Joblessness Gets Juicy

by Laura Rich on July 6, 2009 in Unemployment

orange fork 150As we all found out last week, the layoffs ain’t over. With the official unemployment rate now at 9.5 percent (and the actual unemployment rate coursing through the double-digits), real people are very much losing real jobs and real income. Not that anyone who plans economic policy or makes economic predictions would have cared (see Stimulus Plan, Obama Administration basis of; or take a look at the predictions in our The Recession Will End… series). Unemployment? Oh, that’s a lagging indicator. No one need pay attention to it now.

Before we all get back into the game of talking in macroeconomics about how jobs means income which means spending which means GDP which means company profits and back ’round again, we thought we’d just take a moment to consider the tangible experience of losing a job. BargainBabe.com posted an interview with a friend of hers who was among last month’s 476,000 laid-off workers. Perhaps more people laid off would feel a little more dire about it, but sometimes these things don’t set in right away:

What was your initial reaction when your boss told you you were getting laid off?

I sat there for a full minute, quiet, with all these things going through my head…I felt shocked and angry and betrayed and then just confused. I think I finally said “I don’t understand.”

What didn’t you understand?

I didn’t understand why because to everyone’s knowledge in the office we were safe. We had plenty of work. But I found out (in my bosses office) that a big project or two had just recently gone on hold indefinitely. Which totally messed up everything. So they had to make some changes.

Did you see it coming?

I remember about two or three weeks before I got laid off that 25 people in a company in San Francisco that was one of our clients got laid off. I remember being surprised, thinking “Wow I really can’t take this all for granted anymore. I don’t think it really sank in because one of those emotions that went through my head, that still does, is that I felt really foolish thinking that my history with the company and the fact that my project was strong was keeping me safe. My project still is going. It has a source of funding. I felt foolish for linking those things. I took it for granted even after telling myself that I shouldn’t.

What are you least concerned about?
I’m actually not real concerned about not ever being able to get another job because I feel the market will improve, it may just be a matter of time. I have certain knowledge and strengths and excellent referrals. My bosses have said they would be more than happy to help me out with any references. We left on very good friendly terms.

Do you still have health care?
Yes I got a severance package through the end of July and then I have to figure out COBRA.

What is your plan for the next 6 months?

I haven’t thought more than a month and a half out. I’ve got two weeks until a triathlon race and then I’m going to take about 2 weeks to travel through California, visit friends, go through Yosemite, go through Mammoth. I’ll fly back to New York, go see my parents.

Read the rest here.

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