I woke up angry this morning.
I received some bad news yesterday. As I wrote a couple of days ago, I'm one of the lucky ones - I still have a job.
I'm taking a pay cut. It's a pay cut that creates a frustrating and, frankly, insulting situation.
I learned today that the largest employer in our little town laid off most of its workforce. As the Rising Star Casino wrote in the letter to its unlucky employees, should the casino reopen, the employees will be able to reapply for a position.
I lost a good job in the economic crash of 2009. I was without work until March of 2012. It was a hard time for our family. We lost a house, a car and eventually, a marriage.
I have never regained the salary level I lost in 2009.
My heart goes out to the people who have lost their jobs as a result of this crisis. Unlike 2009 when it felt like I was watching one friend after another slide over the edge from employment to unemployment, this crisis showed us what it would feel like to slam into a wall.
This kind of thing is traumatizing. Trust me on this. These people, like so many others, have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. None. We didn't see this coming.
I fear that harder times are coming. Please be kind to each other. Watch what you say and what you post on social media about jobs, the social safety net, people in need (they don't need you to broadcast your generosity if you help them out), healthcare, unemployment benefits (no one wants to be on unemployment), who works hard and who doesn't, who is deserving and who isn't.
You might think you're being funny, insightful, or clever, but take it from me - that stuff hurts. It's pointless pain. Keep your opinions to yourself because no one needs your shame right now.
When I was out of work, the economy was so bad that the Administration had to keep begging Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Every quarter was a nightmare while I fretted that my benefits would end and there was no job in sight.
One day I was scrolling through Facebook, having taken a break from trolling all the job posting websites, and I saw someone I'd grown up with posting about how all the lazy people who wanted more unemployment money should "just get a job."
I'd spent hours every day looking for a job. I'd applied for hundreds of jobs sometimes having to complete applications requiring so much detail that it took over an hour to complete. In all that time, after all those applications, I had two interviews. One place didn't hire me, but the other did.
At half my 2009 salary and a much longer commute.
And I felt lucky to have a job.
I'm telling you this so you don't hurt someone with your words.
Stay home if you can. Tell someone you love them. Make a plan for hard times. Wash your hands. Remember the Golden Rule.