Just a dog without a job

I have a lot to do. Today, for instance, I had a MongoDB project to work on, some family paperwork to take care of, kids to get to school, and much more. Every day, there are so many draws on my time, I’m always astonished when I look outside and see that the sun has set. “Really? Already? But I hardly even got started! There’s still so much to do!”

But I’m not getting paid for any of it. I have been officially unemployed for 19 days now, and counting.

To steal a line from Dear Abby, this is confidential to my fellow recent additions to the labor market:

  • You haven’t failed. You’re not a bad person, a drain on society, or a burden to your friends and family. You are not defined by your former job, and being unemployed does not mean you no longer deserve to be part of society.
  • You aren’t alone. If you’re in the Eugene/Springfield area, there are a lot of us right now, thanks to a very large layoff that occurred a few weeks ago.
  • It isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help. You and your former employer paid into a system designed to make transitions from one job to another less painful. It’s there because you already funded it. It’s OK to seek out the assistance you already paid for.

In Oregon there are a lot of really great city and state services to assist people like you and like me. There is unemployment insurance, of course. And there are SNAP benefits (formerly called “food stamps”). If you have kids in school, there’s the free school lunch program. And if you’re in Eugene, EWEB offers assistance to anyone who is currently receiving unemployment benefits.

Go take advantage of these services, if you haven’t already.