Down to the wire.

I put in for my last unemployment check this morning so from here on out I’m looking at a pretty bleak future. One bright spot is that I received two different phone calls so far today about possible jobs, though one of them is another contract house following up after I submitted myself for a position they had listed. I’ve spent the rest of the day filling out online applications with UPS and FedEx Kinkos among other places in hopes of at least getting SOME kind of work to bring in a little money, though how long that’ll keep my head above water remains to be seen. Needless to say the stress levels are at an all-time high so if my posting is a bit on the light side for a few days you’ll know why.

14 thoughts on “Down to the wire.

  1. Les,

    I can identify. I’m no stranger to what you’re going through now. I’m wondering if maybe your state/city/county/etc might have a program that can help you. Back when I got laid off, and the unemployment was running out, I got the unemployment department to give me a displaced worker status card (for those that work in a capacity impacted by 9/11, foriegn markets getting your work, or fields that have way more candidates than jobs). I then went to a local county funded agency or organization that was willing to extend my benefits and pay for training in a viable field. I opted to take out a loan for school since my wife works, but it was there. Or maybe you can find a company to work for that will pay for you to go to school. There’s always work in healthcare. What about applying at some local hospitals and medical centers. They’re all networked and connected, and the nurses love to call the helpdesk the second something goes awry. Chin up, Les. There’s something out there for you.


  2. Things have GOT to improve soon-ish.  There are soooooo many fucked people right now.  It’s seems like super-concentrated shittiness all over the place.  There has to be a break soon.  That’s how it usually works. 
    At least you’re not alone—people out here are sitting in messes too.  Not that it’s much consolation, but it’s what I always use to comfort myself when things suck.  There are in fact other people who have it as bad or worse, and at least you’re not having your organs harvested…..

  3. Les,
    If you’d be interested in doing disaster relief work, my company is a contractor to the federal govt. and we’re hiring people to respond to Katrina.  Drop me a line if interested.

  4. RH, I may take you up on that offer. Though I’m not sure what I’d be qualified to help with outside of tech support.

    On a brighter note, I do have a phone interview tomorrow at 3PM with a company I recently applied with. I’m not getting my hopes up, but it’s better than nothing.

  5. I know how you feel as well. I’ll be unemployed in about 2 weeks and will be given the ol’ “Employment Insurance” checks too. I anticipate finding more work before that happens but you never know. I’ll hang in there if you will wink

  6. I’ve been a member of the unemployment club for a couple of months now and I need to be brainstorming ways to become a millionaire. I’ve been trying the lottery because it’s such a certain wealth-maker but I’m one of those rare losers at the game.

    Maybe a burlesque dance troupe….

  7. I believe it’s safe to assume that Les is not interested in the Army; I e-mailed him with the suggestion earlier and he didn’t respond. However, for other people in his position (mature, under-educated, and jobless), the Army has a lot of advantages. I’d like to leave this post here so others might be able to think about them.

    First, the Army is hiring, and generally speaking the Army’s requirement is simply a brain, no physical impairment, and a willingness to accept training and to serve. The Army Reserve and National Guard are now taking new soldiers up to age 39.

    For mature (i.e. old and with a family) enlistees, the Army offers a higher starting salary in the form of a higher housing allowance. Les, a high school graduate, would be entitled to a base monthly salary of $1450 or so (assuming he can wangle a higher paygrade of E-3 pretty quickly) $850-1000 a month for housing, $250 per month for meals, plus a cost-of-living allowance for some higher-cost areas. He would hit $27,000 on after-tax income pretty quick.

    That’s not Trump wages, but it beats the shit out of unemployment.

    But there is another benefit to Army service which should be appealing to people in Les’s position, and that is access to some of the most generous job-training and educational opportunities around. There’s the GI Bill, which with the Army College Fund can pay out up to $70,000 for college. You can draw your GI Bill benefits on active duty. But there’s also tuition assistance (TA) to pick up 75% of the cost of off-duty education—one can go to school on active duty, use TA, and save the GI Bill/College Fund for later.

    Les is clearly a smart man, but under-credentialed in an economy which now demands not just high-school education and some skills, but “certificates of achievement” in the form of higher-education degrees. But at his age, with his commitments, it’s very difficult for a man like Les to drop everything and get the credentials he should have gotten earlier if he had recognized the direction the economy was heading. Because he has people to support, Les needs an income while he is getting the credentials.

    That’s why I think the Army is a good option for guys like him.

    Who knows? He might even like the Army enough to stay.

    Now, I know this sounds like a recruiting ad, and I am not an Army recruiter. But I am a satisfied customer—a product of the very same bootstrapping I advocate for Les (although I did it at 19 instead of 39); the Navy gave me excellent language training as a cryptologic linguist, I was able to use tuition assistance on active duty to complete a degree at the University of Maryland, and the GI Bill helped me through law school. Plus I had a lot of adventures, made good friends, and now can look back with pride on my service.

    With the credentials gained largely through the service, I now have a good career. And I’m just a regular guy.

  8. I believe it’s safe to assume that Les is not interested in the Army; I e-mailed him with the suggestion earlier and he didn’t respond. However, for other people in his position (mature, under-educated, and jobless), the Army has a lot of advantages. I’d like to leave this post here so others might be able to think about them.

    Just so you know, I did get the email and I intended to respond, but I got distracted and forgot all about it.

    Believe me I’ve given the army quite a bit of thought and it’s a measure of last resort for me. Not something I’ve ruled out, but not something I’m eager to try. As I understand it, at 38 I’d have to sign up for a minimum of three years rather than the two years normally required.

    I think the army is a good option for a lot of people and it may be the route I end up going, but it’s not my first choice at the moment.

  9. Dude….you’d be better off doing construction work or mopping floors before joining the Army.
    That is unless you really want to come home in a bag and your kids to have a flag as a keepsake.
    Any job is better than joining the military right about now.  With fuckwits at the helm, you’re sure to be sent somewhere fucked up and get blown to pieces.
    Not anyone’s idea of a good time the last time I checked….

  10. I’m not sure what’s wrong with all these suckers but it seems that retention in the Army is at an all time high. That is to say, the people with the most information about the Army and about Iraq—those who are in it, and who have been to the desert—endorse their mission, their country, and their comrades by voluntarily choosing to add more years to their service.

    My own Navy service in the early 90s was not subject to deployment at current operating tempos—cryptologists are mostly land-based. So I had better opportunities than most to take advantage of all the educational benefits. But I didn’t join just to get the benefits; they were a happy discovery once I was in. I joined to be part of history and to have adventures, and I did. Five years of the Navy also changed and determined the course of the rest of my life. For other people whose lives might not be working out the way they wanted, I recommend a tour in the service as a way to help shape not just your own future, but the future of the country in general.

  11. Les, I hope you don’t join. As GoodKitty eluded, the number one job in the army is 11B, smack dab in Iraq or Afghanistan, and that’s where you need to assume you’ll go if you join.

    The recruiters will tell you any and all lies to get your pasty butt in BDUs and on the truck to the induction center. They’ll spin some stories about how you’re GUARANTEED to be posted stateside, how you Uncle Sam will not switch you to a different specialty than the one you signed up, or that you’re GUARANTEED to work in your chosen specialty for 2 years. Sorry, but that’s all lies, and the way you find out for sure puts you past the point of no return.

    You’re better off using your tech skills or your intelligence to better ends.

    Sure, there are some relatively bright people in the military, but they can’t hold a candle to the tech stuff that goes on in the private sector. 

    You can certainly do better than that.

  12. Don’t listen to this clown. Hippies and the Daily Kos are not the best source of advice on the military.

    There are almost 520,000 troops in the regular Army; add to that 150,000 mobilized to active duty from the 550,000 reserve-component troops in the Guard and Reserve—that’s 670,000 total active duty Army. All of them are not in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iraq currently has 130,000 troops or so, and Afghanistan something like 20,000. About 20% of the active-duty Army is deployed at any given time.

    However, it’s fair to say that in three or four years of active duty one in the combat arms is certain to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at least once. These deployments have danger, sure, but is it as much danger as these hippies would have you believe? Check out what this soldier reports:

    From 1983 to 1996, more than 18,000 soldiers died. That averages to more than 1,300 a year, far more than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan each year. Yes, that was mostly from accidents, drunk driving and other mishaps. Yet, while protesters in Crawford, Texas and elsewhere would have you think that our military can’t survive with the low casualty rates of this war, I wonder why they were willing to accept the much higher peacetime casualty rates of the past? We lost around 3,000 innocent people on September 11, and with four years of war and the toppling of two regimes, we haven’t lost that many in combat.

    Yes, the Army’s business is to fight. All soldiers prepare to fight and must be ready to be in a deadly fight. But on balance, military service is a great experience. (I can’t say for sure that the Army is great; in fact, we were stationed together and it looked a lot like the Army sucks, but I am sure it sucks less than being jobless and worried about taking care of your family.)

  13. I’m not unaware of the fact that once I sign up I’m more or less government property to do with as they please for the next few years or the fact that I could end up in Iraq or someplace else where I’ll be shot at. That comes with the job when you sign up and I have no problems with that. Not much use in having you in the military if you’re not going to be a soldier when duty calls. It’s not what I’d prefer to be doing, though, hence why the military is a move of last resort for me.

    Despite the rather combative image some folks get of me from SEB, I’m actually a rather mellow person in real life. I’ve not been in a fist fight since before my high school days and I’m the sort that prefers to resort to violence only when there’s no other options. Yep, I’m a bit of a pansy hippie pacifist in that regards. So while I may not end up in a war zone in the military I do recognize that I very well could and even though I don’t doubt I could kill another person if I had no choice I’d rather not place myself in a position where such a thing is necessary.

    In short, my qualms about joining the military have very little to do with the military itself, but with me.

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