Monthly Archives: October 2009

Love while living life laid off – What if I were married right now?

By Mariam Williams

I recently pondered what my life would be like now if I had married the man I had been steadily dating a few years before I began living life laid off.

This man has always been very good at making money.  He is a self-described elitist, with an affinity for life’s finer things.  He’s attracted to ambitious, goal-oriented, career women, but has always been determined to make so much money that his wife’s career is a choice.

At first I thought about how wealthy I would be right now, how lucky I would feel to not have to accept unemployment compensation from the government, to not have to jump through all the hoops that go along with keeping it, to not have to look for a job each day or to not feel discouraged by the number and quality of the job openings.  My husband would have health insurance from his job, and he would attach me to his benefits.  I would have a better quality of life.

But then I remembered: my ex-boyfriend lost more than six figures when Lehman Brothers collapsed in September 2008.  He laid off the entire workforce of his small company, and his cash ran short.  So had we gotten married, instead of feeling the security I had first pictured, I would quite possibly have more worries and more responsibility because I would have more to lose than I do now.  Instead of making rent on a two-bedroom apartment, I would be concerned about the bank foreclosing on a 4,000-sqare foot house, because that’s the kind of lifestyle we would have lived.  I would be taking our children out of private school, or asking my mother, mother-in-law, or grandmothers to reignite their babysitting senses to keep from having to pay for daycare.  I would be dealing with a husband who was feeling like a failure because he couldn’t keep up the lifestyle we were used to, even though all that we would still be able to do would be more than what most people even dream about.  But his stress would be causing a strain on our marriage, and we might be headed toward divorce.

Or, we might be going for broke, inebriated with the power that comes from having nothing to lose.  I might be telling him some of my wilder business ideas and hearing him say, “Let’s do this thing!” He would be saying, “Let’s,” because he would want to be a partner, advisor and investor.  He would tweak some of the less creative ideas to make them more viable, or he would be inspired to reinvent himself as I reinvented myself.  It’s possible that we both would have come up with something brilliant that would take us off of the employment hiatus and reinforce the bond of marriage.

The thoughts remind me of a line from “The Necklace,” a short story by Guy de Maupassant.  There are many translations of the story and the line, but the one I remember is this: “How fickle life is!  How little it takes to make or break you!”

———————————-

© Mariam Williams, aka The Pink-Slipped Girl, and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mariam Williams and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off or http://livinglifelaidoff.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Any use and/or duplication of any photo contained within this blog without express and written permission from Mariam Williams is strictly prohibited.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dating and Relationships, Lifestyles, Unemployment

One Full Year of Living Life Laid Off

By Mariam Williams

“This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

one year anniversary calendarfree-printable-calendars.com

It’s not a happy anniversary, but I’m alive, and there’s still hope.  I’m thankful today for the writing opportunities God has given me in the past year.  I’ve gone from having a grand total of zero bylines to having 18 articles published in various print publications and having a regular column. By the end of the year, my publications list will include at least 25 entries.  I’ve put the name “Research Works” on my writing, editing and market research skills, and I’ve managed to convince a few people to let me put those skills to use and write their organization’s newsletters and press releases, come up with a slogan for their business or edit their regular business correspondence.  (I’m a little bitter that growing that into a viable business has been impossible given unemployment compensation’s requirement that I report any money I earn, even if it’s only a few dollars for a few hours in one week, but I’m trying to prove that honesty will get me somewhere.)

I’m thankful and more hopeful than I have been over the past few days, but I’m also admittedly confused as to why God has made so many opportunities for me in a dying field.  Let’s just be honest: print journalism is on life support.  Obviously, I can transfer my skills to online journalism, but the blogosphere is already heavily saturated, and people with more experience than I have get laid off every day.

It’s that looming uncertainty that makes me wonder if I missed something when I decided earlier this year that I wouldn’t take just any job that came along.  Was I supposed to humble myself, go to a temp agency or the Census Bureau and make less than I did at my last job and less than I do on unemployment?  At the eight-month mark, was I supposed to humble myself a little further and apply for a minimum wage job at the Target that’s now reopened right behind my apartment building?  Or was I right to wait?  A year later, is God saying to me, “Wait just a little bit more”?  Or is it time to do something entirely different from the path that I was on even before I began living life laid off?

——————————————

© Mariam Williams, aka The Pink-Slipped Girl, and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mariam Williams and The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off or http://livinglifelaidoff.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  Any use and/or duplication of any photo contained within this blog without express and written permission from Mariam Williams is strictly prohibited.

2 Comments

Filed under faith, Lifestyles, Unemployment

I learn something new about healthcare every day

I want to move on from this topic, but pain currently has a starring role in my life, and issues I didn’t run into when I had adequate health insurance keep surprising me.

For instance, the reason people without health insurance use the ER as a primary care facility became clear to me last week when I finally caved in and sent detailed notes about my chronic pain, and some rather grotesque pictures, to my primary care physician.  She referred me to a specialist, but due to the exclusion rider on my pre-existing condition that basically states that nothing having to do with my chronic pain will be covered, I would be considered a self-paying patient, and the doctor she referred me to doesn’t take any self-pay patients.

“So that’s why people go to the hospital when they don’t have health insurance,” I said to myself.  A hospital has to treat everyone.  A private doctor does not.

When I explained the situation to another specialist’s office, its billing department said to come in anyway and that I would be billed after the doctor decided what he wanted to do.  Perhaps self-paying patients get second-class treatment in his office; for some reason, he saw me for less than five minutes even though I was at the office for an hour and a half.  In that five minutes, he wrote a prescription and ordered another diagnostic test.  A representative from the billing department later called me about the appointment I had set for the test.  The rep told me that my insurance company said that “no diagnostic tests relating to (my pre-existing condition) are allowed until the year 2011.”  This really means they’re allowed, but I would be paying for the $1800 test out of pocket.

If she had said those words to me face to face, I think I would have punched her.  That’s not true; I just would have been embarrassed because she would have seen the rage heating my face and the tears forming in my eyes.  I smiled through the droplets and in my most chipper phone voice, I said, “Cancel all my appointments.  If I have an emergency, I’ll just go to the hospital.”

Would a visit to the ER cost twice as much as the diagnostic test in a private office?  Probably. Would I get the treatment that I need?  Definitely. Would I end up paying the bill? Maybe. But there’s also the chance that the hospital would just pass the cost along to all of you lucky, fully insured people who are afraid of losing health insurance that you don’t even realize sucks.  And you don’t even realize that one of the reasons it sucks is because you’re covering what the very company you pay won’t cover.

Wake up!

1 Comment

Filed under Health, Health Insurance