It’ll be a year for me at the end of this month. I was laid off from my job working as a security officer when our client, a hydraulic pump manufacturer, closed its doors. Being an outside contractor, I was led to believe by my own employer that a new position would be forthcoming very quickly. I was making around $25k at the time, but would have likely had to take a pay cut and drive further each day if I were reassigned to a new client. Even under those circumstances I was more than willing to do so.
Well, a week went by, then two, then a month, then two months…no calls for work, and no replies to my own queries on the matter. Bills piled up, unemployment compensation was late in starting…I’ve come dangerously close to losing my car more times than I care to count right now, which would be absolutely devastating and pretty much ruin any chance at future employment I have.
Health issues prevent me from being on my feet for long periods of time, so even dropping down the ladder to work fast food or retail is not much of an option. I have no health insurance now, no car insurance, and the most basic of cell phone plans which involves sharing a package with my mother and stepfather. I live with my physically disabled grandparents, my mentally disabled sister, and my physically disabled brother. Between their social Security and disability checks and my very meager unemployment benefits, we barely manage to scrape by each month. The only things that have kept us afloat are the occasional charitable gesture from slightly more fortunate friends and family members and the sliver of luck we seem able to cling to. My sister and her two young boys also stay with us about half the time, but she works as a waitress and isn’t bringing much money home lately. She’s in debt as it is, and cannot afford to contribute much to the family pot.
When I was first laid off, I started looking for new employment immediately, searching the want ads and scouring the internet day after day after day. Unfortunately, jobs are not plentiful in my area, and jobs I am physically able to do are even scarcer. The few that I have found and applied for came to nothing. On any given day we’re lucky to have three or four ads in the local papers, and usually those are for nursing or trucking positions, which I am not qualified for. It’s gotten to the point now that I just check the postings at the unemployment website about once a week or so, vainly hoping there will be something I can do and possess the qualifications for.
In the meantime, I use my downtime to work on my writing, as I’d ultimately like to make a living doing that. I’m not generally an optimistic person, but I work at it. That’s work that’s getting harder and harder with each passing day. It’s incredibly depressing, after all, to realize that you offer almost no meaningful contributions to your society or your household. Honestly, the only thing that keeps me going at the moment is knowing how many people count on me as the only driver in the household. That’s what I do; I’m a chauffeur/errand boy.
It’s a wonder that I even want to keep living, really. I guess I’ve always been stubborn, though.
I’ve toyed with the idea of going back to school and finishing my bachelor’s degree, but I honestly don’t know how I’d afford it right now. I’d need to wait a little longer to qualify for financial aide again. Even if I did, it wouldn’t accomplish anything other than putting me further in debt and give me a piece of paper that in no way guarantees gainful employment. I’m starting to think that every avenue ends up being a waste of time.
There. That’s my story.