This is absolutely awesome. I love Mint.com’s blog!
Also posted on Loganotron.
An 8.5% unemployment rate is unmistakably bad. It’s the highest rate since 1983 — a year that saw double-digit unemployment, nearly 30 commercial bank failures and more than 15% of Americans living below the poverty line.
But the real national unemployment rate is far worse than the U.S. Department of Labor’s March figure, announced today, shows. That’s because the official rate doesn’t include the 3.7 million-plus people who are reluctantly working only part time because of the poor labor market. And it doesn’t include the workers who have given up scouring want ads for seemingly nonexistent jobs.
When those folks are added to the numbers, the unemployment rate rises to 15.6%. In March 2008, that number was 9.3%. more…
Also posted on Loganotron.
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.
Taking a little vacation time has given me an opportunity to reflect and recharge. It’s made me even more thankful for everything I have (an amazing family, a wonderful boyfriend and fantastic friends) and excited for the adventure ahead. It’s also given me time to develop a list rules for the road ahead, which I plan to follow as I work on finding a job:
As I mentioned previously, I know six people who lost their job this past week. One of them is an old colleague of mine from the Center For Teaching Excellence at American University, Alaina. Alaina was one of 47 people out of 200 at her location who were laid off. Alaina has reported feeling unmotivated to leave her house, and a little depressed about the whole thing. You can track her journey through the process on her blog and compare it to my mine. She’s smarter than I am, she’s making money off her ads!
Here’s my advice, Alaina, for what it’s worth: put it in context. We’re just statistics in a much larger economic picture, so we have to do the best we can and still enjoy life. It is not a personal failure and nobody sees it that way. It’s a bit like living through the Great Depression, we’re victims of history. The bright side is at least we’re taking part in history. Someday we can tell our families about the Great Recession of the 2000’s and how we dealt with it. We blogged.
As I mentioned before, it seems like when it comes to resumes, everyone is a critic. I found this awesome website, however, VisualCV, that helps you create really great resumes that live online and export to PDF. Check it out!
VisualCV also allows you to add multimedia, like video and an entire portfolio to your resume. This could be really helpful for people in certain professions with digital work they’d like to showcase.
My company provided me with 15 vacation – or “personal time off” (PTO) days annually. In the past year, I only used about three of those days. As our company’s work slowed down, I felt uncomfortable taking time off, feeling a little uneasy about returning to find my job had been cut. A vacation is long over due.
As is the natural balance and irony of life, now that I’ve got the time, I no longer have the money. My boyfriend John and I are taking advantage of the time anyway and taking a low-cost vacation. We drove down to LA last night ($25 in gas shared between the two of us) and we’re taking Amtrak from here to Santa Fe, New Mexico ($60 each way, per person). Santa Fe is my hometown and my parents will be very happy to let us eat and play on their dime for a week.
15 days a year, including sick days, just isn’t enough. It doesn’t really compare to the average of six weeks most European professionals are allotted. It hasn’t usually left me refreshed or recharged, so there is a freedom to not having to worry about returning to work right after this break. Of course I’d rather have a job and income to return to, but I’m going to enjoy the freedom anyway, why not?
A note about PTO. For those of you worried about losing your jobs. Remember, your PTO can be redeemed as cash when you’re let go. I certainly needed a break, but I’m very happy to have that cash now. The downside to cashing in your PTO is that you get taxed on that income, where you wouldn’t if you took the time off.