Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reality of unemployment

It's stories like the one in today's New York Times that make me want to throw up my hands and not want to read it for awhile. It's about a dad who lost his job a year ago and his wife returned to work. Fine, I can relate to that. It's reality.

The story moves out of my reality, and probably the reality of many others, when it discusses families that because of lost bonuses lost an $800,000 annual salary, and have to live on $150,000 a year. And the fantasy world of this story continues. Out-of-work husbands still live in $1 million homes. The nanny is replaced by an au pair. The family belongs to a "modest" country club and continues spending hundreds of dollars a month on kids' activities, such as soccer and karate lessons. They continue shopping at Ralph Lauren.

This isn't the reality for many families where a spouse is out of work. I hate it when the NY Times, or any other paper, writes at length about a class that isn't the norm, and that many can't relate to. I'm not saying my situation is typical, but it sure is closer. We're cutting back and while I'm home with our daughter and doing some part-time work, I continue to look for a job and worry about the future. Those families have worries, I'm sure, but it's a different world. Not reality.

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1 comment:

npd said...

Have you ever noticed that most novels relate the activities of someone who actually HAS money or has access to it? I think the first book I ever read about a poor person was Freckles or Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter. Anyway, money--like sex--sells to readers. The family who loses their home and vehicles and has no place to go or anything to eat--now who REALLY wants to read about them? THEY are reality! Tell the 150 teachers in Dallas who were fired because the school district overextended their budget that they aren't reality. They have homes to pay for, car payments, and children to clothe, feed, and entertain. But they don't have millions or usually even thousands to back up their life style. THEY are reality too. Maybe it is a relative situation when we talk about money and what we expect from life. We are BLESSED to even be able to eat good food, sleep in a clean bed, and use phones, computers, and all the other good stuff. Some Americans don't have food. That, too, is reality.