Unapologetic progressive. Fearless activist. Plucky liberal.

Posts tagged ‘unemployment’

The new job search

Almost four months after my last post, I don’t have much to show for my job search. As I found when I was looking for a job a year-plus ago, it’s tough to break into an industry for which I’m qualified but lack experience. Before I took the job with OFA Ohio last March, I’d been looking into editing jobs across a spectrum of companies. That’s always been what I love to do. My dream job growing up was to edit “Star Wars” books; today I can’t tell you what my dream job is, only that it has to involve editing. When I got to college, the student newspaper came to my communications class to discuss jobs that were available; one was a copy editor, which required a test that I passed, and thus earned my first paycheck. I got on-the-job training there that led to jobs at newspapers after college, but I’m ready for a change. Journalism is an amazing, vibrant, vital profession, but it’s also stressful and rather unstable.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to change careers, especially in this economy. I’m back where I was before I started with OFA Ohio and haven’t been having much luck with traditional job search techniques, so last week I picked up a couple of books on using social media to find a job. One recommendation was to start a blog, which made me feel guilty for neglecting this space. I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing I want a potential employer to read — I’m not ashamed of the content but most companies are politically neutral or conservative — but I figured it couldn’t hurt to let my few readers know I’m looking. If you hear of any jobs in the Chicago area that involve editing or writing, drop me a line! I really am an exemplary employee; I maintain good relationships with all of my former bosses, who have been sorry to see me leave.

Or, if you have any unusual job search tips you want to pass along, I would be happy to have those, as well. I know five or six people who are also looking for new jobs and might appreciate suggestions. I spent a lot of time today updating my LinkedIn profile, which, at least according to one of the books I have, is the place to be active and networking. I’ve been a member for several years but confess to not getting the point until recently. I asked around, but no one seemed to have gotten much out of the site. Apparently I wasn’t talking to the right people.

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An open letter to John Boehner: I am the American people

This post is from a reader who is fed up with the political gridlock in Washington. She asked to remain anonymous.

Mr. Boehner,

You have often been quoted saying, “The American people have spoken” or “The American people have sent a message.” I don’t know those who have allegedly spoken, but “they” are not me.

Mr. Boehner, I am the American people.

I have been out of full-time work for three years. I am employed part-time and cannot find additional part-time employment. I wait my turn at the public library to conduct my job search. I have had only three interviews during the past three years.

I am single, over 50, and do not have health insurance. I was suddenly hospitalized, through the emergency room, shortly after losing my full-time job. I have accepted unemployment and housing assistance. I exhausted unemployment and COBRA subsidies benefits months ago. I don’t remember when I last saw a dentist.

I’ve stopped wearing contacts; upkeep costs too much. I need new glasses.

I cannot pay rent; I do not quality for any sort of assistance. I cannot pay ComEd, Nicor, or other bills. I cannot pay federal or state income tax. I do not overspend, unless medical bills are considered overspending. I have no retirement savings, I own no property.

Mr. Boehner, I am the American people.

I do not have cable, a working computer, or access to the Internet. I do not eat steak, rent videos, or dine out. I do not smoke or drink. I do not drive unless necessary, usually only to my part-time job. I do not have my hair cut. I do not have a text plan on my cell phone. I pay for a basic phone plan, in case, just in case, a potential employer calls.

I am college educated and have completed some post-graduate coursework.

I am no idiot.

Mr. Boehner, I am the American people.

I have pets, one of which was thrown away by someone else. They will eat before I do. I have participated in true grassroots action on behalf of school children and abused women. I have volunteered at free clinics for children and for the homeless. I have never donated to a political campaign. I have worked for years at polling places. I have no lobbyist.

Some of my neighbors are elderly. Some are dependent upon disability income. I worked on contingency planning with others to move food, children and animals if our electricity fails due to storm damage or delivery system overload. We sadly acknowledged that other Americans will die this summer due to capacity and service interruptions.

I have borrowed money from friends and family. I am not eligible for food stamps. I have no children, I am not eligible for family “aid.” I am not old enough for Social Security, which you apparently are planning to take away anyway. God has not “provided” — please tell your caucus.

I did not plan to live my life this way. I did not get up this morning and decide to “take advantage” of the government. I have done everything “right.” I am not a so-called “usurper.” I am tired. I do have a bit of pride left. Not much. But a little.

Mr. Boehner, I am the American people.

Mr. Boehner, please do not speak for the American people unless you know them. Again, Mr. Boehner —

I am the American people.

Extend unemployment benefits

There’s never a good time of year to be without unemployment benefits, but winter is one of the worst because of the cold weather and holiday season. Unemployment checks don’t replace a living wage, but they still go toward paying for food, utilities, clothes and housing. Unfortunately, 2 million Americans are at risk of losing their benefits at the end of the month.

Some conservatives object to extending benefits because of a misguided notion that the benefits discourage people from finding gainful employment, or because it will add to the deficit and further depress the economy. You know what else is bad for the economy? Millions of people, including children, falling into poverty because they can’t pay their bills. Do they think withholding money from the economy is magically going to stimulate anything?

I know people whose only fault in being laid off was working in an industry vulnerable to the recession–which is most industries. They depend on unemployment benefits to get by, and there’s not a one of them who wouldn’t rather be back working at their old job or a similar one. The problem is, those jobs don’t exist anymore. According to UnemployedWorkers.org, there is still only one job opening for every five jobless workers.

Don’t let your friends, family and neighbors be out in the cold this holiday. There’s still time to call your representatives in Congress to let them know how you feel. Dial toll-free 1-866-606-1189 or 1-877-662-2889. I was on hold for a long time when I called this afternoon. I hope that means lots of voters are making their voices heard.