Inconsistency is the nature of working freelance in any industry, so of course I have good years and bad years, but I’ve been extremely lucky in that I’ve always been able to earn enough to make ends meet.
Work like hell in the good years, save it up for the bad years.
However, this last 16 months have been terrible for just about everyone. When it should have been busy, it was dead, and when it was normally dead, it was stone dead. Although a lot of us had hoped it would pick up in March, unfortunately this doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Although I’ve been able to scrounge up a day or two each week (which is a lot more than others have managed), I’ve completely run through any savings I had and am now dependent upon my state unemployment insurance to fill in the gaps.
Which is fine – by pinching my pennies and foregoing all the things that make life extra wonderful (sushi, wine, periodicals, etc…) I’ve managed to scrape by.
Until today, when I opened the mail, expecting to get an unemployment check and finding that they’ve invented a new ‘waiting period’ out of the blue – which, of course, fell on a week when I didn’t work and was due the full amount.
For those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with unemployment, when one first files a claim one is forced to endure a waiting period of a week during which no benefits are payable – I don’t know why that is. I guess they hope I’ll find a job and won’t bother to file the rest of the paperwork.
Normally, though, there’s only one withheld week per claim, and my ‘fuck you, loser’ week was in January, so this random withholding of benefits confuses and angers me, but at least I’ve got company.
Upon making a few phone calls, I discovered that just about everyone I know has had benefits withheld for that week, so I’m guessing the the state of California, in a desperate attempt to save money, has just decided to screw the unemployed people out of a week’s worth of benefits.
Normally, this would just make me roll my eyes at the stupidity of it all, but last week I made some promises to the utility company which I now can’t keep – so I may lose my internet again if calling and begging to keep the power on doesn’t help.
Thanks, California. Thanks a lot. This is much better than a 2.5% tax increase on people who have a net income of over $250,000. Bleed me dry instead. I totally understand your logic one this one. Assholes.
Speaking of economic uncertainty, one of my aunts who lived through the Depression (the real one in the 1930’s), has agreed to take questions about how to stretch your dollar (or pound, or euro, or whatever) and what life was like back then. Although it’s for something that will go on LAist (I’ll happily crosspost here if you all would like), if you’ve got a question for her, feel free to either email me or post it to the comments and I’ll relay it.
Filed under: Non-Work, California, paperwork, poor, unemployment, Work