‘To be extremely honest I thought of taking the easy way out, which probably many people have’
I am 39 now and lost my job back in September of 2008. I didn’t do anything to get fired I was laid-off due to not enough assets to justify the amount of employees on staff. The company treated me extremely well and in return I gave back the best work I could do.
When I think about what happened and why me, I blame no one but myself. I became too comfortable with my last job. I wasn’t thinking about what if’s and I wasn’t afraid of loosing my job. I was thinking I was going to work here for a long time. That was my mistake. In the end a company is going to do what it needs to do in order to keep the business running. They weren’t going to hold my hand and help me pay my bills. I should have motivated myself to read more, educate myself more and look out for number 1 (which is me).
The advice I will give my kids (14 and 10 years old) is to do what you love to do. You don’t have to make a lot of money to be happy. Educate yourself and continue to educate yourself. Don’t stop and get comfortable. Position yourself to where company’s are begging to have you work for them and not you begging to work for their company. There is way too much competition for us to be waiting in line for an interview. I know it’s hard to self motivate so ask a friend, family or even join a group/club that will challenge you to always keep you ahead.
The hardest thing for me when all the money started to run out was not knowing how I was going to feed my kids. I was embarrassed to tell them I had no money (they knew I wasn’t working) and I didn’t want to worry them. I didn’t know when my next job was going to be. To be extremely honest I thought of taking the easy way out, which probably many people have. I read an internet article a couple of weeks ago about some 22-year-old ending her life because she had no job and too many bills that she couldn’t handle. Of course I didn’t do that, because I consider myself a strong person and I have a lot to live for.
I didn’t know what hiring managers were thinking when they met with me. I never got any feed back. I tried to keep my resume current though. I was in contact with my previous employer and they helped by giving me work and allowing me to put down on my resume that I did contract work for them on an as needed basis, which they did. There is a lot of competition for IT work. What was once a job for 5 techs has dwindled down to one “do everything” tech. So I applied to stores trying to pass out food samples for minimum wage and I couldn’t even get that job, because I think they were worried I would leave if I found something else. I understand that, but I tried to convince them I researched your company and said I can make a career working here in maybe 5 years time. No such luck.
I did actually find work for a company I applied for 6 months ago and thankfully I was given a conditional job offer (pass/fail job offer). This is a great opportunity for me especially after being out of work for close to 3 years now. It’s about $16 shy of what I was making an hour before and it is more laborious, but I am committed to kicking butt at this job, continuing my education (making myself more valuable) and earning my way up the ladder.
Lastly, unemployment benefits was a lifesaver for me. I received the maximum amount and was able to support myself and my kids for the 99 weeks, but the benefits did run out. You asked the question “How should we go about making it easier for the long-term unemployed to find work?” I don’t think that is the right question to ask. Waiting around with your hand out only enables us to be lazy and believe that we are owed something. Making us angry when we don’t get it. We need to prepare ourselves to start over. It does suck, but you can make it. I have been humbled by loosing my job almost 3 years ago. Having ZERO dollars in my bank account and very little cash in my wallet. Without the support of my family and the love of my life, to help me get by, I would not have made it this far. I do thank God for all his good graces he has bestowed upon me, which I know I don’t deserve. So whoever is reading this DO NOT sit around waiting for something to happen, make it happen.
Scott V., via email