Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Unemployment Update

I interviewed for another job last Friday; and this week I went to a workshop on creative career exploration given by the unemployment service. This was the North St. Paul office, not as nice as the Bloomington office, though maybe a little nicer than the St. Paul office that's off University in the Midway.

The Bloomington office had free coffee. The St. Paul office has a convenience shop that sold coffee in the same building. The North St. Paul office has neither.

The people taking the workshop were all middle aged. I was the oldest person there, and no one was young. It was mostly office workers; though one guy looked blue collar, and one woman was a nanny who'd been laid off after 20 years.

The workshop was a series of brief tests of interests: what classes did you like in school, what things are important for you? I came out with a strong interest in science and the arts, followed by a liking for office organization. The first two suggest I should be a science fiction writer. The last suggests that accounting is good work for me.

I also want to work for a place with a mission I like, and I want to work with people I like.

No great revelations.

I took a workshop on self-employment at the same office. That was less useful, since the speaker did not talk about consulting, which is what I'd do if I worked for myself. The people in that workshop were middle aged and looked middle class. The guy next to me was an unemployed engineer. There was at least one IT person who'd been laid off, and an unemployed accountant who had a lot to say.

Among his lines:

"Back in the 60s we believed that corporations were evil organizations run by greedy, self-serving people. Now we know this is true."

I hear a lot of anger in these workshops.

My sense is, the unemployment people are doing the best they can, but the situation is more than they can handle. The workshops can't tell us how to get by in an economy like this one.


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