‘It’s hard to be poor for a short term, but long term, it is heartbreaking.’
I was a stay at home mom after I finished my associates degree. When I divorced, I discovered such an incredible downturn in hiring, that would have affected me negatively anyway, but add that to my recent lack of work experience and I was in serious trouble. I went from a household with close to $100,000 in annual income, to being unemployable. I decided to return to school to get my bachelor’s degree, but found, after I graduated, that I couldn’t find a job due to the “unemployed need not apply” policies. My future and that of my children is in serious jeopardy.
I had a great career prior to having children, and I have always worked hard, and to find that I am an unattractive employee is hard to take. I feel like a failure to my kids, and I hate not being able to provide for them, or give them the things that “normal” kids have. We wait for everything, including clothes and sometimes food. I feel like a personal failure and a failure as a mom. And the only thing that changed was my marital status.
I had a strong resume before kids, and I really thought finishing my degree in marketing would give me the boost I needed, but I couldn’t even get to the interview to sell myself.
Unfortunately, I didn’t qualify for benefits and have been in survival mode since my divorce in 2008. It’s hard to be poor for a short term, but long term, it is heartbreaking.
I think employers are overwhelmed with the response to job openings, and I see a tremendous amount of people who are unemployed and applying for jobs for which they are greatly overqualified for. When a family breadwinner is applying to Walmart and McDonalds, it has trickle down affects. Now, those who need those entry level jobs are also jobless, and those overqualified employees are dealing with emotional issues of incompetence and failure.
I have become a “patchwork” worker. I piece together an income through various jobs, such as working at Walmart (you mean I got a bachelors degree to work for minimum wage?), online content creation (blogging, etc), and a party plan business. Not a single aspect of my income sources is enough to provide for my family, and I continue to seek steady income at a level commensurate with my education and background, but until that time, I am working overtime just trying to survive.
Part of the problem is those employers who are unwilling to hire someone who has been unemployed. In this economy, anyone and everyone was a potential unemployed person, from a company CEO down to the janitor. It’s time to adjust the thinking that someone who has been unemployed is lazy or unemployable. They are victims of the economy, and most are so hungry for a decent job that they will be amazingly loyal employees. We need to alter our perceptions to fit the reality of this economy. When the economy recovers, it will be time to stretch out and seek a job for which you are qualified and paid well for, but right now, income is income.
Cindy S., via email