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Status check

Published Monday, July 25, 2016 @ 1:38 AM EDT
Jul 25 2016

The last of my unemployment benefits will hit the bank account this week. In the past 26 or so weeks, I've learned that if you're over 40, it's difficult to get a job in the tech sector, and while the compliments are appreciated, there are virtually no potential employers posting classified advertisements seeking smart people (as in, "a smart person like you should have no problem finding a job").

So... after 16 years, I'm self-employed again. Funny thing about unemployment insurance; if you're self-employed, you're not eligible to receive it. I've been fortunate to have customers who paid me as a part-time employee, withholding taxes, etc., which allowed me to continue to receive benefits. From this point on, I'm an independent contractor, the vaunted small businessman, an essential vertebra in the financial backbone of this great nation. I'll try to hold up my end, America.

I turn 62 in September, and to make certain I have a guaranteed monthly cash flow, I applied for Social Security retirement benefits. My application was approved and I was told my benefits would begin in November, not October, as one would believe from reading the rules.

I called my local Social Security office and was told that in order to start receiving benefits in November, I "have to survive the month of October," which is a rather odd way of phrasing it. Maybe the government knows something I don't. Frankly, I'm more worried about surviving November 8.

My work history dates back 45 years. I graduated from high school at the age of 16 in 1971, and my first full-time job was as a veterinary assistant, which consisted primary of restraining cats and dogs and preparing and checking stool specimens under a microscope for parasite eggs. Social Security's earnings record said I made $967 that year, when the minimum wage was $1.60 an hour. I worked at the vet from the summer into the fall, when I was hired as a newspaper reporter. The details of that adventure are here.

It's interesting to review over four decades of one's work history. The earnings record said in 1974, my last full year as a newspaper reporter/editor, I earned $7,656, or $37,431.78 in 2016 dollars. It certainly seemed less at the time. So I started the third in a succession of career changes that led me to my present situation.

Onward and upward. I have to write some custom software for a customer and prepare a couple books I'm going to sell on Amazon's Kindle site. And, of course, I have to write here for the 2,600 or so of you who check in everyday.

So if you see something here every day, you know things are more or less percolating along.


"The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been."
-Madeleine L'Engle

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