Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

“Everyone needs to take a deep breath, calm down, and start preparing their bodies for the Thunderdome, because that is the new law.” –Tracy Morgan on the TV show 30 Rock.

30 Rock is one of my favorite shows. I watch it because it’s funny, because Tina Fey is my dream woman and the writing is terrific. But even though it’s a wacky comedy, I’m a little troubled that lately it’s getting downright prophetic.

Bailouts, layoffs, bankruptcies and foreclosures are in the news everyday. Businesses are going under because people have no more money to spend. People have no more money because they’re losing their jobs. When they lose their jobs many of them also lose their homes. And some people are losing their homes because they were suckered into exotic mortgages by people who knew they couldn’t really afford the home in the first place. Marriages are ending, it’s yet to be seen if the “stimulus package” will really live up to its name and the “hope” and “change” we all felt two months ago is dimming with each AIG executive collecting a six figure bonus for putting us in this mess in the first place.

And unless you’re set for life, no one is really immune.

We’re currently dealing with our own problems at the Daddy Files household as MJ wages war with the unemployment people. They sent her out a notice setting her rate of unemployment about a month ago, but that was all we received. But so far, no payments. So she checked on it and guess what? They said they sent us a notice that MJ had to talk to an unemployment rep before anything could be processed. Had we known, we would’ve done that immediately. But after a 30 minute wait on the phone, the ever helpful unemployment people told us IF she’s eligible we’ll still have to wait 4 to 8 weeks until we get payments.

That’s 4-8 more weeks on my salary, and that ain’t happening! Because although journalists should be among the richest people on Earth (I’m admittedly biased), we are not. At all. So then we have to dip into the 401k and pay penalties, while simultaneously depleting all of MJ’s investments made during her BoA tenure.

And it’s not just schmucks like us who are panicking. Oh no. It’s everyone. Come to find out, without any notice at all, my credit card limits have been slashed by thousands of dollars right down to whatever balance I’m currently at. Not that we’ve used credit cards at all in the past year, but they’re supposed to be for emergencies. Like now. But the credit card companies are in full panic mode too so they’re trying to minimize all possible losses, which entails hurting people like me who are NEVER late on payments and who have a sky high credit score.

And when we called some of our creditors to try and work out extensions, we were treated like filthy beggars. And that confuses the hell out of me because instead of trying to work with us to defer a few payments but eventually get paid in full, they’d rather wait until we have to go bankrupt and not pay them a single cent. Makes perfect sense huh?

Personally, I think a third option is on the way. You can either pay, declare bankruptcy OR be able to fight one of the creditors in the Thunderdome. If you win, you’re debt free. If you lose…well, you’d be dead. I know it’s high stakes but I’m starting to consider it. Cape Cod Gal would have to put me on a serious physical fitness regimen to get me into battle shape, but the thought of hand-to-hand mortal combat against some corporate underwriter is starting to sound more and more plausible. And appealing.

To the Thunderdome!

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9 thoughts on “Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

  1. More things should be settled in the Thunderdome. There are plenty of people I would like to take a whack at.

  2. My exes girlfriend applied for unemployment. In November. STILL hasn’t received payment number 1. Don’t hold your breath on that 4 – 8 week thing. It’s been over 16 weeks for her and her previous employer isn’t even fighting it. That’s just how back logged they are at unemployment. You have no idea how many people are coming in looking for temporary help because unemployment just isn’t coming through.

    People are being pushed to the ends of their ropes. I dealt with a family last week who were foreclosed on. They had to be out in 2 days, no place else to go and serious health problems with both adults. Their only viable option was a temporary family shelter. The father said there was no way they would go there. When I asked what other options were available, his reply was “Kill the kids and them myself”.

    Frankly, I’m not trained to handle that response. A lot of people have a general idea of how bad it is. Most people know how bad their own situation is. Few people know, in depth, how serious this situation is getting on a community level. Most days I just want to hide in bed and not face this office where problems outnumber solutions 4 to 1.

  3. Temporary jobs are the answer.

    My husband took a newspaper job and a sign job, and selling dumpsters on the side…he was laid off from the newspaper job…they cut the routes down significantally as people were cutting their expenses by reading the paper online…

    But now his company is thriving again and is picking up his overtime, which is why he got the Newspaper job to begin with.

    But sometimes you gotta swallow your pride and take a job that’s not in your area to pay the bills. I’d do that over bankruptcy at any time..
    McDonald’s has a great manager program…you could make 40k+…heck don’t bash it, these days people should take what they can get.

    If you are smart and healthy enough to work, there are jobs out there…it hurts.

    If I could afford day care (or had ANY help whatsoever from family) I’d go out and shovel poop if I had to). Unfortunately, two kids at their age costs about 700/week just for daycare…


  4. Not to ruffle any feathers here but, it’s pretty hard to get a temporary job on the Cape unless you ask for the application with a HEAVY accent. The socio-economic structure of the Cape doesn’t allow for much wiggle room. Our major industries are failing. Construction has dropped off almost completely. Landscapers are out of work as more people tend their own yards to save money. Fishing has always been a touch and go industry. Restaurants are failing, hotels are closed. We’re in our slump season here and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  5. I am on the South Shore (just in between Providence and Boston). I imagine the South Shore has more access to jobs and such in actually three or more areas since western MA is still commutable.

    Just saying-not in a lot of cases are just waiting for the “perfect” job and in this economy, we need to take what we can get. My husband for example, got hours cut back and then took a job delivering Newspapers and putting up signs…took only 25 hours a week and took home an extra 400 a week. That’s a good part time job…that’s 1600 a month…helps a lot:)
    Now, like I said he was laid off, so for a few days we thought-uh-oh, but then in his industry “knock on wood” he is actually picking up overtime now…

    Everyone get into waste management, hazardous and all. Pays great AND we’ll ALWAYS need it.

  6. Actually there was a show on a few weeks ago about how waste management (in the form they were talking about) was going down the tubes. It may have only been the recycling aspect of it though. A lack of consumer demand is creating an enormous backlog of recyclable goods. The guy they interviewed said the huge bundles of recyclables used to sell for thousands of dollars and now they have to pay people to take away.

    They showed the same problem with digital technologies. There are dumps that cover acres, filled with nothing but “old” technology. It was really disturbing because a number of these products contain mercury. Maybe more people should get into hazardous waste so they can come up with new ways to solve these problems. Of course, that won’t help anyone immediately unless they already have the experience to enter these fields. Going back to school while you’re trying to figure out where your families next meal, mortgage or utility payment is coming from isn’t feasible for most people.

    When it comes right down to it, if we filled all possible job, we would still have a large amount of people still unemployed.

  7. Well, it must be then that my husbands’ work is picking up the jobs from those who are losing their customers.

    He has been more busy than ever in his 5 years in the industry.

    And the regulations are getting more strict and therefore customers are looking for the best waste removal systems.

    My husband has removed mercury from the ground weeks on end.

    They are doing all they can do get the hazardous materials under control, but with all the failing companies, his is the only one that can handle the amount of waste people have out there. His and maybe the other “competitor” that’s out there.
    To start as a technician in his field, you need a high school diploma and to be able to lift “heavy” objects. My friend who used to work at Blockbuster, with no college education has been working there now 4 years. He is taking home a salary above 45K and getting over time of about 20/hr. almost everyday.

    They are on a hire freeze, but are REALLY looking forward to the second quarter as they are bringing on lots new employees since the work is keeping people on the job for a lot more hours than usual.

    I understand that it is tough out there, but you have to keep looking and take what you get. I am lucky I am able to stay home at this point and if I had to find work it’d be a lot harder for me as I have been home for a long, long time.

    But in case I had to go back, I have found three jobs down the streeet in my field working at the YMCA in the teen center, front desk work. It might not be a 45K salary but it’s a start:)

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