A lot of people figure that everyone “retires” on their own terms in their proper time. That hasn’t been true in our world. Certainly not in Garry and my world. Garry lost his job because the company he worked for decided to move on without “the old guy.” I lost my job because my bosses son needed one.

Many of the people I know were “laid off” which feels exactly the same as getting fired, except there’s no legal reason for it. They just feel like doing it. In Garry’s case, it was clearly age-related. In mine, it was just smarmy.

I’ve known at least half a dozen people who got forced out of jobs they’d held for as long as 40 years. They had no preparations for retirement, no significant saving, and no plans. They all figured they’d work until they hit the official “date” … but it didn’t turn out like that. Not even close.

All the awards you want … but no pension you can live on.

Garry, after 31 years at channel 7, was shown the door in literally five minutes. When he came home, he looked like he’d been bludgeoned. I should mention that Owen lost his job during the same week. It was a hell of a week.

I hadn’t been at that job for very long, but the boss had me “showing the kid” how to do the job. Sneaky. I was in my 60s. There wasn’t another job waiting for me and I was ill.

For two years, we lived on what Garry got as his union payout. No medical insurance — and I kept getting sicker. He was miserable too. He was terribly depressed and demoralized — while I was wondering if I was going to die.

He went to rehab. I found a doctor who would treat me for free and actually invented a surgery to “fix” me because I was very broken. We had no money. To keep afloat for those two years before Garry got his pension and I got disability, we refinanced the house multiple times which bloated the mortgage payment to an impressive amount we couldn’t pay. There was the HARP Program — which Obama started. The problem? The bank didn’t have to let you into the program. Great program, but all you could do was beg. Weird, right?

I had been negotiating with them for months. When finally I got cancer in both breasts, I called and said, “Well, now I have cancer. Can we please get into the program?” I think I actually shamed a banker because a couple of months later, our mortgage payment dropped by $1000 a month. That was the beginning of survival.

I found a doctor who treated me for free. A hospital that never asked for payment. A bank program that cut our mortgage in half. Finally, Garry started getting Social Security and his (very small) pensions … and I finally got Social Security Disability. We went from having no money (blessings on food banks everywhere) to almost being able to make it through a month.

I remember the day when we no longer needed the food bank. It was a small, but meaningful triumph.

Garry stopped drinking. I didn’t die.

These days, when I hear how people are melting down over getting laid off from their jobs and basically losing everything. I’m sympathetic … but mostly, I figure they’ll get over it. Not immediately. Eventually.

You have to get over it. It’s a terrible time. We went for two years without any income. None. Zero. Nothing. Whatever little we had put away disappeared. Somehow, we survived and damned if I know how. I got any help I could from anyone who gave help. I don’t even know how I did it.  We are both alive — and we still have the house. At some point, Mass Health (our version of Medicaid) kicked in. It was the idea on which Obama built his medical plan.

It was designed by our Republican governor. That’s one of many reasons it baffles me that the GOP has been so against it. It was their program.

When this was taken, I weighed 93 pounds. An XXS was too big for me. I wore a size zero and it was loose. It was not an attractive look.

Most people don’t get to retire like in the movies, with or without the gold watch. We get ditched, usually around age 59, typically 6 months before pensions fully vest.

For all of you who got dumped because you got “too old,” yes it was illegal to let you go. It’s called ageism, but it’s done all the time. You can sue, but unless you’ve got money to live on while you sue, by the time you get paid off — and you will get paid off — you’ll be up to your lip in debt.

Did we have mental meltdowns? Sure we did. That’s why Garry needed rehab. I would have been more melted down, but I was trying to save my life and it was sheer luck I bumped into a doctor who introduced me to another doctor who took me in. I was days from my demise by then.

I developed a sort of yellow-green complexion. Which was also not very attractive

If you have had a life calamity and everything gets taken away, it will take a couple of years before you pull yourself together. It’s not just your finances that take a hit. Your soul gets maimed. Your self-esteem goes down the tubes.

When anti-medical care legislators say “no one dies from lack of medical care,” that’s bullshit. Lots of people die without care. They don’t get written up because they aren’t in the hospital or seeing a doctor. They just die. Kids, old people, and all the others in the middle.

Why am I talking about this?

Because those of us who had this terrible disaster overwhelm them need to know we aren’t alone. It wasn’t just us. It’s lots and lots of people many of whom used to be solidly middle class before their world collapsed.

So try to remember one thing:

It gets better. Somehow, someway, it gets better.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.

79 thoughts on “LOSING YOUR JOB WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. Sorry to here about all that you went through, but there are good people, like that doctor that cared for you free of charge, and those food banks, yes I do donate to them, and I appreciate the free clinics in our town for cancer screenings and blood work, and flu shots too, saved so much money this year as i don’t have insurance. a Most grateful for a free 3D mammogram. (I used to be checked every 6 months when I had insurance) I didn’t have a exam in about 4 years, and when I was offered the opportunity to have a 3D mammogram, the wife of a OB/GYN doctor had this free program for those without insurance, and I AM SO GRATEFUL. I am a nurse (RN) haven’t had insurance for about 4 years due to not working full time. The cost of insurance was 570.00+ monthly self pay, due to my income, it was crappy insurance too, 2300 deductible and 50% afterwards, anyway, couldn’t afford it, and never met my deductible. Thank God I am relatively healthy, so thankful for that, now… my mental state isn’t all that great, due to years of working in psychiatric dual diagnosis, mental illness/addictions field. Nursing is stressful as it is, but psychiatric care is both medical and mental, takes the heart; (Nursing, the heart of health care) out of a caring health care worker, over time there is burn out, and pure dread of going to work anymore. So basically I am unwilling to work in that environment and choose to make less money for the sake of my mental health. It is not worth it for me to make more money, yet have to take medications to function, work, sleep, relax, enjoy myself you know feel “happiness” It has been 30 years of nursing, and about 20 of them were psychiatric care. I just want to be around “normal” people, although there aren’t really that many actually. Alas, I am struggling, but I am happier and just try to simplify my life and needs. I am glad to hear that you were taken care of by caring people and the system finally worked for you. I take lots of supplements, and try to take care of myself….wine works well too. I wish you and Garry a happy new year, and good things for the duration. Good people are out there trying to help those in true need. I believe we (older people) deserve it, we give so much, I know I have, and still do.

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    1. Don’t you qualilfy for the ABA or Medicaid? If you aren’t working, you should not be paying full price for insurance and we do have some version of healthcare in this country now. We didn’t when all of this started. Obama didn’t come into office until 2008 and a lot of this took place before then, but now, there are alternatives. Medicaid is not always free, but it’s the absolutely BEST medical care that only the poor can buy. I had to pay $60/month for it, but that included EVERYTHING — even eyeglasses and some dental care and medications were a dollar. For anything and everything. And if you are retired, don’t you have Medicare?


      1. Marilyn, I’ve been on disability for 3 years as of September. As someone with a preexisting condition from birth, I was denied benefits that I paid for. Once Obamacare came into being, I was finally insured. But, with Trump’s rigamarole, I had to live for 2 years on disability without the medical care coverage (that doesn’t kick in until you’ve been on SSDI until you have been certified as ill for 2 solid years) so I had to pay $600 to $645 a month for benefits with 3 different deductible “pockets”, for a total of $13,000 a year ! Yes, I made my deductible every year by November, and got some benefits, but that meant that I was out the monthly benefit payment each month, PLUS the $13k deductible. It’s just a crazy system.


  2. We have the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) that has a program called “go public”. Even though it’s a government organization it seems to go after the bad guys with gusto. The public funding has been going down year after year because they don’t shy away from hitting the politicians.
    However, some high tech guys at the Royal Bank of Canada were tasked to train some off shore people how to do their job. Shortly thereafter they lost their jobs. They went to “go public” and there was a big stink. It made it abundantly clear that the Bank was sending the high tech jobs “off shore”. That’s one of the reasons I wrote the song “The Quarter Man”.
    At our grocery store there was one of these fellows who was doing this. He would take your cart and return it for you so he could keep the quarter. “Money’s scarce, Jobs are few and what jobs there are foreign works do”…


  3. It is worldwide, every few months you see another list published of jobs that will no longer exist in the future and it’s only going to get worse, yet we have leaders who say that “You’ll get a go if you have a go.” as if all we had to do was walk down the street and find employment at the first place we came to. There are more job seekers than there are jobs not to mention the working poor who are not part of the statistics but can’t live on what they make. Young people still living with their parents or on friends couches, older ones living in sheds and caravans. I hear about them every day, not on the news, from people in my community. They are trying to get us to blame migrants for taking our jobs but they are not the ones to blame.

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  4. I can’t even imagine being in this situation – it is beyond my imagining. I have lived in two countries with universal health care – the Uk and Canada where you do not loose everything because you have a pimple that needs attention. I do not understand why you Americans are not up in arms about this issue. And education – your system sucks. Health care and education should be your priority. I am so sorry you have to endure this. I how you can sort yourselves out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We ARE up in arms and we actually — despite all the fighting — we have Obama’s healthcare in effect. We old ones have Medicare which is pretty good. And Medicaid still exists for the very poor. It’s more limited than it was, but it IS there. There are far fewer people without healthcare than there used to be.

      I know people who got sick in England and wound up so broke they finally moved to another country. It’s better some places than others … and I’m pretty sure we ARE going to get our healthcare back. But the rest of it? The dumping of people because the corporation you work for decides you are no longer valuable enough to get paid a living wage? I’ve heard this from people ALL over the globe. It’s not an American problem. It’s a corporate problem. As long as big corporations rule the world, humans will never be more important than money.

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  5. Having read all of the stories I feel like I have been very lucky and I admire the way that people cope with such unfairness.
    I quit working as a housekeeper after several bouts of back trouble. It was a casual job and I could see that they were going to start edging me out as I could not keep up. They felt that they would be carrying me and while they probably would not have fired me right away I would have ended up getting fewer and fewer hours. As I was spending near $100 a week on travel for twenty or twenty-five hours work I wasn’t that much worse off by leaving. I studied and hoped to get a clerical job of some kind but even in my fifties that was always going to be tough.
    Employers can’t say they don’t want you because you are older, they will say other candidates are more suitable. When there is widespread unemployment they have their pick of applicants. At 61 I know I won’t work again and I still have more than five years till I will get the age pension which is more than the benefits I live on now.
    But I am lucky. When David and I moved here we were able to buy our house outright as homes in Tasmania were cheaper than South Australia. No mortgage to worry about. Because David inherited some money and put it in a fund I have some money in the bank which I have to dip into regularly for bills but it’s there.
    Once my sister and I have completed our merging of homes we ought to be able to pay the bills and have a bit left over for other things we hope. I am fortunate but I feel sorry for younger friends who can’t get full-time work and therefore can’t get the finance to buy a home of their own. It shouldn’t be that way. I’m afraid that in another generation we’ll be more like the USA with no help for those who need it at all.
    Forgive me for sounding ignorant but are all pensions in the USA related to either work or military service? Is there no universal age pension from the government? Or is it so tiny that nobody could live on it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sums it up pretty well. It has been interesting, realizing that this is not an exclusively ‘American’ problem but seems to exist everywhere in the world. Maybe the world will improve, but I don’t think it’ll be soon enough for me.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi, Taswegian1957, to answer the questions you asked Marilyn:

      1) are all pensions in the USA related to either work or military service?
      – Yes, if you’re lucky.
      – Most pensions stopped being offered in the 1980’s when Regan took office and we were then informed that we needed to “invest” in a 401K. *If* your employer offered it. If your employer didn’t offer it, in the 1990’s they came out with a Roth IRA, and you *still* need to save it yourself.

      Now, those might all sound doable except:
      a) Layoffs are common – everyone is expendable
      b) If you don’t work, everyone needs to come up with a way to pay for medical benefits, and hope that they can actually use the benefits if they need them
      c) If you work, or don’t work, any medical benefits that you need are so tied up in paperwork and drama that they are virtually useless if anything serious is occurring in your life that qualifies as a “life changing” event.

      2) Is there no universal age pension from the government? Or is it so tiny that nobody could live on it?
      – Yes, if you don’t work for the government or the military you need to put mandatory money aside in the Social Security program (not your specific account), and they keep reducing your possible benefits, as well as raising the retirement age for pre-paid benefits that you and your employer paid into. Paid into by law.
      And with the government freely raids instead of investing on your behalf.
      – Having paid into the social security system, you must also work a minimum of 20 “quarters” AND reach the retirement age for your group before you will be allowed to collect the benefits.
      – Oh, and if you didn’t live beneath your means, by the time you hit retirement age you can’t afford to live on 60% of the maximum benefit (not 60% of your former salary, but the maximum benefit of 2,400 dollars per month, on average) available to “qualified” receipients.
      – if you get ill and take disability, your disability payments will impact your eventual social security benefits, if you live long enough to surpass your allowed retirement age and default to the allowed retirement benefit, which is usually less than the allowed disability benefit. (You’re not suddenly cured, you’re just suddenly expected to live on less than what you were being paid when you were disabled).

      Sidebar: I earned $12,000 a month pre-tax in California. I went on State Short term disability, and was paid $4,408 per month – an amount that may or not be taxed – we find out later. And, if you’re really sick, you’re awarded Federal Social Security Disability Long Term (not to be confused with the State short term benefits), and your maximum allowable benefit is again reduced to the Federal level – currently 2,500 per month.

      While on State disability, you don’t get access to medical coverage for 2 years, so you’re left scrambling for medical care when you most need it.

      Once you’re on Federal disability, you now get Medicare (medical benefits – you know, that program you paid into all your life), but it doesn’t cover your prescriptions, and you must now come up with money that you don’t have to pay for this very basic medical care).

      Confused yet?

      But wait… it gets better !

      Should you try and access your 401K or your IRA for money to live on until you reach the allowed age when you “may” be allowed to touch it – generally 59-1/ 2 – you get to pay the government fines and penalties for the privilege of touching your own money. Money you saved in the event of a disaster.

      And, if you access that money while collecting short term or long term disability, you also get taxed on the “extra” money that you had access to over and above the allowed minimums.

      Our system is insane.

      Butting out again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for explaining that. It does sound complicated and harsh. Even if you know you have money getting it would be beyond the skills of many people. We do have compulsory superannuation that is paid to our employers and the government is gradually raising the pension age from65 to 70. I will have to wait till I am nearly 67 but so far most of us whose income from other sources will be under a certain amount will get the age pension and concessions for things like medications. Medicare, another thing that working people pay tax for is available to take care of our health needs. I fear that our present government would like us to move in the direction the USA has taken but so far it has only been tiny steps. Thanks for a scary glimpse into what our future might look like.


    1. You have to want to make it work. It requires a very large mental alteration and that takes time. Even if by every calculation, you’ve got “enough,” you don’t have the kind of enough you had when you were working, unless you made a LOT of money and saved a good chunk of it. You need to wrap your head around “fixed income” as something that’s never going to change. The bad part is that prices go up, but your income doesn’t. The good news is you can’t get fired from retirement.

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  6. I’m sorry to hear about the ordeal both of you have been through.
    The local TV stations seem to turn over their on-air staff every few years. It’s rare to see anyone on the same station or on the air at all after 5 years.
    Many of them look to be decades from retirement. Boston is a destination market, so I am assuming they are done in the industry. Where do they go, Bangor, ME?
    I think your story will offer hope to a lot of people who see no end to their misery.


    1. When they let you go at 59-1/2, you don’t go anywhere. Besides that, after 31 years at the same station, to be shoved out the door like that is so mentally brutal, it took him a long time to get over it. You have to rebuild your self-respect and remember that the one bad thing doesn’t define your life. I had to learn it, he had to learn. Ultimately, we ALL have to learn it. We tend to define ourselves by our failures rather than our successes. I think it’s because success doesn’t hurt, but failure — or whatever our social unit defines as such — can be pretty lethal.

      It hurts. It’s worse than most divorces, but slowly, you crawl out of your despair and realize life is still … alive. Poverty is very frustrating as a lifestyle, especially when you were used to having more, but you learn to deal with it.

      And life rolls on.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Testify. I started to comment and it turned into a novella, so I’m sending you the link to my post instead. You get the credit. Last thing: I know why you survived, although it’s not what you might consider the reason. And that’s cool. Everyone finds their own answers, don’t they? I’m glad it worked out as it did! Else I’d never have ‘met’ you nor read your fabulous novel.


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  8. Ageism is essentially how I lost my job 2 years before my contract ended. It was pure economics. They could get two young’uns for the price of one me because they wouldn’t have to pay them as much or pay for benefits for them AND they could plug two of their graduates into that space bolstering the prestige of their stupid ass program. Academia. I think a lot of times it’s that kind of financial decision. But in my case it was for the best. I was readier to leave in 2014 than I knew I would be in 2013. Working constantly had become a habit.

    My financial hell happened during the crash of 2009/09. I had no problems getting HAMP (Home Affordable Mortgage Program) refinancing, but there was a ton of paper work involved for MONTHS. Once I knew I was keeping my house, my challenge was recovering from the financial damage done to me by the evil X. I still have not completely succeeded in that.

    Now I look back on it and I feel kind of proud. I did all this alone. I held my shit together and found a new life all by myself. That matters to me because (I’ve also realized) throughout most of my adult life I had the feeling I needed a “fella'” to help me, though none of the fellas I “had” ever did.

    Life for me has been a series of really hard stuff and really great stuff and if anyone were to ask me, “What do you think of life?” I’d say, “Really great stuff and really hard stuff.” Right now I’m in a moment of good stuff and I plan to savor it and try to understand (for once) how best to experience it.

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    1. Most of the people I know — not everyone, but most of them — have been through some equivalent of that story. The specific “how” and “why” of it is less important than the havoc it caused. Garry was indeed ready to retire, though he didn’t know it … and I was so sick, it was a miracle I was able to work at all. But we had no preparations for retirement. No money to live on, no pensions or plans or medical insurance or anything.

      I did it while I was so sick it was amazing I could do anything. One day, I was sitting there and I swore I could feel the wind blowing through me. Suddenly, I realized — I was DYING. Not eventually, but kind of like next week. Garry was in no shape to be much help at that point, so I just did stuff. How? I don’t know. I found ways. I called people. Then I called MORE people. I called our local representative. I called government offices. I fought with the bank. I swear, I really don’t remember most of it but yeah, it was me. Everyone else was melted and they all looked at me like somehow I had answers. Answers? I wasn’t sure I’d be alive in two weeks, but they wanted answers.

      I’d had ex-husbands too. Any money I’d had from those relationships? I never saw it. Somehow, they kept everything and I got nothing and, as it turns out, that’s how it usually works for women. Not just in this country, but in every country. All these rumors about how “she got everything” are bullshit. We get crap and they keep it all. We usually somehow wind up with their debts, too.

      Congratulations on surviving. Not everyone does.

      We never get back to where we began — not at our ages. Maybe if you were still young and had a lot of years ahead — but we were seniors. Burnt out. Garry was more than ready to stop. It took me almost 20 years to conquer enough physical issues to think about work … and I’m way too old and arthritic to do it even if I wanted to. Which I don’t.

      The issue for me is trying to make what years I have as much fun and rich as I can. Isn’t it amazing though? Somehow, we DID make it, sort of. If it isn’t whatever we foresaw as our retirement, we got here. Alive and functional. That’s no small thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m not burnt out. Not at all. I feel like I MORE than “sort of” made it. Being alive and functional is immense. My struggle (and it’s a luxurious one) is “What next?” I know death is not any great distance away (comparatively) but in the meantime? I want it to be good. I want it to reflect all I’ve learned. Being here is a huge step in that direction. And thanks to you, I adopted a big white dog, another huge step in the direction of happiness.


        1. You are more adventurous than I am. But then again, my body isn’t going to do what I want it to do. It just won’t.

          It IS better though. Since the heart surgery, I’ve been healthier than I’d been in 15 years. I almost never get sick. I hurt in a lot of places, but overall, I’m in much better shape than I thought I’d be. If my metabolism would return, I’d also lose weight, but the drugs following cancer really knocked my metabolism to nothing. I try not to brood about it.

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    2. Martha, I was “the kid” for so many years. Then, one day, I was “the old guy”. Couldn’t wrap my head around the change.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Same here. It happened when I stopped dying my hair which has been gray (less than more( since my 20s. Suddenly my teaching reviews referred to me as “that elderly lady.” Fuck ’em. None of them will ever be as young as I have been (and perhaps still am). ❤

        Liked by 3 people

  9. I was ‘let go’ for absence when my son was stabbed and at death’s door. On my birthday too, just to rub salt in the wound. With Nick’s needs, the finances never recovered and retirement probably won’t happen as I now have no pension. On the other hand, my sons are well… and I need to lose weight anyway 😉

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    1. Welcome to the world we all live in. We are numbers on a balance sheet and all the humanity has no bearing on the way we are treated. Hopefully, England takes better care of the older poor than we do here. It’s hard to imagine it getting much worse than it is here, but I’m sure it can be just as bad. Just … different names for it. And that’s why Owen and his family lived here for a decade. Owen never got his feet really under him after that … and neither did we. We get by, but getting ahead? That’s out of the question.

      I’m glad your sons are well. Mine is too. That’s the “something” that helps makes it better.

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        1. We are alive. We are involved. We have reading and art. We think and we write and we have a lot of rich and rewarding stuff going on. It’s harder than I expected, but we DID make it. Sort of. Somehow.


        2. I’m told my former work place is like a snake pit now. Doesn’t make me feel better but I’m glad I no longer am there to dodge the bullets.


  10. In October 2017 I feel and injured my leg. I was off for five months. While I was off my position was eliminated. I was 57. I can’t say it was ageism because I was one of the youngest in the office and the three they kept are older than me, not by much, but still. It’s been a rough road. I can’t easily work in my go-to fields of the past, manufacturing, and service, and needed to find something to match my skills but easy on this ole girl so that I can work the next 15 years. Thoughts of retiring earlier than that have been snuffed out. But it’s okay, cause I believe I have found the job that might take me through, or at least give a foot in. It does always seem to work out.

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    1. Those of us who are smart and desperate enough to try ANYTHING usually somehow survive, but so many fall down and don’t get up again. You get damaged — often AT work — and then they just want you to go away. You’re not useful anymore or they’ve “changed their style” and you aren’t the right style anymore. We junk people. Just toss them on heaps.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Laid off” is supposed to sound better than “You’re Fired!”. It’s the same harsh kick out the door.


  11. I heard rumors about massive layoffs in the future at the company I worked for, so being an “oldie,” I decided to voluntarily retire at the end of 2016. Three months into 2017, about 500 people got RIF’d. And so it goes.

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    1. I know people who got “laid off” by the army when the Vietnam War ended. They had no usable skills at all and they were all mentally damaged too … and many of them didn’t make it. All those “street vets” are largely the result of Army riffs.

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  12. It’s shit and takes away your self esteem and is a shock. It happened to Mr. Swiss and when he found a new job a couple of weeks later his company did not want to let him go, because it was too early and they wanted to profit from his know how until they said go. he won and changed the job – will not explain how. I was called into the managers office to talk about my early pensioning just out of the blue. I was one of the lucky ones I suppose, one of the first and they paid me my wage for two years until I got to the pensioning age, although my pension fund was no longer being paid for so I lost pension money. As a worker you are always the loser.

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    1. Yup. That’s the way it goes. You WERE lucky, but of course, you lost the full pension and that’s a huge difference. For us, it was also medical benefits and any income at all. It was terrifying and somehow, we survived. A lot of people don’t make it, though.

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  13. I have seen this happen throughout my career. Companies push people out for being old or sick, and they get away with it. Years ago someone I had worked with was laid off because “the position was no longer needed.” There were a few other reasons given, probably having to do with budgets and profit margins. A month later they hired a much younger person to do exactly the same thing. They gave the job a different title.
    After I came back from a second spine surgery last year, my boss, who actually had said more than once that I taught him much of his job, started pushing me out the door. Even though he gave me an outstanding review the year before, now I was too old and slow for him. I probably went back to work a week or two too soon, but my medical leave ran out and I was not going to get paid to stay home.

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    1. There are a lot of laws about ageism and IF you can sue, you will win. Nobody loses that particular suit … but suing implies you have something to live on while you wait for the courts and the conferences to decide what to do. They wait you out until you are a day from landing on the street, then offer a pittance. And it’s not rare at all. It’s quite common. No one wants to talk about it because it’s humiliating. But we all need to realize: it wasn’t just us AND it isn’t personal. It’s just business and we are numbers on a balance sheet.

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      1. It is harder to sue in “at will” states. Illinois, like most states, is “at will” and an employer can dismiss you without just cause as long as it is not something blatantly illegal. They do not actually have to state a reason. It’s usually business, sometimes it is personal. It doesn’t matter here. It can be for age, they will just call it something else.
        Massachusetts does not recognize the idea of “at will” “contracts,” in other words, serving at the will of the employer. The employee has more rights in a handful of states.


        1. No union, then. Garry had a union. They HAD to have a reason. But unions are a lot weaker than they used to be and everyone gets to pretend they don’t exist. 20 years ago, even, the union would have been up in arms. Now, no one is willing to raise and arm.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. My story is so similar. The first time I lost my job I had Employment Insurance to tide me through, not well, but I could pay rent and eat. I found another job thank god and carried on. The next time I got old they wanted me out and couldn’t find a way until I was injured on the job and nearly lost both eyes. I’ve lived on a pittance ever since and my son was injured on the job and came to live with me. Two people living on nothing trying to heal to make it through another day. Miraculously we did. Like you, I have no idea how. I’m at another crossroads looking for a place to live on 1100.00 and rents begin at 1400.00 but we made it through the first time, we will again. Love you, Marilyn. Some people live charmed lives but that’s not been my case. Life’s been difficult from the get go with marginally good times then having my kids which was my life saver. Thank you for the pep talk cause I needed it! The reminder that we did it once, we can do it again!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think VERY few people live charmed lives unless they have “family money.” Most of us live paycheck-to-paycheck with a bit left over … which seems like enough until suddenly, it’s peanuts. Even peanuts begin to look expensive. We were lucky we kept the house because we surely could not afford rent!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get that. They keep the rent so high you can’t save to buy a place. Adam’s got some money saved and we’re trying to find a house he can afford with the bit I can add. I’m thinking positively! We’ll find it. It’s out there!


          1. Indeed. Unfortunately, this city has become a bedroom community of Vancouver where the average (low budget house is over 1 million) the prices here are 600 k and the ones a half hour away are 500k so not much of a price difference. But we’re trying!


    2. Covert, I was lunching with former work colleagues the other day. Inevitably, the “So, how are ya doing?” question came up. I paused a minute, smiled and said, “We’re surviving”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I know that one well. I think what pains me most is being cast aside like unwanted trash because your usefulness if over. They were wrong to let you go. Your audience was eager to see you because you were honest and a straight shooter. Their loss to my way of thinking.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Covert, I am still flattered when people stop me and say “I grew up watching you on TV”. They emphasize they didn’t always agree with me but appreciated my honesty. That always makes me think the job was worthwhile. It’s hard for current newspeople to feel that way.
          Yesterday, a 30 year NBC News veteran quit his job, voicing frustration over not being able to really report stories that matter. That’s the “duty” of reporters. Management frequently blocks reporters from getting at the truth because they fear losing the sponsors’ big bucks and intimidation from lobbyists and bullying pols.
          We were given cache to pursue those stories – if we had details and proper corroboration. I often criticize the dozens of suits I worked for – but there were managers who had our backs and encouraged us to go after the bad guys. The days and nights we were able to expose corruption emitted feelings of pure joy.


          1. Yes, I agree and I always applauded that honesty and dedication. And I always considered it the “duty” of a reporter. These days, sadly it’s all about the $$ and big business rules since they own all the media outlets. You really have to do your own investigation into a story these days to find out how much of it was true. A grain or a mountain. lol. So glad you were there. Wished there were more like you and it has to be scary to leave a job because you can’t report the truth or stories that matter. Scary finding another job too!


      2. yeah, that’s all they want to hear really, unless they’re real friends. Anything else is too uncomfortable, and heaven forfend the ‘haves’ (especially if they can feel that same icy wind blowing their way) feel uncomfortable when confronted with the truth of what their ‘having’ is covering up.


    1. I don’t understand it either. Not then, not now. And meanwhile, our so-called government has left hundreds of thousands of employees without means to survive and it’s a “so what?” moment for them. Apparently, they have never been faced with a genuine life-calamity.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s because there are so many of us … many years ago Colleen McCulloch, an Aussie author, wrote The Thorn Birds, about a family on a sheep station (a ranch, but much, much bigger, defined by square miles, not acres) in the Outback at the turn of the century (19th to the 20th)
      I cant remember the exact details, but there was a reporter from the Big Smoke, (city) who was horrified at the sight of a sheep being cut open with a pair of shears (before there were electric ones) and was brusquely stitched back up(the sheep, not the reporter!) with a bit of baling wire ( I think) and sent back into the paddock with the other shorn sheep and left to it’s own devices, live or die.
      When the reporter expressed his dismay to the matriarch of the family she told him that people discard what they have an abundance of (she was a bit bitter and twisted, but her sentiment remained true) and that city folk discarded people because there were so many of them, just like the sheep, whereas humans, who were skilled and strong enough to work on the station, were held in high regard.
      I’ve never forgotten that scene, and although there are many, many of us who do not behave in that way, it is so easy for those who are in a position where they have even the tiniest bit of power over others, will at some point behave in that way. I suppose that’s the ultimate definition of a ‘disposable society.’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t understand disposing of animals — OR people. I just don’t get it. I can understand eating animals because that’s the way it is, but the cruelty of how it’s done — that’s just not necessary. But you know, we’ve been disposing of people since forever. The ones who can’t hunt or fight or are too poor to make a living? Most societies dispose of them. We are supposed to have gotten better but it doesn’t seem to be true. We wanted it to be true. I wanted it to be true.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. When you have nothing left, you do whatever you can. Some people are more clever — or luckier — than others, but for everyone, it’s deeply traumatic. I shiver for all those “temporarily out-of-work” government employees. Their life has been shattered because we have a toddler as president.

      Liked by 3 people

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