There are many ways to find out you’ve been fired. The classic “Could you come into my office?” delivered with grim faux casualness on a Friday afternoon. The mass layoff email. Chicago radio folks sometimes learn of their professional demise in a Robert Feder column.
I was informed of my unemployment by letter, on Monday, Nov. 16. About 4 p.m. I was about to walk the dog and checked the mail. There was an innocuous window envelope from a P.O. Box in Springfield. Its very blankness screamed, “Open me!”
“UI Finding” the letter was headed. For a moment I thought it was UL, Underwriters Laboratories. Then a few key phrases caught my eye: “Last Employer” and “Unemployed Reason: Laid-Off (Lack of Work)” and “Last Day Worked: 04/29/2020.”
I took off my coat. The dog could wait.
“Honey!” I called. Though I didn’t need savvy legal advice to immediately call the 800 number on the letter while firing off an email to the newspaper’s human resources department.
“Welcome to the Illinois Department of Employment Security Benefit Payment Control Division,” chirped the voice over the phone. “Your call may be monitored for quality or training purposes ...” It took a few tries to worm my way to where I needed to be.
“Rather than wait on hold or call multiple times, you will receive a call,” the voice lied.
I’m still waiting.
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