Written by: Erica Chan
Mid-March I had a one-day job cancel on me because WHO announced that it was a pandemic. Additionally, my next job that was supposed to be four weeks long also got postponed. I work in the film industry -- so being fluid and flexible with my schedule is a norm. Jobs drop -- it happens. But it was happening at such a high rate and not just to me... A lot of my friends had jobs cancel as well. The film industry opportunities were dying.
I knew it was time for me to reopen my claim, and I knew a lot of friends were going to need assistance to navigate the confusing unemployment process. Soon enough, people asked me questions I didn't know the answer to. I felt really bad that I couldn't help them out. So, I created a Facebook Group on March 19th, 2020.
My first post to the group said:
"Hey friends, not sure if this will pan out to be a good idea or not, but I saw a need for knowing the process of unemployment in CA, and the EDD has a massive influx of calls, so not a lot of people are getting any answers. Let’s help each other with our own experiences and collective knowledge so no one is left behind. I really hope this can be a useful resource for lots of people. Share your knowledge if you have insights!"
Within two weeks, my jaw dropped when we hit 1,000 members.
Two weeks after that, the group grew to 15,000, and by May 19th, 2020, we had close to 37,000 members. And since charts are fun to look at, here is a growth chart from March 19th, 2020 to July 30th, 2020.
I bit off a lotttttttt more than I thought there was to chew.
The Facebook group eventually started becoming challenging, because information kept getting lost. I got tired of repeating information to people when they could just search... Except, even when I searched for my own post, it was difficult to find!!! There was a point where I received 50-60 new private messages daily.
All of it really overwhelmed to repeat answers over and over, so I created a website for others where I can send people to articles I had written to not have to re-explain everything.
I've had a few people offer me money and Starbucks cards, but I never accepted a dime from any stranger. I understood that others were struggling during the pandemic. My friends eventually convinced me that my service was of value and my time, knowledge, and expertise was something special. I had to do something to be able to help others even further.
The concept grew from just a blog of articles into Unemployment Gurus (where you are now!) so that we can help even more people. Not only have we developed a small team, but having a team means we can handle more cases than when it was just me.
Through this company, we can help represent people in their appeals or speak to EDD on people's behalf to make sure their claims are done correctly. Unemployment is confusing and we know that it's important to have the right information to get the benefits that is owed to you.
Like our mission states, we're here simply to help.
Thank you for listening to my story. :) I will continue to do my best to have quality up-to-date information on here for you.
It all began with the simple desire to want to help others.
With Unemployment Gurus, we can walk you to the finish line of receiving your benefits. Our team can assist you in getting in touch with EDD, making sure you are on the right path to getting your benefits, sending appeals for you, and even being your representative for hearings.
We have limited space and a small team, so we prioritize those who have been waiting for their benefits for 6+ months and are experiencing financial hardship. We also have more detailed information about our process in the FAQ section.
Our company did not start out as the Unemployment Gurus, but began with assisting others through this pandemic in March 2020. Our journey began through a Facebook group we created called Unofficial California Unemployment Help, which instantaneously grew in a short period of time and currently holds approximately 70k members. Many people continue to return and shed light on the confusing process of unemployment for others who are lost. The Facebook group was a great start—clearly, we tapped into something big. But now we can do more for you by directly assisting you in resolving your situation.
If you have a simple question and do not need our services, it's very likely that your questions have already been asked and answered. Please check the variety of free resources we have, such as our blog, forum, or Facebook group that we update and check daily.
We know unemployment can be confusing and overwhelming, which is what we are here for. If you would like to speak to an Unemployment Guru, you can book your consultation here.
Meet the Team
Eric has always had compassion in helping others. He has been a coach for Special Olympics for 4 years before the pandemic put everything to a stop. He also comes with extensive experience in the business and finance world that assists in Unemployment Guru’s sustainability and its goal to help those in need. The pandemic has impacted so many and the road to recovery is rocky. Eric is confident that Unemployment Gurus is poised and structured for success to help as many as possible.
Erica works in the film industry in Los Angeles, California and works as a 1st assistant camera and is part of IATSE Local 600. She had to give up her apartment early on during the pandemic because the high cost of living was difficult to keep up when she was barely working.
Erica is confident in her knowledge with unemployment because of her own personal experience with it, constantly keeping up to date with news releases from the EDD, answering questions in the forum, and giving advice. To date she has personally answered over 1300 messages from people who needed help regarding unemployment.
Jade lives in Los Angeles where she has worked as a commercial actor, personal stylist, and yoga teacher. As a result of the pandemic, she and 1400 other California-based employees were permanently laid off and left without work indefinitely. Because of this experience, Jade was inspired to help her colleagues navigate the chaos of California EDD after learning a lot from her own personal and challenging experiences. Since being laid off, she has helped hundreds of fellow employees, friends, and strangers navigate the process of EDD as well as receive benefits that had previously been withheld.
Jade has also had experience working with appeal cases after previous EDD issues from 2018 that had carried over into an already hectic pandemic year of 2020. As a result of her own personal struggles, she has learned a great deal about the appeals process, PUA, and navigating the entire unemployment system. She greatly hopes that together we can all find a way to get back on our feet. She greatly hopes that together we can all find a way to get back on our feet.
Greg lives in Los Angeles where he works in the film and television industry as a Camera Operator and is a member of IATSE Local 600 International Cinematographers Guild. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were massive layoffs in his industry, and, like many others, Greg found himself unemployed in 2020. Due to his past experiences with unemployment insurance and the unpredictable nature of contract work in the entertainment industry, Greg found himself in a unique position to answer people's questions about unemployment. After he became involved with the Facebook group, Greg and the other group moderators were able to help thousands of fellow Californians navigate unemployment.
Now, Greg has joined Unemployment Gurus to add his knowledge and experience to the team. Together with the other Gurus, Greg is here to help individuals get the aid they need in these trying times.
A huge part of my life has always been about helping others, even if that is just with a smile and an encouraging, uplifting word. I have either worked in customer service positions or independent gigs that usually involve serving others. I am all about being with people and having that shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, or a heart to cry with. I love people!
I live in Las Vegas and as with many in 2020, I found myself permanently laid off from the casino industry. Thanks to my normal entrepreneurial personality, I eventually fell into the opportunity of helping others navigate the Nevada DETR system and helping them fix their unemployment issues. Most of my days are lived with gratitude and laughter. I'm incredibly bubbly and friendly; I've never met a stranger in my life. Remaining social and helpful to others helps keep me positive and recharged. I'm usually the person in the room with the loudest laugh and the brightest colored attire; fitting for a social butterfly🦋.
I majored in psychology and neurochemistry, and I love a good "puzzle" to analyze and solve. I look forward to hopefully being able to solve the mystery of your unemployment claim!!