Tomorrow, my three-and-a-half-month period of unemployment comes to an end. I am excited to start a fantastic job in the newsroom at the Columbian, our local daily paper.
In this dismal economy, I count myself blessed that I was able to find a really good job with benefits so quickly. Although recent statistics point to an improved job market, the unemployed souls hunkering down in the job-searching trenches may not agree that jobs are more plentiful now.
Since I have just climbed out of that deep unemployment trench, I know how scary it is down there. The light is dim, so it's hard to see. And the air is thin, so it's hard to breathe.
After learning what my unemployment benefits would be, I knew I couldn't afford to make my house payment so I listed my house with a realtor. Then I cancelled my cable TV and any other unnecessary expenses. I hunkered down, ate only what was in the cupboard, sold what I could, gave away loads of stuff I no longer needed, and with the help of friends and family, packed the essentials I would need in my next chapter.
Thankfully, my house sold quickly and I downsized to a one-bedroom apartment. I began practicing simplicity and learned to be content with much less. I kept applying for jobs, but to no avail.
When my car needed its 75,000-mile service, I took it to my trustworthy garage, Hoesly's Eco Auto in the neighborhood. The service estimate was $750, but I instructed the mechanic to just do the oil change and lube for now and whenever I got a job, I would bring the car in for the 75,000-mile service.
Don Orange, the kind owner of Hosely's, called me and said that he and his mechanics discussed my situation and they wanted my car to be in good working order as I hunted for work. They offered to do the service at no charge to me.
I was overwhelmed. Grateful. I said yes. Then I baked the mechanics brownies and delivered them with a thank-you note. My car is in perfect working order, thanks to the generosity of Don and his crew.
Today, when I learned I had a job, I baked chocolate chip cookies and delivered them to the guys at the garage along with the good news of my new job.
As I get back on my feet financially, I plan to "pay forward" this kindness to someone in need.