Thursday, August 20, 2009
I've have a difficult day. Let me tell you about it.
It started well, with a rather pleasant job interview across town. I was surprised and pleased to discover that the downtown stretch of I-10, the ramps to which have been closed for over a year, was finished and the ramps were open. I found the right building with no trouble, was intrigued by the project for which I interviewed, and liked my potential employer. The only bad part was that it is strictly a temporary position, expected to last one to three months. The money is such that I was interested anyway, but it did put me in an awkward position with respect to a permanent fulltime job I was supposed to interview for this week (and still will, it turns out). My interviewer hoped to have an answer by the end of the day. John and I agreed that if offered the temporary job, I would take it, and ask the other employer to keep me in mind for later in the year when the contract is up.
On the way back I detoured to the office of the recruiter who sent me out on this morning's interview. She was impressed when I told her that I'd apparently done well on the other company's computerized assessment and had been scheduled for a phone interview.
So far, so good, right? But on the way home, I noticed that a) smoke was billowing from under the hood of my car and b) temperature gauge was on H for Horrendous. I let it cool off for a few minutes in the parking lot of a grumpy signmaker, and then managed to get it over to my mechanic. I'd literally blown some gaskets, and probably needed a thermostat as well. Again. This will take the 2-week total in car repairs to my 1994 Eagle Vision up over $1000. By the way, I checked, and its fuel economy is exactly 1 mpg too high to qualify for Cash for Clunkers, even if I had a good job and the money to spend on a new car.
I got an email from the recruiter for the company that did the computer assessment last week, rescheduling the phone interview to Friday. It had been postponed from Monday because she was out sick. I explained that I was waiting to hear back on the temporary job, and she said I could cancel the interview later as needed. Fair enough. But it made me nervous that in my efforts to behave ethically toward both potential employers by providing disclosure, I was shooting myself in the foot with both of them.
5 PM came, and my mechanic called to say that the car was still leaking, and they needed to keep it overnight.
6 PM came, and I didn't hear back on the temp job.
6:30 PM came, and John came in with three pieces of mail from the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Having already changed their minds four times about what I do or do not qualify for and what I need to do to get an unemployment claim going again, they have found yet another excuse not to start paying me as promised. To wit:
BENEFITS CANNOT BE PAID AT THIS TIME BECAUSE OF YOUR AVAILABILITY. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS BELOW IN DETAIL AND RETURN THIS FORM WITHIN 5 WORKING DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS NOTICE. [....]
What it comes down to is that because I work 2 to 6 hours a week and have been reporting that income, they're not convinced that I'm available every day to accept and work at another job, despite my having told them repeatedly that I was indeed available to work each day. The form asks "WHAT TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT ACTIVITIES ARE YOU INVOLVED IN?" I have already explained in detail to at least one, possibly two of their deputies, that I'm working part time at St. Michael's and that the church is flexible about when I put in my few hours a week, freeing me to work full time elsewhere. But because my file is passed endlessly from deputy to supervisor to who-knows-who, and isn't as straightforward as one full-time job and then nothing, the people at DES can't settle on one determination about my case and go with it. They have to second guess it over and over, changing their minds and leaving me stuck until I can contact them again. And again. And again. This has been going on since June. I've repeatedly been told that I'm qualified for one kind of claim or another, but then the ball is dropped or someone else looks at the file, and it never actually goes through. And I'm sick of it.
Please, oh please, let me get the permanent job with the good company!