My Native American name is Strong Heart. The Japanese character that best represents me is the Optimist. And just for the fun of it, my ideal guy is a Comedian. I hope all of these things are true because life just dealt me a really hard blow today.
I have been collecting unemployment since my company laid me off. I worked in the financial services industry. When the market went kaput, so did my firm’s business development activities. That was my job, to plan events and bring in clients.
In early August I received a letter from the State of Montucknut saying I probably qualify for a Pell Grant. It also said that I could qualify for up to one additional year of unemployment benefits. Take this letter and go down to your local Job Service and see what they say.
Sure enough, Mr. Smith behind the counter said, “Sure, here’s some more information,” and “Go down to the college and see what they say.”
So I got online, completed the FASFA application for the Pell Grant and found out I did indeed qualify. I then went through all of the admissions steps my local community college requires. I enrolled, began attending classes, and last Sunday when I filed my claim I answered YES!, I am attending training.
This morning I got a call from the State of Montucknut.
“Hello,” she says. “This is Mrs. Montucknut.” “I just need to verify some information about your training.”
“Hello,” says I. “I’m attending college, not training.” I said.
“Very well, do you have a moment to answer some questions?”
“Yes, a brief moment.” “I’m at work right now.”
Fifteen minutes later this is basically what transpired. She verified the information I entered online regarding my classes and availability to work. Then she indicated that the adjudication committee would make a determination and let me know if I still qualify to receive unemployment benefits.
“What!” says I. “Am I understanding you?” “ Did you just say that I’m not going to receive my unemployment until someone makes a decision?” “How long is that going to take?”
“I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t answer that for you.”
“Yes you can.” “You have an idea of how long it will take.”
“No, but you can speak with my Supervisor.”
“Fine, I’d like to do that.”
Mrs. Montucknut Superior gets on the line.
“Blah, blah, blah, Mrs. Montucknut Superior.” “How is it possible that I did all the things you said I could do, yet now I won’t receive my weekly check until someone determines if I’m still eligible?”
“Well,” she says “that’s not exactly what the letter says.” “It says you may be eligible to continue to receive unemployment benefits.”
Okay, I conceded.
“What is that criteria?” I asked. She never answered.
“Wouldn’t it be helpful if when to tell me that my unemployment benefits would be on hold until my training was approved?” “How was I supposed to know that I would not get my check this week?” “How would I have known that?”
The long and the short of it is, I wouldn’t have known.
What would my girl Oprah do in this situation? I believe she would weigh all of her options and then take action. Oprah would not wait for life to happen to her. So this is what I did.
The company for whom I currently work part-time recently offered me a full-time office position. I turned them down. Today I went and ate crow.
After quick contemplation, I decided this would be a good option because they offer insurance and in spite of an increase in salary, I still qualify for the child care scholarship. Most importantly, the State of Montucknut will no longer have any power over my fiscal situation. Good choice!
Soooo, I’m still waiting to hear back from State of Montucknut as to whether or not I get the benefits I filed for last week.
In the meantime, this is my outlook on this whole thing:
- If my current employer says nyet, I still have my part-time gig with them.
- If State of Montucknut says nyet, I can always appeal.
- If neither works out, then each has just opened up endless possibilities for future employment.
In the meantime, I will continue to go to school with the knowledge that whatever happens, it’s my choice.
I think this is what my girl Oprah meant by tapping into my inner power and making it work for me? Instead of letting fear be in control, I am in control.
I guess I’d say that I am Strong of Heart and an Optimist. What a great place to live.
It’s all in the September issue of O Magazine. You should check it out. Pretty powerful stuff.