My name is Mike, and I’m in need of financial help, with a pending eviction.
Here’s my story.
When I started college in April of ’07 (at the age of 42), my major was in CAD…which at that time started out as a 45k job. Months before I graduated in June of ’10, the job market for CAD operators had crashed, and there were very few jobs available, and all of them were one year UNPAID internships, 50 miles one way away from my home. So, I would have to work 40+ hours unpaid, only to have to work another 40+ at another job to pay my bills. There is barely enough time in the week (when you include travel and sleep) to sustain this schedule.
So, being that I was on unemployment, the rules state that if you get offered a job that pays more than your “benefits,” you must take it…or be in trouble if UI finds out. So, I get offered a 32 hour a week convenience store job paying minimum wage (at that time)…I had to take it, this was January of ’11. 8 months later, I found out that since the company I work for is so small, there were no real chances for advancement, and raises were once a year (if you were lucky to get one). UGH! Luckily, 7-Eleven had just opened a store right around the corner from my current position, also opening other stores in the area, and was always looking for people for full time. So, I applied…and was hired, this was November of ’11. It was about this time that I started to notice getting numbness in my feet…which I thought was due to standing all day. I was there till May of ’13, when my store became franchised and the new owner wanted people that he trained, not corporate.
At this time I was hired by the local NAPA store as a parts delivery driver. I was good at customer service, and got plenty of compliments…including from the State agencies that repaired vehicles (which I was told by the manager, had never happened in his 10 years of working for NAPA…complaints, yes…compliments, no). Over the summer, I was getting asked to work more hours, so I had to let the manager know when I was getting close to overtime, since the company didn’t like paying it. Good times. But, that had to end, since when the colleges were starting back up, and he was told to hire more drivers, so that none of the drivers were getting more than 30 hours a week. Well, I needed a full time job. So, I went looking…again.
After few months, I was hired by a 3rd party company doing Verizon telephone customer service (2nd time working for this company, though under a different name, same bs policies) in October of ’13. Things were going well until December of ’14, when I got a bad cough that would not go away, and when your job is talking on the phone…this is NOT a good thing. So, I went to an urgent care in my area, since it was cheaper than going to the emergency room (I didn’t have a normal doctor or insurance). They gave me notes for work, and prescriptions for medication. Next week, still no relief, another note and prescription for medication. Lather, rise, repeat for the next 2 weeks…which at that time the urgent care is telling me that 5 visits for the same symptoms, I now need to see an actual doctor. Funny thing, I had already set an appointment the week before, but it wasn’t for another 3 weeks. Luckily work was understanding, and with the paperwork I had…didn’t press. Finally, my doctor’s appointment arrived… by this time, the cough was very bad, there were times when it felt like a 500lb gorilla sitting on my chest, and when I did talk it sounded like Donald Duck with his nuts in a vice (I kid you not). AND the doctor says there’s nothing wrong with me????? Well, at this time, work is having me fill out FMLA paperwork, and the doctor wasn’t doing it correctly. Took 3 sets of paperwork, and 2 very pissed off calls to the clinic to finally get it done right. In the end I was given FMLA.
Then, my feet started to swell…OK, google says how to take care of that. Just elevate the feet higher than the heart, but now my chest now feels like there’s a 750lb gorilla on my chest. But, I deal with it. THEN! Something swells (to the size of a soft ball) that’s not supposed to, and google says that means there’s something very wrong. Off to the emergency room (since I’m not working, I qualify for free health insurance), after explaining what’s going on, and see what’s going on…they think that I have a blood clot somewhere in one of my legs. Off to the ultrasound, which after checking, they find…nothing. Next up, chest X-rays. DINGDINGDING!!! We have a winner…there’s a sack of fluid on my heart and right lung. Now the gorilla makes sense. I’m told I am being admitted for CRITICAL HEART FAILURE…say what?!?! Other than my “cold” symptoms and the gorilla, I feel fine, and that I’m being moved from the emergency room on the 1st floor, to the 7th for heart patients. Next day, they take me to a room for removal of the fluid…1.5 LITERS! What the F is going on…oh, you just had a cold…but, due to the lack of proper diagnosis and treatment, it became pneumonia. I was in the hospital for 6 days. This was when I’m told I am “borderline” Type 2 diabetic, and the numbness in my feet is due to neuropathy…and the hits just keep on coming.
Beginning May ’15, I got a call from work. Your FMLA ended last week (WHAT?? And nobody thought to tell me)? Luckily, I had had an appointment with my cardiologist that day, and he had released me to return back to work. And they wanted to know what I wanted to do. Well, I’ve been out of work for 5 months, I told them that understand if they would insist on retraining. Which was what they wanted if I was to continue to work for them…cool, we’re on the same page. They’ll let the training department know to put me into a class. I contact the training department, just to make sure that my information with them is up to date, which it is…and they tell me that they’ll let me know when my class starts, no need to call back (ever! was the attitude I was getting). Um, what??? So…3 weeks go by, and I’m constantly seeing their ads saying they are hiring and training classes start soon…and I’m wondering why they haven’t called yet…since there are 2 classes starting EVERY other week. 4 weeks go by, then 5…by the 6th week, now I’m pissed. So, I go and check the Unemployment Insurance website…and they’ve added a reason to quit due to lack of work. So, I contacted them, and asked if what’s going on falls under that reason. They say that it does, so I say “sign me up, I’ll quit when I’m done with this call.” Call work, now where I work had enough seats for 900+ agents on the production floor, but they don’t have an HR office…so, I call the number for calling out sick, and tell them to inform whoever needs to know that I’m quitting…and they say “hold on, I’ll transfer you” “Nopenopenope, I’ve told you, you tell the right person, I’m done with the runaround.” and hang up.
2 weeks go by, and I receive notice from UI that my ex-company never replied to the paperwork they sent for their side of what was going on…so, UI can only go by what I told them. “Congratulations, you’re now approved for full unemployment. Follow the rules, and you’ll be fine.” 6 weeks AFTER I quit, and get a Fed Ex letter, from one of the “managers” at the company…asking why I didn’t show up for my scheduled training date, yada yada yada…and the second paragraph starts with, “communication in this business is key” ARE YOU F’ING KIDDING ME? His number is listed at the bottom of the letter, so I call it…what do you know, he’s not at his desk…go figure. So, I leave a message with my name and number. 2 hours later, he calls back…and begins with why I hadn’t let them know that I wasn’t able to attend my class. I give him both barrels, reload and give him another blast. “Communication is key? I haven’t heard from YOU guys in 3 months….NOTHING!!!! IN 3 MONTHS!!! Your letter is the first communication I’ve gotten. In. 3. MONTHS! This is the first time I’ve heard anything about a training class. On top of that…I QUIT 6 WEEKS AGO, AND FILED FOR UI, AND GOT THEM, BECAUSE YOUR HR DEPT COULDN’T BOTHER TO REPLY!” To say he was stunned by what I told him would be an understatement. Asked if I was still interested in coming back, and I told him I was about to start a NEW job. After that there wasn’t much to say, so we hung up.
August ’15, I got hired by one of the local Walmart’s as a Front End Cashier. First day, I asked if this was a temporary position, and was told that since I was hired before they did the seasonal hiring, no, I was a regular hire. Coolness. November comes along and I get my employee discount card…sweet. Christmas ends, and on December 31, I get called into the Manager’s office, and told that none of the seasonal hires are being kept, thank you for your time, and hand over your discount card. Blinkblinkblink what? “I was told that I wasn’t a seasonal hire.” “They were wrong.” “The Hiring Manager was wrong? That’s their JOB!” “Sorry, we no longer need your services, have a nice day.”
January ’16, I got hired by a Farmers Insurance Agent to be their Contact Manager (just a fancy name for calling people and trying to convince them to have an insurance quote, and sometimes work the front desk, since there were really only the 2 of us). Now, neither of us are employed by Farmers, he’s an “independent contractor” and I work for him (24 hours a week, the saying “rob Peter, to pay Paul” comes to mind). Things are going well, in January ’19 I got my Producers License (fancy title for Insurance Agent), due to the laws in my state, without it, I could only take messages about changes to clients’ accounts and pass them on. He’d been working for over 15 years without a vacation…so I got my license, so he could finally go on one. September ’19, the agent gets called into the main local office (first time in over a decade). He gets back and asks me to research a certain week, which I do. Then he asks for a certain day of that week. Something isn’t right, he’s never asked for me to do this before. When I ask, it turns out that someone accused him of road rage on that day at a specific time on the highway that runs through the city, and Farmers wanted to know what he was doing that day. OK, cool…at that time he was at an appointment for a quote, on the other side of town from the incident. We’re good. He sends them the info. A week later, they call him AGAIN to the office. We’re fine, he wasn’t there, and didn’t do it…odd how this person knew who my boss was, wasn’t a client, or that he worked for Farmers, since he didn’t have the business on his vehicle. This time when he gets back, he tells me as of the day after Thanksgiving, his contract has been revoked…and I will no longer have a job. WHAT???? “But, but…you weren’t there, it wasn’t you!!” “Farmers don’t care, they don’t want the bad press, so that’s it.” His 1.8M book of clients (that he built up) will be given to another Farmers agent, and we can’t attempt to steal any either. We’re not even allowed to tell the clients why, just that as of x date, they’ll be with a new agent.
Last week of September ’19, I got hired by the same (well, different name, same policies) 3rd party company doing Verizon telephone customer service (for the 3rd time), since they were really the only company hiring full time at that time. By mid December, I’ve finished training and now working on the production (remember this word, it’ll be important later) floor. March ’20, LOCKDOWN! So, the business not being “essential” has to close its doors, but they still have a contract to complete for taking a certain number of calls a month (we were never told how many). So, there are two options. 1) go on a furlough and be on unemployment till this blows over (boy was that short sighted), and when they are allowed to reopen in a couple months, we will still have a job. Now, I’ve tried to live on unemployment…not happening. 2) sign out a production (there’s that word again, you’ll understand why it’s important coming up) computer, and work remote from home. Now, I wasn’t keeping up with the news of the day at the time, so I barely knew about Covid19, which is why the LOCKDOWN happened, but I didn’t know about the government subsidy for unemployed people. So, I took option 2.
It wasn’t until about June ’20, that I learned about the $600…and the way I heard it…it was an additional $600 a month (that’s right…a month). So, the people not able to work, were now making about what I did take home. Which was a little annoying, since I was WORKING 40 hours a week and they were not…but hey, who was I to complain (grumblegrumble). It wasn’t till around October ’20, when I finally found out that the $600 was per WEEK!!!! AND THEY GOT THEIR FULL UNEMPLOYMENT!!! WHAT???? Are you F’ing kidding me?!?! Now these people on unemployment are making DOUBLE what I make, and I’m WORKING! This is wrong, so wrong.
Side note: when you have diabetes, there is a 75% chance of getting neuropathy in your feet and/or legs, which is a numbness that blocks the pain signals, and if your feet are in a bad position, you are taking a chance of getting Pressure Ulcers (better know as Bed Sores). Which I might add, you can get if you have neuropathy or don’t move a lot. By this time it hadn’t impacted my life to a degree it was about to.
November ’20 I now have a Pressure Ulcers on my right foot, on each side of foot near the toes…my pinkie toe has crossed over and it is pointing at my big toe, due to the infection having eaten the bone to nothing. Normally, they scrape off the top layer, and wrap it up hoping it heals, and hope it doesn’t affect any of the bones. By January ’21, it’s surgery time, and my doctor wants to remove both, but in doing so I will lose half my foot, just to be certain. I don’t normally go against doctors recommendations, but I nix the left side being surgically removed, since I want to keep as much of my foot as I can. Pinky toe and ulcer there…OK…other side…NO!! Surgery goes fine, but I can’t work at a desk for the time being as he wants it to heal. Another FMLA with this same company that has a different name. Sigh. There goes my savings (what little I had). End of April ’21, the doctor finally released me to go back to work. Work asks what I want to do at this point (dejavu, anyone?). “Well, it’s been 4 months, I’m guessing you want me to retrain?” Nail on the head. OK, we’ll get you in the next remote training (since the job has switched to a full remote model). First week of May ’21, I’m logging into the room for training with the computer I’ve had. First day, going good…lots of getting to know everyone, making sure everyone understands how to log in…etc. On the 2nd day, for some reason I couldn’t log into the training servers…strange…but, no problem IT is on the case. Go to lunch, and get back to find out…I have the wrong computer. Remember that word I said would be important a couple of paragraphs ago…A Production computer is a computer for “doing” the job of taking the calls, I needed a Training computer which all new hires were sent, but nobody realized I didn’t (or did they). No problem, you’ll have to be in the next training, we’ll send you a training computer. Address the same, yup hasn’t changed in 12 years. Cool, we’ll send a tracking # once it’s sent.
Great, things are looking up. A week goes by, no deliveries. WTH? Check tracking #, it was sent back? HUH? Contact my contact, and supposedly UPS tried to deliver twice, and there was no answer. I never left my apartment, how’s that possible. These things happen. Let’s check the address, still the same as a week ago, and for the last 12 years. OK, we’ll send another. This time I checked the tracking # twice a day, made sure when it was “out for delivery” I was there waiting…again no knock or doorbell ring…not even a sticker notice of attempt. This happens for 2 days, and they send it back…AGAIN! I’m done with this BS, I contact my contact and tell them I’m done….send a shipping label so I may send the production computer back, so you don’t charge me. THAT delivery sent by UPS mail I get. WTF? I sent the computer back.
On the day I asked for a shipping label, I contacted UI and applied for benefits. Accepted, there is still a government subsidy, but only $300 now. Still, I’m making slightly over what I made working…and I don’t have to job search…but, I do since this will not last. 3 jobs a week, minimum. Sept ’21 ends the subsidy, but I put most of it into savings since I’m getting governmental help for rent/utilities to catch up on those.
From May to November ‘21, I applied for over 80 jobs.
November ’21, get offered a shipping and receiving job with a dealership (with one week left on my unemployment), since their long standing guy (2.5 years) is about to go on a FMLA due to a work related injury. They hired another guy 2 weeks before me, but he’s worked here before. coolness. First day, Tuesday (my schedule would be Tuesday to Saturday) a week before Thanksgiving. Job is 40++ most weeks…or so I’m told. By Friday…of my first week…there’s a problem. Parts Advisor for the mechanics has a bit of an attitude…seems parts are getting checked in, but aren’t being put where they’re supposed to go, and she gets snotty with the long standing guy for like the 100th time this week, which he doesn’t take her bs, and fires back. She goes and reports to the Parts Manager. From what I heard, the PM took the PA’s side, and my guy made the comment to the effect of “might as well throw myself down the stairs to start my FMLA early.” The PM says, “I can’t have you making threats to your health, you’re fired.” Great, just went from 3rd to 2nd in Shipping and Receiving…and I barely got any training.
The week of Thanksgiving, I came down with a cold. With Covid19 out there, I can’t take any chances. By Saturday, I’m feeling a lot better, but I still call in, and the PM wants a doctor’s note allowing me to return, and they have Covid19 tests just to make sure. Fine, I go to an (different) urgent care on Sunday, get my note, and plan to show up Monday to take the test so I may return to work on Tuesday. Monday, 9 AM, I get a call from the PM…”How are you doing?” “Much better, got the doctor’s note.” “So, what are your plans for today?” “Well, I was planning to show up after lunch to take that Covid Test.” “Could you show up NOW?” HUH? “What’s going on?” Seems the other guy was a no call/no show for the last 3 days, and isn’t answering his phone. Great, I just went from 2nd to the only one in Shipping and Receiving.
The job was pretty easy. Deliveries of dealership parts were dropped off overnight. You take an invoice off the box and the scanner, and check parts in. When the invoice matched the parts, you scanned the bar code and a sticker with info of the part and where it belonged would print. Then once that was done, put them where the sticker said they go. Easy peasy. You would think…remember that PA from 2 paragraphs ago…that parts problem is still happening, but now I have an idea on what’s going on. This has been an ongoing problem for awhile, they even had a rep from the company that programmed the scanner there to train and help get their tech support to fix problems. Nothing changed. Last day of December ’21, I got called into the PM’s office and told that since I was hired to fix the parts problem (????), and it’s still happening…I’m being let go. Wait…what…that’s not why I was hired. But, they’ve made up their minds, and will not listen to reason. I’m out.
With not enough hours worked to qualify for unemployment benefits.
Now, midway through December, I twisted my ankle, no big deal everyone does it. right? Go to my Podiatrist, and he puts an ankle brace on it. This causes another ulcer to my right foot, can I not catch a break and I’m unemployed again. There goes my savings…AGAIN. Sigh.
From January to June ‘22, I applied for over 350 jobs.
June ’22 got hired by another local Walmart, this time a regular grocery store as a Personal Shopper. A week later, my Podiatrist says he has to do surgery again, in a week, and I’ll be laid up for a while…again. Thing is I have government help again for rent/utilities that will end on the last day of September. But, this Walmart job, I’d been lied to at least twice that I know of..in the two weeks that I actually worked. Will not be going back.
September ’22 got hired by a Comcast “Partner” for what I thought would be a very easy job. Customers come to us for their service needs…cable/phone/internet etc. I hadn’t completely healed from June’s surgery. Driving 40 miles one way, and standing for 8 hours…I just made it worse, and my Podiatrist said I had to stop putting pressure on my foot/ankle or it would not heal properly. Most of October, I was not able to work, and if I wasn’t able to return by November 1st, I would need to resign. My doctor didn’t OK to return to work, so I had to resign. Though I was able to pay October/November rent with that job, my savings are now completely gone…again. There are no State or Federal programs to help anymore, and the only local church charity help I used for Novembers rent, can only be used once a year. For December’s rent I had to completely borrow from my own daughter. My Podiatrist is now saying that next month I need to have another surgery, and that will probably be another couple of months of healing with no chance to work.
From November ‘21 to present, I applied for over 120 jobs.
December ‘22, I get hired by the Office of the Secretary of State: Elections Department for signature checking of petitions. I was told that training was “most” of December…but, turns out is 5 days (most of December?), and it’s not 8 hours a day, but 4 (which they left out, when I asked about how long the training was). The job is ONLY if they get any petitions, which by this time I received an email…stating that since there was no petitions turned in, there will be no work this year with them.
If you’re been keeping count of the jobs applied for in the last 1.5 years, the total is over 430, with less than 20 converted into interviews. That’s less than 5%, and the government claims that there is 100s of thousands of jobs available, and 1.7 jobs for every unemployed person looking. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!
I’m in desperate need of financial help. Since I’m about to have surgery to my right foot (again), and will probably be unable to work for 5 to 6 months, to recover to full health. Also, I’m not able to receive unemployment, since I didn’t work the required hours of 640 in my state, since my last time receiving unemployment.
If you are willing to help…paypal.me/Elkazar. Please, I’m in desperate need of help.