Read time: 5 minutes

Dispatches From Real Life

I'm not sure that the average politician understands why they are refusing to extend Federal Unemployment Insurance or the desperation of outliving your usefulness as a worker and consumer.
Dispatches From Real Life

I am not alone. That thought is not comforting.

I am jobless. Again.

Actually, last week, I had a job.

This time last year, did I have a job? I think so. No. It was May. So I didn't.

This time last year, I had been "laid off" by a company and boss who pretty much despised me from day one. I didn't get much in the way of training and I spent day after clueless day trying to catch on in a sink or swim environment. I sank. The minute the client I was assigned to ran off to another company, I watched as my bosses buddies and family were re-assigned to other departments while those of who were new and not so fortunately connected were let go.

But this time last year I had some money saved, my income tax refund and unemployment.

I sold off everything worth selling and I moved back home. I battened down the hatches. I narrowed down my monthly expenses to three bills: My phone, my car and my storage for everything I couldn't or didn't sell in the event that I would one day rebuild my life.

And then my nephew's girlfriend went to jail. He couldn't take care of a baby and work on a truck all day. I was the only relative without a job and it was either me or foster care.

I took the baby. He stayed with me until November. Also, another extended family member moved in with me as well. She and her mom were having problems and so to give them a break from each other, she stayed with me. My own daughter was home from college for the summer. The two girls helped take care of the baby while I looked for a job.

Summer gave way to fall and my daughter returned to school. As fall turned into winter, my friend's daughter returned home. My nephew's girlfriend was released and after a few weeks of re-introducing him to his mother, the baby was returned home.

Before I knew it, my own daughter had come home for winter break and returned to school. The new year had begun and my life was my own again.

I began my job search in earnest. In March I found a job as a property manager or, more likely, property peon. The property only had 76 units but over 25 were empty. In an area where the economic situation was pretty bleak to begin with, the first thing the property owner did was raise rents. He also made an effort to clean up the place, but the residents rebelled and began to move out. After all, they weren't the beneficiaries of the upgraded new apartments - they were stuck with what they had always had. They could pay the new rent somewhere else and have a chance to start over.

It's really what everyone wants. A chance to start over.

I stayed a property manager for 5 weeks. After the second week, I was asked, "Do you think you can sign three leases a week?" I only managed one a week for the next three weeks and was told that I was being reduced to part time. They were going to bring someone who the owner felt "comfortable with" to "work with me" and then, we could play Employment Survivor. They would decide in July who they would keep and who could go.

I tidied up the office, turned in my key and left.

Two weeks later I found another job. The interview went well. I was confident that I could do a good job.

Then a very odd thing happened.

The very first day, my supervisor was showing me to my desk. I'm not sure what happened, but I tripped up the stairs, fell, and did face plant right into his knee. I hit my face so hard that for a few moments I couldn't see out of my right eye and when I could see again, I had split vision for about an hour.

I had to go to a clinic and get checked out. I was very shaken, I was physically hurt and at the time, my vision was impaired.

As I sat in the clinic, my vision returned to normal and the nurse practitioner assured me that it was a temporary shock. As long as my vision continued normal, there would be no lasting damage. I was cleared to return to work.

So I did. And I set about putting that extremely embarrassing and untimely incident behind me, but I saw the set of the bosses lips as she walked away when she stopped by to ask if I was ok, and I knew then that I would not be working there much longer.

I was right.

The next afternoon they sent me for a drug test. It should have been performed the day before, they told me. I didn't mind, did I?

After the drug test, I returned to the office and my supervisor and the co-worker who had been training me were gone. The next day, they called me into the bosses office and told me they thought I was "overwhelmed" and "in over my head" and they just didn't think I was suited to the position.

I turned in my key I'd been given the day before and left.

So now, I have no idea what to do.

I have no prospects. No income. My bills for June are due.

I am on the verge of giving up.

I am not alone.

That is not a comforting thought.

I keep thinking that this story, my story, is going to have a happy ending.

I have to accept that I may be wrong.

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