My Mother was Escorted from the Building

I was at work yesterday, working.  This has been a very big week on many fronts but the elation of a shiny new President Obama was going to end quickly.  I just gave notice that I would finally be cutting back my hours (And it scares the hell out of me, because I just kissed 25% of my income away) due to chronic illness.  It was time.

And my Mother has been dealing with issues related to my Grandmother's health.  My Grandmother can no longer care for herself and it was a very tough time for my Mom, to know her Mother can never go back home again.

And then what?  I get a phone call from my Mother that she'd just been laid off.  She had been working at the same company for over ten years, underpaid and overworked and taken for granted.  And to top things off, they escorted her from the building, letting her know she could clear up her desk after working hours.

I understand the need to do this but I also feel it's just cruel.  And to hear my Mother sobbing on the phone, my Mom who had already been dealing with so much recently, it broke my heart. She's worked her whole life, she deserves better than this.

My Mom knows the reality of things, she knows that at 61 years old she will find it very difficult to get another job and she is just not ready to retire yet.  Unfortunately, my Mother doesn't have much retirement savings and was hoping to really stockpile in the last few years of working.

My Mother is a young 61, she still goes to concerts and loves her life and her granddaughter very much.  I don't think of 61 as "old", not anymore.  And personally, I think it should be her choice.  It's up to her.

The bright side is that she is technically employed until February 18th and she has health insurance, etc.  She is going to visit every doctor possible and get anything taken care of before her last work day.  She is also receiving three months severence and then will have a chance to apply for unemployment.  After she had had a chance to calm down (She told me through sobs that she had to pee and that they probably wouldn't let her back in the building.  My Mom is a spitfire, she said she might as well just pee in their parking lot) she realized that she had time to find another job and time to help the transition for my Grandmother from her rehabilitation home to a new permanent home.

There is a lot to do, they have to clear out my Grandmother's belongings (I've already been offerred her China and her sewing machine) so they can either sell her house or rent it out.  My Grandmother has two years savings to pay for her care already socked away and she's one of those lucky ones.  My Grandfater worked for ConEdison for forty years, she gets his pension and his social security.  But we know times are different now.

But our whole family has already sworn that we would be there for each through thick or thin and that the next few months were going to be tough ones.  I told my husband the news and his first reaction was, "Do I need to clean out the spare room?" Yes, he's a good guy.  If it came to that, my Mother could move in with us and she could rent her condo and pay her mortgage that way.  There are always things to be done.

And so, when Barack Obama said that we'd all have to sacrifice, I knew he was right.  We all knew he was right, that we would all have to help each other.  I just think yesterday's news was so out of the blue.  But just as many here have already proved, most of our jobs are not "safe".

So please, say a little prayer, send a little thought to my Mother and Grandmother, they need it but I also know that it will all work out just fine.  

Both women have worked their whole lives, my Grandmother caring for her four kids and then my ailing Grandfater.  She's always been there to help raise her Grandkids, she also deserves better.  She's 4'9" and a tiny little Italian lady, everyone thinks she's just adorable with her chin hairs and her cooky hair cut.  She's just my Grandmother.

Tags: Grandmother, Laid Off, mother, Personal (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

That is absolutely heartbreaking.  I'm incredibly sorry to hear about people like your mother who are falling victim to these economic times, and it just makes it that much more awful to be worried about the health of a loved one.

by thatpurplestuff 2009-01-22 01:45PM | 0 recs
That is common practice now..

We have business schools like Harvard Business School, Wharton, and their "best practices" to thank for that.

It IS weird to see people vanish like that. Employment security is really a thing of the past.

Co-workers should exchange phone numbers and non-company emails on an ongoing basis, because you never know when you might get laid off.

Linked-In and the like can help people stay in touch but its better to have alternative contacts.

by architek 2009-01-24 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building
My very best to your family. This is a tough time for many families.
I'm sure your Mother will be fine. She sounds like she is a very strong person. Thank you for sharing your story. REC
by canadian 2009-01-22 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

she would have had social security were she in an older generation.  My father could retire at 62, I have to be 66, as does your mother.  So, there's a gap of four years, from the end of her unemployment to the beginning of medicare and full social security - a very long time to go without health insurance.

We need single payer, we need a public health insurance option. I'd give up my private insurer in a heartbeat (if I still have one) to support public health insurance.  

We need affordable housing for the retired. Your mom is an older boomer, there are more coming.  Growing old can be fun, or it can be scary as hell.  

I wish you a stout heart and the enjoyment of your spunky and loving moms and grandmoms.  

by anna shane 2009-01-22 03:01PM | 0 recs
In the 30s, the average lifespan was 65

That's why they picked the age they did.

Its quite possible lifespans could see huge increases.

They are learning a lot about the aging process.

We all need to figure out how to support ourselves independently.

Unless we have a real love of what we do, we won't have jobs.

Most jobs the way they are now are endangered because the NEED for workers is gradually declining. We are so productive we are eliminating our own jobs.

Technology can do things that follow any script. Even things that require a lot of complex decision making like driving and agricultural work can be done by machines. People are expensive and they need heath insurance.

Thats a huge burden to lay on business.

The long term job is a vestige of the manufacturing era. They didn't exist beforehand, and the pattern we grew up with won't exist much longer. We are in denial on that.

Social security will have to be restructured, because people's job patterns will be increasingly sporadic. The best thing we could do is focus on the younger generation and educating them far better than we do.

This is a huge challenge we need to discuss, and deal with. We could be a global player in automation technology but we are dropping the ball because of our addiction to cheap labor. This is giving other countries a jump on us.

Why invest in automation when you can hire people so cheaply overseas?

The politicians know about it but the ruling class seems to want to create a fuzzy haze of pretension that the past will return. It cant because you can't turn back the clock on technology.

The job was a creation of the industrial era, and obviously, industry often wishes people were like machines. many jobs are best done by machines, and we can't expect business to create jobs they don't need out of charity.

Thats not their job. Their job is to do whatever they do.

But they should be gentle as they can and not mean spirited about things like layoffs. Its ugly.

We also should consider legislation to make things LESS EFFICIENT in useful ways..

For example, decentralizing business is less efficient, but it promotes competition and redundant capabilities that help in emergency situations.

Decentralized technologies also allow us to do things like pilot tractors from halfway around the world.. or operate on patients over the Internet, lowering medical costs.

There is no reason why Americans, among the most productive of all workers, can't find good jobs.

Even if they are vanishing in many places, they might exist in other cities, or even in other countries if they look.

Regardless of if we are or aren't able to move where the jobs still are, we all need to cut our expenses and save more money, even if it means living like grad students.

We have a lot to thank God for, we don't NEED to live the way we've been living.

The government should try to face the reality and deal with it on as many fronts as possible.

Technology brings many gifts. We shouldn't need to work as much as we have. We should stop this rat race and give people some breathing room, otherwise the stress of all working against each other, harder and harder, for less and less money, will kill us.

by architek 2009-01-24 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: In the 30s, the average lifespan was 65

and kill us before we quality for retirement.  I read a study that said more young people believe in angels than believe they'll live long enough to qualify for social security.

We need single payer and we need affordable safe housing, for seniors who need special care and for kids who need to be safe.  

by anna shane 2009-01-24 10:52AM | 0 recs
my god!

i cannot - literally - even fathom.  thoughts and prayers.

by canadian gal 2009-01-22 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

I find this distinctly American practice of escorting people out barbaric and inhumane.. Not sure why Americans seem so content to stand for it...

by obama4presidente 2009-01-22 06:52PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

Although I find it demeaning, I also have seen when it has been useful.  For a long time a former employer of mine did not escort people out of the office.  They were told they were laid off or fired as soon as they showed up in the morning and allowed to clear their desk and leave.

Then one day a particularly bitter employee (not without reason mind you) got into and argument with the HR head, demanding to know specifically why they were being let go.  Not getting a satisfactory answer (just about everyone fired in this country is told, "it's just not working out") the now ex-employee began to trash the HR head's desk, then walked back to her desk and trashed everything on it.  She then trashed any desk she passed on her way out the door.

So yeah, sometimes an escort might be necessary.

by shalca 2009-01-23 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

There is something about being escorted out of the building sans your belongings that cuts through all the fog and sentiment about our capitalist way of life. It ain't a nice system. Even more than machines, people are dispensible when the company needs to cut back.

by linfar 2009-01-23 07:12AM | 0 recs
People are the cheapest supercomputers available

Still.

But not for long.

People should save as much money as they can while they can.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_l aw


"Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. Since the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years.[1] The trend was first observed by Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore in a 1965 paper.[2][3][4] It has continued for almost half of a century and is not expected to stop for another decade at least and perhaps much longer.[5]

Almost every measure of the capabilities of digital electronic devices is linked to Moore's law: processing speed, memory capacity, even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras.[6] All of these are improving at (roughly) exponential rates as well.[7] This has dramatically increased the usefulness of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy.[8] Moore's law describes this driving force of technological and social change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries."

by architek 2009-01-24 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

A very human story of the unexpected, traumatic events that occur to most of us, in one way or another, over the course of a lifetime.

The timing is never good. -Already dealing with an aging parent's difficult situation when one's own life is suddenly turned upside down.

You and your Mom are lucky enough to be mutually supportive, along with your husband's willingness to accommodate as needed.

Your Mom is apparently a strong woman who will think through her options and use the best of them to her advantage.

Thankfully she has medical insurance for a while, but as I read that, it occurred to me that, being the first of the year, she will face having to pay the yearly insurance deductible before having insurance cover her visits.  That's not to say she shouldn't tend to all medical issues, but needs to take deductible costs into consideration in the decision making.  

Please let Mom know that she has a larger support of those wishing well for her; let us know how she is faring.    

by susie 2009-01-23 08:27AM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

It's so frustrating, the whole thing but she is already doing better.  Which makes me happy :)

Thank you

by Ellinorianne 2009-01-23 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

I can't help thinking that this very sad story is just the prologue - that there is a dam about to break and we have nowhere to run or hide.

by QTG 2009-01-23 08:32AM | 0 recs
Re: My Mother was Escorted from the Building

That is a truly heartbreaking account of the way people are disposed of in the capitalist system when they are no longer deemed necessary.  It's sad beyond words.  :-(

by reggie44pride 2009-01-23 09:45AM | 0 recs
I am almost 47

and at 47 I fear this...

"My Mom knows the reality of things, she knows that at 61 years old she will find it very difficult to get another job and she is just not ready to retire yet.  Unfortunately, my Mother doesn't have much retirement savings and was hoping to really stockpile in the last few years of working."
"

I feel the same way...

by kevin22262 2009-01-23 03:10PM | 0 recs
Check out
some info about Carrie Little's own Organic farm in WA state called Mother Earth Farm:
http://www.efoodnet.org/mother_earth.htm
by kevin22262 2009-01-23 03:19PM | 0 recs
OOPS! Sorry!

I did not mean to post this hear. Please forgive me.

by kevin22262 2009-01-23 03:23PM | 0 recs
I also meant to

write the correct "here".   :)

by kevin22262 2009-01-25 01:00PM | 0 recs

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