BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

When it finally hits home

Posted by egehl on December 19, 2008

These days no one can escape hearing about the doldrums of the economy. Everywhere you turn more bad news. Turn on any news show, read any magazine or talk with your neighbor and the economy is on everyone’s mind. But when you have a job and financially think you are doing OK (or at least surviving) it’s easy to think that the economy is impacting “those other people”. The thousands of people out of sight out of mind, the ones you hear about on the daily news who have lost their job, and inch that growing unemployed percentage ever so slightly.

That is until the people close to you lose their jobs. Then it starts to hit home. And becomes real and a wake up call. Recently while gallivanting in another country (which made me treasure my paid vacation a little more), I learned about two close friends who lost their jobs. Both were in the private sector, one for a newspaper company now going bankrupt and another for a large cable company which is now seeing its profits shrink as people tighten their belts and cut out luxuries. One friend is married and the other is not. Both were freaking out. The single one thought the married one was better off but the married friend just had a wedding a month prior to getting laid off, and many bills leftover. And her husband was worried about the two of them living on one paycheck in an expensive city. The single friend had less responsibility to worry about yet no one she could rely on for health insurance or a partner to share the bills.

Single or married, with children or without, all women are facing the same albeit slightly different fears about their jobs, future, families and well being. Hearing these friends talk about being unemployed during the holidays was heartbreaking and all of a sudden this crazy economy became real. My friends are hard workers, smart and one had been at her company for years. Yet it didn’t matter when cuts needed to be made. So their situation got me thinking. What would I do if I lost my job? What safety nets do I have? Are there ways to protect the job I have? It’s a scary thought but something all women are feeling these days. I guess it’s good that it finally hit home. Because sometimes ignorance is not bliss.

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