Monday, February 28, 2011

publicly assisted 2: electric boogaloo

I got a little lucky last week.  On Thursday, I (finally) saw my job counselor and job developer.  Since those titles are very confusing, I'll expound:  the job counselor helps with "life problems":  childcare, health issues, etc.  The job developer actually helps in your job search, one-on-one.  So I got to see my job counselor the other day, mainly because I wanted to ask about emergency Medicaid and emergency food stamps.  I wanted the Medicaid so I could get Januvia right away (more about this in a moment), and the food stamps so we could begin conserving our limited amount of cash.  No go on either, but the counselor was so impressed with my resume and my person that she grabbed my developer and I got to spend a few minutes with her.

The developer said that I ought to focus a little more on a career and not just on a job.  She said I should shoot for a creative company where I can learn and move up.  She's very sold on Google.

Later that say, I was grabbed by a second job developer, although each person is only supposed to have one.

Let me back up and explain about FEGS:  FEGS is a Jewish non-profit that has a number of programs, including a career development program called Connect to Care.  Barry's gone there some for job-hunting and resume workshops. I went to their orientation before we got into the public assistance stuff.  FEGS also administers (for the NYC Human Resources Administration, the HRA) the Back to Work program we're attending as part of the public assistance process.

So this second job developer works two days at BTW and three days at CTC, and basically wanted to hijack me, at least in part, to CTC.  (Let me be super-nice about this:  BTW is geared to less skilled, often blue-collar folk, and CTC is a lot more white-collar.)  So Ms. Garber "calendared" me for "independent job search" on Friday and I went to see her at CTC. 

CTC is way closer to where I live, nothing close to the overcrowding they have at BTW, and a lot more civilized overall.  Ms. Garber signed me up for seven software classes at CTC in March (she assured me they were much better than the ones at BTW), and will see me again at BTW tomorrow afternoon.

Januvia:  my doctor recently took me off of one of my diabetic meds, Metformin, since it seemed to be causing "elevated liver enzyme readings."  Unfortunately, the replacement, Januvia, costs over $200 a month, even with our pharmacy insurance  The pharmacy insurance, which runs us $55 a month, makes our generics very cheap, and is all of the health insurance we have.  My dad, in fact, sent me a check for $250 for the Januvia, but I am embarrassed to say that we had to spend it on rent.

My doctor didn't like the idea of my going without Januvia, but said that for the time being, I should be careful with diet and monitoring.  I being being OK but not great with diet and monitoring, and the weekend I was at Jannah's, I started to have dreadful foot pain.  This basically scared the shit out of me.  (It was partly because I've been in the habit of creaming and massaging my feet nightly, and I missed a couple of days, plus I was walking quite a big with a heavy overnight bag.)

So I put myself on a *really* strict diet and doing more testing, and finally got my numbers where they should be, plus I lost several pounds.  The reason I wanted Medicaid right away (we're due to get it through our regular application in about a month) is I wanted to start right away seeing my doctor once a month, my podiatrist once a month, and getting an eye checkup and getting the Januvia etc etc. 

Apparently there's no emergency Medicaid unless you end up in the emergency room, so I contacted Merck, which does indeed have a problem to supply meds if you can't afford them.  I'm seeing the doctor today and I'll have him complete his portion of the application.  My doctor is good about waiting for his money (plus he only charges $40 for a visit with no insurance coverage).

Another mitzvah (Yiddish for good deed) -- my wife-in-law Harriet had a pile of test strips and lancets that she got for free, and sent them to me -- nearly a years' supply.  (Those test strips cost a mint.)  They don't fit the meter I have now, but luckily, I found an online deal to get the correct meter for free.

Right before I got the materials from Harriet, I had reordered strips for my current meter from an online place where I'd bought my last meter -- I'd particularly chosen a meter that takes relatively inexpensive strips ($18 for 50, as opposed to the $40-60 per 50 that others cost).  I had run out of strips pretty suddenly, since I'd been testing a lot more, and had to have them overnighted at a truly stupid cost.  So they arrived...except instead of a box of 50 strips, they sent me a whole new starter unit, which includes 10 strips.  I sent a scathing e-mail, and told them that they WOULD overnight me the proper order at no cost to me, and if they wanted the starter pack back, they had to send me a prepaid mailer, but what I would prefer is that they let me keep the starter kit so I could use the ten strips there until the new ones arrived.  The squeaky wheel got her way.

We have our "home visit" today, which I understand is simply a formality and they just glance into the apartment.  But it excuses us for the whole day, which is why I'm seeing the doctor later.  I used my excused time on Friday (Ms. Garber only kept me 20 minutes) applying for jobs from home.  Then I had a call from another developer at FEGS who wanted me to interview tomorrow morning for one of two HR jobs at Luna Park in Coney Island.  I'm a little underqualified for one (it involves a lot of accounting), and the other pays crap ($12-14 an hour), but I'm taking the interview anyway.  After all...well, I guess we know how I feel about Coney Island.  And I do indeed love the new Luna Park, although I'm having my doubts about what Zamperla's doing with some of the other spaces it's developing.

I've now applied to Google, of course, and also to a few more universities.  I'm still looking at Craigslist but I'm being a little pickier; I'm actually looking for a job I'd like to keep.  Also, I've taken the advice of my classroom instructor, the wonderful Ms. Munchez, and have been writing much peppier cover letters (I had been using a very formal letter which was essential a form letter tinkered for each instance).

I also seem to have volunteered myself to edit Rafael's novel.  I will certainly start, and then see how much work it is and how much time it will take, since I hope I'll be employed before it's done.

I'm certainly feeling less depressed and more hopeful...honestly, I was feeling a bit like a sheep after a couple of weeks at BTW.

Well, on to job-hunting!

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