No Bother At All


Most costly trip to an appointment, ever.

In my previous post, I wanted to describe the state of mind I was in on my 1000th day of unemployment. I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog post about it after trying for a few hours, since I was in my self-coined “emotional flat tire” moment. I decided the webcam was the next best thing.

When I record videos intended for release on the Internet, I write down what I’m going to say first on a notepad document, or just memorize it in my head. After I know what I am about to say, I record several times until I like what I see and hear, edit where necessary, then upload.

This video was different. It was unscripted and recorded in just one take. When I was finished, I played it back. The video was close to 25 minutes long, though I swear it felt more like 10. The man in the video looked like and sounded like me, but it sure as heck did not seem like me. I was taken aback by my tone and the look on my face while I was speaking.  The first thing that came to my mind was “this is what a carpet would look like if it was a living thing and having the dust beaten off of it”.

Yet it was perfect. It captured my state of mind on being out of work for so long. Satisfied, I uploaded the video to Google+ (YouTube will not accept videos longer than 15 minutes). I knew it would elicit a reaction from anyone watching it but I did not expect for even one second the amount and type of reaction I ended up receiving.

I received lots of comments through the blog, through my Gravatar avatar, and through my Gmail. While the comments were of varying lengths, they all asked me one question: are you all right?

I am all right. The video helped get a lot of bile out of my system. I’m still not quite myself, and I’ll explain what I mean later, but I am all right. To those many people who contacted me, I want to say, “thank you for caring to ask”. Some of you never even heard of me until you saw my video, yet you took the time to ask. You do not know how much that means to me.

When Monday morning came around, I was right back at the applying for jobs, browsing through the want ads in my newspaper, networking with friends and family and co-workers, and visited in person both Bulk Barn and Sobey’s to present my resume along with the job application form I filled out. After that was out of the way, I went to my appointment at my fourth employment assistance centre in nearly 3 years, “Skills For Change”.

When I arrived, I told the receptionist that I had an appointment to speak to someone. She couldn’t find it on the books even though the appointment was made over the phone before last weekend. The receptionist said I should fill out the Employment Service Participation Form while she looked for someone to see me. I explained to her I already filled out an electronic version of the form from my last three employment assistance centres and I have a copy of it on my USB fob. She said they used a different form and I had to fill one out in order to get assistance. I shrugged and asked to use a computer to load the form so I could write down on the hard copy what was presented on my electronic copy. As I suspected, it was an identical form. Normally I’d be a little annoyed but instead wrote word for word what was on the form onto the hard copy. That took 15 minutes.

After I was done, I was introduced to the Information and Referral Counsellor.  I didn’t really have a chance to explain what I did for the past 1000 days to find work, as I kept getting cut off in mid-sentence. She then asked for my résumé, which I explained was on my USB fob, so I handed that to her. She inserted the fob into her computer’s USB port, and noting her monitor was out of alignment, did a quick twist of the screen. I suddenly heard a loud snapping sound and saw the protective cover of my USB fob go flying onto her desk. She looked at it, handed it to me and asked, “Is this yours?”. Not a sorry, just, “Is this yours?” I looked down at the now detached cover with the broken hinge, then back at her, and simply said. “Erm, yeah”.

Fortunately, we were able to get the résumé off the USB fob. It later died when I tried the fob at home but I’m getting ahead of the story. She looked at my résumé and said it’s completely wrong. I tried to explain to her that this was the format used by the previous employment agency, One Voice, but she still insisted it was not a résumé that marketed me. Okay, so it was marketable before at my previous employment agency, just not at the current one. Fine, then.

We ended the meeting with instructions for me to send all copies of my résumé to the employment assistance counsellor that I have an appointment on October 9th. I asked for my fob back, which was still in the USB port of her computer. When I got it back, I looked at it. The connector was bent 5 degrees and there were stress marks on the plastic. I didn’t say anything. I put it and the protective cover it was once connected to into my jacket pocket and left without a word.

So let’s recap:

  • I had to buy a new USB fob out of my own pocket.
  • I have yet to get an apology from someone for a staff member breaking my current one, which, aside from being the only USB drive I have, had sentimental value as it had the company logo of my last place of employment and was given to me by a co-worker I really liked.
  • I have to wait more than a week to actually see a real employment counsellor to help me, spending over an hour there for —- really — no reason at all.

I should be pretty mad about what happened…but I’m not.  I’m not sure what to call it…indifference? Apathy? Numb? I know it is not depression since I’ve had a very productive job search on foot and online over the past 2 days, and even typed up this blog without much effort.

But something’s off. This is not the me I know.

Thanks for reading.

David

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