Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Are Not Alone

The official unemployment rate in the US is now greater than 10% or, if one uses the same method of counting as we did during the great depression, we are now over 20% (officially 17+% but we know that number has been “politically corrected”).

In my practice, I have come in contact with many individuals who are hurting through no fault of their own.

One husband, and father of three, lost his job as an accountant after his company closed one day and emerged the next as a new entity. He had worked for the company for twelve months, the last three without pay due to their financial situation. As if that were not bad enough, six months later he started receiving bills from doctors, hospitals, and labs for services rendered to his family during his employment. Although he had paid the required co-payments, his former employer had failed to pay the premiums for the insurance policies covering the employees. As a result, this man is facing personal bankruptcy –a devastating situation for an accountant looking for a job.

In another situation, a husband and wife had no debt other than their mortgage. Both were laid off from their respective jobs in different industries. Subsequently, after COBRA benefits were exhausted and pre-existing conditions could not be covered by their person health insurance, the husband was hospitalized. In order to pay the medical bills, they sold everything, including their house. Both continue to seek employment.

There are many who have worked continuously for the past 20 or 30 years, have incurred little if any debt, and have faithfully supported their families. Some do not qualify for various programs because they fall outside the qualification time period or have just enough assets left to bump them over the minimum thresholds. Many others will never accept government assistance for moral, political, or other reasons.

If you are employed in a full time position for which you are fully qualified and fairly compensated, consider yourself very fortunate. However, don’t forget about the other 20% of the population. You are not an island. Your actions have both a direct and indirect impact on others. Remember the ripple effect in everything you do throughout your day. Consider taking those calls or responding to those e-mails from your unemployed friends – they are not contagious. Someday, you may find yourself on the outside looking in.

If you are not fully employed for your level of education and experience, continue to actively seek work on a daily basis and trust that this is a storm in your life through which you will emerge. This is not something that you can control, but you still have responsibilities. Seek true wisdom. Persevere. Help others less fortunate than you. (If you believe no one is having more trouble than you, give me a call for a list of people you can visit.) Hang in there.

It may be legal, but is it right?

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