I marked my six-month “can-iversary” in Atlantic City gambling a portion of my last unemployment payment.
My position was eliminated on November 1, 2013 after 14 successful years with the same organization. Since my claim was delayed, I hadn’t even received my first unemployment check from the state of New Jersey when the federal extended unemployment benefits were discontinued on December 28, 2013 which meant that I would only be able to collect for six months.
There’s a certain irony in losing something you never had.
Of course I was hopeful that I would be again employed by then. However, that day I made a pact with myself that if I were still in career transition when my state unemployment expired I’d take a gamble.
My biological clock was no comparison to the ticking down of my unemployment benefits. My 26-week unemployment countdown bonged like Big Ben.
I thought about contacting my district’s Congressman to offer my services as the poster child of the qualified job seeker who is ready and willing to land a new career opportunity.
I decided to take other and more interesting measures to bring attention to the plight of millions of qualified and ambitious unemployed Americans.
Take a gamble and write a blog about it.
Congress was back in session at the six-month mark of my job hunt. As I drove to the casino, I was hopeful there would be action to renew federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Legislation was passed in the Senate prior to recess and as I walked into the casino it was pending in the House. I checked CNN prior to laying my money down to make sure there was no news on when or if there would be a House vote.
Truth be told, I’m not a gambler.
I wanted to see what it was like to play games of chance for money. I was up for an adventure and was willing to take risky action in the hope of a desired result. I wanted to experience a version of the phrase “desperate times call for desperate measures.”
I put on my best poker face, executed my strategy, and was willing to let the chips fall where they may.
Gambling a portion of my last unemployment check is a far cry from being a high roller. Truth is, I gambled what amounted to a roundtrip train ticket to New York City and a specialty coffee and lunch at Starbucks. Still, it was a gamble. The train ride, coffee, and lunch would have at least been a sure thing.
Nonetheless I drew a crowd with my cavalier demeanor and my piles of chips. I took others’ hunches with a grain of salt. I trusted my instincts and followed my gut.
I walked away from the table all the richer.
Baby doesn’t need a new pair of shoes. Mommy does.
I will be reinvesting in America’s economy by buying a new interview suit to match my pumps.
I’ve been working and paying taxes since I was a tween. As a papergirl, I’d sling the canvas bag filled with the Courier-News over my shoulder and ride my bike through the neighborhood to hand deliver the newspaper.
I’ve been paying into the unemployment insurance fund far more than I’ve received in benefits. I’d much rather be working. And I’d risk a guess that I’m not alone on the former or the latter.
I have a wealth of experience, a great education, a prestigious certification, transferrable skills, and glowing references. Yet I find myself in career transition and continue to play the hand I’ve been dealt.
As I drove home I sang along to “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.”
The song’s lyrics offer sage advice for gambling and life.
I may be out of aces, but I’m optimistic that I won’t be for long.