Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's a gray area

I'm looking for those jobbies where jobs grow. I’ve already got my job helmet strapped on and I’m ready to squeeze into the job cannon.

If none of that makes sense, go back and view the video at the top of this post. It’s a clip from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the funniest—and often raunchiest—show on TV. If you don’t know about it, do yourself a favor and rent seasons 1-3 on DVD. Or stop over to the house and we can watch them together. I’ve got the time.

Anyway to update my status, I have now joined the unemployed by signing up for my benefits Monday. I was able to do it online, which was pretty nice. But as convenient as it was, I recommend not attempting it on a Monday.

I tried to register all morning and afternoon but kept getting “application error” messages and having to start over. I’m not exactly Mr. Patience anyway, so I was getting pretty frustrated. The same thing was happening to a friend of mine that day, so I know it wasn’t my computer.

But late that night I tried one more time and got through. I was able to complete it in less than the 30 minutes they estimate it will take. Yea for me! I still need to be approved and it will be a few weeks before any checks arrive. But I’m on my way.

Because my job search actually began long before I left the Sun, I’ve become pretty adept at patrolling the usual online job sites such as Indeed, craigslist and CareerBuilder. Over the past few months I’ve watched as the number of writer/editor openings have dwindled to nearly nothing.

I no longer rely on those sites, but they are still worth looking at. I sometimes look at openings I know I’m not qualified for because I can find contact information that may lead to a freelancing gig. I haven’t landed a regular one that way yet, but I’ve made some promising inroads.

Which brings me to my latest problem: Am I allowed to freelance without it interfering with my unemployment benefits? It’s a difficult question to answer. I could find nothing on the IDES site addressing the issue.

So I called the local office yesterday and talked with a woman in the benefits department. She said it’s a “gray area.” Great. It’s hard to explain, but she said I should be fine as long as I am still able to look for, or am able to, work every day I claim benefits for. Because I can still do that and find time for freelancing, I shouldn’t have any trouble.

Then she added I could probably call five different people in her office and they’d have five different interpretations for me. Again, great.

I’ll be looking into this further this week before I take on any freelancing assignments. I’m not trying to cheat on getting benefits. I just want to make sure I don’t end up owing the government down the road, even though I’ve been told I won’t.

That’s it for now. My new full-time job is now that of Job Seeker. My job helmet is on. Know of anybody hiring?

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