Back Home: Day 2 – Unemployment Orientation

The reason for my flight back to PA was to attend an Unemployment Services Orientation provided by the state of New Jersey which attempts to provide career services. The center provides photocopiers, phones, web access, and some instructional support that’s accessible for a mere $4.00 an hour in parking or via regional rail that’s only 3 miles away and blocked by a divided highway. The orientation itself went over printed out powerpoint slides I could have reviewed at home, phone numbers I will never call, and a litany of career resources that are either horribly below me (getting a GED) or horribly above me (Wednesday networking luncheons for MBAs).

Normally, I’d be angry about these services and I fully expected to write a post about the deplorable farce of this attempt at a public service; but I am not. The entire center and its staff exhuded genuine intent. The computers seemed reasonably up to date with two staff members on hand to offer technical support across from the only time I’ve seen a guide assist keyboard in the wild. The two women who walked us through the machine-readable resume form seemed to know hundreds of job postings off the top of their heads going through an extensive list of alternative career descriptions and aligned fields including mnemonic recitation of odd scholarships and FAFSA loopholes for in-demand jobs. These are people who want to work themselves out of a job and are doing it proudly. I hope I reach that level in whatever career I land.

That said, getting there cost $400 for a 90-minute session and I have no intent on returning for any reason below a court summons.