Employment Insurance and Expectations

It’s been just over 3 months since I was let go at my last job. After my parents questioned my abilities and life choices, they suggested I apply for EI. I completely forgot I had that option. This was going to be awesome, I thought, being paid to explore my options, work on things of interest. Where else was I going to get this type of deal?

I didn’t think much about it after I submitted my application. There was some sort of waiting period so days went by while I worked on my basement. The next thing I knew, it was getting close to the holidays. My work was getting closer to completion. The tasks remaining went from 14 hours a day to 10. I had more time to think about the rest of life. I had time to remember I had EI that has still not come in.

I logged onto my account, got errors. Interesting, I’ll try again tomorrow. Same problem. this I reported the problem. Never heard back. I tried again on my phone – everything loaded. It turns out that Chrome was keeping some sort of cookie that kept creating that login problem. I then realized how behind I was in giving in biweekly reports. Whoops.

Anyway, I looked through the site, got some cryptic message about missing ROE. What’s a ROE and why is it missing. Took another day to figure it out – record of employment. My previous employer never filed it. Hence my application was in limbo. And I never got an email about it. The frustration was really starting to build.

I gave my previous employer a quick message and the ROE was submitted a few days later. I logged on again and saw the message was now something along the lines of new information obtained, will make a decision by Jan 12. Finally, it seems like I can pay back my sister for some of the reno costs I borrowed.

Jan 12 came, the message stayed the same. Then Jan 13 hit. The message changed! It now said “We have received new information on your claim but have not yet made a decision. We are making every effort to review this information as soon as possible.” Hah!

And so I gave it another week – I gave it until today. Nothing has changed. No communication at all. I decided this was getting kind of ridiculous and went to my local Service Canada to find out if there was still more information missing. I was also hoping to find a way to get them to escalate this.

I came out with much more than that. Luckily, I had no more missing information and the case was flagged to get looked at. But I also learned that there is no communication of any sort that was suppose to be given – it was up to the person to make sure that all files, including ROEs were submitted. I also found out that I needed 700 hours at the company before I qualified for EI. I was at 680. So they needed to look into why I left the company before before they can make a decision. I left it on free will so I don’t know what will happen.

As soon as I left the building, thoughts went flying. What if I don’t qualify anymore – how am I going to pay for my expenses? Does this mean I have to sell my house? Do I give up my work abroad plans and settle with something here?

I started to panic. The lack of sleep the night before didn’t help. But then I caught myself. I noticed that I wasn’t being my typical self and slowed it down. Breathe in. breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. I then started to feel the chilly yet warm air on my face. I started seeing shapes of ghosts becoming human again. I was back to the present.

I then remembered that I never was banking on EI to support me. It was just the cherry on top. It was never intended to cover my expenses. I had that part figured out already (ie rent my house). The reason why I was experiencing all these emotions was because I just started assuming that I would be approved because I was let go. I started to assume it was my right to get the money. It was mine.

But it never was. My frustration was my own creation. My life will continue to flourish with or without this money.

And so I let it all go. I’ll still wish for the best, and prepare for the worse.

My thoughts went from pitying myself to wondering how the process impacts society. After all, how many people who are actually relying on their EI to support them through those times were aware of the lack of communication. What if they ran into a situation like me and never followed up to make sure their ROEs were in? Would they have been able to go months without this support? Why isn’t there some sort of communication channel to make sure everything’s in order.

Maybe this isn’t fair to ask for. Maybe, once again, I’m comparing this process to that of Amazon.