Adventures in unemployment; References available 

By Jenny Klion

“What gives you pleasure?” the state unemployment counselor asked me as we were wrapping up the meeting, which went totally bust.

“Well, sex, but I’m not having any!”

Rewind: As par for the course of receiving unemployment benefits — was laid off from my stint as a “story analyst” at an independent publishing house — I went into my required unemployment meeting with at least an open attitude toward possibly uncovering a new way to seek employment. 

But after almost four and a half hours of being shuffled around from counselor to counselor, I am sorry to report that one of these people was probably going to be fired after today. 

Talk about irony: My original assigned counselor literally did not know how to operate a computer, and could not deal with my…strength. And first one, and then a second, superior tried to get me to rat on her — instead of putting their money where their mouths were and giving this woman the computer skills and leg up she obviously needed to do her job properly.

Further, though my ultimate assigned counselor was super cool, even she too admitted that I probably wouldn’t find work through the system. She called me a rebel Joan Jett wannabe, and suggested I do something on my own — but not via the state-run, 20-hour program I was interested in, which supposedly offers skills toward that effect. Three counselors there confessed they did not think it an effective enough program to risk losing any possible benefit extension I would then not be eligible for.

I tried to see if I could get a specific work-training grant, courtesy of the stimulus package, but my field(s) of interest do not happen to correspond with the list of professions that are currently in demand. I mean, if I want to be a truck driver, or medical technician, game on. Not!

I know change is constant, and I’ve got to keep up with the times, but honestly, what is up, people? The Olympics, for example, have completely lost their cachet with the public because at any time of the day or night, one can watch regular Joes receive prizes, cash and titles, all toward making their dreams come true — once the unique beauty of the Olympics. Further, the Olympic advertisers’ mandates are such that children can’t even watch figure skating, or any of the once-popular events, as programming keeps the good stuff for last, at 11 o’clock at night. Even “American Idol” starts at 8 p.m.

Am still waiting to hear my hiring status on what I considered a low-level, hourly-wage, part-time job, but how many people does this restaurant have to try out before they decide on a pastry assistant? My pie crusts were perfect circles, for God’s sake! Oh, right, it must be my Joan Jett wannabe problem.

It’s not like I don’t have almost 20 years experience in publishing, film, books, theater and so forth. It’s not like I haven’t been a Hollywood studio executive, or a writing assistant for a Tony-nominated musical, or even a cover copywriter for smut books, either! I can definitely turn on a computer, am known as the queen of the log line (a synopsis of a TV show or movie), was in the circus — twice, and even recently completed a 100-hour baking/pastry program in anticipation of my firing. I have extensive experience, people! 

First, though, I must attend a résumé-writing workshop — apparently the format of my C.V. sucks — and learn how to market myself as, for example, a proofreader who has never made a mistake! I mean, I do think I’m darn good, and have proofread dozens of genre fiction novels, but zero mistakes? The Olympic champion/“American Idol” of proofreading? Am not so sure. And who would even believe that? What proofreader is not going to write that? Aaaaaah!

I’m also signed up for three, consecutive, hour-long “illumination” workshops, courtesy of today’s meeting, supposedly run by the former owners of Studio 54. O.K., game on. 

As for the earlier sex reference, my counselor was trying to encourage me to have a support team filled with other in-limbo types. Oh, joy. But seriously folks, this unemployment thing would be hilarious, if it weren’t so not funny. Would anybody like to hire me? References available on request… .