Thursday, June 29, 2017

"In Reserve"

         I retied in 2010 because I needed to take care of my mother as Huntington’s Disease ate away her brain and robbed her of everything. For two years, she became the 24/7 focus of our entire family. After she died, I returned to work part-time. Originally, I thought I’d work only a couple of days each week.
         To be honest, I appreciate having a job. I love working with children in the classroom, visiting different campuses throughout the month, and building my reputation with various faculties. I like having a long list of positions to select from as I fill my calendar each week; and my part-time job turned into working almost full-time during the last two school years. Having employment keeps me out of trouble!
         I realized the other day just how fortunate we are that I can add income to our monthly budget. Right now, my pay helps cover bills that didn’t exist when I retired seven years ago, like a car payment. It goes toward the utilities, insurance, and taxes that continue to climb year-by-year. Aren’t we lucky that I have the ability to take on another job?
         My husband’s company laid-off sixty people a few weeks ago. Their projected budget for the next eighteen months means he’s safe for now, but we have an unexpected threat looming that didn’t exist in March. We’ve already run down the “what if” path and know we’ll survive because I can always go back into the workforce full-time in a job that pays more than my $80.00 per day substituting gig.
         I know that many families don’t have a second income earner “in reserve” who can swoop in to rescue the day when there’s a lay-off. I worry about the single parent struggling across two minimum wage jobs. I fret about the working poor—who already pull forty-hour work weeks and cannot survive because they don’t receive a living wage. I agonize over my retired teacher friend whose pension won’t cover the rising medical insurance payment. It burdens me to know that many people don’t have savings, investments, or family to fallback on—not just in an emergency, but to make it through each and every day.

Copyright 2017 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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