Ch-ch-ch-changes (and hardships)

I have spent the past few years watching others fall victim to the hardships of the economic climate.  I’ve seen people fall into depression.  I’ve seen people give up on dreams and turn to security.  I’ve seen people just stop caring.  But, most importantly, I’ve seen people turn to their creativity and enterprising spirits to rise from the ashes and make things start to happen.

Until recently, I was just watching from the sidelines.  Now, that has changed.

On Tuesday, the Courts announced furloughs were being brought back.  This would mean ten unpaid days off over the next ten months.  This, for the lack of a better word, sucked, but was manageable.  Then Thursday came, and I was “called down.”  The good news?  I still have my job and full benefits.  The bad news?  My hours were being reduced.  Quite substantially.  Thirty-two hour weeks with Fridays off.  BUT if there was a furlough on a Friday, I would have to take the Thursday off unpaid as well.  This comes out to roughly a 28% pay cut, which translates to making less income than bills–not including costs of food, gas, etc.

At first, I did not know what to do.  I had become accustomed to a life that, while paycheck-to-paycheck, was comfortable.  And that was being taken away from me.  My job security until August 1st, when my current term ends, was suddenly gone.  What to do?

I let myself feel negative.  I let myself cry.  And then I told myself to shut up and view this as I should–a catalyst for change and an opportunity to seek other opportunities.  A time to get myself out of my comfort zone.

What am I going to do?  I’ll tell you.  First, I am going to look for secondary employment to try and make up the $500+ gap in income a month to cover my bills (so long as administration approves such employment).  I can’t do any legal work per the terms of my current employment, but nothing else is off the table.  I can wait tables again, I can do retail, I can babysit . . .

I will also look for alternate full-time employment.  I consider myself a very loyal person, but there comes a time when you need to just get out.  If a life boat presents itself, I am jumping from this sinking ship.  Before, I was stuck until August 1st, even if a great opportunity came along, because I would screw over the State if I left.  Now, I’m screwed over if I stay.  I love my judges and they are great people and I want to help them as much as possible, but they understand and want the best for me.  With all the cuts, they need as much help as possible and that is not being recognized.  They are good, hard-working people whose value is often not seen by those on the outside of the judicial system.  I am not making a political stand, and these are my personal opinions and not those of the judicial system or the State.

So, here goes nothing.  It’s time to get off my ass, seek a change, find new opportunities, and do whatever I can to help others who may be in a similar situation.

There are so many others who lost their jobs completely and I am very thankful to still have the hours and benefits I do have.  The State has been a great employer until these hard times came upon us, and that should not be forgotten.  This is not one individual’s fault, and no fingers are to be pointed.

I am thankful, and optimistic.

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