Friday, August 31, 2007

Job Search Update

I mentioned in my last post that I didn't expect being rehired by the school to be a slam-dunk, and it sounds like I was correct. With a little more than a week before they have classes scheduled to begin, I finally called the school today to check on my candidacy status. The human resources lady cheerfully told me all about the wonderful qualifications of one of the other candidates whose resumé very effectively blows mine totally out of the water. Although they haven't offered the job to anyone yet, it sounded like it's his if he wants it.

That's a little depressing, particularly since I haven't had any nibbles on the other resumés I've sent out. I spent most of today looking for job openings on the Internet, nothing much for computer technicians unless I'm willing to move out of the area. I did think of a couple of local companies that I haven't contacted yet that don't offer online job applications, so I'll probably drop by to see them early next week. Plus there's one company I applied at about a month ago that expected to have a job opening soon...I'm planning to stop there and remind them I'm available.

My wife has temporarily moved to a swing-shift (10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) for a couple of weeks while the store does some seasonal changes. That means more hours so I guess I shouldn't complain, but it's really messing with her sleep cycle. Sort of like jet lag except she hasn't gone anywhere.

My daughter-in-law is scheduled to do a preliminary interview for a job doing much the same thing she does now with a 4x salary increase and a lot of other perks. It would mean a cross-country move for the family, but I can't see how they could turn it down if she's offered the position.

Keep us in your prayers.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Li'l Brudder

I think I mentioned in the comments section of my previous post that I was having a little problem with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services regarding unemployment benefits. For those of you that didn't read the comment, since I was working for a school in a teaching capacity, the standard procedure appears to be to deny benefits to any applicant because they're probably just "between terms" and not really unemployed. Since the school discontinued the day class I was teaching and created three newly structured evening classes to take it's place (and advertised for potential instructors to send in resumes), it's pretty apparent to me that getting to teach any of the new classes isn't going to be a slam-dunk. In my opinion I was unemployed until I signed a new contract with the school. I appealed the state's determination and got news early last week that they agree...I'm eligible for benefits.

While it's a relief to know that I will at least have a small income to help with the bills for a while longer, I also have this guilty feeling. I know that I legitimately deserve the benefits, the state agrees I deserve them and, as far as I know, very few people would deny that I deserve them. But the idea of taking any kind of public assistance makes me uncomfortable. There's this nagging itch in my brain that keeps saying "You shouldn't be taking that money. It isn't really yours. Other people need it more than you do. You can make it on your own!."

There is a popular Internet website that posts animated cartoons called Homestar Runner. Some of you may know of it. One of the minor characters is a one-legged puppy called "Li'l Brudder." The dogged* determination of the character saying "I can make it on my own!" as it pushes itself along with it's one hind leg points out the absurdity of people who refuse to accept help when they desperately need it. A dog with one leg clearly needs help getting around. So I guess I feel a little like that little pup...I want to say "I can make it on my own!" But obviously I need that unemployment check to help make the ends meet until I find a job.

After I got over the major portion of the guilt feelings about this whole thing, I got to thinking that we can be just like Li'l Brudder in our spiritual lives as well. We want to say "I can make it on my own! I don't need any help. Let me make my own decisions, let me blaze my own trail!" Yet most of us realize doing it alone isn't the way life works. We need help getting through it. And we certainly aren't going to make our way to Heaven on our own stubborn-headed initiative. Anyone that denies that is just fooling themselves, dragging along like a one-legged puppy. Thankfully, getting help is just a prayer away. God can pick us up like that crippled pup and carry us wherever we need to go, but we have to ask for His help and be willing to accept it when it is offered, under His conditions.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but on the outside chance that you don't already know what those conditions are, a little Bible study is in order. Acts 2:38 for starters, after that try John 14:6. To put it in a nutshell you must believe, repent, confess and be baptized for the remission of sins. Those are just the basics, there's a lot more than that to being a Christian, but that's enough to get you started.

Well, so much for the deep philosophy this time, keep prayin' for me and my family. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

*Pun intended :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It's About Time I Made Another Post

No new posts since May. Hmmm, not doing too well as a blogger, am I? I guess I just ain't one of those folks who can commit themselves to having deep philosophical revelations on a daily basis. It seems the only time I get on here to say something, I end up complaining about something...and I'm sure you folks don't get a big lift from hearing about my problems.

So here I am again, rattling my cage and complaining about how life really stinks right now. I know I should be grateful just to be here, able to see, feel, taste, and enjoy life. It's not like I'm homeless (at least yet), suffering from some incurable disease, or starving to death like so many others. It makes me feel guilty to complain about these little bumps in the road that I'm experiencing...but they're MY bumps, I feel them, and they don't feel nice.

Here's some updates on the whole family and things in general so you have some kind of idea where I'm coming from:

Today was my first day of unemployment in about 12 years. Yesterday was the last day of the summer term and the school has decided to change the format of the class I was teaching from a 3 term/900 hour course to three separate 300 hour courses on the different topics I was teaching. Plus they're moving it from day classes to night classes. The changes technically make it an entirely different class, so they have to start over from ground-zero, which means open interviews for instructors, etc. In the middle of this they have also been moving their classrooms from the old building to a new one...which is still in the final stages of construction. All of this means at least a month (probably 2 months) of no paycheck for me and the possibility that I might not be rehired. I've sent out a few resumés over the last month or so and had one interview, but no solid job prospects at the present time. I did submit a claim for unemployment benefits today, so hopefully I'll have a little income anyway.

My Wife
The wife is now working part time at the new Mal-Wart. Not the greatest pay scale in the world, but it's a job. It's easier than teaching school but a lot harder on her feet since she has to stand all day. The job physically wears her out to the point that about all she does is sleep when she's not on the job. Add to this that she just was informed that she gets an unpaid week off during fair week since, historically, their business drops dramatically during that period. So around the end of August there's going to be a big drop in our combined income for a while. Since many of our bills are already a month or or more overdue, I'm not looking forward to the notices and threatening calls from bill collectors that I know will eventually be coming in.

Son # 1
My oldest son just got word from the school that he taught at last year that they aren't rehiring him for this school year. They waited until late July to inform him of this, so all of the schools that were hiring have already done interviews. Thanks, board of education. He's sent out resumés also but, like his old man, hasn't had many nibbles. There's a good chance that he may have to move in with his mother-in-law or us, since I don't think he'll be able to afford the rent on the house where he's been living.

Daughter and #2 Son
These two are the only bright spots so far. my younger son's new job is going well and his employer seems to be happy with his work. There's been a hint of a possible promotion in a year or two to a significantly better paying position if he sticks with it. He misses being around family and friends, however, and longs to return to southern Ohio. My daughter is doing well academically and just turned 18. She doesn't say much about her personal life and feelings, but she seems to be happy; although a little bit bored by having to live with a couple of old geezers for at least another year. Her summer scholarship program appears to have been a blast and she's looking forward to being able to go to college next year. I just hope she can find a full-ride scholarship somewhere, because it doesn't look like we'll be able to afford tuition any time soon.

Other relatives
Mom fell and broke her arm and is still recovering from that. At 78 years old that's a serious thing to have happen but, considering her severe heart problems, she is doing pretty well. Dad is doing alright, but taking care of my mother puts a lot of stress on him as well. My wife's sister is still having problems with her legs, but has improved significantly over the past few months to the point that she can sometimes get around without a walker now. Her brother is being sued for medical expenses by a guy who was speeding in a blind curve and ran into him as he was pulling out of his driveway. Clearly the other guy's fault, but technically my brother-in-law was cited for the accident and therefore liable.

Well, enough about my problems, how's life treating you? Praise the Lord that I don't have cancer or whatever. I know things could be a lot worse...but when does the uphill part of this roller coaster ride I'm on begin?

Know of anybody hiring computer repairmen or teachers? I know where they can find some really good ones. :)