IT’S OVER!!!!!!!

6 Jun

Well, well, well…it’s finally over! Almost months to the day that I was “let go” for not being robot-like enough, God has shown me the way to a position where I can be human and provide human services to 175 Veterans of our Armed Forces.

It has not been easy to say the least. The most I have been without work was probably two months and that was because of my ever recurring Major Depression that I have dealt with for over 28 years.

Thanks to the safety net called Unemployment Benefits, I was able to survive (just above the poverty level) for the last 8 months. I received no financial support from friends or family or my church. So if a Repug is reading this, stop trying to dismantle our very vital safety net that keeps millions of Americans out of homelessness. I served families who were homeless for 3 1/2 years during the Clinton years, and believe me it takes more than just pulling up your boot straps to make it.

The families that I served were dealing with domestic violence (so rampant in this county and so very sad), mental health issues, addiction (which is a disease not a moral choice), lack of education, lack of job skills, poverty, no family support, the list goes one. Yea, there are those who “take advantage” of the safety net but their numbers are few and far between. Most people follow the rules and hang on for dear life.

I have never lived near-poverty before, except for in college but that was too be expected and I had student loans (that I paid back because I didn’t take out more than I could handle). In the last 8 months, I was just about nine dollars too much per month to qualify for food stamps. I didn’t quality for affordable or no cost health insurance (medicaid because I don’t have any legal dependents). I couldn’t qualify for Section 8 (low income housing) because I received just a little more than necessary to qualify.

Fortunately for me, I was able to dip deep into my retirement funds. I figured if I don’t survive now, what good will my retirement funds be? Fortunately now, in my new position of service to the Veterans, I will have a very nice retirement funds package so I can make up for what I had to use during this extended period of unemployment.

I have really learned a lot about living close to poverty and how vital it is that we try to help our less fortunate neighbor or family member. As you enjoy two cars, three TVs, cell phones with all of the goodies, plenty of food, etc.., your neighbor and his or her family may be struggling to put enough food on the table that day.

I have experienced discrimination most of my life but the discrimination you get when you are unemployed is very unkind. Not only that, I am a caucasian male, I am supposed to be in the majority but I am not when it comes to the job market. The odds were stacked against with me with affirmative action for African Americans and preference for Native Americans. A person should be evaluated on his or her merits, not their race or ethnicity.

The system that is supposed to assist the unemployed worker is very broken. I had a job interview last week in Miami, OK for a Workforce Specialist. I interviewed with the area manager for the state “employment” agency. I asked her why the agency doesn’t refer job seekers to one of 57 “job” programs that the federal and state governments offer. Her reply, well they give the money too many different organizations so we only get funding for one of the programs. I wanted to say, then when a job seeker comes into a Workforce office, refer them to the agencies that do offer the type of job programs that would be appropriate. But..that would be asking for too much.

I attempted to contact many of my elected officials to give them my “three cents” on the unemployment picture, but only one of them replied to my attempts. In fact, one state legislator told me twice that he had “no  control or influence” over local unemployment but he had just passed a law protecting the Paddlefish population here in Kay County. So while thousands are suffering, the fish were protected.

As much as it has been a frustrating 8 months, God gave me the time to really work on my emotional, physical and spiritual health. I believe that I am at the top of my E/P/S health for the first time in my life. I have done it by reaching out to others, especially my pastor, 12-step group, selected friends and selected family members. I have found my passion for writing again. I have a renewed interest in playing my tenor saxophone again (not since high school). I have a set a goal to earn a Ph.D like my older brother. I will be even more active in my new Lutheran church in Ardmore, Oklahoma to make sure we are helping our less fortunate neighbors.

Yes, despite everything else, God has shown me the way to a better life. A life that I could have never created on my own. Thank you God. I love you so much!

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2 Responses to “IT’S OVER!!!!!!!”

  1. Norma June 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

    Wow!!!I was really moved by this and to tears!!I am so proud of you and all you have dealt with so nobly!!Love you much

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