Three years ago I was making nearly $50,000 a year. I had a house I was making payments on. A car, too. I had some debt, but nothing my paycheck couldn’t handle while allowing me a little savings.
Then I got sick with a heart condition. Insurance helped some, but my years of savings were gone in a matter of a few months.
Then, a little more than a year ago, I lost my job. I got another job. Three months later, I lost that job.
I’ve been unemployed since. After 20 years in the same industry. I manage to get a little freelance work here and there that helps some, but that’s about it. Mainly, I’m living on my unemployment benefits.
And my wife lost her job, too, nearly a year ago. She doesn’t qualify for unemployment because she was a contract employee at the time.
From time to time I check out various blogs and newspaper Web sites and other online venues, mostly in hope of hearing some good economic news while I’m always job hunting.
Quite often I run across some narrow-minded idiot spouting off about how lazy are all these people who don’t have jobs and how those people are destroying America because the good, taxpaying folk are constantly having to pay their bills.
That hurts. But that’s besides the point, and I can take it. What really gets me is the lack of experience someone like that must have to be able to spout nonsense like that. They have an opinion, a foolish one, about something they obviously know nothing about.
So, I’ve been without steady work for a little more than a year. Every six to twelve weeks I have to report to my local unemployment office for an evaluation, mainly to make sure I’m still job hunting. Which I am.
I’ve been to that office for those evaluations, and for other reasons (signing up, problem with my check, etc.) at least a dozen times.
During all of those trips, not once have I witnessed the so-called lazy Americans who don’t want to work.
All I’ve seen are people who want to work, who want to be able to support themselves and their families without having to depend upon anyone else.
Usually when I have to visit the unemployment office, I’m there anywhere from 3 to 8 hours waiting and waiting and filling out paperwork, etc. Which is all fine with me. It’s something I can deal with because it is necessary, and it’s a small price to pay for drawing unemployment. But it’s also a lot of work, at the office, and all the paperwork and stuff you have to keep up with when not at the unemployment office; at times it’s more trouble than an actual job would be.
And before some idiot throws down the race card, let me just say here and now there are plenty of white people at the unemployment office, too. Minorities don’t have a monopoly on being jobless, and I’m sick of hearing that argument, too.
Also, while the majority of those I see and talk with at the unemployment office are former blue collar or service-industry workers, I’ve also witnessed a good number of former white collar types, people like myself who were making decent money just a year or so ago and who now have nothing.
I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me. I want a job. Really, I do.
But I’m sick of hearing how the poor are tearing this great nation down while taxpayers foot the bill. All the while the big banks, which our government bailed out, are showing record profits. And still no jobs.
Sure, I’ll admit somewhere out there is probably some lazy bum who is on unemployment and really isn’t looking for a job. But I’ve yet to meet anyone like that. Those people might exist, but my guess is their numbers are so small as to be insignificant when it comes to the burden placed upon our nation, especially when compared to the burden of all the Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks and everything else corporate America has received (all the while not creating jobs).
In the end, there’s nothing I can do but keep looking for a job while doing some freelance work. Maybe my freelance work will eventually bring enough money to be a full-time income, but so far it hasn’t.
One can only hope.
While having to listen to opinions of the uninformed and the idiotic.