My mom lost her job yesterday. She was "let go of" because she was looking into getting a higher-paying job in sales, and McCormick didn't want to keep someone around who they weren't certain would stay for the rest of the year. She has two awkward weeks left, in which she'll go to work, do the work, and get paid, all the while knowing that she's been fired. After that, she told me she'll file for unemployment benefits.
Unemployment. A member of my own family is joining the ranks of the 9% of the American workforce who are out of a job. And my dad lost a crucial client recently, so we'll really need the money. It's so weird to me. We were never filthy rich or anything, but we were fairly well off before this happened. Unemployed.
I'm not really sure what this means for us yet. We were planning on going to California for my dad's best friend's wedding this summer. That may get canceled, but we already bought the plane tickets. Everything is so weird. The stability of everything just fell out from under me.
I can't help but think about all the crap that Republicans have said about unemployed people during the debate over extending unemployment benefits beyond a year, about how we're making them lazy by giving them money, encouraging them not to go after jobs. (I know, I'm ranting. Deal with it.) Now, being in that position myself, I'm only further pushed to the contrary. We may not need the money to eat or keep a roof over our heads, but our way of life is going to change drastically, and those benefits can help with the little things, like new clothes (I recently grew out of every pair of jeans I own) and trips to see family members. I was going to save up to buy a car, but now I need to use my babysitting money to buy snacks, cosmetics, and textbooks for school.
And laziness? My mom works harder than anyone else I know. She keeps up with a really old, really broken down house, the needs of two teenagers, a high maintenance husband, her mother (who has a ton of health problems and a son with down syndrome to care for, her mother-in-law (who recently had a stroke), and a job. Anyway, she used to keep up with a job. She works like crazy, never slowing down, taking sick days, or taking days off from working at least one of her many jobs (housekeeper, mom, wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, employee). How can they call her of all people lazy? She's not a perfect person; she has bipolar depression, and can often be really hard to deal with, but how can anyone call her lazy? She's practically Rosie the Riveter!
I, politico as I am, was always incensed by the unthinkably rude comments made by republicans about the unemployed. There are in fact some people who do purposely live off the system, but they're overshadowed by the millions who are searching for jobs and just can't find them. Why would anyone want the indignity of living off money from the government? It's not much money anyway, less than one would make with a minimum wage job.
To make all of this worse, today, a girl in my chemistry class was, as always, inappropriately bragging about her trust fund. Ms. "My personal trainer in Nantucket is running the marathon in the London Olympics" was telling the class how she "Really wants a tongue ring, but my parents would cut me out of the will, and I really want my inheritance so I don't have to work." I felt a stronger urge than usual to get up and slap her. When some people in the room have unemployed parents, or single, working parents, or are on scholarship, you'd think it would seem a bit rude to her, but apparently not.
I don't really know what to think about any of it...