Logistics Training

You’ll have to forgive me. I usually take time to sort new developments in my life out and portray them in this blog in a neat and polished way. That’s when things start to happen bang-bang kind of fast.

I was still hacking and coughing yesterday morning. With great reluctance I was going to allow myself another day of flu medicine and bed rest.

Then Joe from JobLeaders called me , got my cell number to give to the Workforce Development building at Columbus State Community College, and later they called up to ask if I was still interested in the free Logistics classes they were offering with job placement afterwards. I said yes. They called me down to their place for a battery of skills tests.

As it turns out, pending these tests and the drug test I go out to take later today, I’ve been accepted into the Logistics course. At the very least, I have something to get out of bed to go do for the next two weeks. After that, I will be well qualified to go out and find a job in the rapidly growing logistics industry.

Logistics, for the uninitiated, is the art of getting goods from point A to point B. Could be a little as getting stuff from your loading dock to your production line, or it could be as big as getting stuff from your production line to somebody else’s loading dock, across the country.

I wasn’t expecting these classes to happen for another couple of weeks, but according to Melissa Shaid, whom I talked to yesterday, the factories needing the help need it in time for the upcoming holiday season. And after the holiday season, they expect to keep 75% of their employees.

Hmm. A 3 out of 4 chance of keeping one’s job permanently? I like those odds. And thanks to some economic stimulus money put out by our government, I get a stipend of a few extra hundred dollars to take this training (though I am told I should not expect it before Sept. 30).

This does qualify as light at the end of the tunnel. Please continue to be in prayer for me.

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. 

Not much time

In light of the fact that Congress finally delivered an extension of unemployment benefits to President Obama’s desk, I went to JobLeaders, sat down to one of their computers, and filled out an app for extended benefits. I think.

And this afternoon, I did a skills assessment for a temporary staffing agency called Adecco. And right now I’m coughing and my windpipe is stinging with what feels like bronchitis. Stay in prayer for me.

I should hope that I’m doing enough. There’s that nasty little thing I have called my Inner Critic (to give it a name even an atheist can accept) that constantly accuses me of not doing enough quickly enough.

It’s ridiculous. The sad thing about hunting for a job is there is so much of it that is dependent on what other people do. The boss is always free to hire the other guy, and I can’t control that. You can promise me that I will get killed at 9:00 PM the evening of July 31 if I don’t have a job by then, and it might put an extra spring in my step, but it still does not guarantee I’ll find employment.

And yet the Inner Critic would hold me accountable for that which I cannot control.

But I am finding some success at copying Sudoku puzzles into Second Life. At least I’m doing that much.

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.

Winged taxi driver

My last paycheck was good enough to pay the July rent by its lonesome, without the money I had saved from the previous one. And I could afford $20 in gasoline today. Praise be to God.

I got a good 7½ to 8 hours in at inventorying a Kmart Supercenter in Chillicothe yesterday. Praise be to God.

And as I expected, the Census Bureau has invited me to their training for verifying vacant and deleted addresses. I’m not quite sure I know what that entails. Praise be to God.

But I must confess to still being a tad faithless, and wondering why God would choose to leave my car, electricity, and Internet in big jeopardy.

Last night, I drove Wolfdog out to a Western Union money station at the corner of Cleveland and Weber because none of the local Kroger stores had access to the WU servers. While I was at that place, I picked up a copy of the Employment Guide.

I think this little periodical is a colossal waste of newsprint because at least half of it is given to advertisements for trade schools and colleges, leaving precious little space for ads from actual employers seeking help. One little one column by two inch ad caught my eye, though, one wanting taxicab drivers.

I would obviously be desperate to consider such a line of work, but taxi driver does have much in common with some of the other jobs God has allowed me to have in recent years, jobs that at first forced me to talk to real people via telephone, and then moved me on to meeting real people face to face. It’s also the direct result of a serendipitous discovery made while helping those less mobile than I. It does follow several patterns.

I have the skills to be a taxi driver. My driving record has been free of violations since the mid 1980s and free of accidents since 2004, when I drove a security cruiser and had to take a falling tire from a flatbed truck full on rather than swerve around it at freeway speeds and probably spin out, taking 5 or 6 other vehicles with me.

To this day, I still believe I made the best possible driving decision. Give me the exact same scenario, and I’ll do the exact same thing.

I will not count the hit and run punishment Ooo Shinee took late last May. I was not behind the wheel. And the more I think about it, the more the word “punishment” seems to fit. The hoods in this ‘hood don’t take kindly to any form of snitching to the feds, even if it is only names, genders, races, and birth dates.

Anyway, to bring this back to driving taxis for a living, I’m sure I can do this job, and I’ll most call the number in the morning.