This is My Life Now

at 12:35 AM

The unthinkable finally happened. Not unexpected, but still unthinkable. Because of the dread of anticipating it. After three months of nervous existence, I was finally terminated from my professional job. I can't say I'm surprised: in retrospect it was inevitable. Work had been so slow as to be nearly non-existent. I can't blame my employer. Still, I don't dwell on my imminent termination with any more joy than on my ultimate death.

Unpleasant inevitabilities are the worst kind. When it comes to inevitabilities I'd rather think about the sun rising or the seasons changing. Not my utterly foreseeable termination.

My sob story is not news. There are millions of us in this state and throughout the country who have lost our jobs. Once or twice a week you might hear or read about the jobless rate and claims for unemployment. Probably as often as you hear that we are recovering from the recession. My recovery from the recession just ended.

And this might make you uncomfortable, a personal reminder of what may happen to you with your working life. Because the next thought -- if it happens to you -- is the question: what am I going to do now?  How are we going to get by?

Everything is in jeopardy now. We must pay for housing, food, child care, health care, transportation, utilities, insurance.  All of these things are not cheap and add up quickly. My family of four was barely scraping by on two professional incomes. Now we have only one.

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Which of our luxuries will we have to cut? Our mortgage? My student loan? Insurance? Child care for our two young children? Food? Electricity? Some cuts will be obvious, but not without some pain. But we had already made plenty of cuts after my wife's income in the past year dwindled to half of what it was. I don't know what else to cut honestly.

I doubt many of you want to hear these details. They're not pleasant. Believe me, I don't want to hear about them, but I have no choice because this is my life now. This is life for the millions of Americans without jobs.

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With a Perspective, I'm James Browne.

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