Recessed, not Depressed

Logan’s CA WorkShare (i.e. Partial Unemployment) Saga April 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Logan @ 9:30 am
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Two months ago my company reduced my hours to half-time and started paying me half-pay. They did this to try to avoid laying me off during this not-so-great economic time. Not long after, my good friend Apollo informed me about California’s WorkShare program. WorkShare is a division of the EDD (Unemployment dept.) and it allows employers who reduce their employees’ hours (instead of laying them off) to apply for partial unemployment benefits.

In my case, because I was reduced by 50% I am eligible for 50% of what I’d normally earn on unemployment. Normally I would receive $450 per week if I were completely unemployed. Under WorkShare I am eligible to receive $225 per week. That’s about $1000 per month which will definitely help me survive this downturn and reduction in pay.

Enter the bureaucratic nightmare that is the EDD. My company enrolled in the program in mid-February. I got my initial paperwork from the EDD around that time informing me that I’d been enrolled (which is apparently different than processed). Every two weeks my employer and I submit a form listing the details of my continued part-time employment. I have dutifully submitted these forms since mid-February.


Welcome Logan! April 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — shanemayer @ 12:08 am

Living through this recession has truly made a national news story a personal experience. Part of that experience is having known so many other people, friends, (former) colleagues and family who have been affected by it also. Now that I’m going to begin working again, I’ve asked some of them to join me on Recessed to share their stories.

Please welcome my very dear friend Logan. Watch the video below to hear him talk about his experience of being recessed and reduced; he has recently been put on part time at work. Logan has a really awesome job as a professional “namer,” he names things! Hear him explain more about naming and branding and how he’s responding to his new challenges:


Fearing Fear Itself April 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — shanemayer @ 3:53 pm

fdrThe NYTimes ran another interesting story and an interactive feature about the recession and how the stress is “seeping into everyday lives.” The article is mostly based on anecdotal evidence, with a few statistic thrown in, but it seems true. Economic hardships, or more acutely, the fear of them, is really stressing people out. One woman, Anne Hubbard, reported losing 12 pounds just from reading economic reports and getting sick to her stomach about things.

Calm down people.

FDR really understood the American psyche when he said in his first inaugural address, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Americans are made neurotic so easily. What happened to being a country of entrepreneurs and industrious go-getters ready to take on a challenge? I can remember a time when people like Ms. Hubbard would be marketing a new diet fad and capitalizing on her success at losing weight.

It also strikes me as important to look at things relatively. We’re rich! Sure, we’re rich as individuals, because we have friends and families, but as a country we’re also just really wealthy compared with much of the world. I’ve seen poverty in really poor countries and it looks a lot worse than most of the scenes here. It’s certainly worse than the hardships people like Ms. Hubbard might endure.

What’s the point of having nice things, fancy cars, big houses, nice clothes, if all it breeds is fear of losing it anyway?


How did I miss this?

Filed under: Uncategorized — shanemayer @ 2:01 pm

My best friend Kenny’s mom responded to my original video on Recessed with her own video. Donna has also been recessed, but she calls it something else. Find out what…


The Rent Situation

Filed under: Uncategorized — shanemayer @ 11:05 am

rent_title-746747Early on my in unemployment adventure I realized I needed to cut costs as quickly as possible. I mentioned different ways to lower monthly bills and save some cash. I even tried to lower my rent (my largest expense), if only temporarily, not knowing how long I might be out of work. I promised an update so here it is: I could not get my rent lowered.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I live in a rent controlled building. The landlord was especially nervous about lowering rent that could never be raised while I live here.
  2. The housing market isn’t so bad in San Francisco that I couldn’t be replaced fairly easily.
  3. I must not have sounded pathetic enough when I called.

All in all, I’m glad I’ve been paying what must be a decent price for a rent controlled space. It would have been difficult to stay here too long without finding a job, however.


Sweaty Workers

Filed under: Uncategorized — shanemayer @ 10:52 am

bw_255x54John sent me this interesting article in Business Week. Apparently workers are working extra hard and even becoming annoying to their bosses with their “damaging diligence,” out of fear of losing their jobs.

I know when I was worried about my position I worked as hard as I could at whatever I could find. The frustrating irony was, of course, there wasn’t enough work to do.


Strange and Ironic Twist

Filed under: Uncategorized — shanemayer @ 10:45 am

gmail-contestI sent an email out to colleagues and friends yesterday, updating them on my situation and the new job. I received this reply from one contact who had suggested I consider a job at his company just two weeks ago:

In a strange and ironic twist we all got laid off on Monday as well as I am sure you saw in the response email. It goes to show even as a co-founder you are never safe…1/2 our staff got clipped including our CTO, design team and dev team…

It’s a good reminder. I may have found work, but many others haven’t and the recession continues.