Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Employment Update

A few of you have asked me for an update on my job/life situation since being terminated from job at the Missouri State Archives on June 30.  I very much appreciate your concern. Not many people are asking. I understand that folks are being very kind and not pressuring me with questions.
Things are pretty much status quo

I got hired at the Schnucks grocery store in early August.  I’ve now been working in the Schnucks Deli Dept. for about 3 weeks. They're working my butt off about 38 hours/week.  I like the work, but it sure is physically exhausting.  I'm getting a bit better and a bit faster.  I wish the managers could see how well I work with our customers.  I'm making about $250/week, compared to the $2800/month I used to make.  Obviously, finances are a big concern. 

Here’s a bit of good news about the Schnucks job: I generally work 7am to about 3pm.  It forces me to get up, shower, and go out into the world 5 days a week.  (Church takes Sunday.)  So I’m too busy and too exhausted to drop back into that Slough of Despond that took over my life in April and again in July.  I think it’s pretty funny that I’m too tired to be depressed.  LOL!

I filed my application with Central MO Community Action last week to be a Community Organizer. (More about that at http://showmeaction.org/services/community-organizing.)  I don’t know how long they'll take to begin the interview process, but they invited me to apply, I think my application is strong, and I'm optimistic. I think this is the job I really want. 

I also applied for the City Clerk position here in Jefferson City a while back.  They told me to report for a written exam last Friday.  When I got into the room, there were 41 people.  I thought surely they must be applying for various city jobs.  But, no.  I learned from the HR woman in charge that these were the 41 people culled from over 100 applicants for the Clerk's job.  I got my test results a couple of days ago.  I scored 94% and am now moving into the next round.  It will probably be a couple of weeks before the “hiring committee” begins to schedule interviews.

I've applied for a lot of other menial full-time jobs, but haven't  heard back from any of them. 

My state retirement income won't kick in until the end of September, since I had no notice that the SOS was going to fire me.  That will give me a little more income each month. I am learning to make each penny scream before I spend it.  :-) 

I filed for unemployment, but the Secretary of State office protested it, so I haven't gotten a penny there.  I have filed an appeal, and will have a hearing at some point, probably within the next month.  The State Unemployment process/bureaucracy is a nightmare. I hope you never have to go through it. 

I think that's all I have to report. 

Many thanks to all of you who are sending me prayers and good wishes, 

After the Firing: The Unemployment Shag

After I was fired on June 30, I licked my wounds for a few days.  Then I went to State Retirement System.  I had been eligible for full retirement for a couple of years, but I had no desire to retire.  I had a marvelous meeting with the MOSERS retirement counselor which went for a couple of hours.  She was marvelous  She told me that I then needed to go to the state health insurance people (MCHCP).  I went there, and again had a marvelous counselor who walked me through the options.

They told me that I then needed to go to the State Unemployment Office.  I went there.  I presented myself to the person at the reception desk.  I was curtly informed that one cannot meet with a person.  He gave me a brochure and told me I had to file my unemployment claim online.  There is no way to sit down with a human being and figure out how to work one’s way through the system.

I went home and logged onto the online Unemployment system.  It is a user–vicious system.  I have everything short of a PhD.  But I couldn’t get past the fifth screen.  No matter what I entered, it gave me error messages.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t enter the correct data to get past those error messages.  Fortunately, my sister was here, and she didn’t feel the stress I felt.  She was able to help me navigate the Unemployment enrollment.

But what would you do if you didn’t have access to a computer?  Or if you didn’t have a calm sister to help you navigate that system?

What would you do if you had to find your way to someplace like our public library but didn’t know how to navigate that system?

What if you had to rely on public transportation and couldn’t get to the public library when it is open?

I have become convinced that the Unemployment System is designed to keep people from getting their Unemployment benefits.

And, by the way, if you manage to sign up for Unemployment, you must sign in again every week to prove you have been searching for a job.  So you have to get yourself to a computer every week, navigate the user–vicious system, and make your claim.  Good luck with that, if you don’t have computer skills and reliable transportation.

I haven’t been able to do it.  Once I started working part –time, the system has rejected my claims. 

If I can’t navigate this system, how in the world will others do it???


Poverty Blog: Pharmacy Benefits

Upon realizing that I had lost my health insurance and pharmacy benefits after June 30, I called my local pharmacy to see what the drugs would cost me without insurance.  The results were shocking.  I reeled!

In the past, I had paid $8 for 30 day prescriptions, and $24 for 90 day prescriptions. 

Here are the figures they gave me for the cost without insurance:

* Clonazepam is the drug that helps control my “essential tremors” disorder. It keeps my hands from jumping around like the old “Mexican beans.”  I need it to function in the world.  Cost with insurance for 30 days: $8. Cost without insurance: $28.58.
* Lisinopril keeps my carotid artery clear after my surgery in 2015.  With insurance  for 30 days: $3.  Without insurance: $49.40.
* Effexor: The antidepressant I desperately need, having lost my job and facing an uncertain future.  With insurance for 90 days: $24.  Without insurance: $356.17.  Needless to say, I decided I couldn’t afford this prescription that I most needed.
* Prilosec: A digestive drug that helps me.  With insurance for 30 days: $8.  Without insurance: $227.96.
* Prevachol: Helps with cholesterol.  With insurance for 90 days: $24.  Without insurance: $437.55.

As you may imagine, I decided I couldn’t afford any of these prescriptions.  I saw my life and health crashing around me.

But here’s a weird thing.  I’ve used the same locally owned pharmacy almost since I moved to Jefferson City.  The first time I called them to renew a prescription was to ask for the Clonazepam.  I explained that I had lost my job and was without insurance.  The pharmacist said, “Let me check the lowest cash price.”  And the price was $7.64.  Not the $28.58 they had initially quoted.  Not even the $8 that I paid with insurance. 

Next I needed to refill the Prilosec, which was supposedly going to be $227.96.  When they checked the “lowest cash price,” they gave it to me for $11.38.

Fortunately, I got my insurance reinstated before I had to refill any of the other prescriptions, but they are all now back to where they were before.

Where is the justice in this?  As a person with insurance, I had very affordable prescriptions.  Having lost my job and my insurance, I was quoted utterly unaffordable insurance.  But then, perhaps because I’m a longtime customer, a pharmacist happened to check the “lowest cash price,” and some of them were even lower than what I had paid with insurance. 

This was just one of the things that made me realize how very privileged I am.  If I were a person who had never been insured …. and if I didn’t have a longstanding relationship with this pharmacy, would they have told me that there is such a thing as a “lowest cash price”?  I suspect not.  I suspect that if I were an ordinary poor and uninsured person, I would have dropped all my prescriptions.  And my health would have declined dramatically.

I am so lucky.  And the poor and unconnected are so deprived by our medical/pharmaceutical system!



Many of you know that I lost my job on June 30. I was late that day.  The administration called me into a conference room shortly after I arrived.  They presented me with two letters.  One was a letter they had already signed, firing me.  The other, which they had already prepared, was my letter of resignation, effective immediately.  Because suicide hurts less than murder, and because of my pride, I signed the letter of resignation.

Life has been a bit crazy in these 2 months since I lost my job.  A job I had held for nearly 18 years, and in which I had excelled.

It strikes me as rather odd that they decided to fire me because I was late to work one too many times. Yes, that was the cause.

I am going to try to blog a bit more as I face serious poverty.