Tall, Dark, and Mysterious


Dispatches from Unemployia

File under: Home And Native Land. Posted by Moebius Stripper at 11:46 am.

In honour of my departure from Island U, Canada is giving me free money. Hooray! Except that nothing in life is free, and the hidden cost of Employment Insurance is the barrage of questions and forms and reports, oh my. Makes sense, of course, as giving away totally free money is probably unsound policy; but it seems a waste of everyone’s time to require me, for instance, to have another employer document a six-week job in the US when the associated income has no bearing whatsoever on the amount, type, or duration of benefits I receive. NONE. They should have a place on the form where you enter the income from your main job, and if it triggers the “like hell we’re giving you more than 55% of this while you’re not even working” flag, you get to skip to the end. I have plenty of other helpful ideas for streamlining the process, but the EI office will have to hire me before I give them away. And if that right there isn’t “willing and able to accept any suitable offer of employment”, hell if I know what is.

Aspect of the process I’m looking forward to the most: providing the government with “regular reports” to assure them that I’ve been actively looking for work or somesuch. I’m such an overachiever that I’ve got one all written up already! I look forward to explaining to government bureaucrats that in academia, the employer may or may not interview the shortlisted applicants before the job is scheduled to begin. Best case scenario: the poor sod assigned to my file is so convinced that I’m full of shit that he or she calls any of the EIGHT PLACES THAT I APPLIED TO AND HAVEN’T HEARD BACK FROM, and gets told things like, “No, that’s correct. We had a couple of applications for the position of statistics instructor, and some of them looked really promising, and in fact, we might have seriously considered hiring Moebius Stripper if the position advertised had actually existed, which it didn’t. What was your question?” Hee! Yeah, I could do this for a living.


  1. I’m a little surprised, but not a lot.

    The intersection between academic bureaucracy and employment-agency bureaucracy could produce some interesting results.

    How many of those results will cause improvement? That’s anyone’s guess.

    - karrde — 5/26/2005 @ 8:51 am

  2. Academic bureaucracy is similar to government bureaucracy because it feeds off of it. It’s an open secret that universities advertise positions to the public when they’re absolutely certain that they’re going to hire internally. They advertise the positions to avoid running afoul of anti-discrimination laws. I’ll agree that discrimination sucks, but you know what sucks more? Dragging your ass 500 km to be interviewed for a position that’s already been filled. Happened to someone I know.

    - Moebius Stripper — 5/26/2005 @ 9:05 am

  3. I knew a Doctoral student who was offered a position as an instructor for a course. (Bio student, and a Plant Taxonomy course taught during summer semester.)

    This grad-student had to apply for a position–the position might have been advertised in some token location, for all I know–when everyone involved knew that the position would be filled by this particular student, because her advisor would have had to teach it otherwise.

    There’s bureaucracy, and there’s run-arounds caused by red-tape and lawyers.

    And I thought that Dilbert had plumbed the depths of institutional stupidity by mocking the business world.

    - karrde — 5/27/2005 @ 2:14 pm

  4. Piled Higher and Deeper does a pretty good job of spoofing stupidity in academia, though it focuses more on the absurdity of being a grad student.

    Hmm. For a minute I was wondering if there was enough material to write a daily Dilbert-for-academia strip, but then I realized that this is academia, where every frustration would have to be expressed in impenetrable academic jargon. I don’t think you can fit academic bureaucracy into three panels, though my readers are welcome to try to prove me wrong.

    - Moebius Stripper — 5/27/2005 @ 2:47 pm

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