Saturday, April 30, 2011

6 Things the White House May Not Know About the Longterm Unemployed

I was reading through my emails last night and saw an email from the White House entitled

Six things you might not know about

The list below was my response because I think there are plenty of things they don't know about us!!

1) They're still looking for work, though mostly unsuccessfully. My husband applies for at least a job a day, even though he no longer receives UI benefits.

2) Many are losing their homes, having to sell or get rid of many, if not almost all, of their possessions and having to move in with friends and family, assuming they are fortunate enough to have those social resources and, of course, they have no health insurance. 3) Those who aren't to that point yet are burning thru their retirement benefits and most of them are also going without health insurance.

4) They're tired, demoralized and feel abandoned and forgotten by their President (for whom many, many of them voted) and their Senators and Representatives. Not so tired and demoralized, though, as to not also be angry, which they are!!

5) They are more than likely NOT going to be contributing to the President's re-election campaign, with either time or money, and may not even bother to vote, which will be a significant loss of energy and enthusiasm from President Obama's campaign.

6.) When they worked, they created and added value. on a daily basis, to their various career fields. Now they are a WASTED resource of this country's as they are a group of people who are rich with talent, work ethic, loyalty, creativity…

Gather them together in one place and they will be a force to be reckoned with. Our political leadership AND the privileged and elite of this country had better watch out!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Regardless of the circumstances of your life, you are the writer,director, and producer of your mental images."

Don't know who said this. I got it off of a new fb friend's page this evening. But it is actually kind of serendipitous that I saw it there as I've been really making an effort, especially over these past few days, to become more aware of the thoughts that run through my head and notice how that stream of consciousness commentary affects my mood and outlook on things.

Today, while doing dishes, an activity that really leaves the mind pretty free, I did some of this observing and noticed how challenging it was to interrupt the preponderance of negative thoughts that came to mind, noticed also how the gloominess of the day influenced my mood. What came to mind as well, during all of this, was the thought that exercise is a good way to elevate mood and, once again, I acknowledged that I need to develop that habit of daily exercise.
That was earlier in the day. Then this evening, while once again messing around with dishes in the kitchen, as I reflected on the above quote I thought some about these good habits that I want to develop of meditation/centering prayer and daily exercise and I wondered about just how small I might be able to start with them both, (one suggestion that I've heard for getting started being "start small") maybe 10 minute increments of each once a day, then twice a day, then increase the increments? Seems like a very reasonable and doable way to begin establishing some habits.

This is not the first time that I've thought of just that idea. But this evening is the first time that the internal voice that would discount such a notion didn't carry the weight that it customarily does. What made this time different?

I think that, this time, the above quote that I saw on this new fb friend's page reminded me of my choice in the matter. But how that quote, and the inspiration and affirmation it is providing, found its way to me truly is nothing short of wonderfully serendipitous. I saw this quote on the new friends page, someone who had reached out and sent a friend request to me, after I posted a very positive comment on a fb page that he is one of the editors of, that I'd "liked" earlier in the evening, that I just happened to see a post from on another fb, and longtime, friend's page earlier in the day, a friend who had posted on my fb page even earlier, who I hadn't seen much of on fb for sometime. Whew!! What a string of seemingly insignificant and unimportant events that, have turned out to feel to me like a bit of a lifeline at a time when I'm really needing one, when I'm needing to be reminded that our interconnectedness affects us positively as well as negatively, thankfully.

I just love it when something like that happens. Maybe there's the potential for such things happening more but it seems that it's the noticing of them that makes them significant and affirming to one's life. Truly positive reinforcement for paying attention and noticing.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My husband is a "99er" one of those people who's been unemployed for more than 99 weeks and so is no longer able to recieve benefits. I'm underemployed. We've both been looking for full-time employment since he lost his job over two years ago.

On facebook there are lots of members who are 99ers who are trying to support each other during these incredibly difficult times and they've formed a number of different "99er" groups. I joined one of the groups, "99ers United", and the administrator for that group is very active constantly posting "99er" related news links. Needless to say his commentary on these links can tend towards the cynical, even bitter, as do those of many who comment on the stories. One day I'd just grown tired of the bitterness and the depressing nature of all of the stories he'd been posting and declared that I was tired of the "99ers United" page because I didn't find the contents of the page uplifting or encouraging. I stated that I was tired of the bitterness and was "unliking" the page.

Well, I sure got some comments in response. A couple comments, one from one of my friends, were supportive of what I'd said; one was more peacemaking in its nature and two of the comments were from people who really let me have it.

They let me know in no uncertain terms that all the "99ers" had a right to their anger and bitterness. I felt stung and blamed for being honest about my own feelings. But they both expressed themselves and the plight of the "99ers" so eloquently and in such a manner as to really touch me and cause me to feel sorry for the accusing tone of my post. In a sense I was blaming the victims for the anger, bitterness and despair that was and is completely understandable. Many of these people, including the two women who responded angrily to me, had long since lost their homes to foreclosure. One of the women, to whom I've since, ironically, become fb friends, went from having a $50,000 a year job and her own home, to living in an apartment and working for a time in temp positions which dried up over time, to now living with her mother and doing freelance content writing jobs for websites. People have lost their homes, used up savings and retirement benefits, sold possessions all just to get by. There are many who are now homeless.

Needless to say these kinds of stories scare the crap out of me, for myself and my family. We, thankfully, are not to that point, yet. We still have resources to exhaust, retirement benefits to cash in and utilize and family that I'm certain would take us in and provide us shelter if need be. But it scares and angers me that we could get to that point.

Then I had an epiphany. I feel that most people who have jobs do not want to see or hear or in any way be reminded of the millions who are out of work and can't find work or can't find work that pays them anything near what they need to keep them at a level of lifestyle even close to where they used to be. They don't want to see us, because they know, someplace inside themselves, that they could become one of us. And I realized that I, like them, don't want to be reminded of the many who are worse off than my family is, homes lost, possessions sold, because I an my family could end up there as well.

How could I be angry at those fortunate enough to have gainful employment, if I myself am unwilling to see and stay connected to, those who are worse off than my family and I are. So I've rejoined "99ers United". I don't need to read every post from them that appears on my fb page. But I do need to stay connected to these folks and not turn away from their reality, especially if I expect others, who are employed and doing ok, to not turn away from mine.

It's fear that makes us turn away or stick our heads in the sand and that fear is understandable. But we have to somehow find some way to channel that fear and the anger and bitterness into a constructive response to this situation. I really think our recovery from this recession and maybe our survival as a country depends on it.

How we do that though, remains to be seen. Ideas anyone?