Tag Archive: unemployment


It has been forever since I did a “state of the union” post. So I thought I would cover several topics.
 
 
Employment
I managed to get a real job starting later this month. For the last few months, I have been working at a tutoring center teaching math and a little science. If you have read my blog before you know I don’t like kids or teaching so it was not fun. But, it was a minor amount of income. With my new job coming up, I will be moving (next week) to Alabama. I know, the South. The good thing is that it’s a good job and related to my chemistry background. The other thing is they are paying for everything. I’m even getting temporary housing for a while so I can be in the area to find a permanent place to live.
 
 
moving
 
 
Food
Since I had not been working full-time, I had not been making new recipes. I didn’t want to waste money on food I may not like. Once I get settled in my new place, I will start that up again. I know I have some followers that are only here for the cooking adventures. In general, I have been eating healthily so my weight has been around the same. I’ll pay more attention to exercise later.
 
 
TV/Reviews
Reviews are the one thing I have not slacked on. This year I have improved on my Twitter usage. I have been getting a lot more favorites and retweets from people on or associated with the shows I review. Somehow I need to turn that into new followers. Also I am a lot smarter with the media attached to my posts. I’ve backed off YouTube since there are so many copyright issues involved with that. I’m going to start doing more memes and attaching my website to more of my pictures. It should help with my promotion. I expect to soon upgrade my phone (I still have a flip phone) so maybe I can use all these apps out there to make the blog better.
 
 
That’s it for the update. My blog anniversary is coming up soon, so more stats on the blog there.

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I have been waiting forever it seems to watch Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. Thanks to Netflix having Beckett on Film I was able to. I did like it. I think I could write my own story/post mirrored after it about unemployment. I may do that since I have all the time in the world to do it. I watched some of the other plays on the disc and decided to put the rest of the set on my DVD queue.
 
I thought about in my spare time writing other things like reality or TV show ideas. Maybe even some stories but I’m really not a reader so I don’t know how that would work out. Not that I can’t read, I just don’t enjoy it.

It’s been a while since I did a “State of the Union” address about myself. I just decided now to do one with no real planning. See topics below:
 
 
Under/Unemployment
 
I am still underemployed with my contract end date rapidly approaching. I decided not to do a website countdown this time. No real good prospects either. I briefly thought about starting a business but quickly realized that I don’t have any skills or talents that would sustain a good business. I even got a book from the library that talked about online business and eMagazines. I got through chapter 1. So it looks like I will have to wait for someone to employ me in some way.
 
 
Diet/Exercise/Weight Control
 
I was using MyFitnessPal to help myself lose weight and in total I lost 31 lbs. I am still in that weight range. I decided to stop using MyFitnessPal daily to track all my food. I had 539 day log-in streak by time I stopped. I thought I can do all this without the food logging. I think I have been without for a couple weeks now. Exercise has completely fallen off. I had hurt my knee a couple of times exercising so I don’t see the point of that anymore. The weather is getting warmer so I’ll probably use the pool nearby to swim for exercise. All my exercise experience has made me anti-exercise. I have enough to worry about with the job stuff than to deal with exercise and going out of my way to be healthy. I’ve completely changed my eating habits so I’m not concerned about gaining all the weight back.
 
 
Food
 
I have started eating fruits or vegs with every meal to increase my potassium and fiber (along with vitamins and minerals). The thing I eat a lot now is avocado ranch dressing. I make it with whatever ranch dressing I have and an avocado. I have it basically every week. It is nice because my ranch dressing, which I used a ton of, lasts much longer. I even bought a pineapple corer (I think that is what it’s called) so I can eat fresh pineapple rings instead of buying dried ones so often. I haven’t been baking or trying as many new foods lately because of the general cost of that type of thing. The only thing I overspend on is food (and candy). But, I figure food is good for you and you have to eat anyway.
 
 
TV/Movies/Entertainment
 
I am surprised how nice it is not to have cable. I don’t miss much since I found other ways to obtain video. I downloaded AdBlock Edge for Firefox and not only does it block ads on Facebook but also commercials on videos from YouTube and TV websites like FOX and VH1. It is amazing.
 
Netflix is always #1. At the moment, I’m looking for new shows to watch. Revenge has just gone away for their summer break. That show is just great and confusing. I have a few things I plan to check out in the next week or so: Scandal, Once Upon A Time, and Vikings. Everyone says Scandal is good so I need to at least see a few episodes. I am still completely connected to the Dan LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio/The Ticket (Miami). As I say, I care nothing about most organized sports. I rather play or be at a game than follow who is who. However, this show is so funny and is full of interesting topics (lots of racial discussions, which I love). It’s slightly annoying because they are all about basketball right now and I think that is one of the most boring sports. It is like NASCAR but with people. People going back and forth on what might as well be a track for who knows how long.
 
Anyway, I saw Jezebel this weekend and was disappointed. Even though, Bette Davis and Henry Fonda were in it, I just can’t watch Civil War era movies set in the South. It is too annoying for me to see all that mess.
 
 
Organization
 
I am slowly going through my stuff and throwing things away. I finished with my clothes and got 2.5 large (yard sized) bags full to give away to Goodwill (if they take them). I want to go through everything now just to downsize in case I move again.
 
 
Well I think that is everything. I am months behind on looking at other blogs but that is on my list to start doing that again. I’m surprisingly busy even though I feel like I don’t do much. As of now I have 129 followers and 15,505 hits. I’m still surprised people subscribe to my blog. With more promotion maybe I can have thousands of followers without being famous though. I don’t want people camped outside my apartment trying to take pictures of me. I don’t like having my picture taken so there would be a problem.

What a day I had today (Monday).  I was told that I had a doctor’s appointment at 7am for a fasting blood test with a urine test.  I know you all wanted to know that but it is important to the story.  The night before, I finished dinner at around 7:30pm.  My plan was to drink a lot of water before bed so when I wake up I can just get up and go to the doctor.  What really happened was I woke up several times in the middle of the night and then drank more water.  So, I didn’t sleep much.  Once I got up and left for the doctor’s office I thought I was on track.  I went to the office door, it’s locked.  I wait 10 min, still locked.  I decide to go home at 7:10am to check the doctor’s office website to make sure I didn’t get the day wrong.  I didn’t.  I got the time wrong.  My appointment was at 7:30am.  I made the appointment over the phone and wrote it down on my calendar while still on the phone and the woman said 7am.  Of course before I did this, I had to go to the bathroom.  I take my water bottle, go back, and get in there at 7:40am.  I wait about 5 min.  I have to reschedule because I have a phone interview at 8am that I didn’t want to be late for.  Rescheduled for 9:50am (still fasting).  I realize it is about 7:50am.  Since, it is school time I wasn’t sure if I could get home in enough time to get the call.  So I waited in the car in the parking lot of the doctor’s office for the interview.

It was cold in the car, but I figured I didn’t want to drive and miss it.  I do the interview, I don’t think they read my resume really so not much stock in it.  I probably could have canceled that.  After the interview, I went home waiting, drinking more water, and not eating.  I ended up at the doctor’s office on time, but another problem, I’m not a normal human.  I say that because people seem to have a hard time taking my blood out.  It usually takes 2 people to stick me with needles at least once in each arm.  They just say it’s not coming out very fast.  I’m not sure if that is my issue or theirs.  It’s not good for me though.  Every time I go there it’s more and more of an ordeal.  This time it was actually burning.  I may be some kind of alien creature with resistant blood.  That would be cool.  My arm was sore hours after I left there.  It’s about 12 hours later now and I just have one large spot that is still sore.  I think it’s crazy.  I have to go back to the doctor in a week for the results so I think I’ll have to complain or something.  If this spot is still sore tomorrow I’m going to call and ask them what I’m supposed to do about it.  I was tired, but not so much now.

As an aside, when I wake up I watch Mike & Mike on ESPN2.  Today, they were in St. Louis I think for the World Series (end of the season baseball game for the non-Americans).  Some cheerleaders came out, no idea why because there are none in baseball.  These girls had “SLU” on their tops.  I immediately thought, “do they have SLUT written on their shirts?!” LOL.  It was entertaining for the morning.

As I was being driven to the airport back from another on-site interview, I thought about how there were good and bad parts to this process that non-PhDs may not know about.  I often think of this when my Facebook “friends” post about their job interviews.  First, let me outline the general steps to the Ph.D. / graduate level hiring process.

  1. Phone screening with HR/Recruiter.
  2. Phone interview with Hiring Manager.
  3. On-site interview.

The level of stress only seems to increase as you get down the line.  You would think that as you got closer to getting that job things would feel better but not so.  My degree is in chemistry so I will be looking at it from the science side of things.  I’m sure there are differences between other fields and career stages.  I am still at the beginning of my career so my problem is everyone wants experience which is difficult to get when you are not that far removed from schooling.

 

Step 1:  HR and Recruiters

99.9% of the time, they are not scientists so there is only so much they can ask you as far as prescreening questions.  I think they usually write down your answers to questions the Hiring Manager gave them.  I had one call when the person said they were typing my responses so if there was a time they said nothing it wasn’t because I said something wrong.  This is also the time you get the “What is your biggest strength/weakness?” type questions.  After this you wait days, weeks, maybe a month to hear you are moving on to the next round.  You are one step closer to being America’s Top Model (I don’t even know if that show is still on).

 

Step 2:  Hiring Manager

Now this person is the potential boss or a high level co-worker who knows exactly what they are looking for in the position.  You don’t so that’s part of the fun/stress I suppose.  Sometimes it’s a group of people on the phone call so you get a range of voices coming at you with questions.  You hope it is done in an orderly fashion but sometimes it’s not.  Questions at this stage can be much more or only slightly more technical than the phone screening.  It really just depends.  The worst thing is getting someone that you can barely understand.  If you didn’t know, the majority of graduate chemistry programs in the United States have lots more non-Americans in them than Americans, therefore, most of the people out there with a Masters or Doctorate are not American.  I have known people from in these programs that have perfect English and you know every word they say face-to-face.  But getting those people on the phone is completely different.  And in this situation, let’s add that it may be speaker phone.  Asking for people to repeat themselves over and over again just gets tiresome for you and them.  Adding to this could be the person’s ability to work the equipment they are using so volumes are low or high.  Once you get through this stage you probably have more of a feeling what they are looking for.  Their questions may focus in on a specific project or area you worked.  That or that person did something similar to that and they just wanted to talk about it.  At the end of this, you may have to wait even longer to hear anything.  I would say weeks not days.  I usually ask them for a timeline before the call is ended so when that passes you can email whoever to find out the status.

 

Step 3: On-site Interview

If you are lucky enough to beat out hundreds of people to get to this point you know you are in good shape.  I would guess companies bring in the top 5 people at this stage.  For me this is the best and worst part of the whole experience.  Best part for me is the travel.  The majority of the time the company pays for your flight, hotel, meals, and sometimes rents you a car.  It can be tricky to arrange travel.  I imagine if you live in Hawaii it could be very expensive.  The hotels you get are so nice because they want to kind of impress you with the company and how they treat you is definitely part of it.  I’ve been to some really nice places.  Many of the states I have been to are because I was there for an interview, work, or school activities which I marked on the map below.

US Map - Interview Locations

The worst part is the full day of an interview.  Most often they fly you in the night before your actual interview.  I’ve had interviews that were only a few hours and then you are left to do what you want.  Others are a 9am to 3 or 5pm series of interviews with several people in the company.  At some point at the graduate level you are expected to give a 30-45 min presentation on your research experience particularly related to what they do or the job description.  I don’t really mind the presentation as much because I worry about the questions I will get either at the end (or during) my presentation. To illustrate the range of questions I get let’s take this scenario.  You have spent the last 4-5 years of your life studying apples.  You know several ways to use apples and the various parts of apples (skin, core, seeds, etc.).  You gave the best presentation ever and you ask for questions.

 

Expect to get questions like:

  • What country do apples come from?  I wonder how popular apples are in other countries.
  • Do you work with apple sauce?  I really like that.
  • Does the US grow more apples or oranges?
  • Could you genetically modify apples to make them white on the outside and red on the inside?
  • What is your favorite type of apple?

 

The presentation can be at any time of the day.  I prefer early so people can ask you questions about it when they meet you later on instead of them saying:  I don’t know if you are going to talk about this later but…  One-on-one meetings can be conversational or they show you a problem written on a piece of paper that they want you to work out.  Depending on the amount of time you are there, you may be taken out for lunch and/or dinner.  Then you have to find things to talk about with one or more strangers.  I like to talk about general things and ask about the area (housing, food, etc.).  Being an introvert as I am it takes some work on my part to get through this type of day.  To be constantly talking for 8 hours unless you are a teacher can be difficult.  The whole day is to decide if you can fit into the company culture and do the job.  By the end of the day I usually have a headache.  If you are lucky you get an extra night in the hotel to recover, if not you go directly to the airport.

Since I’m still in the process, I’m not trying to give advice on how to handle it all.  I just have had lots of experience with it and thought I would give insight to the people outside on what it is like in case they wondered.

It looks like the Senate brokered a deal between the Reid and McConnell camps to end the shutdown and debt ceiling debates (for now).  Details are laid out in this article.   By for now I mean January 15th (another potential shutdown) and February 7th (another debt ceiling debate).  I think it is unbelievable that they will celebrate this as a victory of diplomacy to essentially move the issues to the end of the list of priorities.  I do this too when I’m cleaning my apartment, although, it doesn’t affect the world economy.  I love that the House is not voting until 11pm Eastern Time.  Let’s stretch it out to the last possible moment literally.  I’m writing this at 5:35pm Central (6:30pm Eastern) so 4.5 hours until the vote.  Can’t they vote earlier?  What other pressing issues are there for them to do besides voting?  I guess they need to sit around and talk about how they should vote instead of making individual decisions on the facts of the bill.   

 

As I was looking for more information on this issue I stumbled upon this  article that says that the government shutdown reduced the US economy by $24 billion.   I don’t know how they expect people to making large purchases when the government can’t even stay open.  What faith would they have in the economy making an upwards turn?  I don’t have steady employment and I can’t imagine buying a house.  I have the potential to earn more than the average person because of my degrees but even if I had the best job ever I wouldn’t consider buying a house.  People seem to me (from the outside looking in) to be at the mercy of the value of their home that can change whenever.  That doesn’t seem like the thing I want to deal with.  Even when people lose their jobs and find a new job in another location they are still chained to their house until they can sell it.  As a renter, I can say yeah I’m moving next month without any issues.  Anyway, everyone seems to think this deal will go through the House with Boehner playing cheerleader.  We will wait and see.  Maybe when you wake up in the morning the government will be open again.

So last week, I had an on-site interview that I had to drive 6 hr to.  Of course they will pay me an amount per mile for my trouble and overall I will make money from that.  However, I didn’t get that job and they emailed me pretty quickly.  The same day I got the “We Hate You” email, I got scheduled for a phone interview for another place.  I had the screening and just waiting to see if I move on to the next step.  It is so much work do all these things.  I have to travel, do research on the company, and get very little to show for it.

Since I am still working part-time and my days were shifted around for next week, I decided to cook a new big meal.  Meaning dinner and dessert.  I haven’t decided what yet but I’d like it to be something I haven’t had before.  I’ll probably look around some of the cooking blogs I follow for ideas.  Any suggestions would be good.

Since I watch all these things online, especially now that I’ve given up cable, I wanted to find a good way to share funny things I see.  Therefore, I got a youTube channel.  I know no one is going to sit through whole episodes to see the 2 min I’m describing. So you should expect many more video clips.  This is the first of 2 videos I will share.  This is a clip from the show QI about the puzzle jug I went crazy for awhile ago.  One day, I will have some of these.

 

Also, an update on my trials and tribulations.  Still no real job yet.  I’m going to have a phone interview next week so that is good.  Still no word on how much I’ll get in unemployment that applied for probably 3 weeks ago.  I did get info on what I could get but that isn’t official yet.  So just waiting.  Still trying to cut down on electricity but I’ll need to wait to see if it pays off when I get the next bill.  Since I’m driving less, I will save on gas and that apparently is going up in cost.  I know I should be talking about the political nonsense goings on but I’m still busy with all this job stuff.  Eventually when I know what is going on we will return to that.

So I applied to have my federal student loans deferred and scheduled to have my cable shut off (keeping internet of course).  The same day I called the company, my cable started “acting up”.  At least 3 times today my picture has frozen up for no reason.  That used to happen randomly anyway but never every day and never several times a day.  I think they have a switch that says lost cause.  Now they can mess with me I guess.  I am also taking steps to cut down on my electricity to save money.  It is a work in progress.

Just now I was watching Fight Master which is the reality show for Bellator (a MMA organization).  I know nothing about Bellator so I need to learn how it works there.  The fights today were really good.  It all makes me want to train in MMA.  The day I have a good job and some extra cash I am going to find a place to learn MMA.  Some place that seriously takes girls who want to learn that stuff.  I took some kickboxing years ago which I loved but it was part kickboxing part exercise class.  It was taught by a woman who was competing in kickboxing so I assume she knew what she was doing.  I’m going to make that a new goal.

I just started my first week of part-time employment.  Of course it is a huge pay cut but what can you do?  I managed to get a temporary position at my “past” employer since my previous position was limited on how many contract renewals I could get.  Plus budgets continue to shrink, especially in the area of research, so really it is good for both parties.  Therefore, it is time to re-evaluate the monthly budget to make sure I can live on the new income.  Once I get that first pay check, I should know for sure what is to come.  Also, in my state, I may be eligible for some unemployment even if I work part-time.  I applied and am waiting to see what that looks like.  Generally, I believe my income will be down by about 40% but we all know bills stay the same.  They will probably increase with me being home more.

I set myself a couple tasks for this coming week.  Today, I made a list of my current average monthly expenses.  This week, I’ll go through to see where I can cut from using less electricity to student loan payment adjustments to probably getting rid of the TV portion of my cable bill (obviously I need the internet portion).  This will involve most likely hours on the phone with companies but when money is involved I can stay on the phone all day.  My other goal is to start cleaning house on the items that I own.  I have so much stuff I really don’t need.  If I do get a real job soon then I can move quickly and with less stuff.

You can look forward to more posts and updates now.  I figured why not be honest about the struggle to come.  Not giving too many specifics but enough to give good explanations of my reasoning.  I know others go through the same type of things.  And just to say I am not a crazy shopper.  The only reason I bought new clothes is because I lost 30 lbs and I needed new jeans that would fit.  A good need for new pants I think.  The only thing I probably waste money on is food.  I like good food and that is a problem, but I will drastically cut down on that now.

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