so that's what i was afraid of, that my one month of unemployment would be under the scrutiny of the unemployment office, like i was being audited somehow.
but guess what? the seminar was actually very helpful and i feel a lot better about my job prospects after having attended this class. originally i thought it'd be a one-on-one thing, but turns out it was a group event, about 15 other unemployed people all gathered around a u-shaped conference table, a manila folder thick with papers already waiting for us when we sat down. our instructor was a guy named dave, nicest guy you'd ever want to meet, sort of looked like cliff claven (cheers) a little bit, kind of soft-spoken, kind of dry, but sincere in his desire to help us and full of information. right off the bat he apologized for the wording of the letter we received informing us that we'd have to attend this seminar. he told us that his office and the unemployment office are two separate entities, and that he's not here to check up on anyone, just here to help, and that this seminar should really be voluntary, not mandatory, and your unemployment benefit shouldn't have to be tied to attendance, which it wasn't really, just a ploy to get people to show up. i looked around the room, sizing everyone up. i sat in between a muscular hispanic guy and a skinny white indie boy with black-rimmed glasses (amanda rawson bait). across from me sat this black guy wearing a marijuana t-shirt, a brunette who've i could've sworn i've seen before (she looked familiar, definitely a web person, i can just sense it), a middle aged man, an indian woman, a chinese woman, two guys who looked like they thought themselves to be some kind of hotshits, a mother who brought her young daughter with her, a few other people. dave essentially dispensed job searching advice from his overhead projector, reminiscent of high school/college classes, even down to the corny cartoon clippings to add a touch of levity to the presentation (my high school biology teacher mr.howick was the projector master).
you can't spend every waking hour looking for work, also budget time to relax, enjoy the time off, even if you have very little money. exercise is very important, a healthy body will give you more energy which will help with the job search. think positively, optimism is key, the power of positive thinking. looking for a job should be fun if you do it right. being unemployed allows you to rethink your priorities in life, allows you to have a fresh start. make a to-do list everyday, follow it, most people say what they miss most about working is the structure, create your own structure. review past accomplishments, make a list. hang out with other unemployed people, create a support group. don't use want ads or internet job sites, 2/3 of all jobs are not advertised, networking is the key. be creative and adventurous in your job search, stray outside your comfort zone. don't say "i've been laid off," use phrases like "i'm looking for my nexy job," "i'm in between jobs," glass is half full principle. make a list of 5 work accomplishments and weave it into a 20 second commercial. know your strengths. and so on.
i actually think everyone who gets laid off should attend this seminar. if you feel like you don't know what you're doing, or maybe not motivated, or maybe depressed about the job search, coming here will cheer you right up. they also had other free seminars to acquire other skills, things like interviewing, writing a resume, networking, even entrepreneurial help if you're thinking about starting your own business. it just blows my mind that there are people out there who's job it is to help me find work. i always figured landing a job was a solo mission, but it's comforting to know there's all this support if i need it. they also have internet access computers to do your searching (if you don't have access at home), phones to make calls, copying machines, audio/video instructional material, books, directories, everything.
it wasn't all one way information, a few times during the class we had to interact with other unemployed folks. my group was the two guys i sat next two. compared to them, i was in pretty good shape. the hispanic guy, cesar, 37 (although he doesn't look it, i thought maybe he was 29), his field is computer hardwares, setting up networks, setting up computers, an IT guy. unemployed for two months, he's recently divorced, the father of three children, all of them different mothers. "hey you guys, keep it in your pants, not like me! but seriously, i love my kids." he kind of reminded of my friend gary, sort of world savvy, knows a lot of people, has a lot of connections, don't care what other people think. the other guy, john, 23, he had the look of maybe a computer geek, but he was on the other end of the spectrum for that look, that is, indie starving artist type who never went to college. he worked three years in construction (never would've guessed, he was all skin and bones), then the past year he worked in a store that sold cowboy outfits and riding fear for motorcyclists and equestrians (don't try to find this store, they went out of business, hence his unemployment).
so now i'm really glad this happened, this whole re-employment thing. it's like getting a shot at the doctor's office, you know it'll help you yet you're still afraid, and then when it actually happens, it's very quick and painless and you feel better afterwards. this is the kind of medicine that everyone unemployed should be getting.
i think i'm ready for re-employment.