The current economic situations that we face today seem dire and hard to image. I understand the confusion, anger, fear, and depression that comes with being laid off or losing your main source of income because of the downturn in the economy which is forcing mainstream companies to downsize, shut down, or consider drastic changes in order to remain in business.
I am one of the many individuals that has been affected by this changing environment that we are forced to live in and adjust to. I lost my job and source of income at the beginning of 2016 and since then I have been on unemployment, close to losing everything I worked hard for, and have tried every means at my disposal to try to gain full-time employment. In September of 2016 I was offered a position with a large corporation, namely The Home Depot. I was extremely thankful for the offer after spending months sending in resumes via email, indeed, monster, and any type of job search engine that did not charge a fee to join. My hard work to find a job had finally given me an opportunity.
I know it is a small victory but just being able to work presented a solution to my continual monetary troubles. After going in for the interview, I was informed it would be a part-time position with a guarantee of 25-30 hours a week, not much of a pay rate and the possibility of advancement. Well I jumped at the chance to have a job which would provide me with some hours and hopefully more as I continued to work for them. I started working in the paint department. I am by no means averse to hard work but this was a whole new experience for me. I soon found out how hard the work is in the paint department. I am not a person to complain so I accepted this new challenge and began my journey as a Home Depot Associate. I did all training, worked the hours I was scheduled and did not complain. I was optimistic that this would eventually turn into a full-time position. One point I must add is that I went back to university as an adult student after being out of school for more than 35 years. (add that together and you get an idea of my age range)
After working into the new year I realized that my hours and wage were not going to be enough to sustain me or help me with my bills. The Home Depot is a good company but they do not pay much and the practice of hiring only part -timers is their current structure. All full-time positions are filled with employees that have been with the company for 10 – 20 years and the only way you might even be considered for a full-time positions is if one of them either retires, quits or dies. I am not trying to be mean, this is just a fact. I found help with my family who were willing to help me out financially when I needed funds. I am very humble and thankful that I have such a wonderful family and my gratitude is unending towards them for the assistance I have gotten.
I tried to see if there was funding from the government to help me out and went to the social services but believe it or not, I made too much money working for Home Depot. The current amount you are allowed to make to be considered for welfare is approximately $670.00 monthly. I was hardly making an income to pay my bills, mortgage, car payment, and buy food. In fact I was not able to do this without the help from family. I was told outright that I was not eligible for social services. I asked what other programs were available for a person in my situation and they stated quite flatly, “Nothing.” I was shocked and it took me a while to actually realize I was in a bad situation with not much help. I know that there might be several of you readers in the same situation as I was in and probably fell just as frustrated as I did.
What next? Where will I find a viable income? So many questions without any resolutions. The hours at work dwindled as the winter season came and I barely had any hours. 2017 came in and I was given more hours in April as the spring and summer months are the best months for The Home Depot, especially the paint department. Did I mention that daily you are lifting 5 gallon paint buckets, continually on your feet, carrying 1 gallon paint, reaching for things, stocking, climbing up and down ladders, stocking the shelving, helping customers wanting paint and paint accessories. Yes the spring and summer are great times for work and I was soon working close to 30-40 hours a week. The only problem was that with the summer season soon upon us, there were continual monthly sales for two weeks or weekends where the amount of work and customers tripled as did the work output. I soon put my back out, went to physiotherapy and returned to work to begin the cycle all over again, all the while doing my studies and finals for school.
I struggled through it all and then disaster happened. I am currently sitting here blogging about my experiences and am not working because I put out my shoulder during a long weekend sale. I am waiting for medical unemployment to be approved and workers compensation is looking into my injury. I am off work for six months which is not a good thing. I have physiotherapy three times a week and my shoulder is not very happy with me. All this because of the current economic climate we are currently living in. I am not one to complain but really! Is there a golden ring out there anymore? Is there a light at the end of that dark tunnel? I don’t know but I am now putting in my time trying to cope with my current situation. I have been looking at all the job posting boards and there is nothing I can do that won’t be an issue because of my injury. I am due to go back to my current job in the same position but I fear that I will end up in the same situation if I am to go back and do the same job again. My physiotherapist agrees as well as my doctor. This is a bad place to be and I feel that I am on a long road that just does not end.
I don’t know what will happen but I am still trying to work out the kinks. I don’t know why I am writing this, maybe because it is the only outlet that lets me speak my mind without fearing that I will have a complete breakdown. I remain strong because I have to in order to face each day but I want to just get off this endless ride where there is no future for me. I think there are people out there that can understand and I know that I am not the only one who is having a hard time today. I just want to know if there is a solution. I want to be able to wake up knowing that my day is going to be filled with good things, happy smiles and optimism. I want to be able to look forward to what the day will bring me and be excited again because there is so much life and opportunity waiting for me. I am still looking for the golden ring I was promised and have yet to find. I know it is out there waiting for me, encouraging me to reach out and grab it but life is hard and hardship takes a toll on a person. I am just thankful that I have my family to support me and say to me that it will all turn out okay. I think with that ringing in my ears, I might be able to get up for one more morning and continue to struggle against the forces that weigh me down.