The Joys of the Unemployed woman

January 24, 2012 2:03 pm2 commentsViews: 1

This article was written by one of my international followers on Twitter . There are so many women around the world suffering due to a change in their circumstances and they find themselves unemployed . As our Govt in the UK is putting thousands and thousands of women out of work , they do not seem to realise the harsh realities that the women are having to deal with.

Janet lives in the USA and she will tell you her story :

 

This is by Janet Sawyer Brown

At the age of 52, I never imagined I would be divorced and unemployed. It wasn’t the scene I had played out in my head over and over during my life. I watched closely as my parents played their roles according to Ozzie and Harriet. They seemed happy so I figured I would be, also.

Unfortunately, my ex-husband didn’t watch the same home movies I had watched. After 22 years of marriage we signed the papers dissolving our marriage so he could live with the new, older woman he had become acquainted with while we were married. Being hard headed and stubborn, I didn’t want anything from him. I could take care of our daughter on my own. Of course now I realize how stupid that was.

While married I had worked several jobs. I was a Special Education Teacher’s Aide, a waitress, balladeer at Colonial Williamsburg and several other jobs. In fact, when the shipyard where my husband worked went on strike, I worked 9 different part time jobs to keep us afloat. Of course I barely slept or got to spend time with my family. This led to my husband finding time to hang out with his new friend.

It’s very hard adjusting to divorced life and that’s another story for another time. But I worked whatever job I could get at any hour of the day. My daughter was a teenager now so I could leave her alone while I pulled shifts overnight as a Security Guard. She was safe while I worked all weekend tending bar at Pierce Brothers Biker Bar. My daughter, Carly, sometimes came to the weekend parties and helped out. It had a family atmosphere during the day…sort of. Carly saw my job there as fun with music and dancing.

Unfortunately the bar closed after being sold and I had to move on to waiting tables and working security at a hotel. My daughter graduated high school and I worked non-stop. That is until I got hurt while waiting tables. I slipped on a wet floor in the kitchen of the restaurant. I twisted my back from grabbing a pole to try and catch myself. I now know you should just fall on the floor and get up. I tried to continue waiting tables but it was too painful. I did continue doing Security, though.

I was promoted to Head of Security in 2005. I was enjoying the title and the job until the night the civil war broke out in the hotel lounge. A group from the north challenged the group from the south. All of whom had consumed way too much alcohol. All security guards were called to the lounge to break up the fight. Fists flew and f-bombs exploded but there were few injuries. Well, until I was placing the head northerner in a cab and he slammed the door shut on my right knee and the cab started to drive off. I had to have 3 surgeries and lots of physical therapy. The man who caused this was charged with assault and fined $150. This was the end of my security job. Because I was hurt on the job, they had to find something for me to do that allowed me to sit and work only 5 hours a day every other day. I became the phone operator. After I healed somewhat

and could work more hours, I became the Assistant to the General Manager. I loved this job. I got him his coffee and water. I took messages and planned events. I decorated for the holidays and ordered supplies. If it needed to be done, I would do it. I once worked a 15 hour day putting numbers in on a very important form he forgot to do and was due in the morning. It wasn’t in my job description but I didn’t care. I loved my job. I was awarded a fair settlement for my workman’s comp case. I paid most of my creditors and paid my rent for a year in advance. Then it was gone. After my case was settled, I noticed my higher ups weren’t as nice as before. Hmmm?

After working at this hotel for 9 years I was saddened when it was sold to another hotel chain. They went through and it seemed like anyone who had worked there over 5 years got “laid off”. I found out that I was terminated when my health insurance was canceled without prior notice. I needed my health insurance with my bad back and knee. My boss said I would most likely be recalled when the season picked up but I was never called. I called and wrote to them over and over begging for work. I no longer had a car. I no longer could go places and do things fun.

I signed up for unemployment benefits. Unfortunately when they figure how much you get, they use your previous wages from the year before. That’s when I was hurt and only working 5 hours a day every other day. I was trying to take care of myself and my 10 year old great niece who had come to live with me in 2007. I learned where all the food pantries were that gave out the food tossed out by grocery stores because they were about out of date or dented.

I bought a lot of Ramen noodles. At WalMart I could get them for 28 cents a cup. I bought them by the case when I had a ride to pick them up. It was hard to ride the bus with 5 cases of Ramen on your lap and a cane. I was extremely depressed and spent all my time in my bed. I had a small coffee maker on the bookshelf by my bed. This was how I made my Ramen. I got out of bed to get my niece off to school and to go to the bathroom. And since the cable was cut off, I had to get up to change the movie in the dvd player.

I got 2 roommates who had jobs. In lieu of rent, they paid the power bill and the storage that I had to get when my house caught fire in 2007. The arrangement was working well until my unemployment ran out and I could no longer afford my expensive medications. I was physically addicted to pain medicine that cost over $1000 a month. My doctor changed it to a lower priced medicine but it was over $300. I began not getting some meds I needed like my blood pressure pills or my antidepressants. I was buying my pain meds a week at a time when one of my roommates could swing it. When they could no longer help me, I went into full blown withdrawal. It didn’t take long for me to start having seizures and ended up in the emergency room. The doctor gave me just enough pain medicine to get me out of her ER. She told me to call the hospital’s social service department in the morning to get help buying my medicine. I did call but was told they wouldn’t help with pain medicine.

My pain management doctor found a program to provide me with the $1000 a month medicine for free. Each month they send it directly to my home. Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work. So far there has been a glitch every month on their end and I end up going through withdrawal for a few days. When I am in pain and in withdrawal, I can’t do anything but lay in bed. When I have my medicine, I still have issues moving around. If I do laundry in the morning, I have to go to bed for the rest of the day due to exhaustion and pain. Now what kind of job can I get?

I thought about going back to school online but I can’t afford it even with grants. I get calls several times a week from schools wanting me to enroll. I explain my situation but they continue to call. I had to move from my condo in the city to a trailer in the rural area. I share the single wide trailer with a couple generous enough to let me have the small bedroom big enough for the twin bed and my belongings left over after losing my storage units. It’s a mile to walk to the nearest store. It takes me a long time to walk that mile. Then I have to rest before trying to walk back home. There is no bus service. There are no jobs for healthy people let alone for people like me in pain.

I qualify for $200 a month in food stamps. I had to send my great niece, Ivy, to live with her grandmother. It broke my heart. Now I learn my sister, the grandmother to Ivy, has lost her job as a jewelry store clerk and is being evicted from her apartment. What are we supposed to do? She is living on people’s couches for however long they will let her. She has a car about to die on her. She depends on that car to drive Ivy to and from school. Ivy’s dad donates plasma twice a week to get gas money for her. He lost his job as a busboy at a local restaurant. He doesn’t drive and has issues that keep him from functioning on the same level as most people. He can’t understand why everyone around him is losing their jobs. I don’t either.

When I lived in the city of Williamsburg, it was a tourist town. You remember Colonial Williamsburg. I put in 125 applications in restaurants, hotels and stores. I got calls on 22 jobs. They did phone interviews. When they find out how long it has been since you’ve worked, they change their tone. I don’t know if they think something is wrong with you or if you are going to steal the silverware or what. I did get one job. I was hired as an artist model at the local college. I have to pose naked for 3 hours at a time. It’s good money but not steady work. It can be 3 days of work and then a month goes by. Sometimes several months go by without a call. It takes some nerve to strip down naked after you turn 50 but it will help me pay for my medicines.

I am a single female who hasn’t had a date in 7 years. I ask for deodorant and hair color for gifts at the holidays or my birthday. I lie in bed and search the internet for answers. I pray every day and offer words of encouragement to others suffering on Facebook and Twitter. I try to hope and I try to hang on. I would love to have a place of my own with a loving husband that surprises me with flowers once in a while. I would love to go out to dinner that comes to the table by a smiling waitress instead of in a paper bag handed over by a teenager with facial piercings. But hey, at least they have a job!

 

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