Your State’s Department of Labor Hates You


I’m just going to come right out and say it.  I am out of work.  Got a problem with that?  Conservatives would say I’m just too lazy and spoiled by unemployment.  Liberals would say I can’t fend for myself.  I say eat shit.

Roode alluded to this situation late last year.  The difference is that Roode found a position that allows him to carry firearms and wield the law as his own, personal nightstick.  You got it right, he’s a guard at one of the many strip clubs in Western Montana.

He’s just waiting for some dumbass to touch the “merchandise.”

As “Chief Editor/Head Writer,” this whole situation is particularly aggravating.  I am supposed to set the standard for the FWTC writing staff.  You know, lead by example and shit.  Sorry, I had problems keeping a straight face on that one.  As long as Ren is on staff, I could live in a cardboard box while eating day old donuts slamming Thunderbird and I would STILL be the normal one.

It’s still better than where I lived in grad school.

Personally, I abhore  the welfare state.  I hate the nanny state, too.  There are some horrific ham-fisted deals going on behind the scenes (if can be believed).  Too many people take advantage of the system and take what they didn’t earn.  But, I can’t bring down my household because of my ideals.  Besides, it’s insurance.  I paid for it.  Fuck if I’m not going to use it.  Still, getting less than half your old salary is a nutshot to the ego and severely limits your ability to buy and stockpile weapons for a Red Dawn-esq scenario..

How the hell am I supposed to fend off a Russian/Chinese invasion with just this?

But, your state’s department of labor is there to help you!  Help you feel worse, I mean.  What?  Does your state actually help without inducing mind shattering shit-pissed rage?  Then, you’re living in a fantasy land!  Name one thing that government involvement has streamlined?  The department of motor vehicles?  Building permits?  Highway construction?  How about paperwork to eliminate the need for paperwork?    It’s pretty much a given that government intervention designed to make your life “easier” is about as useful as an overflowing toilet without the charm.

Somewhere in there your state’s budget is floating around.

Earlier this month, our president signed the unemployment extension legislation into law  (I’m not here to debate that, because I really don’t care what you think).  OK, great.  It doesn’t look like it really impacts me.  But, what the hell?  Every little bit helps.  Every state took the extension and ran with it.  Not only were there thousands of thousands of people already in the system that had to refile, there were thousands that needed to file for the first time. Something this serious and complicated needs to be thought out.  A proper plan needs to be drawn up so the state can wade through the throngs of citizens who were career raped.  So, LET’S SQUEEZE IT ALL INTO ONE WEEK!  It’s a raffle.  Everyone gets their ticket and has to show up on their designated day.  It’s sort of like jury duty, but less organized.

It’s like trying to fit everyone into a clown car with the doors welded shut.

So, I did what I was told.  I need, at least, some income.  Christ knows this website doesn’t pay dick and I’m not pretty enough to whore the streets.  I stupidly figured that the state had a plan.  Come on, with that many people in the system, they surely had some sort of efficient process in place.  It was as efficient as carrying water in a bottomless bucket.  I decided that I needed to play this well.  It’s like Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  Get there before the doors open and you’re golden.  WRONG!  The 400 people before me had the same idea.  There was a line leading all the way to the parking lot and little shanty towns set up under the trees.  Fine, whatever.  I’ll wait in the waiting area that smells like the steerage section on a 19th century steamer.  I was number 88.  They were on number 40.  It’s not ideal, but it’s doable.

What the staff failed to tell me and everybody else, is that they ran out of tickets.  They had to break into new rolls to have enough for the ever-growing crowd.  So, there were blue tickets, green tickets, pink tickets, yellow tickets…  it was a rainbow of pain.  That’s the sort of thing you want to keep a secret.  Instead of being number 88, I was 388 (pink ticket 88).  That number 40 on the little display screen?  Well, that was another color.  There were roughly 348 pissed off people in front of me.  Good times!

True to form, every chair had a sweaty ass in it.  So, I stood.  I’m a big boy.  Sometimes you just have to stand.  There were four staff members on duty attempting to process 500 people by 4:30.  I’m no math wizard, but something about that shit doesn’t add up.  Especially if you consider they were only processing less than 26 people an hour.  Good thinking state bureaucrats!

Two thumbs up for you!

After about two hours of this shit, I decided to get the hell out of Dodge.  I did some quick math and figured that I could leave, go back to my house, eat lunch, watch some Futurama, and be back roughly two hours later and my number still wouldn’t have been called.  By the time I returned, the crack staff at the Department of Labor should have gotten through enough mouth breathers to close the gap.  Why, I bet I’ll be back with 20 people still in front of me.  Weighing the odds and tired of standing in a strangely un-air conditioned building (it was only 98 degrees that day.  That’s window opening weather) I beat cheeks like BP dodging real blame.

Hey, I’m not above jumping on the bandwagon.

My plan was perfect.  I laughed to myself as I pictured all those suckers in the state run cattle car.  I’m the smart one!  The amount of time I had to spend with a room full of “colorful” people from around the state was drastically reduced.  I’m a fucking genius! I drive back to bureaucratic hell a little more energized.  I’ve been gone almost two hours.  They had to have made some serious progress during my absence.

Somehow, they seemed to have gone BACKWARDS while I was out.  There were still over 100 people in front of me.  How is that possible?  Oh, right.  They reduced the amount of staff on duty.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  It’s not like you need more than a few people to process a few hundred sweaty, annoyed, and smelly applicants.

Hey, by this time I wasn’t without my own funk.

At least this time around I found a chair.  Hoo-hah!  I get to sit down.  Now, do you really think it would be that easy or painless?  Not only do I have the worst luck with airline seating, my ass chaping misfortune seems to extend to seats of all kinds.  To my right:  an impossibly fat man that smelled like spoiled milk.  To my left:  an extra from the Road Warrior.  In the middle of that mess was me, trying like hell not to physically touch either ass clown.  I sucked in my extremities and got into what can only be described as a sitting fetal position.

If only this were an exaggeration.

What’s a long line leading to the mouth of hell without some dill weed throwing a monkey wrench in the gears?  It never fails, whether in line for the movies or in the bank, there is ALWAYS someone who has to argue with the ticket monkey behind the counter.  There we are, a shit ton of people waiting for our glorious turn.  Then the brakes slam and the car comes to a screeching halt.

Following the rules the state sets for unemployment paperwork doesn’t require a rocket scientist, believe me.  Literally, it’s:

  1. Fill out form
  2. Wait in line for as long as it takes for the earth to make one revolution around the sun
  3. Show your driver’s license and social security card (or something official with your name and the ssn on it)
  4. Say “yes” to a bunch of questions.

But, noooooooo!  An old fiber muncher was having a debate with one of the clerks.  I was close enough t o hear what was going on (so much for privacy).  The hag was quibbling over something that was written in black and white in front of her friggin eyes!  You know the type of person that just doesn’t get what you’re saying no matter how many different ways you try to explain it?  This crone was the queen of that tribe of retards.  It took three clerks to tell her that she needed her social security card.  Not satisfied, the blue hair demanded to ask for the person in charge.  So, not only was this jackhole tying up FOUR clerks, she wanted to sit there and argue with a fifth.  The crowd behind her started to collect pitchforks and torches to get this bitch out of the way.

There was a vat of boiling oil just in case the mob got out of control.

As the clocked wound down and the staff slogged through the numbers, all I could do was send SOS messages through my cell.  I normally keep to myself in situations like these.  I don’t want to talk to people and I sure as hell don’t want people starting random conversations with me.  Just because we’re waiting in the same line doesn’t mean we’re buddies.  Unfortunately, not everyone shares my cardinal rule.  The fat bastard to the right of me was yucking it up with an old bitty behind him.  It was like being a fly on the wall in a retirement home.  Ceaseless discussions on how the “new” generation doesn’t work as hard as they did and their baseless feeling of entitlement.  I wasn’t quite sure which generation they were talking about.  Both were old enough to be referring to the baby boomers, gen x, gen y, and whatever the hell the subsequent generations are called.  I managed to suppress my urge to slap both of them across the face, Three Stooges style.  I’m not saying I totally disagree with what they were saying (every generation has their group of whiny little bitches).  I had an issue with something else coming out of the rotund dude’s mouth.

I’m talking about the stench emanating from within.

Each stale word he pushed out of his mouth was accompanied by new levels of ass breath.  At first, I wasn’t sure what the hell it was.  Did someone leave a sandwich in the sun?  Did a dog take a dump in the waiting room?  Wait a minute, the putrid odor gets stronger whenever this dude speaks.  Son-of-a-bitch!  Really?  Who’s messing with me?  The smell was a cross between spoiled milk and dog ass.  How couldn’t he know?  This shit made my eyes water.  I’ve been near paper plants with more pleasant smells.  Good Christ, pop a Mentos!

Not to be confused with, “Manos.”

As the funeral procession of the damned waned on, they were slowly getting closer to my number.  I was hot, sweaty, and pissed off about the carnival of errors unfolding before my very eyes.  Twenty numbers away from mine, I got up  stand by the counter.  I wanted to be ready to spring into action as soon as they called sweet number 88.  Some people gave up over the course of the day and left.  At this point, they were sailing through numbers, skipping over the no shows.

A new crop of fucktards populated the waiting area.  As soon as I saw the douche wearing a wife beater, I KNEW he was going to fuck something up.  With the captivating scent of Marlboro and Wild Turkey, he stood there jawing with another member of God’s forsaken.  He was loud.  He was smelly.  He was a dick.  His voice boomed throughout the room, obscuring the voices of the clerks.  Number 85 rolled around.  This was it!  I’m three numbers away from ending this bullshit.  85 was no where to be found.  Neither was 86.  Well, wife beater douche thought it was hilarious that the clerks were skipping numbers.  So, in the classiest of styles, he started shouting out the next numbers.  For no fucking reason.  He was so loud and obnoxious, he drowned out numbers being called by the clerks and proceeded to yell out, “87, 88, 89!”  The problem was that either the clerks weren’t paying attention or they we confused by this tool bag.  Whatever it was, those assholes picked up where he left off and started from 90.  Wait?  What the hell!?  They skipped my fucking number completely!

I was “Coach Buzzcut” pissed!

To this day, I’m surprised I didn’t completely lose my shit.  I went to the chick handing out the forms and told her what happened.  The security guard reassured me and said he would take care of it.  Why the security guard was involved in the first place, I don’t know.  He was the only employee there that actually gave a shit.  The man actually handed water out to people earlier.  Somehow, the state hadn’t crushed his soul.

So, there I was, waiting.  Again.  At least I knew I was next.  There was an opening at the counter and the guard waved me to it.  OK, great.  Finally, someone was helpful.  he told me to sit tight and the clerk would be right there.  Oh she was right there, alright.  Right there and bitchy.

The shirt is dead on, but the clerk looked nothing like this. It would have made the wait a little more worth it.

With the eye of Satan and the attitude of a state worker on crack, she asked me what I was doing there.  I told her my sob story about being skipped.  Oh no, that wasn’t good enough.  She couldn’t believe that such a thing happened.  I must not have been paying attention.  I’m the asshole.  Who said I could sit in front of her desk, anyway?  She has important papers there.  I could have rooted through them and stolen social security numbers.  This shit was really happening?

Trying to be the good guy, I explained myself for a fourth time.  I told her the guard sat me here and told me to stay.  Oh, that unleashed a shit storm of cataclysmic proportions.  She then launched into this tirade about how the guard isn’t in charge.  He doesn’t call the shots.  Who does he think he is?  Why would I do what he said?  This turbo-bitch was on a Sherman’s March to the Sea type roll.

And I had “Atlanta” written all over me.

To show me who was REALLY in charge, she called the guard over and gave him a load of demeaning shit.  This took five minutes.  Five pain filled minutes.  For a person who goes all out not to be noticed, this was hell for me.  This shit was drawing attention.  After the spirited debate [read:  pissing contest], the security guard won a hollow victory.  I say hollow, because she was mumbling about putting him in his place.  Being that I was involved in the guard’s insubordination, I quickly became the focal point of her wet pants pissiness.

I waited in line (more or less) for seven hours, braved harsh odors, and sweaty numbnuts just to be cock blocked at the very end.  The only way I can describe this is by using the phrase, “paperwork rape.”  Don’t bitch that I’m making light of actual rape.  It’s the only term that comes close to doing justice to the sorry experience this colon puncher put me through.  She violently threw form after form at me while snarling, “Sign this!’  There was nothing I could do.  I was guilty by association.  All that time invested for five minutes of a Doctor Mengele– style review.

Yeah, rape, wife beaters, and Holocaust references all in the same article. I feel dirty, too.

I felt like the lone survivor of an A-Bomb attack.  I staggered to exit with a mix of Irish car bomb rage and car accident victim.  I had to go to, yet, ANOTHER office to wait in line.  This branch of the department of labor is responsible for making sure I am properly oriented to my jobless situation.  Properly oriented?  Assholes, I’m already in the program and have been sitting with my unemployed thumb up my ass for MONTHS.  None of this shit was new.  Alas, I had to go through the motions just to go through the motions.  I was ordered to create an account on the state’s job site, even though I already had one open.  That one didn’t count.  I had to open another one, because those were the rules.  I wasted my time and tax payer money to re-do everything I did eons ago.  WTF?

As if to make sure the sting from the state’s ball tagging was felt long after I left, there was a mandatory orientation to sit though.  Why in the hell were they putting me through a “welcome to unemployment” presentation so far after the fact?  I asked, but the only answers I got sounded a lot like the responses at the Nuremberg Trials.

Just unquestionably follow orders. What’s the worst that can happen?

We filed in the small room with no light and a running PowerPoint presentation.  Alright, it’s always possible that there is something to learn.  Maybe, I’ll be able to get some useful information.  I’ve had the luck of a one-armed paper hanger in the job market.  Perhaps, there is a nugget of information waiting to be mined.

It was 15 minutes of a job hunter special ed class.  Ten of those bile filled minutes were spent on explaining the technological innovation that is the computer.  I’m dead serious.  Most of the presentation revolved around basic computer skills.  It was designed for people who have never graduated to audio CDs, let alone realized that punch cards were phased out.


This is what our tax dollars are paying for; hours of wasted time, useless resources, and state employee blood feuds.  As I said, I believe the majority of unemployment is going to the career-fuckedified.  These people don’t want to be on it, they were shit canned due to no fault of their own, and have the sad privilege of being a statistic for pro and anti government spending advocates.  Sure, I was up to my eyeballs in the vo-tech class at every high school.  I was also in the mix with former high ranking execs that were bounced out of their companies after 20 years of service.  Despite all our difference- wife beaters, misspelled tattoos, the smell of homemade alcohol- we all shared one thing.  We are are being boned by the recession/not a recession/kind of a recession/recession- rebound/ boarder line 1930’s depression.   It’s awesome being used as a data point in a debate!  Rest assured this whole thing is going to be written about and philosophized to death in future history books.

Not that our kids are going to be able to attend college to read them.  I’ll still be paying off my ridiculous student loans ten years after they put me in the ground.  I seriously questioned the quality of my education and its expense when my alma mater decided it was better to pass a clusterfuck tragedy of a student, because they didn’t want to deal with him anymore.

No, really, he was fucking awful with a generous portion of “don’t leave your children alone with him” creepy.


Posted on August 17, 2010, in In the news, Job, Life Lessons, Observations and aggravations, Politics, Society, Tresckow and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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