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Today is the present… be the gift.

Unemployment August 14, 2009

Yesterday I registered for Unemployment Insurance. This was a new experience for me, having never before in my 40+ years of being a business professional filed for this type of benefit before. And actually — in context of all the blame being slung at government for alleged ineptitude and incompetence as administrator of state & federal benefit programs (ie: proposed ‘single payer’ health care) — the process seemed quite purposeful and well-carried-out. Almost expedient in terms of the staff available and the number of people there to serve.

I waited a very short time (perhaps 20-min?) to meet with the woman who conducted my initial interview, which only took about 10-minutes. She then gave me the option of completing my application on a computer, which was fine with me and I started immediately.

The questions were direct, pertinent to citizenship, residency and work history, and mostly could be answered by clicking  ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from a pull-down menu or typing in contact information and other pertinent data.  It took another 20-min. or so to complete the full application, which was printed out and submitted for my second interview.

This process too was fairly expedient. After waiting only about 10-min., I was called to a private office to meet with a woman who reviewed my full application, gathered additional information from me, explained the coming steps in the qualification process including instructions about how to report my current status weekly online and gave me a handbook and several pamphlets which detail how the whole system works. Again, this took about 20-min.

All in all, from arrival to exit, it took less than two hours, which seems reasonable and appropriate to me. Also, the women who interviewed me were friendly and informative, presented themselves with professional manners and impressed me as conducting their respective tasks with diligence and appropriate authority. If I were their work supervisor, I would be compelled to say ‘good job’.

All the more, I felt like a fish out of water. So nervous that I managed to dump the entire contents of my purse on the floor while extracting my Social Security card from my wallet. Perhaps sub-cognitive meme resistance (see: Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme) to ‘asking for help’? No matter the cause, however, the feelings of being out-of-place were real and there is really nothing one can do about this except ‘notice it’ and move on.

Yet at the same time it is important — at least in terms of personal growth and professional development — to acknowledge the emotional-tugs inherent to any experience, old or new. To notice the subtext of our own (conditioned?) ‘knee-jerk reaction’ and observe the effects these innate sensations have on our routine movement thru the world, because until we enable ourselves to examine these subtextural experiences in terms of  our own self-adopted standards of  ‘reasonableness’ we cannot be self-empowered to ‘choose’ how we wish to behave ‘the next time’ similar circumstances come up.


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