I was going to be on tv today, but... I'm a hot mess.
This morning, Mitch Carr of WGHP Fox8 was looking for people in our area that are receiving Emergency Unemployment Compensation. This federal extended benefits program, which kicks in when State benefits have been exhausted (at 26 weeks), will stop the week of December 29, 2012 unless Congress acts before then.
Yes, this is part of the "fiscal cliff" you're hearing so much about. Yes, the demise of this program will leave more than 100,000 North Carolinians without any source of income.
Yes. I am one them.
I responded to Mitch, and was set to be interviewed by him one hour from now for tonight's newscast.
I initially agreed to the interview because I wanted to put a "real person" behind this fiscal cliff. I wanted to let people know that unemployment is NOT by choice. Until March, I had a job that I loved going to, I was making good money, and I was supporting my family. In the first week of March I closed on my first house, by the fourth week of March my employer had sold their business and the office was closed. Effective immediately, thank you for your time, we won't need you tomorrow. I am extremely grateful that I qualified to receive Unemployment Benefits, and that (most months) it has been enough to pay the bills and feed my family.
(Addendum: This is the piece that aired.)
Since March, I have applied for job after job, with only a handful of interviews. I have worked with Mr. Martin at Forsyth Tech through the "Back to Work" program, and at his prompting took the Adult Basic Education test (I missed 3 questions out of 100). I took the career readiness test at Joblinxx and got a Silver Certificate. I am smart, and I've always been a "glass half full" type of person. I've got an extensive background in management, customer service, sales, accounts, writing... but there are still too many people competing for one job and I have been unable to find employment.
The stress of the Fiscal Cliff has my emotions on a roller coaster. I cannot imagine that Congress will let the year pass without approving the budget (it would defy history), but it could happen. The thought that in two weeks (TWO WEEKS) I could lose everything that I've worked for...
As much as I wanted to be that "real person" for today's interview, I just can't talk (or write) about it without tears. I don't need to be on tv crying. I wanted to share my story; I didn't want to be on tv for sympathy. I'm not writing this for sympathy. I am just one of 100,000 people in North Carolina... I'm probably not the only person you know that is as scared as I am. There are others that are worse off. I am grateful and thank God for what I do have.
And I know that, no matter what, we will be okay. Everything will be okay.