I have been unemployed for about a month and a half now. It’s a terrifying situation when I stop to think about the financial implications extended unemployment is having on my bank account, or pause to reflect on the fact that the average length of unemployment for Americans is now almost one year. The stock market rollercoaster isn’t doing anything to soothe my nerves, nor those of my prospective employers, I’d guess.
I’m motivated to find a job. I want to work, and I have the relevant skills to work. Which is why I was surprised to receive a letter from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development demanding that I attend a Career Center Seminar as a condition of continuing to get unemployment checks.
Career Centers provide valuable resources to my unemployed brethren around the Commonwealth—especially those whose skills are rusty or out-of-date in today’s economy. They provide resume reviews, help train techno-neophytes on computers, and the like. But I’ve been out of college for less than a decade. I know how to turn on my computer, type up a cover letter, and attach it and my resume to a prospective employer. Taking an hour (I assume? The length these classes take is not clear) out of my day to sit in a room and not apply for jobs seems counter-productive.
If the unemployment office needs me to prove that I am a real person who is actually looking for a job as required by law, I’m happy to provide them with a list of people I’ve been talking to and interviews I’ve had over the past month and a half. A morning spent talking about someone’s company or career over coffee is a much better use of a Thursday morning than is sitting in a room with people who are in fields not at all related to mine, listening to a laundry list of resume services offered by the state.
This is all to say that I am going to the Career Center this Thursday morning to jump through the hoops that will keep the unemployment checks coming while I remain on the hunt for a new job. Stay tuned for what I can only assume will be an amusing look into the world of unemployment in Massachusetts.