I have spent my life covering everything with sparkles or gloss, making even the bad seem ok. I think most of us do that. I hide my tears. I hide my fear. I smile when I want to cry. And heaven knows I try not to ask for help, and when I do I hang my head in shame.
However, this year has been different. Ever since I lost my job in October, 2016, I have struggled with my shiny facade, the cracks in my demeanor have shown and finally this week, I swallowed my pride and sent out a mass email to most everyone on my contact list. No shame!
It went something like this:
As you may or may not know, I have been mostly unemployed for the last year. I do have two part time jobs that help keep us afloat, but if not for the generosity of another family, we would have become homeless in April. Unfortunately, the camper we have been living in has been damaged in the last month (and really was no suitable for winter living to begin with,) and is no longer available to us.
We were planning to return to Williamsburg next week after an extended holiday stay with my grandmother in GA and short trip to TX to see my immediate family. But now we have no home to return too.
I am writing to ask for your help. I NEED a job. Or several more part time jobs with reliable hours. I am willing to relocate ANYWHERE.
Would you be willing to share my LinkedIn profile with your network? You can find it here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hopehunt
And if I have done any type of work for you, would you consider posting a positive recommendation there as well?
I am not looking for a handout, but a hand up.
Things are pretty dire at this point. My family is not able to offer us any housing at this point other than short term stays. And my funds will run out quickly staying in a hotel/motel. (Food is covered by food stamps as I just qualified again, which was a complete blessing in the timing.)
Your thoughts and prayers are coveted, and I appreciate your consideration in sharing my information with your network.
And the responses from my friends and network were absolutely AMAZING. Sharing my contact information, recommending me to their network, even offers of places to live temporarily. I was brought to tears so many times that day, that by the end, I was just emptied. But once again, my HOPE was restored and I was ready to continue to fight.
But there is one thing that kept popping up…those $10 an hour job recommendations. That “something is better than nothing”. I’m sorry I have to disagree. And here’s why…
First, the math…
- 40 hours a week x $10 per hour = $400 per week, approximately $1600 per month.
- Child support (maybe, but no court ordered) = $600 per month.
- Odd jobs = $200 per month (average from 2016.)
Total Estimate Income per month: $2,200
- I am a single mom of four teenagers/almost teenagers = five of us.
Bills (based on the city where we currently live:)
- Rent = $1,400 per month for a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom, 900 square foot apartment.
- Utilities = $150 per month (average from 2015 in said living environment.)
- Gas for Paid Off Car = $70 (minimum for life stuff.)
- Life Insurance = $25.
- Car Insurance = $250 (3 drivers, 1 car, includes rental and car.)
- Groceries = $500 (low but doable.)
- Phone = $100 (low but necessary for life and work.)
Total Monthly Costs for Very Basics per month: $2,495
Do you see the problem here? And I didn’t even include medical costs, health insurance (which I don’t qualify for making this amount,) clothing and other misc like toilet paper!
It just does not make sense for me to go after a minimum wage job, or even a $10 per hour job. I appreciate the recommendations, I truly do. But if I can’t support my family…why?
I do work two part time jobs making a decent hourly rate to keep us afloat, I am in no way saying “don’t work”. What I’m saying is that I need to focus my energy on jobs that will actually support us, allow us to get off food stamps, allow me to get us health insurance and eventually allow me to give back. Anything else is just keeping us in this terrible cycle of poverty! *steps quietly off my soapbox