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Today I went to the unemployment office for the first time. It was…

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Today I went to the unemployment office for the first time.

It was surprisingly difficult to make myself go; I apparently had built up a whole lot of pride at not ever having had to file for unemployment. I have historically found work quickly, and felt I was avoiding sponging while leaving resources for people who needed them. I need them now, though. Letting go of pride is character-building, obviously; however, I already had plenty of character, so this was really not necessary for my personal story arc. I guess I will just have to operate with a surplus. Of character. Cuz it works like that. Yep.

I thought I had resigned myself to this until yesterday, when I had a false start - I went there in the morning, only to realize that I was missing a document and had failed to collect some information that I had to have. When I got home I did not want to go back that day at all. I was trying to make myself do it anyway, but "lucky" for me, it took a long time to dig up the exact starting and ending dates of my most recent jobs. I ran out of afternoon and it wasn't even procrastination - it was a hassle with a side of brain-fries. After writing my LJ entry this morning, which WAS procrastination, I finally made it there for real.

This swallowing act of mine was moot in part, because I found out that I have to file for unemployment through Nebraska, which means I will do it either online or over the phone... so going to the IL office can just be symbolic suck, I guess. It was pretty unsucky for suck, though; everyone I encountered there was helpful and super-nice, committed to the idea that this is support that I provided myself with work I did in the past, and that I am supposed to take advantage of it and their jobs are to help me do it. That is a helpful attitude, and I really appreciated it. Also, the info I need for Nebraska is all online, but I know from working with NE's government website for a year that it is made of counterintuitiveness, so getting what I needed handed to me was sweet.

There's also a possibility that I won't qualify for unemployment there either, because my job in Lincoln was a temporary position, and I don't know if I signed away the right to unemployment insurance - I sure the hell didn't have vacation or sick leave, but I did have tax withholdings for health insurance and FICA and stuff. I don't know what part of stuff pays for unemployment insurance, and I'm not going to research it (see "website made of counterintuitiveness"); I'll find out by filing and seeing if it is accepted (and if it isn't, THEN I research to see if the rejection was legit). So, jumping through those hoops may be an additional mootity.

The non-moot part, though, is that the state unemployment office also houses a substantial job placement service - Mom found it while helping me look up how to file for unemployment last weekend. Illinois Skills Match may be a lot like a temp agency - they do not have access only to government jobs, they have outside clients. I don't know the details of how it works, but I will find out a lot more about the similarities and differences if I get a position through the system.

I had already signed on at Mom's, and found it very disheartening when it only brought me two available positions, neither being office work (hotel laundress and assembly work). Today, a nice man who is surely someone's grandpa explained to me that the system covers all available positions in the state, so the bulk of them will be outside my salary range and commuting circle (I am compelled to clarify that the hammer is my penis the radius is my commute). Then he showed me a search method that brings up skills to check off that I might have missed - each possible job brings up its own related skills, with substantial overlap for common ones like filing and using Excel, but you can also choose all the jobs associated with a keyword and it will bring those jobs up one at a time for you to scan the associated skills. After I scanned "office" related jobs, and caught a few skills I'd missed before, I had about 700% more job matches, appropriate ones (if not fun ones) and I felt a lot better. Plus, he gave me a pep talk about cover letters, which is good, because I know I overthink them and stymie myself (what else is new?).

In conclusion, JOBS!
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