I had a somewhat heart-breaking conversation over Gchat earlier today with an old friend of mine who’s been unemployed for about a year (more on why that’s a “somewhat” and not a “completely” in a minute…I don’t want to ruin the surprise!). She works hard, she’s educated, she has a decent resume, and last year she finally got hired by a nonprofit and had broken through the barrier between “working” and “working professionally” in NYC (which is VERY difficult to do). Not long after, that organization suffered budget cuts and she was let go. Since that happened, she’s been submitting resumes to dozens, if not hundreds of city and state jobs trying to find not only employment, but steady employment. In the meantime, she’s had to collect unemployment, which I would find to be a horrifying prospect.
This morning I told her I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be in her position, and that I’d be going nuts if I was (all true). It also made me think about things in perspective, and how in today’s day and age with a lagging economy and rampant unemployment, how lucky I am to have a position in a field I really like that pays enough and affords me a standard of living that, while not extravagant, is fortunate. Not only can I afford full medical, dental, and vision coverage for both my partner and myself as well as pay all my necessary bills (rent, cell phone, student loans, gym membership, etc.), I also have a good amount of expendable income that I can divert into savings and/or use to fund trips to Boston, eating out, gifts, Harry Potter movie tickets, Fallout New Vegas, entry into NYRR races, etc etc. Yes, the federal process is not as fast as I’d like, but it’s moving and things could be a lot worse in that department. Especially for a 26 year old in today’s economy.
The bright side to this story, aside from reminding me to keep things in perspective, is that not two hours after we chatted, she ended up getting a call from her #1 job choice and they offered her a position! Haha, talk about timing! She’s supposed to start on Wednesday provided she passes their background check, which she should since she does not have a criminal history. I told her that meant a celebratory party should be in the works sometime soon then.
So remember why you have it good because odds are, there’s gotta be something in life that you’re thankful for.