Murphy Was An Optimist

This year, if it can go wrong, it WILL go wrong.

Last week, I mentioned that I'd forgotten that I had an appointment for career counseling for dislocated workers. Apparently, I qualified for this due to the nature I lost my job. (It's a whole 'nother story about how that employer appealed my unemployment, but the one that I quit hasn't)

Anyway, I called the agency as soon as I realized I'd forgotten my appointment and was passed on to someone's voice mail. I gave my name and phone number and apologized that I had the date wrong-could I please reschedule. A case worker, Steve, called me back, my phone didn't ring, but I got a message from him, telling me that he'd rescheduled me for 10am the next morning.

The letter telling me to come for Career Counseling instructed me to arrive up to an hour before my appointment, so that I would have time to fill out paperwork. Most of the time, they allow time for you to read documents. I read fast. Thus, I arrived at 9:35 for my 10am appointment.

This *lovely* woman, Margaret, was at the front desk. I state my name and that I'm here to see Steve for Career Counseling. She barked at me "He doesn't work in THAT department! That's Jessica's job" with a tone that implied that I was a moron. (Um, I don't work here, you do. I don't know who does what-I just know who called me).

I say, I'm sorry, but Steve left a message for me yesterday. "NO, HE DOESN'T DOOOO THAT. Jessica does and SHE'", nearly spitting out those last three words. I don't know why the vitriol is coming my way, but she's equal opportunity, answering the phone with the same pissy tone.

"Jessica's in Winter Haven at training today," without any offer to take a message or have me meet with someone else. Again, I say, "Well Steve called me, so I probably should see him. "You must mean Steve A, but he doesn't DO that." Clearly, she thinks I am lying and dismisses me. Um, I'm here for an appointment, don't skip to the next person yet.

She rolls her eyes, making a show of looking up stuff and shuffling papers. It was a bad acting job, I can tell she's not doing squat. So, I whip out the cell phone, since she doesn't believe me. I punch in my voice mail and put it onto speaker phone. She and the other four people waiting in line hear it.

Voice Mail lady: Message Received at 4:25pm, Wednesday, October 1st, then:
"Hi Suzanne, this is Steve at ***agency. I got your message. You can come in tomorrow at 10am and we'll do your testing then. If you have any questions, call me back at ***agency. Thanks." [No last name here, should have been a clue]

She recognizes the voice as Steve A and now looks him up. "He's in training in Winter Haven today, too." I asked why would he make an appointment late in the day Wednesday, for the next morning if he knew he was going to be out of the office.

"I don't know." No offer to take a message, or call anyone else that works in that department to assist me, nothing. I'm a little ticked that I came halfway across town to do this and I didn't dress for going out job hunting-I'm in jeans and a dress shirt, not dress pants. It's a wasted trip. This woman turns away from me and helps the next person, who frankly is quite shocked at her behavior.

I get out into the car, call the agency's number and ask to speak to Steve A and get directed to his voice mail. I leave a message "Hi Steve, this is Suzanne. I had an appointment with you at 10am, it's now 9:45 and I've been told you're not in the office today. I'd really like to reschedule as soon as possible. Please call me."

Later in the afternoon, on the off chance that it was a half day training session, I leave another message. I figured Murphy would intervene at 9:05 Friday morning as I was walking out the door for the day at Epcot, but nope, nothing.

Today, I was on my way over to my credit union when I figure I should follow up with Steve A. This time, I get connected to someone else's voice mail. I call back and the woman who was manning the desk today apologized, clearly embarrassed. I get Steve A's voice mail and leave a message saying I'm sorry to be a pain, but I hadn't heard back from him and I'd like to get the ball rolling on the dislocated worker program.

I head into Disney Casting and he called back in the few minutes I was there. I call him back and he tells me "You didn't have an appointment with me-I'm not the only Steve here. There's a Steve C in the department you want, a Steve in another department and I think there's another Steve in Winter Haven." He says it's likely that I wanted Steve C. I express my concern that the *lovely* lady didn't relay this information and what transpired. He said "I know who you're talking about, and I am not surprised."


Next up, I call back to ***agency (He apologized that he was not at his desk and thus couldn't transfer me to Steve C.). I am put through to Steve C and I introduce myself and tell him the tale of Thursday morning, nasty receptionist and all. He says he's not the guy I'm supposed to meet, then he starts saying "Oh my God, oh my God." He then tells me "Yes, I *did* have an appointment with you!"

"You thought I blew you off, didn't you?" my stomach is in a knot.

"Yes, I waited up front until 10:15, then I immediately reported you to Unemployment as a no show. I'm so sorry." He thinks for a moment "Can you come in tomorrow morning?"

"Yes, just tell me when. Can we fix this?" I'm appealing my unemployment because I haven't seen a dime from them in two months and now they think I'm a deadbeat who blew off my appointment.

"If you come in tomorrow morning, I'll make sure we get this straightened out." He says the scenario that I told him about the receptionist sounds about right. Apparently, I am not the first person to complain of this. You'd think that they'd keep her far, far away from the front desk. She's screwing with people's ability to get unemployment or job training.

2008 has royally sucked. Murphy has it in for me. Lost my house, lost my job, haven't made any money in eight weeks and when I go to potentially get retraining, everything screws with me actually getting into ***agency.

All I can say is that the same receptionist better not be there when I show up in the morning. I'll replay the voice mail and ask her how many Bobs are employed in that office and why she didn't bother to check with the one who actually works in the department I said I had an appointment with.

After all this crap, do you think maybe, just maybe, I might catch a break?


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