Caught in the Unemployment Voice Mail Undertow.


Waterlogged crescents with bloated blue cheese, horseradish flotsam, and sour cream pond scum.

Try not to throw up until after you’ve finished pressing every voice mail option and screaming obscenities at the cyborg operator.

I’m convinced that my Uncle Sam’s phone system was designed for the criminally insane or for flat-lined deadbeats still clinging to life support. Warning: batteries not included.

Yesterday my brain almost melted after spending close to an hour on the phone with the NYS Unemployment Office trying to speak with a live-bearing mammal or something with human DNA. Instead, I listened to a monotonous voice prompt that sent my head exploding like rear-ended Ford Pinto.

The voice mail options were something like . . .

  • If you’d like to continue in English, press 1.
  • If you’d like to continue in Pig Latin, press 2.
  • If you’d like to file for unemployment benefits, press 3.
  • If you’d like to file your nails, press 4.
  • If you’d like to hear our frequently asked questions, press 5.
  • If you’d like to hear our frequently spewed flatulence, press 6.
  • If you’d like to put a revolver to your head and blow your brains out, press 7.

I chose option 8, rip the phone from the wall and toss it down a sink hole.

What has your experience been in trying to reach a warm-bloodied creature at the Unemployment Office?

13 Comments Caught in the Unemployment Voice Mail Undertow.

  1. ReformingGeek


    As long as filing your nails counts as a "contact", I would also go with option #4.

    Fortunately, when I was on unemployment, I was able to do most everything online. I did have to call to file the original claim, though, and that took about 20 minutes on the phone.

  2. Will

    Hi Lauren.
    Yes i just hate those answering machines ,usually i beg my better half to make calls like that ,i just blow by the time i get a live person on the line ,she calls me once there's a human on the other end .lol
    I just have no patience for it.
    I can feel your pain!

  3. Bonehead

    I hope that it eventually worked out.

    I think that a lot of these agencies (and health insurance companies) purposely make the phone systems frustrating to deal with, figuring most people will just give up.

    Thereby saving them money.

  4. Lauren

    Hi Me-Me: I finally found a job after a year of unemployment. For the past couple of days, I've been dealing with interviews and unemployment. Ironically, my unemployment ran out on Sunday. Pretty Goddamn good timing I'd say.

  5. Lauren

    Reforming Geek: I was able to claim weekly benefits by Internet or phone, too. It's just that I needed to speak with a human yesterday because I worked in two states during the past 18mos and I needed answers. My unemployment benefits ran out Sunday.I wasn't eligible for extended benefits.

    Turns out that CT won the benefit wars. But as you may have noted in above post to Me-Me, I finally found a job and will be starting Feb 9. Looks like I'll be blogging at night or in the a.m. Will have to sacrifice watching TV. Sigh! I'll have to read American Idol results on CNN or MSNBC.

  6. Lauren

    Hi Will: Saw that you're not feeling well. Hope you're feeling somewhat better. CT unemployment voice mail system was even worse that NYS despite the fact that I was able to get someone on the phone. While you wait for a humanoid, they play the same message over and over again requesting the same automated responses. I swear it was a test to see if you'd screw up any responses by the seventh or eighth time of inputting the same information.

  7. Lauren

    Wow! Sally Lee. I am so flattered and honored. I was by your site earlier and responded there before catching up here. Appreciate the mention of my blog. Thank you so much. I will pass the award on.

  8. Lauren

    J, you are so right. As I mentioned in my response to Will, today I had to listen to the same message and input the same info at least eight times before I actually spoke with someone. I'm sure that they were waiting for me to screw up, so that I'd have to call back on another day.

  9. Mr. Stupid

    They sure are irritating. The voice message makes you drowsy. Really very stale.
    I hope there was a 9 to yell at the other side… lol

    Maybe this is why your sink got clogged the other day. (Joke!)
    Have a great day…:)

  10. Will

    Hi Lauren.
    Still got that damd cold i wish i would get rid of it.
    If i were a rabbit they would have put me out of my
    Congratulations on your new job!

  11. Lauren

    Mr. S: You're right. There must be a connection to the unemployment phone line and my sink, although I think it must be in getting drained. The clog happens in the brain after receiving all the Federal paperwork in triplicate.

    Will: I am so glad you are not a rabbit.


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