Salem Career Center. 7:30 am.
Sitting in a hallway on a dingy oriental carpet with twenty or so other unemployed citizens aged 30-50, waiting for the Career Center/ unemployment office to open. One young fellow has clearly mistaken the waiting area for his own living room, yawning audibly, stretched out, his gut spilling onto the floor. The rest of us are on our smart phones; some friendly, soft spoken chatter bounce off the tall ceilings. Most of us have been here before.
Getting here at least one hour before they open at 8:30 am is standard practice and a necessity if you have trouble with your claim. Clients are seen on a first come, first serve walk-in basis and the demand is high for the one, sole staff member who handles claims. Sixty people are seen daily over four time slots: 8:30-10:00 am, 10:00-11:30 am, 1:00-2:30, and 2:30-4:00 pm. Calling the Department of Unemployment Assistance is an alternative, albeit very ineffective: Yesterday I spent 45 minutes listening to classical music before getting through to a representative. He couldn't help, but instead gave me a different number to call to speak with my claims adjuster. With high hopes for a breakthrough in my fight against red tape, I dialed the number. They picked up on the second ring: "Mass General Hospital, Dr. Cohen's Office". SIGH. No option other than to call the help line back: I was on hold for another 45 minutes before being told by a different representative that "the adjuster would call me within eight to ten weeks, that names and numbers of adjusters are never given out. Until then, your claim is on hold."
This translates to no unemployment assistance until then.
You think being unemployed is "the perfect job"? Think again...
Thank god for savings and summer jobs.