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Ways to Irritate Employees of The Unemployment Office

Updated on July 17, 2014

The Unemployment Office: You best be prepared


Unemployment Office worker may smile now, but he can be all business


Go with me back to 1973

The employees of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the I.R.S., are considered fearsome, but there is another government agency whose employees can also fit that description. This agency is The Employment Office, and I sincerely hope that none of you ever have to visit this place.

Stay employed no matter if you have “the” dirtiest, most-underrated, low-paying job ever. And dear friend, if it takes kissing the boss’ cheek (face) everyday, do it. Stay in the workforce. I am going to tell you why.

I will keep this brief, so pay close attention. In 1973 or “the old days,” the time before the internet, cell phones, and speed-dating, I was terminated from a company who by today’s labor standards, could be shut down for running a “sweat shop,” or even worse, operating a legal slavery operation. It was beyond awful to go into work at this place.

You will be interviewed in a stuffy office


Early days of employment and unemployment


Working in a company who exercises abuse is not easy

I give the company credit for not discriminating against any races. This “ol boy” company didn’t give a rip what color you were, because you were mentally- abused, falsely-accused, and openly-ridiculed with everyone else. The only way to keep your job was to keep your mouth shut—no matter how rough the bosses treated you and learn to do the work of two people and get paid for one. And this was in 1973.

It was like a living, breathing, human carousel—turning and turning five days a week, hiring and firing employees like picking-off ducks from a blind and what employees were not fired for no reason, quit because they just couldn’t kiss any more butt or swallow any more crap. Human beings “do” have limits.

When I, along with my friend, Jimmy Jackson, were let-go (Thank you, Father), I thought that the rough days and people were things of my past. The next day I learned just how wrong I could be, because this was the day that I was to report to the Unemployment Office to apply for my unemployment benefits.

You’d think this was a simple matter of just going into the office, signing-in, sitting down, looking at some “Unemployment Weekly,” magazines with washed-up celebrities on the cover and then be called to talk to a professional person about why I was without a job and how much I would get by way of benefits.

The dreaded unemployment line


Heinrich Himmler


Billy Burke, "Good With of The North"


You need to be prepared if you are to visit the Unemployment Office


The Unemployment Office was even around in the prosperous days of America


Free Advice

is always useful, and so does this apply to the suggestions in this hub.

Yes, it is in fun and yes, most of my ideas can and will cause laughter on several levels and to me, that is what life is about--making others feel good.

Honestly, I can recall the look on this "Helga's" face as she looked at me as she interviewed me for my unemployment benefits. Scary is all I want to say.

But that was eons ago. Today, I am assuming that personnel and policies of the Unemployment Office have hopefully changed . . .but if you do get an opportunity to use these ideas, do it, and if they get a smile or a laugh, then you will leave the Unemployment Office a happier person.

Thanks for reading this hub, Kenneth

My first visit to the Unemployment Office: A living nightmare

Not true. Not by a country mile. It was in my first visit with these employment “experts,” I got my first taste of government “red tape,” mixed with some good old-fashioned bureaucracy.

“Yumm—eeee, tastes just like the real thing.” I was actually happy for one of these people to talk to me. I kept telling myself (not out loud) that my government cares for me. I might as well be saying, “I wanna go home,” and click my heels together, but I never owned any ruby slippers, but I did know that magic didn’t happen when people just wore sneakers out in public.

No Good Witch of the North. No Billy Burke, the actress who “did” play this key role in the Wizard of Oz. Why is there no magic in real life? I would pay someone to answer this question.

I met a woman, I didn’t want to remember her name, and she looked like she really didn’t want to see me or anyone else of the human race. With a frown and a series of short answers, I didn’t know if I was being convicted of a crime or being suited-up for deportation. For just being terminated from a job that would make Heinrich Himmler, the second most-powerful man behind Adolph Hitler cringe. At one point, I even wondered if Himmler wasn’t her ancestor.

She glared over her bi-focals and briskly took a blank application and began to ask me a series of questions and below is only a sample:

“Helga”: “So, Mr. Avery, why are you here?”

Me: “I had an appointment to talk to someone about my unemployment benefits.”

“Helga”: “Unemployment benefits?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

“Helga”: “This is the EMPLOYMENT service.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, and the UNEMPLOYMENT service the lady I talked to on the phone told me.”

“Helga”: “Woman?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. She sounded a lot like a woman.”

“Helga”: “Oh, unemployment. I see. So you are unemployed?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. As of three days ago.”

“Helga”: “Why did you quit your last job?”

Me: “I never quit. I was terminated, ma’am.”

“Helga”: “Okay. Why did you terminate your last job?”

(at this point I was thinking this was a bad practical joke that was being played on me.)

Me: “Ma’am, I did not terminate any job. I was terminated. Let-go.”

“Helga”: “Let-go, hmmmm, well, let’s check and see if you have paid in all of your quarters.”

(she gazes at some paperwork while humming some song that I couldn’t identify. Probably the music played when the SS troops marched before Hitler on any given day.)

“You need to be somewhere?”

(I look behind me to see if she is talking to someone else.)

Me: “No, ma’am.”

“Helga”: “Hmmm, (sucks teeth) well, uhh, okay then.”

(looks at me over her bi-focals again.)

Me: “Okay what?”

“Helga”: “You were terminated. And you have paid in your quarters.”

Me: “Ma’am, this is a first for me. Just what are ‘quarters’?”

“Helga”: “Uhh, (sucks teeth) that simply means you have enough funds to draw an unemployment check weekly. Now I need to ask you do you really want to draw that check?”

Me: “Well, yes, ma’am. I have a car payment to make and other items to take care of.”

“Helga”: “Yes or no. That’s all I need.”

Me: “Yes.”

“Helga”: (sucks teeth, jostles papers), okay, Mr. Kavery, uh, what kind of name is Kavery?”

Me: “Ma’am, are you saying . . .”CAVE-RIE?”

“Helga”: “Oops, I am sorry. I mean, Kenneth Austin.”

Me: “My name is Kenneth Avery. Austin is my middle name.”

“Helga”: “Why is Austin on your file?”

Me: “Ma’am, it asked for my middle initial or name.”

“Helga”: “Oh, okay. Well, (sucks teeth) expect your first check by next calendar date of next Tuesday.”

Me: “Thank you, uhhh, I never got your name . . .”

“Helga”: “Helena.”

That’s when I left there and didn’t look back.

How did you feel about having to apply for unemployment benefits?

See results

The young man is jobless and "easy prey" for the older man, an Unemployment Office rep


I wish I could go back in time

Now if I had been doing now at that time in my life, “Helena,” would have been the one on the other end of the “Frustration Stick,” for to me, there is no use or need for any employee of any agency of the Federal or State government being so bland and so lifeless. Is my honesty here “the best policy?”

These are the results of my own mischievousness. And I call them . . .

“Ways to Irritate Employees of The Unemployment Office”

This is a new employee at the Unemployment Office--see her pleasant look?


My suggestions will help eliminate stress in the Unemployment Office


Yes, it can be rough, but my ideas will revive people like this and you

  • Every four seconds lick your tongue in and out. This will drive the person interviewing you to border-line nuts.
  • Have a small day planner in your shirt pocket and with each question you are asked, whip out the day planner and act as if you are having to check for the answer.
  • Ask the unemployment rep if you name sounds musical. Then say your name with “a” certain lilt for emphasis.
  • Hum the American standard, “Over There,” softly as you go through your interview—and if the person interviewing you snaps with anger and asks, “Do you have to do that?” You answer, “You bet. I’m proud to be an American!”
  • One question you might ask is, “You work-out often?” This will cause this government employee to dwell on their physical fitness long after you leave.
  • If you have to state your name, do it this way: “My name is Kenneth Austin Avery, and I do not date.” It will sharpen-up the unemployment employee’s job performance instantly.
  • Another question you might ask is, “Do you happen to have the number of the nearest dance studio? I am interested in taking some tap lessons.”
  • At just the right time, go right in to your Patrick Warburton, (“Jeff,” on now-canceled, ‘Rules of Engagement.’)
  • After a series of serious questions, confront the unemployment rep by asking, “Have you ever been The Employee of The Month?”
  • At some point, the interviewer is sure to ask, “Now, have you tried to seek employment at other places in your area?” You smile and say, “Of course. I interviewed with Galaxy Steel, they had a vice-president to be fired. I applied with Midvale High School for the English teacher opening and my “crowning achievement,”: I dropped by Jim’s Apples, the stand on the corner of Main and Franklin, and applied for the position of his “apple polisher.”
  • Stare intently at the person asking you the questions, then duck to the floor as if you are dodging a projectile.
  • And if you do these things, you will most-definitely hear this question: “Have you ever considered mental therapy?” You think for a moment and then reply, “No. Are they hiring?”

Coming soon . . .”Why “I” Would Have Been Dishonorably-Discharged From The Marines”

This Unemployment Office employee could use a few good laughs



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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Oct. 4


      I apologize for being so slow in responding. (I sound like the Unemployment Office). Yahoo Mail is not loading mail and I did not get your great comment. I am sorry.

      You pose a great point. Frequent users of this service know the ins and outs, but like you, the first-timers like I was, it is mind-boggling. Maybe I need to write a lengthy, scathing letter to Pres. Obama, eh? Reckon he could help?

      Someone needs to

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 

      4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      Hi Kenneth. I went through this for the first time in my 42-year work life in 2012 after being let go, so I appreciated that, other than computerization, not much has changed. First-timers seem to irritate the staff because we have absolutely no idea what the hell is going on. But even the frequently unemployed have to endure the constantly changing rules tweaked by state and federal mandates. Enjoyed your article very much despite the fact that it appears some things don't change. The only thing I could add is: I'm glad I don't have a job at the unemployment office.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sangre,

      You are so right. I wish there had been a HubPages when these events happened to me so I could have exposed how aggravating they could be and how it made me feel.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your input so much. No the lady did not have a tape recorder. She looked lethargic and needed sleep. What she was wearing would have made it rough for her to wear a tape recorder and the second time, I wish that lady had been wearing one for I was about to tell her what a hypocrite she was in giving the drunk guy such great treatment and made me feel so small.

      Thanks again for taking part in our discussion.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, sheilamyers,

      Thank you for commenting on this hub and again, I find myself in total-agreement with you on what you said.

      I would have done exactly what you did. You worked for it.

      They never called me, but once I had to go to a "collection meeting," and agree to pay them back over $120.00 they said wasn't mine and I was totally-stunned.

      The agent said he felt that I was working a good job. I didn't say a word. In fact I was working a part-time job that didn't pay even minimum wage. A security officer and even full-time it was a bad gig. But I paid them back a payment at the time until it was paid.

      Then out of the blue, they sent me a letter saying that I had overpaid them. Whaaatttt?

      Enclosed was a check for $12 bucks. Guess what happened?

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Thank you for the nice compliment. And for just reading this horror story. If you are ever forced to apply for unemployment, practice being mentally tough. You are going to need it.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Pamela Bush,

      I do not blame you. It is a stressful-ordeal when dealing with any government-sponsored agency.

      I wish I had shared this other incident with you.

      I had to apply for unemployment one more time when the business I was working, sold to another company and I, along with others, were let go. So I made my appointment. Went early to get finished with the silliness involved.

      Finally, this elderly woman called me to her cubicle. Then the interrogation began. Why was I let go and how far would I drive to work and other senseless questions.

      Then she said when she finished running my week, that she would study my application and be in touch with me, but this drunk guy stumbled into her office unannounced and she called him by his first name.

      And said in front of me, "Do not worry. You are going to receive your benefits without any problem," and I just glared at her.

      She couldn't look me in the eye.

      What a waste.

    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, DzyMsLizzy,

      Well, now that you mention it, a what? LOL. No, I just go with the heart and hopefully "Big Brother," will not be reading or watching.

      Thank you sincerely for your sweet comments. I loved them.

    • syzygyastro profile image

      William J. Prest 

      4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      It's all about shaming and it is rooted in organized religion. You are not supposed to want the things that make life descent. At least, this is what is drummed into all of our heads, consumerism notwithstanding. The whole business is about shaming the poor to get them to accept even a slave job with an ogre boss.

    • sangre profile image

      Sp Greaney 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      I've heard a lot of stories from people who have had bad experiences in the same situation. But your situation really seems surreal.

      It seems to be a universal things, no matter who you are, or what you have done, they still treat you like you shouldn't be in there wasting their time.

    • syzygyastro profile image

      William J. Prest 

      4 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Here is a question. Did the unemployment employee wear a recording device so that the entire conversation could be recorded? I have experienced said occurrence and learned to take in an electronic recorder of my own as back up. I suspect the whole conversation was being monitored by security just in case the employee said; "You don't qualify for benefits." and then prepared for a violent attack whereby it is possible for the applicant to be arrested for assault.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I've been lucky and only had to go to the unemployment office once and that was right after I got discharged from the Navy. Maybe the reason I didn't have trouble there is because I was a veteran fresh off of active duty. The part I hated was when they'd actually call and give their suggestions for places to apply. I wanted to tell them to stop calling and the reason. Yes, maybe I played the system a little, but ... who in their right mind would give up 13 weeks of guaranteed unemployment checks that would be for more than a paycheck for those weeks working part-time at minimum wage?

    • lctodd1947 profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Ken, I think I drew unemployment one time in my life. I probably need it Good Job writing!

    • Pamela Bush profile image


      4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hi Kenneth;

      I am extremely fortunate! My first experience of applying for unemployment benefits was when I was yet a teenager. That single ordeal discouraged me so badly that I have never applied again in the past 30 years. Not that I did not need the benefits from time to time, but because I refused to go and apply. When I was out of work I searched diligently to find another job within a few months. I believe that the government purposely mandates its program counselors to discourage applicants by making the process relentless; this method certainly limits personal desire to take advantage of the system.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      You are quite the mischievous pot-stirrer and sh** disturber, aren't you, Mr. Avery???


      Voted up and funny.


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