That is the ever pressing thought I have each morning lately. At the end of February this year, I was suddenly let go from a job that I loved. No warning, just let go. Considering that I didn’t think I’d leave this place for at least several years, I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t saved anything, silly me. Who thinks that after being settled in a position for a year and enjoying the job and actually doing the job well, that one day, all of sudden, everything is gone? Not me. So, let’s just say, it was a tremendous shock. Nonetheless, I have to accept it and move on.
But, that is a lot easier said than done. Friends and family say to me, “don’t worry, you’ll find something else soon.” So, I decided to focus on that. I will find something soon. I have lived in the job boards online and looked at every possible job that I know I’m capable of doing, some that felt like they might be above my current level of experience, some that might have been well below my experience… anything that would provide a means for me to pay my bills, keep my car, and keep me from being homeless.
That has been my life for more than two months now.
I haven’t found that job yet. There is no income yet. I file an unemployment claim every Monday morning, but there are no checks. But, somehow, I’m still here. Still trying. Keeping my head up.
But, the bills are still due. Too bad the creditors don’t accept “I’ll pay you when I get a check!”
I get excited every time my phone rings. Just a couple months ago, any time I heard my phone ring, I answered it, knowing that it was most likely a sales call or someone with a wrong number or something like that because I knew all my bills were paid. These days, I have to watch my caller ID to avoid all of the collection calls because I have no idea what I can tell them to make them not call, since there is no money to pay them. The only calls I answer now are from family members or from the temp agencies with potential opportunities for me.
Temp agencies are great. They really get my hopes up. The ones I’ve been working with actually try to get me jobs. I can say I’ve been on a few interviews, so I know I have a great employable skill set. Unfortunately, the interviews haven’t been turning into job offers. That’s the part that hurts more than not working in the first place. There always seems to be a more qualified candidate, even though the feedback I get afterwards is positive, as far as the personality and the background I carry.
Why can’t a great personality be the most adequate qualification for getting the job? Oh well, back to the drawing board!
What keeps me from crying and giving up each day without a job? There is a song that plays in my head when I wake up in the morning. It’s called HAPPY. I think everyone knows that song now. I hear that tune and it helps me crawl out of my bed and start over.
Then I see my little cat, Bert. Yep, his name is Bert. I adopted him over a year ago. Long story short, there used to be an Ernie with him, but Ernie was discovered to be a girl, so she became Jasmine. I got Bert. Bert is a very clingy, needy cat. I don’t let him sleep in my room because I fear the day I wake up to him sucking the life out of my body, so we just avoid that situation altogether. So, when I come out of my room, like clockwork, he’s sitting at the bedroom door, waiting to greet me and lead me to the kitchen where his food bowl is waiting. Wherever my feet move, there is Bert. Very needy. But, he gives me a reason to get out of bed. But he can’t really get a job to help out.
During another period of unemployment many years ago, I had small children and some child support that came in. I realize that the children are helpful when you’re out of work because the government is quite willing to give you money and assistance if you unexpectedly find yourself out of work. I got emergency food stamps and medicaid insurance. We even received some help paying the utilities. Things change when there are no children that you have to take care of. My kids are now grown, living their lives. They help where they can. But I can’t live off of them. Neither of them can pay the rent.
So what do I do in the meantime, while waiting for that job to come? I live. I clean up. I watch daytime television. I think about volunteering somewhere, but as much as gas is these days, my car stays parked as much as possible so that I can get to those interviews.
I’ve known people who’ve been in the unemployed category at times. I think a lot of folks either have savings or they have spouses. I think of those times when I would see homeless people on the corner and thought to myself “I feel bad for you, I know I’m a paycheck away from being homeless myself.” Now, I don’t say that anymore. I’m five paychecks out now, and I’m not homeless. Thank GOD that I have a dad who knows how to save money… and is generous enough to help me out with a rent and car payment!
Here is the difference between me and those homeless people: I’m not afraid to say that I AM too proud to beg. The hardest thing for me to do is ask my friends and family for help. And, for the most part, people don’t volunteer money even when they know you’re struggling. Why is that? I have to chuckle.
I’ve decided for my future that once I’m back among the employed, I will do two things. I will actually contribute to my savings account (and leave it there!), and I will help out those who I KNOW need help. It’s humbling enough to be unemployed without the added humiliation of begging for help. I plan to be prepared if this foolishness happens again.
Just a matter of time, but I will be employed again. I pray it will happen sooner rather than later. I don’t know if I can make it to six months on nothing but air and Bert at my bedroom door. But, I know I will, if I have to.