Topic of the Week Putting a Face on Joblessness
Everyone knows the stats: 14 million unemployed, on average it takes over 40 weeks to get a job, etc. It's tough out there. But I wanted to go beyond the stats to give you a report from the front lines of those trying to survive without a job. Let me introduce you to Matt, who wrote to me recently.
"I'm over 50 and worked for a major computer company. I was five years from retirement when the company realized that they could pay someone fifty cents an hour with no benefits in some other country and use the Internet to transfer the information.I took pride in my job, busted my backside and worked with a great team, which I considered family since I was at work most of the time. I managed to save a little money and paid off the car and some of the house, but that quickly vanished. I began looking for work in the computer industry and realized that I was a dinosaur.I lowered my expectations and settled for and job that would keep me from getting those letters from bill collectors. I took a sales job for a little above minimum wage where I was classified as "part time/seasonal."
Now that summer has ended, I'm no longer considered seasonal, but they keep me classified as part time so they won't have to pay for full benefits. Once a week every 90 days they cut my hours down to 36, even though I'm working 40 hours a week most of the time.When I took the job they showed me a 45-minute video that warned us not to talk to any union representatives and to notify management immediately. On the other hand the safety video was 15-minutes long.
The other day I was late punching out and was reprimanded by my manager for working 15 minutes of overtime. I never realized how comfortable I had been until I started getting the collection calls. I never worried about leaving a light on. Now it's macaroni and cheese, Ramen noodles and hot dogs. Forget about any new clothes. My shoes have holes in them and hopefully I'll find a nice pair of $20 work shoes sometime soon.
I'm spending a lot of energy wondering and worrying about where my property taxes will come from. Because they have me categorized as part time I'm not eligible for a loan to pay my taxes so I can keep me house. I continue to send out resumes with the hopes of finding something better, but my current job has no set schedule, so it makes it very hard to find another part time job.
I am holding on and praying that something better will come along, but depression and dejection seem to be the flavor of the moment. Sometimes it just helps to stand up and scream just to get it out of my system. I realize that I have my health and something will eventually come along, but I never realized the road could get this bumpy."
Thought of the Week
""You take my life when you do take the means whereby I live.""
Blog of the Week
Top Five News Headlines
List of the Week
from Ultimat Vodka
Working Wounded: Employees talk about their jobs
- Workers feel tired, 44%
- Stressed, 43%
- Underpaid, 35%