When you're unemployed in Washington State you have to go to an orientation class. I call it unemployment school. I knew I was going to have to go but still cringed when I received the notice.
The last time, years ago, I went it was boring and depressing and I remember I just wanted to curl up and sleep. So I was super-excited to attend this one!
I got there early so I could choose a seat and not feel like the new kid in the cafeteria. Also, I hoped that everyone else would too and we could start early thus end early. No luck.
There were only about 12 people there and that surprised me a little. I'm not sure why other than I expected to see some of my former co-workers there. I didn't and I was disappointed.
Like every.single.class I've ever taken ever, there was a Question Asker. Gah, what is with these people? I try to be patient with the human race but I was just shouting SHUT UP in my head every time that he raised his hand.
He had a cane for some reason, yet wasn't on disability (they asked) or had a visible injury. Having my own issues, I cut him a little slack but it just felt contrived. He said he was a construction worker but just laid off for a bit. Then he said that he was union then he back-tracked. He also told the class that he kept applying at a company and they kept giving him the "run-around". I'm thinking "Dude, think it through. You're never gonna get hired there." Even the job counselor kind of discouraged him from applying there repeatedly. Thankfully, he ran out of questions quickly.
So, I settled in for a long boring class. She started by asking each person what their field of work was. I hate, hate, hate ice-breakers. Lucky me, I was the last person asked (sitting in the back of the class...people who know me in reals just giggled). I stated that I was an office administrator and she immediately replied "So, when I have a problem with the laptop, I can just ask you!" Gah, yes, you can but please don't.
By the grace of all things holy, the class only lasted an hour when it was scheduled for three. When we were excused, we were assigned a caseworker. He took a copy of a form that we had to complete and we returned to our normal lives.
Part of me was disappointed because I was anticipating more help or supervision and the less mature part of me started thinking about whether or not I wanted to get a mocha on the way home. I did come home with some good online resources. I love that job search can be done from the comfort of my own home now. The introvert part of me is very thankful.
One uncomfortable part of going to that kind of agency was the fact that I will run into past clients. This is always a risk but the odds were great in this situation. The universe did not disappoint.
As I was waiting for the copy of my form to be completed, I noticed a woman sitting at a computer and looking at Google Streetview. I thought that was a little odd because she was looking at houses, not businesses. She was also talking to herself. (I played the schizophrenic or bluetooth game until I realized she was indeed talking to no one)
When I picked up my form, I got a better look at her and sure enough, a former client. A former client that had been trespassed from my work. Thankfully she didn't notice me and more thankfully, she is so far gone in her illness that I don't think she's capable of recognizing me. That being said, I still wanted to get the eff out before something happened.
The employment security agency does most communication via email now so I'm relieved that I won't have that experience again. It's also one more example of how I'm relieved to be not working in social services for a while, if ever again.