Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adventures in Unemployment

Hey, what are YOU doing here??!?

I saw the most amazing thing today.  Leslie and I were driving down El Camino in South City near Kaiser, and way up on top of one of the street lights sat a big raven.  It was a common raven, you know, which looks like a crow, but is at least five times bigger.  And buzzing around it like a very angry buzzing bee was a humming bird!  It was so amazing! We could only see the duo because they were set against the blue sky’s background.  That little hummer was angry with the big raven, and was diving and hovering around it, trying to drive it off.  It was very brave. And the raven sat there ignoring it.  There were trees close by, so I thought maybe the little hummer had a nest nearby. At the very least, it considered that area its turf and didn’t want the raven around.  Fascinating.

That was the first thing.

We did a bunch of errands, a whole lot, and got a lot done gearing up for our street fair on May 1.

The last thing I did was attend a mandatory workshop at the EDD, which is the California State’s unemployment training “thing”; I’m not sure what it is really, but this class was mandatory to getting my unemployment check, so I had to be there.  Stuck.  It turned out to be a two hour session with a pedantic instructor who was determined we see her superiority.  And what was covered was rudimentary.  Not sophisticated, but for people who aren’t hip to the computer and how to write a resume, I suppose it was pretty handy.  The lady in charge, I’ll call her Becky,  said that the week previous she had a group of 35 people from Sutter Health, doctors, nurses, everybody.  No one is exempt from job loss these days.
The folks in my group were such a cross section of the workforce, it was a trip! There was a waiter, software engineers, project managers, and a marketing manager. One lady used to be a recruiter for Planned Parenthood in the East Bay but they’ve closed all those down due to lack of funding.  The one that really stuck out was a woman who was previously the Vice President of Philanthropy for the San Francisco Zoo. She was in charge of fund raising, and enrollment is down so they let her go.  With a few exceptions, everyone there seemed really bummed out, and while I’m sure economics has a lot to do with it, the bashing each person took by their experience was right on their shirt sleeve, so apparent.  I could totally relate.

I thought “Wow, so many people in the country are in this state and no wonder people are in such a bad mood all the time!”  In fact, completely randomly and right in the midst of the class, someone started banging on the door to the training room and when Becky tried to open the door to see what was going on, held it shut, which completely freaked her out.  She looked at me with scared eyes and said, “Oh my god what is going on?”  Turned out to be a guy trying to install a sign on the door, which accounted for all the banging, and he opened the door in front of everyone and was MAD that she was interrupting his work, and actually told her off!  I had to laugh; it was pretty random, very off the wall. 

As it turns out, this mandatory training class was in the same building as welfare.  I figure if someone got angry with unemployment and told them to shove it, they could go directly to the next room and get in line for government assistance.  Becky said that no one knows where the actual Unemployment offices are because they are kept confidential.  Apparently, a few years ago, one discontented unemployment recipient went crazy and massacred a bunch of Unemployment staff.  Since then, they’ve kept those offices under wraps. 

File this experience under “Adventures in Unemployment”.

All is well.


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