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Help me be NOT poor.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Unemployment.

I have been unemployed for for most of the last 6 months.

I had a customer service job in a call center, answering questions about food for a major grocery chain.  I wasn't directly employed by the grocer, but through a staffing agency.

The call center operated on a ratio that was 40% Associates and 60% temporary placement.  Management reasoned that they needed such a mix because of all the upward mobility in the call center, as talent would be plucked from their cubicles and hired on to other departments.  I never really bought that argument. I think it had more to do with not having to offer benefits and increased pay to 60% of the call center.

As temps, we were expected to work many holidays that the full-time associates didn't.  Last May, it was announced that the call center would be open on Memorial Day and all employees would have to work their regular schedule.  It turns out that nearly all the Associates called in or used personal days, leaving the temps to staff the call center.

What was so infuriating about this is the fact that it was horrifically slow that day.  Imagine that... all the customers are celebrating the troops and having cookouts and not calling in to ask if their canned corn is still good.  One temp employee was upset that he had to work on a day that the call center didn't really need to be open, so he wrote a mass email...


I am truly sorry we work for such a non caring family of companies and
people who care so little about what this holiday is really about.

That’s right.  They have made every effort to make sure, the real Kroger
employees at their call centers are off for what should be and
with most company's, is *A NATIONAL HOLIDAY*.  Here at The Kroger Company.

They feel the temporary workers, that they don’t have to
pay overtime, or give a different day off to make up for them working on
this day.  They can be the slaves of the Kroger call centers.

Barney is probably rolling over in his grave.

We work side by side with many different people.  White, Afro American,
black, brown, Indian, and American Indian.

I have probably missed someone.  Not my intent to shun anyone.

We have different beliefs, but we are all the same.  We are all American’s.

American’s that would like to be home with their family’s.

American’s that would like to honor those who have given their lives and
limbs to make sure we are free.

My father is a veteran.  My uncles and yes a couple of aunt’s are and were
veterans.  People I grew up with that are gone but not forgotten and many
others

were and are veterans as well.  I’m sure we have veterans working here as
well.

I’m sure they are proud they work for such a fine caring organization.
Personally, I am sick that we work for such a company.

In previous years, I have taken the time to visit the graves of those that
I no longer can personally thank.

This year I am working.  A real shame when you think what this holiday is
truly about.

Thanks KROGER.  Thanks for only caring about the Kroger employees.

Hang your heads in shame KROGER.  Shame on you for being so uncaring as to
what this holiday is all about.

He was walked out about 15 minutes later... fired.  There were no managers with the ability to fire someone in the call center at that time as they were out... with family...celebrating Memorial Day.  So that means a supervisor got the order over the phone to walk that guy out for speaking his mind.

Well, fast forward a couple weeks and they announce that the call center will also be open for the 4th of July...but you could put in a request to have the day off.

I put in mine and left a little note in the comment section...

My comment basically stated that it was pretty shameful that they decided to be open on such an important holiday when nobody would be calling us anyway.  Only 1 person would have seen my comment and that is the person that approved the day off request.  That person forwarded my note to management, and while I was on my way to work the next day, my staffing agency contact told me to not bother coming in. My contract was terminated.

Now that was a long story to get to unemployment.

In Ohio, you have to be employed a certain period of time and you have to make a minimum amount to qualify for unemployment benefits.  Basically, you have to average at least $200 a week during a 10 week period within the last 6 months.

Unemployment is half of what you made in a week on average and up to $400 a week.  So if you made the bare minimum $200 a week, you would get a paltry $100 a week unemployment.  If you made $900 a week, then you would max out and only get $400 a week unemployment.

I qualified for $232 a week in unemployment compensation and elected to have federal taxes withheld(you know, to keep the roads paved).  After taxes, my weekly unemployment was $208.  Normally, my paychecks were $345 after taxes and I skimmed by without any real savings, so having $137 less every week was a real shock.

Ohio doesn't even give you all your unemployment, though.  For instance, the first week that you file is NEVER paid.  Not withheld for an extra week... unpaid.  I have no earthly idea why they do this.  Also, it takes 3-4 weeks for you to get your first unemployment payment.  So as you can imagine, I was pretty strapped for cash when I got my first payment a month later.

Only the most fiscally responsible people can make an unemployment budget work and I'm bad with money.  So where my much better sister could take the $832 a month & pay all the bills, I couldn't.  I was and still am very inefficient with money.  It just gets away from me, I guess.  I don't smoke and I rarely drink.  I don't do any drugs and my only real vice is food.

So after getting a first unemployment payment that is 1 week light and 3 weeks late, I started to fall behind.  By September, I was a month behind on rent with the building manger threatening eviction.  I applied to work in one of Amazon's fulfillment centers, putting away incoming merchandise.  The work was excruciating and after a few days, I couldn't walk.  I had to call in a couple days in a row while my feet recovered.  I felt so embarrassed and defeated, but this wasn't work I would have ever applied for in any other circumstance.

I KNOW i'm no good at manual labor and standing on my feet all day, but I was desperate.  While I was off, I got calls about 2 jobs I was much better suited for.  I figured that I had a really good chance at one position and the other was more or less a lock and I could take that job if the first opportunity fell through.  So I quit the Amazon job that I couldn't stand to do(literally) and prepared to accept a new, better paying position.

I didn't get either job.

Remember how you have to be employed for a certain amount of time to get unemployment?  Yeah... I know longer qualify.  I've worked a series of temp jobs since then, but nothing that has panned out long term.

In the mean time, I have borrowed money from my sister, friend, and grandpa.  There are no more favors, no more money to borrow.  If I don't get some sort of stable employment very soon, I'll lose my apartment and whatever possessions I can't fit in my car.

9 comments:

  1. If you don't mind relocating, in Davenport, Iowa I drive by a sign on a Pizza Hut everyday that says "Now hiring for management positions in QC". QC stands for the Quad Cities of which Davenport is a part. I don't know what kind of hours or work you're looking for, but if you have a degree in the field and you don't mind moving from your hometown for a year or two, going to another Midwestern city would not be a bad idea. Just a thought.

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  2. I appreciate you being open but after reading your blog, I don't actually feel sorry for you or your situation. While it's bad that someone will lose their home, and we don't want that, you have made several bad decisions. Why you would include a note in your request off being indignant (which is what you were regardless of how you see it) and then be surprised at being fired for speaking your mind when that just happened to someone else a few weeks earlier? In addition you admit to being bad with money, you quit a job without having another one (which we can contribute to you being lethargic by your own admission) but instead of talking to Amazon to see if there was something else, you quit in hopes of another job. You are still paying for Netflix (unnecessary) and it's just all a mess. I hope you are able to work out your situation but someone needs to be honest with you...you have put yourself in this position. I hope someone comes through for you, but honestly asking for money to help you because you messed up is messy. There are people who tried, and work through their pain and live check to check who deserve my donation more. Sorry.

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    Replies
    1. It's very easy to look at my situation, with the luxury of hindsight and lecture about how I deserve what I get. The Amazon job, for instance, was through a temp agency. My problem was that I had to miss 2 days in a row due to barely being able to stand. This is a real problem in a job that involves being on your feet all night, walking more than 3 miles a shift. There are no desk jobs in that warehouse or anything else I could do.

      Also, you keep harping on Netflix, but my rent isn't behind bc of Netflix. I realize it's not insignificant, but certainly not something that would make a difference. By 'lethargic' I mean low energy, not lazy.

      Making a comment in a comments section that would only have been seen by one non-manager is far from indignant. I have been a manager myself, and I certainly wouldn't have demanded the staffing agency pull an employee because of a non-public written comment.

      Lastly, there's always someone more deserving. I just think it's interesting that you choose to post that decision instead of keeping it to yourself. What's in it for you? Does it make you feel good? Righteous perhaps, because you feel you have such a strong grasp on the situation that you wish everyone who reads this knows what you think?

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  3. Sam, You and many other Americans and in similar situations. Your situation is your just that you are unemployed correct? Medical issues? You mention that you have cable and netflix. Well that has got to go if you truly destituted. As you have stated you can't afford the payment arrangement that you tried to work out.. cut your losses.. That's unfortunately, is one step you have to take. Don't borrow from friends that is not the best thing to do.

    Consider contacting your local social services they can provide shelter payments, job training or searching food referrals. perhaps food banks assistant. You can check your email in the local library. Don't complain and ask people on the internet for money.. if you worked in the pasted and PAID taxes then you have nothing to be ashamed of.
    There are a lot of scambs on INTERNET. Why should I or anyone give you money without knowing exactly you are who you say you are. Cancel INTERNET. Go to local library. Go to social service .. they can help you. they won't take your property (house, car ect) all they are concerned about is what you have in your bank and in your pocket! If you mention you want your internet on so you can watch NETFLIX they will laugh at you.

    You stated that you have medical issues standing. They will send you to a doctor to have you checked out. It will not cost you anything. If you really are poor and you have a real medical problem they you will qualify for medicaid.If they can't fix you ...then get disability. Perhaps welfare util you can get your problem straighten out.

    Look into this option(s) see what you qualify for cause it just seems to me you are going down the tubes. YOU are responsible for YOU. No one can do this but you. I hope this reaches you before cable shut off. Good luck let up know how it turns out.

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    Replies
    1. Sam, I am not familiar with you local County.. I think I found the page you need to contact. You can do it on line... but you should make voice contact. and have a good cell phone or a friends number just incase you loose your phone.
      http://jfs.ohio.gov/ocomm_root/1000OurServices.stm if this is not the correct address they can give you the correct information. GOOD LUCK.!

      Delete
  4. I do not have cable or medical issues. INTERNET as you so subtly put it, is the main method for applying for, and following up on, job opportunities. I would be completely hamstrung if I needed to leave, get on a bus, pay $1.75, and ride downtown to the library EVERY TIME I needed to check email or apply for a job.

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    1. Sam, find a neighbor or friend or go to some public place that has wifi.. You need to ask for assistance.. from local government. Start realizing your situation your internet is not going to help you if you get kick out of your apartment is it!
      Get real you claim to have gone to college?

      You have to start looking at the big picture in your life. You need a secure roof over your head, a clean safe place to live. food available first and then internet. You need a cell phone for the employers to call you.. If you are really "poor" than get a free safelink phone.

      You would qualify based on income alone and unemployed.
      Your priorities are not in order. Find other outlets for internet. I know how important a phone and internet is.Find other sources where you can get internet until you can get thinks straighten out.If you go for food and shelter help they will place you in a job's program.


      What happens when your electric is turned off? How are you going to get your email they? You have to have some other back up for internet resources. Ask for help cause it looks like you need it... assuming what you say is a true.

      I think I going to start a couple of blog one for a donation for a car...another one to help pay for...what ever.. you see how that sounds ?

      Put your efforts into getting assistance and get you back on your feet again so you can pay your cable bills so your system won't be shut off and find your self on the street.

      Sorry if I sound rough... but you are holding on to a rope that is breaking on a ship that has almost sunk! Grab the safe net and get some help. If not you won't survive.

      Good Luck!

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  5. I appreciate your and your co-worker's protests against having to work on our most important patriotic holidays. I, too, detested working on those holidays during my seven years at a hardware store. I wrote a post on my blog calling for double or triple overtime and increased sales taxes during our major national holidays, and I should send my ideas to my elected representatives.

    I worked for Kroger twice as a stocker, and I wonder whether the UFCW has tried to negotiate to have all call-center employees be permanent rather than temporary. I, too, don't buy the company's argument for having so many temps because high turnover is endemic to big-box retail.

    I left my last Kroger stint to take a job that fit my career goals. In fact, I had to quit in order to have time to fly to Washington for the interview. Indeed, looking for a better job while working in a crummy, exhausting full-time job is difficult.

    Finally, based on what I've read, I don't see a valid business reason to fire you as long as you were meeting expectations for customer service. Your background in food would seem to be an asset to them.

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  6. Aren't these people (your bosses and supervisors) the most vindictive pricks you have ever met?

    Finally, after 43 years of full time work ( along with another 5 years part-time) I can finally say: "Fuck these motherfucking assholes". I now fill out these "on-line" apps just for the joy of receiving "no response" - at all.

    I am no longer a "wage slave". I have "paid my dues", and can rightfully claim that I am a "Ward of the American Taxpayer"; for, every cent I get comes for the aforementioned taxpayer - in the form of Social Security and a Navy Pension. I say that just to piss off these dipshit "Teabagging" cocksuckers.

    Look, Sam - you're a college grad. Have you ever thought about a career in the military? After "Knife and Fork" school, you could be a Naval Officer in the Supply Corps with you knowledge and expertise in the food industry. I swear to God, your recruiter will cling to you like a fly on shit. Today, I'm guessing an Ensign would make around three grand (maybe more) a month. And If you're "single", the "Canoe Club" will fully cover the essentials - the roof over your head, the clothes on your back, and the food in your belly.

    I'm an "Old Salt" from the Vietnam Era, and maybe things have drastically changed since I retired (in 1987) - but I kinda doubt it. Check it out, my man. You would make a GREAT Supply Officer (in charge of the S2 Division - a HUGE responsibility on board ship). If you decide to "stick it out", the Navy will offer you unlimited opportunities for education, promotion and job advancement.

    The Navy was the BEST 22 years of my life. If I only knew then what I know now.

    Good Luck, Sam .................... "FOGGY"

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