‘I’ve found that so many of the people who I thought were my friends are only friends for those who are not in need’
I quit my job with a Project Management company in early 2010 to come back to my hometown and take care of my elderly parents who both have major health issues. As one of 5 children and the only single one, I felt it was my responsibility to care for them. Like most people who have not been hit very hard by the economy, I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be trying to find work. I worked a few temporary jobs when I finally landed a permanent position with another construction company. After 8 months they had to cutback on “overhead expenses” which meant cutting people and of course, as the newest employee I was let go in June of 2011. I didn’t have anything savings left but was able to pay off all my debt so my unemployment has been barely enough to get me by while searching for work.
I am a 53 year old female who has spent her career working in accounting/bookkeeping/office administration for most of my career. I no longer go out for my once a month dinner with my friends, I no longer go to Starbucks, I no longer spend anything unless it is for a necessity. I cannot afford health insurance so I have not seen a doctor since 2009. Thank God I have not needed any medical attention. I was given an opportunity for a 3 month temporary assignment about 2 weeks ago but was told after 7 days that they were going to use a “friend of a current employee to do the work” so I just found out yesterday that my services would no longer be needed. With Christmas quickly approaching and no funds to provide for my daughter, it was simply the worst news I could get. So, this Christmas will be spent baking our favorite cookies, preparing a Christmas day meal and just trying to be thankful for each other.
I have to admit it has been very hard emotionally for me because I’ve found that so many of the people who I thought were my friends are only friends for those who are not in need. Of all my “friends” there has been only one who even bothered to ask if we needed food or money for gas to get to interviews or help with the electric bill. Everyone else has spent time talking about their vacation home or their shopping trips or going to their favorite artists concert or how busy they are wrapping their Christmas gifts. It has certainly made me painfully aware that most people are so wrapped up in themselves that they are oblivious to the suffering of others around them.
No, I don’t have money for gifts this year and I don’t do any of the things I used to enjoy doing and there is no job waiting for me in the forseable future. But I have had a wake up call and I am very aware of how very hard it is for others out there. I realize that there are some things much more important than going through ones day as though a kind word to someone who may be hurting or holding the door for an elderly person just doesn’t matter … because it does. And for those people who are “living the life and loving it” as I’ve seen from so many I know say, someone you know could use your help. If you are doing well, how could it hurt you to pay it forward to someone who could desperately use your help?
Connie C.; VA