The latest on me

First, let me give you the good news (lest some accuse me of being incapable of it). I have been approved for an additional tier of unemployment benefits. They pay stub for tomorrow, which arrived in the mail today, looks very good. Paying the August rent looks very doable.

The bad news is I am not feeling well, suffering from some respiratory flu, and feel compelled to stay home and rest in bed. Bad for the job hunting effort. 

God is merciful today

I am not losing my Internet service as abruptly and completely as I had originally thought I would. I still have the Web for right now, and I can keep track of such needful things as my bank balance and the weather, but my email through Insight is gone.

Having the Breckenridge office fax my pay stub from RGIS Inventory to the unemployment office worked to release the benefits they had held there for several weeks, but alas, it was the last of my Tier 1 benefits. No more will come until Congress says so.

The replacement for the late Senator John Byrd of West Virginia turned out to be a Democrat, giving them 60 senators and the ability to override a Republican filibuster. No word yet on whether they’ll make the attempt to extend unemployment benefits.

God has been merciful today, allowing me to get away with adding more time to my prepaid cell phone. When I bought it, the $21.35 I spent appeared immediately in my checking account’s pending queue. I had feared it would be processed ahead of the $20 worth of gasoline and two $3.00 food purchases I had made earlier (larger amounts are processed ahead of smaller ones), and ahead of the unemployment money that was still in the queue (deposits are processed last of all).

The cell phone purchase stayed in the pending queue for an extra day, so I can give myself back the $108 of overdraft charges it would have incurred.

A small paycheck from the U.S. Census appeared in the pending queue today, and the available balance looks good. I still contend that the number in my account called “Available Balance” is a baldfaced lie. PNC Bank should not call a deposit available when their depositing policy effectively keeps it off the books for one more business day. If I can’t use the money, I’d rather not know about it.

In any case, the hard choice I have to make is no longer car versus apartment, but Internet versus apartment, and that’s a slightly easier choice to make.

Two payments for Santander

After crunching some earnings numbers, I called Santander Consumer and scheduled two payments for my car later this month, which should bring the payments all the way up to date by July 28. This makes good on my promise to choose to keep my car and let my Internet and my apartment go where God would have it to go.

This is an important thing to do. Of all my creditors, Santander Consumer was the only one that rang my cell phone as opposed to my home phone, and they rang it prodigiously, roughly once every two hours. I kept my phone turned off most of the time. That had to have hurt when recruiters and employers tried to call me on my cell phone for interviews and was shunted to my voicemail. Now that Santander is for the moment sated, I can keep my cell phone turned on more.

While we are on that subject, I’m happy to report that interviews and offers for interview are going well. My resumé now reflects that I can be reached by email at a free Gmail address, ready to take over when my Internet goes down for nonpayment over the weekend.

Now that it’s fresh on my mind, I better upload that resumé to Google Docs, just to have a readily available spare copy.

The hardest decisions

I don’t know how to tell you about this, or even if I should tell you.

I have your basic American male fear of failure. I would sooner eat aluminum siding than tell you in this WordPress blog of how I have failed miserably. I want to keep my mouth shut. Nobody has to know about this. Nobody wants to know. It would pollute Our Internet to tell of it.

But since there are those who would wonder about me and worry about me, I need to tell about it anyway. I am coming to the hardest decisions I have ever had to make about material possessions and creature comforts and which of these I can afford to keep.

The one that will have the biggest effect on you, my friends, is my Internet service. I cannot afford to keep it. Insight will pull the plug on me in the next few days for nonpayment, and there is nothing I can do about. it.

Another thing that will have a big effect on my locally, is I have come to a decision about my apartment and my car. It’s as plain as the nose on my face I cannot afford both. So, I have chosen to keep my car. I have a feeling I can more easily get somebody to help with shelter than with wheels. I’m not sure if I have made the right choice, choosing car over apartment. I should never have to make such a choice, but I do, and I would feel better once I have charted my course clearly.

By Saturday, I will have done my last work for the U.S. Census. I have not lined up another job to replace it. The unemployment office is having some issues about how much benefits to pay me in light of the inventory job that I work, and I need to fax them a pay stub to prove that I work there. They have held three benefit checks to date. I can’t expect anything from them in the next ten business days.

I’m telling you about this as matter-of-factly as I can, stating only the straight facts. And with that, I must bow out for a moment, and continue to try to do the best I can with what little God has given me.

Dale the salesman

Dale is a grizzled old geezer who lives just a stone’s throw from my own one-bedroom flat. He appears very desperate to sell me stuff. So far this afternoon, he’s offered me his computer printer, and a telephone shaped like a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

My God, where is he getting the idea that I’m the guy with all the cold hard cash? And why is he coming after me with more stuff to sell, as if I am holding out on him?

It’s not like I’m living like a sultan surrounded by shapely belly dancers. I’m trying to hang onto my money. I figure with what I have on hand, I should be able to pay Thursday’s rent even if my penultimate Census paycheck comes in at an anemic $300 and change.

I feel bad for him. I really do. He doesn’t make being freshly unemployed from the US Census Bureau very easy. And nor does Santander Consumer, who collected $250 just six days ago. They’re getting on my cell phone with a vengeance, trying to get my car payments back on track. They care not one whit for my rent.

I need to get to bed. I need to be up at 3:00 AM for an inventory count.

Half a job

Well, I do have good news to report today. I was just hired by RGIS Inventory Service. I just completed my paid training this morning at a Burlington Coat Factory on the east side of town. The supervisor liked my experience 4 years ago with WIS International and took me on yesterday.

Take that, o ye naysayer side of my mind that accuses me of getting off on persecution. I know and appreciate when good things happen.

The bad news is that this is a part time job that will probably work me 30 hours a week on the average and will not net me enough to pay for my car or my cable service. I will need another part-time job to supplement it. I’ve already looked into Craigslist for some writing gigs with some business blogs. I emailed out some resumés and told them to look back here for a good example of my writing skills.

Already I got back email from an automailer linking me back to slick sites that I hate so much. It’s the classic trap laid out for job seekers, promising weekly earnings into the thousands of dollars (Baloney!) and the pay-to-play system I hate so much. An introductory 7 days at $2.98 followed by monthly charges to your credit card of $49.95. And for what? Old information relisted from other places like Freelancer.com.

The sad part is the best Craigslist can do is remove their ads when we flag them, and wouldn’t know squat about the false ads without honest folk like you and me, and the ads only come right back every other day or so. It’s getting to be a full-time job flagging false help wanted ads from scam artists, and I don’t see anyone stepping forward to pay me to do it.

I need to set a bigger natural enemy against them than the mosquito I would be flagging their ads for removal. I wonder if it’s possible to report them to my state attorney general to get them sued or prosecuted. Does the fact that I didn’t fall for the scam disqualify me from tipping off the AG?

I’ll definitely have to look into that.

New line of work

On a tip from Jo Young of JobLeaders, I’m going to go down to their office this afternoon and put in for some logistics training that they’re offering.

Jo says logistics is second only to nursing in hand over fist growth. I agreed to show up next Monday afternoon for the prescreening for the training program.

Why am I agreeting to do this? Well, I am starting to Get the Message. I think that there might be a glut in the call center job market, or at least the kind that I want that is inbound and deals with tech support. There are plenty of call centers that want credit card collectors. My bad credit makes me ill suited to collecting, and on top of that, I am compassionate and a little bit too spineless to hold a firm position against the protests of callers. I would maybe not hold up well under much more begging and complaining.

And of course, there is also Affinion Group, who makes their money by trapping people into useless subscription services with little or no benefit to credit card holders. I believe they call that posttransaction marketing. They seem to show up at just about every job fair I go to, and there seems to be always the smell of smoke and brimstone around their table.

There is one thing that concerns me, though. Supposing I am approved for training in logistics. It takes time to learn how to drive a forklift. Do I keep putting in for call center jobs in the meantime? What’s the deal here?

I’ll know a little bit better when I go downtown and ask around.