About two weeks ago, I received a letter from the Employment Department stating that I needed to go to the SE Works Center on March 12th at 1pm for “Reemployment Orientation.” The letter stated that if I wanted to continue receiving my unemployment benefits that I needed to attend this 3 hour orientation! The letter also stated that I needed to bring my resume and that this orientation would help me with my job search. Honestly, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea that they could help me. I’ve been on unemployment before and never had to do anything like this. But when you receive a summons…you must go.
On Monday I talked to my friend Amy who went to her Reemployment Orientation. She filled me in on the process. Basically the Employment Office was ensuring that people were filling out their iMatch (a software program that identifies your skills and matches them to available jobs) profiles and were taking tests to determine whether participants needed to work on their basic math and reading skills. Amy said that the whole process wouldn’t take 3 hours.
So with my summons in hand, I headed over to the newly renamed SE Works Reemployment Office. Inside a tiny makeshift waiting room sat 8 of the most unhappy looking men I have ever seen. The cramped office was jammed with desks, bulletin boards layered wtih fliers, notes, and other advertisements and surely looking volunteers.
I sat in one of the only available seats next to a man that smelled not so fresh, I have never been so uncomfortable in all of my life. I would have rather been enduring a yearly physical than be there. The men were an odd collection of blue collar workers and one guy looked like he was going for an Edward (from Twilight) look-a-like contest. (I swear to God!)
We were called into a room filled with computers, given folders filled with information on the services SE Works provides, and asked to fill out some paperwork. As we we handing our ID’s over, I noticed that my hand was the only one that wasn’t trembling. Based on the amount of coughing,nose action, and general antsyness, I’m pretty sure the guy next to me was high on meth.
We were then asked to take a series of tests to determine if we needed help with general reading or math skills. The questions were pretty easy except for a few. Math isn’t my strong suit and asking me to determine how much it will cost to make a sidewalk based on some crazy dimensions, is not really my idea of fun. Ask me lead times to produce copy for websites or the best way to promote a new product. Why do I care how much it will cost to lay bark in a flower bed?
Anyway, I was the first one and the SE Works Center lady told me I had done really, really well. I bit my tongue because I didn’t really think she wanted to hear my thoughts on this ‘test.’ She looked at my iMatch profile which I had completed and uploaded my resume to several weeks ago. I could tell that she was impressed with the quality. She saw that I had a Bachelors degree and pretty much let me go home.
Well at least I got a blog post out of the experience.