I Lost My Job, but Life Kept on Rolling

Job photo
Photo by Smithsonian Institution

It was in the height of this recession and something should have tipped me off in the beginning to what was going to happen. My boss was behind on his credit card payments, he kept harping on about making ends meet and then when hiring someone to work on the production line he was hoping to find someone who didn’t need medical benefits. So don’t ask me why I was shocked when on that Friday at five p.m. he told me and some other employees that he had to let us go. When I was hired, my boss was looking for a minimum wage secretary, but being a seasoned veteran, I negotiated more than that amount. I offered to take less hours at a reduced rate, but he said he couldn’t afford that. So right then and there I knew I was going to be unemployed for a while.

I left the office feeling numb, it hadn’t worked it’s way into my system yet. I left to go pick up my son and called my mother to tell her what happened. When I spoke those words… it hit me like a paddle on a fraternity pledge’s rear: I was unemployed. Right then and there I started to scream in my car on my cell phone until the police pulled me over. I handed him my registration & license, still screaming on the phone. He let me go without a ticket (probably out of pity) and when I got home I began my long, arduous search.

Much to Craigslist’s credit, they have many employers who list some great jobs… but unfortunately for me, it seemed for every one authentic job I applied to, there were two spammers. I tried the Careerbuilder route, but I’m only 24. I can’t tell you how many jobs called me to thank me for my time and inform me I was their second choice behind some old dinosaur who has been in the field since before I was born. I fought hard and despite being qualified, I was passed over dozens of times for either more experienced or cheaper candidates. I finally gave in and lowered my expectations….

I took a lower paying job, with no benefits and barely over minimum wage. It was supposed to be an office manager position, but with receptionist pay. I toughed it out and paid my dues in purgatory. I’ve never appreciated the jobs I had, because they landed in my lap with ease. I wowed my bosses with my skills and quickly worked my way up in the corporate world. After this experience, I know I’ll never take a good job for granted again.

I’ve found a new, better paying job. I finally can get benefits and respectable pay…. I start work Monday. I finally get to go back and wear my business casual suits I took for granted and turn my cell phone back on. I can play a little with my budget instead of whittling everything down to the last dime. If anything, I am grateful for this experience but disappointed it had to happen this way. I am grateful I have the work experience and references I have, and feel lucky. I’m dreading the future, but can’t wait for Monday…. or the following week for my first paycheck. I guess the future isn’t that bad but from now on like most of America, I’ll always have a plan B.