Just six more weeks of unemployment left. No job offers, but I have been busy.

I’m down to my last month and a half of unemployment benefits and I’m starting to feel the pressure which isn’t being helped by the lack of response my resume submissions have generated thus far. I’ve been approached by a couple of different people about possible positions as a programmer or web developer, but I wasn’t qualified enough for the jobs on offer. As a result I’ve started broadening my search beyond Michigan’s borders. Not that I have a clue how the hell I could afford to move the family and set up shop in another state with the meager savings we have, but that’s a bridge I’ll figure out how to cross should my inquiries actually produce any results.

For the moment I’m being kept busy with a couple of interesting non-work opportunities that have come along. First I’ve been contacted by the publishing house that’s putting out a book by Matthew Alper titled The “God” Part of the Brain that they’d like me to read and then write a review of for SEB. I was quite flattered to be asked and I’m just waiting on the book to arrive so I can sit down and dedicate some time to it.

Speaking of books, I’m just about to finish up Carl Zimmer’s Parasite Rex : Inside the Bizarre World of Nature’s Most Dangerous Creatures so I’ll be doing a write up on that in the near future. I’m also still working on the review of A Mind of its Own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives that should be done soon.

Lastly I’ve been contacted by someone from Scribe Media asking if I’d be willing to be interviewed about my thoughts as an unemployed automotive worker on Governor Granholm’s upcoming No Worker Left Behind program after they saw my entry about Michigan’s State of the State address. I explained that I probably wasn’t what most people thought of when they hear the words “automotive worker” — most people think of the folks working the assembly line — as my career with the Big Three has been as a contracted IT person, but that still technically makes me an automotive worker and I was let go as a result of the cutbacks and buyouts they’re doing right now. After checking with the powers that be it was decided that I was still worth talking to so I’m expecting a phone call from them sometime tomorrow. I have no idea if they’ll use anything I have to say in their article or even where it’ll show up if they do, but it’s pretty cool just to be asked in the first place.

Oh, and I’ve managed to get Balfour, my dwarven hunter in World of Warcraft, up to level 65 and finally managed to purchase an epic mount for him. Maybe I’ll get lucky and Blizzard will offer me a job in California. Or even better, maybe they’ll take advantage of the Governor’s attempts to lure more high-tech companies to Michigan and open up a branch here that I can go work for.

Wishful thinking: It’s not just for the overly credulous.

16 thoughts on “Just six more weeks of unemployment left. No job offers, but I have been busy.

  1. So … what are your PHP/MySQL skills?  I may have some probably-low-paying but fairly simple database work coming up in a few weeks.

  2. If you do decide to jump ship and leave MI, IA can be nice…. err, well at least it can be slightly warmer than MI.  *grin*  As a plus, the company I’m currently employed with is looking for a variety of IT folk.

  3. I know it’s a completely different field, but just as an FYI, Wild Blue is about to open Michigan up for Satelite Internet accounts as of March 19th (they just launched a new sat – Wild Blue One) and Sat retailers all over the state are getting installers certified. It’s probably a bit more physical that what you’ve done in the past but it’s still tech work and usually a lot of fun.

  4. Les, it’s great to see all the contacts that are being made with you for ‘unrelated to finding a job’ stuff.
    It’s gotta make you feel as though some positive stuff is hanging around out there in the wind somewhere, don’t it?  smile

    Pardon my ignorance, but what happens after your ‘unemployment benefits’ run out?
    I’ve tried Googling for an answer but it keeps referring back to unemployment insurance.
    In Oz, we have the dole. It’s under the poverty line (for a single) but above the starvation line.

  5. ***Dave, my PHP/mySQL skills are definitely at the beginner’s level. I know enough about mySQL to set up several different blogging packages using it (obviously considering the number I’ve dinked around with over the years) and I can construct some basic SQL queries (I wrote one to turn trackbacks back on on all the old entries for example), but that’s about it.

    Pretty much the same for PHP. I know enough to follow programming logic for beta testing and I managed to cobble together the Gravatar plugin for EE, but that was an exceedingly simple program to write.

    Manzabar, I’ll keep that in mind. grin

    KPG, got any contact info on those folks?

    LH, it is a pretty cool feeling to have folks contact you directly and ask for your opinion on things. If I weren’t married with a 16 year old daughter I might take it as a sign to finally follow through on my youthful dream to be an actor.

    What happens when the unemployment benefits run out? I start living off of the very meager savings I’ve managed to acquire that was supposed to go towards a down payment on a house and the U.S. Government gets to claim the number of unemployed people has gone down by 1 because if I ain’t collecting unemployment then they don’t consider me to be unemployed even if I’m not working.

    We do have a welfare system I could apply for, but given that I’m living with my in-laws at the moment it’s doubtful that I’d be accepted and even if I was it’s doubtful it would be enough to pay the bills. I’ll try landing two really shitty jobs at say Meijers and/or McDonalds before I’ll try getting on welfare. Especially here in Livingston County where it’s a notorious pain in the ass dealing with the bureaucracy alone.

  6. Wild Blue doesn’t hire directly. Satelite retailers hire their own installers. Most areas in Michigan have several small companies doing the work and they can probably be found in the phone book under TV – Sat & Cable.

    The other option would be certifying yourself directly (training and certification costs about a hundred bucks though) and then sub-contracting from either a local company, or DSI (the company handling Wild Blue’s distribution).

    Info on training can be found at http://www.wildblue.com/dealers/training.jsp, but it might take a couple months to get into a class that’s close enough for you to get to.

    DSI has a web site at http://www.dsisystemsinc.com/ and there’s a contact email on the front page.

    Sat installs pay pretty well if your in a metro area and down near Detroit I’m sure they could keep you very busy. You might want to contact one of the Dish Net or Direct TV retailers down there. Most of them will probably be handling Wild Blue, also, and they’s probably be willing to train you for the TV installs free. Then you could decide if you want to move up to the internet installs.

    I know a lot of installers for Dish Network and most of them are making 2 to 4 hundred a day (working a 12 hour day).

  7. Sorry to hear that the job search isn’t going well….but congrats on 65.  You’ll like 70 even better (once you get 1000 gold anyway).  Flying mounts are one of the best things I’ve ever seen implimented in a game.

  8. Sorry about the unfortunate circumstances Les. I might be able to offer you a position as a webmaster sometime in the near future though. I received correspondence from an associate of mine at the University of Texas who is offering me $5,000 capital on our little venture and we definitely need the support of anyone with your skills. Granted, nothing is conrete yet, but if you’re interested, drop me a line.

  9. I really feel for you about this Les. If I needed some quick cash, I would go to a warehouse that unloads trucks. Grocery warehouses usually work pretty good. A temporary lumper can pick up $200 to $300 a day unloading and loading freight. It’s hard work, but it’s not bad. Pays the bills.

  10. A UK electricals warehouse will pay £5.35/hour (NMW), which is what I do, moving washing machines, fridges, tevevisions, etc. Most people who work there are students, it’s a job with no promotion prospects (unless you stayed there several years full time to become a supervisor, but they may replace you just to stop you staying there long enough to gain employment rights – people are easily replaced). Bear seasonal trade in mind because they will lay people off

  11. Les, Don’t move to the UK if you plan on working in a warehouse, Move to Lubbock Texas. Warehouse loading pays even higher there. I know people that make over $500 per day. But the norm is $200 to $300 in places like Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, and even Baltimore. To be honest I never go to Michigan.  So I do not about the pay standards.

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