A number of years ago, my husband was laid off from what we believed at that time to be his career; pulling computer cable for major companies. It was a blow both financially and emotionally. We had decided I was going to home educate our two sons rather than be a two-income household, so what he was bringing in was the sum and total. To say life was tight after that is an understatement.
Luckily, family stepped up and kept us afloat while my husband job hunted. And I did my part, too. I swallowed every iota of pride I ever had and got all of us on food stamps. Now, in theory, food stamps are there to help you when you need it. But being on them carries a certain stigma with it. A stigma of being poor, of being under-educated and of being lazy. All of which is highly unfair. Is it our fault we’re poor? Well, the choices we made out of high school weren’t the ones that would gain us the ‘big bucks’, that’s true enough. But sometimes being dropped to your knees isn’t by choice. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
I sent his resume everywhere but overseas. Even McDonald’s. Nowhere was hiring, or if they were, no one was calling him for interviews. It took a chance meeting and a chance conversation in a local convenience store that finally changed things for the better. He came home with a phone number and told me he could get a job toting for a very local sanitation company.
Let me tell you… when you have nothing, and you have two growing children to feed and a house to maintain, you don’t care what job it is. I was incredibly proud of my husband for being willing to take a job that, quite frankly, both of us saw as beneath him. It really showed me here was a real man; a man willing to do any job necessary to put food on the table and take care of his family. I don’t think I’ve ever loved him more than when he took that job.
That job only lasted a year before it was bought out, but his boss ensured he’d be taken care of by making his being hired by the next company part of the ‘package’. By that time, he had his CDL and a year driving a rural sanitation route.
He spent the next 6 years driving a garbage truck for a living. And there were a lot of perks no-one would ever dream of that went along with that. We made an extra $300+ every 3 months or so on recycling metal, got non-working computer monitors that a friend fixed for us for pennies on the dollar… my whole computer system was built using other people’s ‘garbage’. He even rescued a flat screen t.v. that needed a $20 part. Yeah, seriously.
He’s not driving for a living anymore. We had another, self-imposed this time, bout of unemployment in 2010. But guess what? Not only did we survive it, we came out stronger on the other side.