After over a year, nearly losing my house, cars and other possessions, I have obtained gainful employment. It came after applying for hundreds of jobs, not just in my area, but across the country, for anything I am qualified for.
I didn't do it myself. It came with help from friends, my network, my family, this community, and from the government.
Follow me over the fold to tell you about how I see us all as interdependent and what a truly great this country is, if you choose to see it.
I am in the technology field in the upper Midwest. It's been hit and hit hard. I was laid off from my job in a medical device company in June of 2008. I thought that with my experience and background I'd find a job right away.
Just as companies were interviewing me, the hard recession hit, and second and third interviews turned into 'frozen' job reqs. This happened over a dozen times. Just as I thought I was a shoe-in, the rug was pulled out from under me. But I did some things some people don't do; I got creative. I joined LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace, and told everyone I knew or met what I was looking for.
I started recording an album with my band, and it is nearly finished, and I would never have been able to do this while working full time. At least I don't believe I would have had the energy. The album should be ready by the end of this year.
I also volunteered locally, and am in the process of writing a book to help poor people cope with shopping and eating in hard times, to be distributed free at food shelters. This project is particularly rewarding because it is being done with this community's help and is being edited right now by Elise (and so many more of you who added recipes - you're all cool in my book!).
Then the job market dried up entirely. It was scary - no new leads appeared on the job boards, not locally, not nationally. I treed to get a gig in Chicago, but even that fell through at the last minute (while I was packing). Then another in Florida, and another in California. I was about to apply in Dubai.
We were nearing foreclosure. We applied to refinance, but the waiting list may have been longer than we had before we had to be out of the house.
We were two months behind on every bill. Then my son's best friend committed suicide.
All was nearly lost, including my sanity. But I didn't give up.
Then I got a call from my mother in law. She asked how we were doing. I lied and said we were OK, and she called me out. She and the father in law showed up the next day, and offered to take all of our non-mortgage debt, and we could pay it off over ten years, at 6% interest. These are retirees, and we didn't want to take charity, but they presented it in such a way as to make it so we all win, as long as we pay them back.
They then bought our son a used car, and let him move into a property they own for no rent, if he agrees to go to treatment. He has not been to a meeting yet, but he's only been in the place two days. I have hope.
The bank agreed to forbearance on the mortgage, with an eventual refinance (no doubt with help from the government's stimulus program). This is also due in no small part to our parent's refinancing of our other debt. We have passed the second month of forbearance, and will be refinanced if we make the next payment.
So what happened on the job market? All of a sudden, in July, I started getting calls from my contacts for interviews. The week I was hired, I had two other interviews, both local, and both really nice jobs. I actually was able to negotiate a higher salary because of this.
So thanks are in order to:
The USA - and congress and the President for the stimulus - yes, it's having an effect!
Update: My wife deserves a special shout-out. She never stopped believing in me, and she's stuck it out 19 years now.
My wonderful friends here in this community
My friends here locally
I feel blessed and lucky - and I hope those of you who are still struggling keep on keeping on. It's never over.
And this is why I couldn't be a Republican. I truly believe we're all in this together, and the past year proves it.