Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Unemployment Rate & Misperceptions

Interesting reading these days, actually over the past 2 years as the unemployment rate has risen, fallen, risen, and stagnated a sufficiently high level. Recently, my own state disclosed that the rate had fallen last month and were celebrating, only to be amazed that it rose again this month.

I'm not surprised. I'm appalled, however, at the posts and comments left on other forums about those of us on unemployment (getting UI or not).

One, I did not ask to be unemployed. Reality of the situation is, I loved my last full time, permanent job and did everything I could to keep it, to hire the best, to build a team of skilled personnel across the globe. I cut costs by hiring INTERNALLY and getting rid of the bloated costs of 3rd party vendors. Where I needed their help, I trimmed their profit margins while still employing them as well. I knew their game as well as they did; I'd lived their life.

Then, I kept a watchful eye on the financial reporting issues that arose... again, and again... and again. While in the Philippines, I got yet another call: there was another issue and I should think about how the company might broach rectifying the problem(s). The plurality there, is my perception.

Arriving back at home, I was called into the CFO's office, asked what I thought we should do ... my thoughts. I thought, stupidly, he wanted what I really thought. In my naivety, I gave him my entire team's thoughts: restate. Too much, for too long, over too many quarters, through too many subs. Restate.

I was fired. Then the rumors started... really, really bad rumors. Lies. But given I was the one without a job, they were the ones with fancy titles, their lies and deceit were believed. I was blackballed. I believe I still am... and have had conversations where that belief has been upheld.

Over 500 resumes have been sent out. ALL of which I'm either well qualified or over qualified for.

500. If that was one resume a week, that's almost 6 years sending out resumes. At 2 a week, that is 3 years... and when the reality of it all really sunk in, that my name was crap... I went back to school so that I could do something to contribute back to society. And subsequently, chase a dream.

I know I am not alone. There are many who maybe did not face equally as horrid situations but have nonetheless tried for the past few years to get a decent job.

I was making $220,000 a year. Yep, almost $20,000 a month gross with my tax off set and everything else, I was at about $13k net.

I'm trying to get jobs making less than I paid in taxes during those years. BTW, that's about $70k a year. I paid on a general note, about $85,000 in taxes. Each year. My ongoing joke is that I wanted to know which bombs sent to Iraq had my name on them. But I digress.

Two. I did not over leverage my now-gone house. I did not spend wildly on stupid stuff (for the most part, my son went without a lot of "crap" only to be taken around the world and shown how others live in 3rd world countries, in middle class Italy, and poorer countries like Mexico). My money was spent on a portfolio so should the worst ever happen, I'd have money to fall back upon.

Enter: Lehman.

Just like a bad boyfriend, my stock portfolio went to crap too. $120,000 down the drain; my 401k was emptied to try and save my house, the stock I had in the company unnamed above was sold, I held a garage sale... and I prayed. Not sure why. God doesn't seem to care much about the Ad2b's of the world, he has bigger issues to solve.

So, I kept chugging along in school; getting almost a 4.0. You've followed my stories of chemistry and physics on here; I still maintain a 3.8... despite my house, the bk, my son's issues (now resolved and he is AWESOME! tyvm)...

And I'm told by posts that I'm lazy. That I should just "Get a job" and that it can't be that hard. That I don't deserve unemployment because I'm a slacker... because I'm worthless... because I pose no value.

For those of us who live on that trying to get a job or a future going for us again, who hear you complain and bellyache that we are living off the government, I say this:

The government lived off me for 10 years while I paid my taxes, in full. $85,000 x 5, + , $48,000 x 5 = $665,000 in taxes paid. I never complained. It was part of having the salary I did, the lifestyle I did.

So, I don't worry too much now that the government is having to help me through. Especially when the same government enacts legislation (Sarbanes-Oxley) and then doesn't give the courts the ability to act upon it.

And, by the way, I'd love to have a job again. I'd love to wake up in the morning with a purpose and a goal, rather than another day trying to fill out online applications for the 1 spot in the 2 companies that are hiring with 1,000 other applicants.

I'd love to have health insurance so the back ache (kidney infection of which I'm sure) could be treated. As is, I can't so I suffer the pain in my back and the bloody I have for 2 months now.

I'd love to be able to put food in my refrigerator and not worry about how to portion it out so that my son and I could eat regularly and routinely.

That little bit of UI that I was getting? It paid the rent, put gas in my car for interviews, and food in my house. Nothing else.

And when I worked my little contract here and there? I did NOT claim UI... nor did those weeks get added onto the end of the term. They are just lost weeks. So, I worked (and got excellent references), and hoped that maybe that company would hire me full time.

So, for those of you who read and bash those of us who are still getting unemployment insurance, please stop. There will always be those who abuse the system... many more who will not.

There will always be more of us really trying to get a job, make a living, and contribute back to society again...

I'm one of them. Med school and/or working.

Make it a great day ~ I have yet another resume to prepare, and another online application to fill out.


SeaSideRobin said...

It's easy for people to criticize those on unemployment, or welfare, when they haven't been in their shoes.

Kudos to you for standing up to them.

A Doc 2 Be said...

Thank you! I keep trying and will keep trying...

and dreaming...

Anonymous said...

Great post - good for you to clear things up.

Phathead said...

Bravo... That's about all I have to say