Posts tagged with: job loss

Something about this story really made me nervous

These are uncertain times. No one’s job seems to be truly safe.

But sometimes you just want to forget about that fact. Then you grab the morning paper — in my case, the Chicago Tribune — and you read a front-page story that really gives you the willies.

The story describes how quickly a family can fall from the ranks of the middle class to the poor after its primary breadwinner loses a job.

The Tribune story focuses on the Robbins family. When Patrick Robbins loses his job as a sportswear buyer making $110,000 a year, his family quickly goes from not worrying about money to almost suffocating with financial issues.

There’s something gripping about the story. Maybe it’s the fact that the Robbins family didn’t have that 6-month emergency cushion of savings that financial experts always tell us to have on hand. Thing is, I don’t know many families — if any — that have that kind of cushion built up.

Day-to-day life is expensive, isn’t it? Even if you have a good job, the bills pile up.

Maybe that’s what made me so nervous reading the Tribune’s story. The Robbins family could be my family, very easily. I suspect it could be yours, too.

By Monday morning, we’re ready for the workweek to be over

This weekend, my wife and I convinced my parents to come to our house and watch our two sons for the weekend. This allowed us to take a weekend getaway with some friends.

It was a nice, and much needed, break from the sometimes maddening duties of raising kids and making a living.

During our dinner on Saturday night, though, much of the talk centered on the econony and the lack of hope anyone saw for a quick turnaround. Someone was quick to remind everyone that it took the United States 10 whole years to recover during the Great Depression. Try enjoying your bleu cheeseburger with that nose rattling around your head.

None of my friends have lost their jobs. But they’re all worried that they might. One friend, who works at a major banking company, said he’d grown to hate Mondays. That’s when his company holds their weekly meetings, and these days it’s all bad news. By 10:30 in the morning on Monday, he says, he’s ready for the week to be over.

That’s grim. It’s also grim that the U.S. unemployment recently soared to its highest rate since 1983. The rate now stands at 8.1 percent, and more than 12.5 million U.S. residents are now out of work.

Nothing seems to be helping the economy right now. I’m starting to think that it’s just going to take time. The country has to work through the recession naturally. Government stimulus packages, I fear, are going to have little impact.

I did have a nice weekend, though, despite the gloomy job talk. I feel fortunate that my wife and I were even able to afford a weekend away. Many more U.S. residents probably can’t fathom that right now.

When a friend is fired from your company

Layoffs are always tough. Last week, the publishing company where I work fired nine employees from our rather small department. Many of the employees had worked at our company for more than a decade. Some where the type that always made sure their co-workers received cards on their birthdays or brought in muffins on Friday mornings.

They were nice people. And they were considered friends by many in the office.

Like I said, layoffs are rough. And when the people laid off are your friends? That’s even worse.

The skilled writers at the Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal section addressed this very issue in one of their recent editions. One of the best pieces of advice in the story? When you see a well-liked co-worker packing up his or her desk, act like a normal human being. This means go over and say goodbye. Tell the co-worker how sorry you are. Tell the co-worker that it stinks that so many talented people are losing their jobs in this economy.

But do not pretend that nothing is happening. Don’t scuttle away while the co-worker is packing up. Don’t pretend you’re so immersed at whatever’s on your computer screen that you can’t see what’s going on. That, according to the Wall Street Journal, is the worst thing you can do.