Unemployment

How Many Safety Nets Do You Have?

How many nets would each of us crash through before we ran out of options? It’s not the world’s happiest thought, but it’s certainly something I’ve wondered about more than once in my adult life. (By “more than once” I really mean “more than once a month.” Adulthood is scary.)

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Sudden Unemployment

I woke up on a recent Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. with a slight hangover and nowhere to go, except maybe to my laptop to casually browse the internet for some sort of inspiration. I no longer had to program my alarm for 7:10 a.m., and it was no longer of a pressing nature to get to the gym before going to work because, well, there was no work, and truth be told, no desk job was forcing me to be bound to a desk. I could do Zumba in my living room at 2 p.m. if I wanted to, provided my downstairs neighbors weren’t feeling too cantankerous.

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Dreams I Had While Unemployed

I am leaving a grocery store with my dad. It is daytime. Dad walks ahead of me in the parking lot towards the car, but when I pass a parked car, a man runs up behind me.

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“I Stopped Carrying a Wallet When I Became Homeless”

I suppose I could use my old wallet, but it’s full of a life I no longer lead. The owner of that wallet once had an apartment, a full time job, and disposable income, an abundant life that utilized all of the slots.

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1 Source Of Income: Good. 12 Sources: Better!

I paid two months of COBRA premiums with my winnings from Cash Cab, since I no longer had a job and was able to do things like be on a game show at two in the afternoon on a Monday.

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Working When You Have No Sleep, A Guide

New York Mag’s new blog, The Science of Us, published a servicey guide to surviving the work day when you didn’t get any sleep the night before. There are no quick fixes — ain’t that the way? — but lots of coping strategies. Among them: don’t hit the snooze button, get outside in the daylight without sunglasses on as soon as you can, eat a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch, do the hard work right away and save the busy work for the afternoon, when you are truly ready to die. True, true, and true.

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Brief Periods of Unemployment After College, as Told to Me by Friends

A few months after getting my first steady job since being unemployed, I still hadn’t let go of a lot of the habits and anxieties I’d developed during that time. I’d go up and down the grocery store aisle price-comparing boxed pasta, shaming myself for ever spending more than $20 at a time. I joked to friends that I was a recovering unemployed person, working my way through a twelve-step program.

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Adjusting Our “New Financial Advice” to Include Unemployment

Continuing the idea that we need a new kind of financial advice:

The “old” financial advice model, by which I also mean the current financial advice model, presumes that you’re going to have a job at all times. Technically, it knows that you aren’t going to have a job at all times, but it brushes that uncomfortable truth into the corner by quickly shouting something about a three-to-six-month emergency fund.

And, of course, if you don’t have a job, you are advised to immediately trot on down to the nearest Walmart, Starbucks, or nurse’s aide training program.

Never mind that these jobs are not known for their long-term stability, and never mind the fact that you can’t get a coffee shop job just by asking. A link was bouncing around the internet yesterday about 1,701 people applying for eight Costa Coffee jobs (I only now realized that the story is a year old but probably still makes its point), and the last time I was in a coffee shop a man literally walked in, shouted “is anyone in this industry actually hiring?” and then argued with the barista before stomping out.

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Crop Tops Cropped from College, Education = Reparations?, Academic Rejection vs Other Kinds

+ UT-Austin signs tell women how to dress so as not to be distracting and, according to Jezebel, crop tops are out.

Here are the things you cannot wear, if you want to learn to be a nurse at the University of Texas:

Midriff-baring shirts Short-shorts Low-rise pants Low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage

My K-12 religious school had a dress code that prohibited all of these things and I still feel funny if I wear them. My mind has been warped forever on the issue of modesty, which means I can’t be trusted to know whether this is egregious. Dress codes! Always unfair, if they’re only targeted at women? Justified in a context that has something to do with God, or taxes, or death? Can we trust students at a certain age to know how to dress appropriately and/or to not get life-threateningly distracted by a glimpse of skin?

+ Uh oh. STEM magic doesn’t work as well for black folks.

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My Time on the Assembly Line Working Alongside the Robots That Would Replace Us

The small town I grew up in was surrounded by factories and existed for the sole reason of supporting the local paper mill, which employed most of our residents and brought people in from outside cities. In the surrounding areas, there were numerous paper mills and medical supply factories. Everyone in my immediate family worked in a factory at one time or another; some still do.

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A Call To Abolish Employment Credit Checks

Back in the day when my credit was very, very bad and I didn’t have any real sense of urgency about doing something about it, per se, my mom would try to put the fear of god in me by saying that when I applied for jobs, prospective employers could looking up my credit and, seeing how irresponsible I was, decide not to hire me. This seemed (and seems!) both totally unfair and hardly believable.

According to a recent survey-based study from public policy org Demos (h/t Astra Taylor), employment credit checks are actually fairly common: 1 in 4 of unemployed people who were surveyed reported having their credit checked as part of a job application. Among the unemployed with ‘blemished’ credit histories, 1 in 7 has been informed they missed out on a job because of their credit.

Employment credit checks are legal under federal law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits employers to request credit reports on job applicants and existing employees.4 Under the statute, employers must first obtain written permission from the individual whose credit report they seek to review. Employers are also required to notify individuals before they take “adverse action” (in this case, failing to hire, promote or retain an employee) based in whole or in part on any information in the credit report. The employer is required to offer a copy of the credit report and a written summary of the consumer’s rights along with this notification. After providing job applicants with a short period of time (typically three to five business days) to identify and begin disputing any errors in their credit report, employers may then take action based on the report and must once again notify the job applicant.

I’ve never been informed that a prospective employer was going to run a credit check on me (MIKE DANG???), so I suppose that means it hasn’t happened.

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