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Pay It Forward

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some days, it feels like I'm taking one step forward and two steps back.

I'll start with the good news.

As many of you know, a couple of weeks ago I found a Fitbit on the ground while out walking. Debated about what to do, but after talking with some Spark Buddies, decided to see if I could find the owner. A week later, yes, I found Liz. Happy endings for everyone. Liz got her Fitbit back and I got a $15 gift card as a reward. So, my good deed for the week (paying it forward) was to return the Fitbit.

Well, a Spark Buddy (who has requested anonymity) thought they would "pay it forward" to me. How ? Yesterday, I received a brand new Fitbit One of my own !

Long story... so, this is the abridged edition. a Spark Buddy had an accident with her Fitbit. She knew it was her fault, but decided to contact Fitbit to see if there was a way to replace her unit. They agreed replace the damaged one and sent her a new Fitbit. At some point, the package went missing and Fitbit sent her a second one. However, the first Fitbit eventually showed up at her door and Fitbit says to just return one. What happened next ? She contacts customer service, tells them what I did for Liz and asks if she can give ME the second Fitbit. What do they say ? YES !!

So, I now have my very OWN Fitbit One !! I can't tell you what a kind and considerate gesture that was on my spark buddy's part and Fitbit's !! I haven't hooked it up yet. Will do that this week though.

I was truly touched and just at a loss for words for such a kindness ! There really are some pretty wonderful people here on Spark !

That's my good news. What's my not as good news ? My unemployment benefits are on hold for two weeks. Technically, my claim is being reviewed.

As you know, I took a two week "temp" job to one, make some real money and two, enhance my resume. Well, I knew I'd lose my benefits while I worked. That was fine. What I didn't know was how difficult it was going to be to RE-OPEN my claim !!

Last Tuesday, I spent over an hour waiting on hold to finally talk to an agent. Told the agent that I only worked for two weeks and that I wasn't offered further work beyond being "on call". On call status meant that I only worked when they needed me. Could be a day here or a couple of days there. Turns out I needed some sort of paper from the university indicating that my job was only two weeks and I was in effect laid off again.

Mind you, when I called, I hadn't even been paid by the university yet. That's why the information wasn't in their records. So, at the time, I gave them the address of HR for the university. They are supposed to contact them for whatever information they need to re-open my claim. In the mean time, I can't receive any benefits until my status at the university has been settled. That's why I have to wait two weeks. I have to wait to see IF they are going to allow my claim to be re-opened.

So yes, I could lose my unemployment benefits because I decided to take a two week temp job. I'm telling ya, they do NOT make this easy. Hopefully, the university will tell them what they need to know and I can get back my benefits. If not, it means I'm going to have to find something fast. I don't want to have to work for $8 an hour, but if I can't get back on unemployment, I might have to in order to pay the bills.

Now, the news isn't totally grim. On Friday, I was contacted by an IT staffing agency who saw my resume on a job board. Talked to their HR person about a contract job that is open that I might be suitable for. Well, I agreed to let this agency present my resume to the company. So, on Monday, I will hear back on whether or not I get called in for an interview for that job. It's a contract to hire position. I didn't quite have all the things this company was looking for, but because I have lots of other skills, they could give me a chance.

Let's keep all our fingers crossed. The job search (as many of you know) hasn't been easy these last few months. I knew UI would run out eventually, I hadn't planned on being "screwed" so early. Mind you, I haven't lost my benefits yet. But still a person shouldn't be PENALIZED for taking a two week temp job !!

Oh, so if the unemployment numbers go down in your state, it might not be because people are getting jobs. It could be a result of people being kicked off UI because of RED TAPE !!

Staying calm, trying to stay calm. But yes, did a little stress eating earlier. feel slightly better now.

PS - a friend talked me off the ledge. He said a two week wait to reopen UI benefits was perfectly normal. still, I loathe red tape !
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • ZAHRA35
    Wow! I don't know what I would have done if I found a fitbit on the ground! If I couldn't find the owner, I would probably keep it or give it away to someone who could really use it. You're an angel!
    2269 days ago
    Love the fitbit story! It all turned out so well, and that was so nice of your Sparkfriend and fitbit to get you that One! Maybe once you get it up and running, we can be fitbit friends?

    And that SUCKS about the UI! I hate red tape too, and it must be so frustrating to be in the middle of it like that. I've always been suspicious of the unemployment numbers anyway, seems like there are too many ways to juke those stats!

    Hope the new offer comes your way, and you can forget having to deal with the UI!
    2274 days ago
    First of all, whoever that Spark Friend is you are awesome! I thought about buying you one too, but that would probably be weird. The unemployment benefits can be a real struggle. My husband will get to reopen his claim in May because of the way they do things here. We have had to trim down a bit, but we are enjoying this time together a lot because I get to see him more often. Anyway, you hang in there. Have you ever thought of doing private personal training? You have enough experience. Just a thought.
    2275 days ago
    Great story and ending on the fitbit saga. You deserved it.

    Too bad on the other issues. Big govt. and red tape is going to bring everyone down if it is not put under control. They don't listen to commons sense ideas to help people get back to work, they just want numbers and confused constituents.
    2275 days ago
    What a great FitBit story! Glad to hear that you have some good news and an act of kindness to lighten the ordeal with the red tape madness.
    2275 days ago
    It's AWESOME to have such a GREAT SparkBuddy! It's also AWESOME that FitBit let you keep the "extra" one. I'm sorry about your unemployment annoyances. I think that's why I never took temp jobs after the first time that happened to me. The red tape is a pain in the butt!

    Keep us posted on your FitBit endeavors!!!
    2275 days ago
    First off...what an incredible story about the Fitbit! What a wonderful thing to have happen! I think it is because you are a very special and wonderful is your Spark Friend.

    Secondly....I hate red tape too! I am so sorry that you are going through all of this. YUCK! My guess is that it will get all sorted out but boy do I know the feeling of nerves in the mean time. I am glad your friend talked you through have some good friends lady!
    2275 days ago
    What a beautiful story about the Fitbit, your Spark Buddy, and the company. That would make some great publicity for them. You have handled this unemployment with so much equilibrium that you amaze me. I would be so shakin' in my shoes now. You are something, kiddo! Hope you get the interview so you can see if it's even a good fit. Hugs, Calen~
    2275 days ago
    The Fitbit story is just great! As for the employment thing, I empathize. Best of luck with the recruiter. Something will workout soon.
    2275 days ago
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    2276 days ago
    What an amazing gesture...
    I hope everything will be good with the job and you won't even need the unemployment benefits emoticon
    2276 days ago
    What a wonderful Spark Friend to "pay it forward" with such a wonderful gift! I am amazed always at the people here on Spark- they are truly some of the best in the community! I am, however, bummed to hear about the red tape unemployment hassle! That is soooooo terrible! Seriously?!?! I hope it gets worked out in your favor!
    2276 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    So nice to see someone rewarded for kindness, sure wish the rest could be resolved too. Take good care. emoticon Jackie
    2276 days ago
    Ugh. It sucks that they make it so difficult for you to get the benefits to which you're entitled. The worst thing about all of these programs is that there is no benefit whatsoever to being responsible and doing better. UI, take a job, get penalized. On foodstamps, make too much, cut off instantly (you try losing $600+ income a month and see if that doesn't make a difference.) Make too much, lose your insurance.

    There's no transition, no benefit to doing better, so people get stuck. Easier to work less and make more in benefits than to work more and be cut off and thrown out to the wolves.

    And you deserve that little bit of kindness. :) Use your Fitbit well! You earned it!
    2276 days ago
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