‘I received a voice mail via my cell phone that informed me they were actually letting me go’
I had been working for Huntington Learning Center from April 2007 to May 2009 when they had finally decided to let me go due to the economic downturn. Once the Great Recession hit in 2007, more and more people had been forgoing tutoring for the children. Some parents even trying to do it themselves at home. I never saw being let go coming. I simply showed up less and less on the work schedule. Then, after 2 weeks of not appearing at all, I received a voice mail via my cell phone that informed me they were actually letting me go. (Whatever happened to telling someone to their face?) Since I drove the longest (17 miles, a half hour) to work, they decided to spare me the continued drive of little to no work. (I thought their decision to let me go was weird because they, at the same time, brought 2 new people aboard.)
After they let me go, I went on unemployment. My UI benefits ran out a year ago (June 2010).
I’ve tried shifting gears by taking some ECE (early childhood education) courses at my local CC (community college) and joining NAEYC (National Association For The Education of Young Children). However, I found daycare/childcare to be a lot like tutoring. Once the Great Recession hit, parents began sending their kids part-time instead of full-time and parents who sent their kids part-time took them out altogether only to do it themselves or ask a friend or family member to do it.
I then switched over to using my past lab experience from the biology and chemistry prep labs at the CC when I worked for Sharon. Despite the fact the fact it was well in my past, I felt I could still capitalize on it and get hired doing something simple like cleaning glassware or processing specimens, but I’m finding out that’s not really the case. Tried approaching several staffing agencies and have had zero luck. Many of them told me, “Oh yeah, we see these kinda of jobs come across our desk all the time.” Guess I’m hitting them up at the wrong time because they’re sure not coming across their desks now, when I MOST need a job.
Being out of work like this for so long has consequences. I have bills to pay like everyone else: monthly car payment, car insurance, credit card consolidation, cell phone. I’ve actually had to have my mom help support me and pay my bills for me, which has been extremely hard on her, as she has her own bills to pay. Juggling my bills and her bills isn’t easy yet we do it so I don’t go into financial ruin, which would then make it absolutely impossible for me to find a job.
I think being out of work for long periods of time is definitely detrimental. I have been asked by employers what I was doing “in that period of time.” They then follow that with “Anything, anything at all?” It’s like some people just can’t or won’t comprehend the extreme scope of things. They want to act like everything is alright for some odd reason.
UI benefits were extremely helpful in keeping me afloat. Unfortunately, after a year, I exhausted them. Since then, I was able to find work at a daycare/childcare center, but after a month, for reasons unknown, she let me go. Fast forward a few months. I picked up a specimen processing job at a local diagnostics company and they too, after about a month let me go (apparently I wasn’t fast enough for the guy and he was expecting 30,000+ specimens in the weeks ahead and couldn’t have someone around who processed a card at a minute or two a card.) I’ve tried to get back on UI benefits, but every time I fill the online application out and hit submit, it tells me I exhausted my benefits. Been off a year now, let go twice, and I can’t reply. Not fair. Not right.
Competition is definitely up. I couldn’t even get hired at Wal-Mart if I wanted to. Word has it they average 10 applications for every position that comes open. So they can afford to be picky. I’ve noticed the same thing in daycare/childcare too. There must be an average of 10-13 people applying for every job that comes open. Normally, it’s quite easy to get into daycare/childcare. Ten, 15 years ago, I never would’ve had the difficulty I’m having now even for simple lab positions. Much easier to fill back in the day. Doesn’t matter if it’s minimum wage or low paying, people want to work just to work and pay their bills.
As I said, been employed on and off since my UI benefits were exhausted. There are times I really do want to just up and give up altogether. All the rejection and what not, it’s disheartening. And after being let go twice, I feel like I’m not meant to do anything.
People need to understand that hiring an unemployed person isn’t a bad thing. It doesn’t mean they’re any less capable of doing the job and many people, like myself, are unemployed not because they chose to be unemployed. We do get jobs with the intent of keeping them, but for whatever reason(s) employers let us go. It’s totally out of our hands and control.
One thing that can help is if the Federal Government, my mom’s employer, were to start filling Civil Service jobs with more and more civilians now that they’re axing the contractors and going back to Civil Service workers. They hire mostly vets and spouses and many of the jobs (GS-3, GS-4, GS-5, and GS-6 level jobs) vets and spouses get never even come open to the general public. They simply fill them with vets and spouses because they’re a vet or spouse. In many cases, they don’t even have to prove KSA (knowledge, skills, and abilities) in order to get the job yet someone like myself does. Where’s the fairness to that? If the Federal Government began hiring more civilians, they really could help get things back on track employment wise for EVERYONE, not just vets. Why be so greedy? I agree with my mom, share the wealth.
I can see vets getting hired, as Civil Service was initially created for them, but military spouses? I realize it’s hard for them to find work because they move around a lot, but at the same time they chose that lifestyle and knew what they were potentially getting into. So, in many ways, I don’t feel sorry for them. What really ticks me off when it comes to spouse preference is the fact officer spouses sometime work, when, in retrospect, they don’t have to because their spouse makes more than enough money being an officer. My mom once worked with a guy who’s wife was an officer. He didn’t care about the job at all, was lazy. Had a bad work ethic. He didn’t care to work because he knew his wife brought home more than enough money so he didn’t have to work yet he was taking up a good job I or someone else, who desperately needed work, could’ve had. People like him really piss me off.
Elizabeth M., via comments
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