When you are 45 years old and after years of admittedly abusing your body by smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day and eating fast food and drinking on the weekends like a week end warrior you find yourself at 12 midnight on Friday the 13th getting ready for open heart surgery. You fight your way back to health and start your life over being thankful for a second chance.
Then five years later after you and your wife had both went for a sedate life style and quit smoking , your wife of 30 years is diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and you can remember talking her into smoking , because it was cool, when you both were in high school – you feel a responsibility for her condition and the feeling of uselessness in being unable to help . She to the amazement of all pulls thru after chemo and radiation and is declared cancer free. You have a feeling that it can always come back and you force yourself to be optimistic and focus on life cannot get any worse then what you two have overcome.
Your company which you have worked for 32 in being promoted and rising in the ranks is purchased by a larger company and the winds of change in the corporate society change. You see fellow employees which you have worked with for years being forced out and you go with the changes and learn new techniques to secure your position. One day you are placed under a female supervisor which has a problem with men working for her and has a record of such. So you find yourself in a performance improvement program for items like using spell check on e-mails and being able to get along with her.
So you go to the EAP to learn how to get along with her and they tell you to document all correspondence with her as she is discriminating against you, they send you doctor to get a prescription for pills because they think that you are under too much stress and you are suicidal and you take the drugs, anything to retain your position. You have gone to HR and they say there is nothing they can do. As good employees turn bad over night and it’s her opinion, even though your company records show you have never had a problem and have received a recommendation for the President’s Award just months earlier. So in your drug haze the mention of a severance package is brought forward to you and in your drug haze you think that I have all this management experience and maybe it’s time to get out from under a problem that no one at the company seems to be willing to listen to me . So you take the severance package and feel that with your experience you will have no trouble in finding a job in management – this was June of 2006 and you are 56 years old – you have made a mistake as the job market is beginning to shrink and you find that you are not what companies are looking for. Also you find that the company had let the female manager go due to poor management practices in December of 2006 , if you would have held on goes thru your mind and also they had to have known in August that she was a problem and had problems with men working under her – but they did not listen to anything the EAP and you were saying . Why?
So you employ a company to settle the debts instead of declaring bankruptcy and you find that they in fact can settle the debt you ran up from doctor bills and buying items in relief that you have survived , yes some of the debt was your fault but you get a feeling of I need it now because at any time your life can come to an end and also you feel secure in working for a corporation for 32 years and you are not spending over your head – but alas you feel that the debt is going away and all you have in debt is your house payment and utilities.
It takes you over a year to get a temporary position in management at 2/3rds of your previous pay , but it is a paying job and you hope that you can get your foot in and show the company your skills and what you can bring to them , this position only lasts 8 months and since it is affected by the auto industry once again you are looking for a position and your Cobra insurance is running out and you need health insurance – but with you and your wife’s history the cheapest you can find is 2700.00 per month and that is with AARP and government help ? What does a person do? So we go without insurance until you find another temporary position and you can buy insurance (not good insurance) but insurance in any case.
Then one day you receive a letter from the IRS stating that the negotiated settlement on the debt you had is taxable income and you owe them 9000.00 and a lien is put on your house after you have arranged payments to them, you call and get someone that shows a typical government attitude and says you will just have to wait until the taxes are paid and the lien will be lifted. By now you have gone thru almost all your retirement and that you have nothing to fall back on if your temporary position you have now is cancelled.
So you take up smoking again – knowing it is probably the worst thing you can do to you body but after 2 years of trying to pull yourself out and a person can only really be kicked so much !
So you ask me if we the once middle class need help - God I hope they come up with answers because I have three wonderful grandchildren and at night when there is no one awake and I sit there and wonder what will it be like for them – yes I grew up in the sixties and had great ideals of what mankind could be and the happiness that we could all share but I am worried for my grandchildren and their children because what have we left them a future full of dept and is there really hope for them – God I hope so .
I am not asking for me, I will hopefully get by somehow , I am praying for the future of our children and their children and the ones to follow. We are nothing but the future we leave the next generations.