosion through the window. We see the energy wave hurl outward towards Barry’s lab. Lightning lights up the night as Barry, curious about the energy wave, goes to open the skylight. A bolt of lightning shatters the skylight and hits Barry, flinging him backwards and rendering him unconscious.

Barry is in a coma for while. When he wakes up, he seems normal. We watch him discover his speed and how to handle it. He makes a few false stops and starts before figuring it out. He find he can heal very quickly (in hours). The head of Star Labs asks Barry of he can study him, citing Barry’s ability to speed heal being a medical breakthrough if they can harness it. Barry agrees, and so begins the team that helps The Flash be come The Flash.

It is a much lighter show than Arrow. Where Arrow is dark and much more gritty, The Flash is brighter and more light-hearted. I noticed Starling City, home of The Arrow, is much more dreary. Most of the scenes take place at night. And it rains. A lot. In contrast to the darkness of Starling City, Central City is bright and much sunnier. Most of the scenes are daytime scenes. That 600 miles makes a lot of difference!

I’m not going to say if you like The Flash you will like Arrow. While the two shows are connected, they very different. Oliver Queen is broody and has all but forgotten how to smile. Barry Allen is bright, happy and has a sense of humor. But give them both a shot. Keep in mind, as always, these are comic book based shows. Where else can you get thrown through a brick wall and just walk it off?

Go watch Barry Allen do his thing. It’s just plain fun.