Well, I have really gotten myself backed into a corner with no way out.
It started a couple years ago. The hospital I had been working for, for 6 1/2 years was busted by the Feds for Medicaid fraud. It was a good job and I had a boss that worked to get me raises every year and I was just into to the low end of what a computer tech earned in my area. After the hospital was shut down, I was kept on to decommission all the PC, laptops and servers per HIPAA rules. The job was due to end by November
The first week of October, I had a bad car accident. It was a one car and my own fault for being impatient. It laid me up for 3 months with cracked ribs and sternum. During that time, my checks from the hospital stopped. Fortunately, my car was in such a condition and low mileage, that, after the loan was paid off, I had enough money to live on for a few months.
Everything was fine for a couple months, then my troubles started. I’m not in the greatest of shape, but I was always healthy, rarely sick. I hadn’t been in a hospital as a patient for 30 years. Over the next 9 months, I would have 2 cataract surgeries, an emergency hernia surgery, 2 bouts of gout that took me out for a week each time and I had a “cardio event” (doctor speak) that made me pass out at work.
In March, the day I returned from my second week long bout of gout, the boss called me to his desk and asked if a project I had been assigned 3 weeks earlier had been completed. I said no, I was waiting on one more thing that I should have by the end of the day. He said okay and let me go back to work.
At 3 in the afternoon, the HR person called me down to her office and fired me. The reason given by my boss, who never showed his face during the process, was the incompletion of that project.
Now mind you, just 3 weeks before, when the project was assigned, I was told at a midyear review that I was doing fine. There were no complaints about my performance and that I was doing so good, that 3 goals (the project being one of them) were added to my full year review criteria that would be reviewed in August.
To say I was hit outta left field was an understatement. I wasn’t allowed to get only my personal stuff from my desk. They gave me my coat, hat and extra pair of walking shoes I kept at work and ushered out. All my stuff was shipped to me. What makes me mad was, at least to my eyes, it was obvious the reason was trumped up. Three weeks earlier I was doing good, got sick then I was fired. I really think I was fired because I got sick one too many times. I haven’t been sick again in the last year and a half.
The association is a real stickler for their member’s ethical behavior, then they pull this on their employees.
Well, I was unemployed and started to search for a job. It was tough going because guys my age aren’t usually desktop support anymore, we have moved into manager or supervisor, but I don’t want to push papers and sit in meeting. I also don’t want to have to hire or fire people.
The fact that I had no certifications didn’t help either. I had no reason for them before. I knew my job and did it well. I kept up my learning of new tech, especially as the hospital started to upgrade to meet Federal HIPAA rules. I didn’t need to spend the thousands of dollars that tech schools charge for certification classes. But now I did.
I found out about a program called WIOA. It’s a Federal program to train under and unemployed workers. I inquired about it with my unemployment office. I was told that if I took any school, it would cut my benefits because I wasn’t available for work during that time. So I let it go and kept looking. It was only after my benefits had run out that I found out that WIOA training was exempt from impacting unemployment benefits.
So here I am, a year after my UE ran out. I have been scraping along on selling stuff I owned, cutting lawns, and charity of friends. I even tried a GoFundMe page to get up 6 months of living expenses so I could apply for the WIOA program. I only raised a quarter of my goal and the WIOA funds never came through anyways.
My finances are a shambles, all my charge cards are in default, one has sued and seized my bank accounts (they got a whole $9). My mortgage modification has ended and I’m figuring I’m going to get served foreclosure papers any day. My cell phone and internet bills are a month behind, my electricity and gas are 3 months behind. I can’t afford to declare bankruptcy, not even with legal aid, they say I have to pay the $350 filing fee. I have no money to move out of my house and get an apartment. I have applied everywhere, even for minimum wage stuff at Costco, Target, Best Buy and local grocery stores. Nothing.
Nobody wants me.
I suspect I may start having health problems soon, because I barely sleep. I’m tired all the time, I sometimes experience pressure in my chest. Everything aches and hurts.
I think daily about giving up. At first I dismissed it after a couple of minutes, but my time contemplating it has become longer and longer. I feel despaired about life when I read about stars and sports guys having millions of dollars and not touching it, or using it to buy ridiculously huge rings and I can’t even get enough to live and go to school. Their walk-around money or the cost of one of their cars would get me totally out of trouble.
I really wonder what the point is anymore. What is my point? Why am I still fighting? It’s getting harder to answer those questions.
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