Friday, July 2, 2010

Looking for Work can be Bittersweet

My spouse and I are going Metro!!!  Our carbon footprint has just gone down considerably because we gave up our car and we're walking or taking mass transit to get to wherever we have to get too.  It's so liberating not to have that damn Prius anymore.  No it really is.  We didn't really want to give it up but sometimes you have to do what's best for yourself and the world.  Okay we do care about the world but we had to give up the Prius regardless.  It just so happens that Joy's (my spouse) work is right on a bus route and so is our apartment.  So we could give up the Prius and she could keep her job and I can get to my training and job interviews.

The main reason we gave up the car was that quite suddenly my unemployment stopped.  I came to find out that I was one of the million plus people who were being funded by the federal government.  With the Senate unable to pass the new funding suddenly it was gone.  Such is life.  I wouldn't want to live anywhere else but the United States and we don't have enough money to move anyway.

I'm not worried about us. We're blessed.  My spouse is working and loves her job and so many of our friends are helping us get through this. I am concerned that a new mindset is taking shape in our national dialogue.  Not helping the "least of these" is seen by many as the right thing to do.  I believe its because the meaning of the "least of these" has changed.  What use to mean a person or persons is now a number.  1.2 million unemployed.  Numbers have no feelings so you can ignore them.  When you're talking about 200 million plus in the work force and the number is less than half a per cent its easy to make a "tough" choice.

I believe that unemployment insurance is a good thing and I hope it will continue for those of us affected and those affected is a number that grows weekly.  But it must be accompanied by training and that training should be free. 

I waited a year for MS Office training at the Actors Fund.  It's fantastic.  It's a twelve week course that includes basic to third level training in Powerpoint, Word and Excel.  I'm through Powerpoint and am not quite halfway through Word with five weeks of Excel training to follow.  I've used these programs for years but I can't tell you how reaffirming and enlightening it is to finally have someone to show you how they really work.  And the training is free.  I had to wait a year because having a highly skilled experienced instructor teaching you a new skill set for free is really hard to find.  It shouldn't be.  

Members of Congress have also been saying that those of us on "unending" unemployment are unmotivated, lazy and one Freshman Democrat in Congress said that we're not looking for work because we're eating bonbons.  For the record, I have not eaten one bonbon during my entire recent unemployment.  If she had said that we're eating See's Dark Chocolate Truffles well...  But it does make going through these days sweeter.  Well bittersweeter.

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