A Tale of Two States

My close friend and writing partner Terry is staying with me for a few weeks, writing a novel and looking for teaching jobs in the fall, while escaping the Florida summer. Since he's between gigs, he's on Unemployment, always a source of bureaucratic joy. This week, however, has been unusually annoying.

Florida requires a client to attend meetings every so often if you're in state, but Terry of course is not, so he -- at their request -- changed his mailing address to Colorado. Now, he intends to return to Florida, and since he's a college professor all of his job searching is done via the Internet anyway; he's making the required contacts using that whizz-bang technology. When he changed his mailing address, he was told it was all set.

And therein hangs a tale.

A few days after changing his mailing address, he got a notice that he could no longer file for Unemployment in Florida. He was, as you might guess, a little miffed. He called them. And called them. And called them again. No one picked up the phone. After about six tries, he finally reached an agent in Florida, who told him that now that he was in Colorado, he needed to file for unemployment in Colorado.

"But," he protested, "I didn't work in Colorado, I was in Florida and plan to be back in Florida in a few weeks."

"Doesn't matter. You have to file in Colorado."

So Terry tried to file in Colorado, on the Colorado Unemployment web site. Which didn't allow him to enroll -- he was a Florida resident. He was, as you might guess, a bit peeved. Not quite miffed, but working on it. So, he called Colorado Unemployment, which -- mirabile dictu -- answered on the second ring. (This is not bragging on Colorado Unemployment by the way, as I have never gotten an answer from them that quickly.)

Colorado Unemployment's answer was perfectly reasonable: Terry had never worked in Colorado, so Colorado wasn't responsible.

Back to Florida Unemployment. At this point it would be fair to say he was quite miffed -- and not a little worried, he needed that money.

(Adjunct professors are academic serfs, paid a pittance so tenure-track professors don't have to teach "skills" courses. Of course, tenure track professors are only paid about 1.3 pittances, but his institution does have the money to build a multimillion-dollar rec center. Because a good student experience is valuable, don't you have any sense of proportion?)

So, anyway, miffed Terry calls Florida Unemployment again. And calls. And calls. And calls again. Finally, he has left voicemail messages three times asking for someone to call him back.

To no effect, of course.