All I want for the New Year is a job — with benefits.
Like many Americans during 2012, I suffered through our lackluster economy as well as survived some personal challenges. Still, I remain optimistic that — with the diligent efforts of President Obama — this year will bring better tidings, hopefully starting with this Friday’s latest federal employment figures.
One year ago, my life was on a downward spiral as the result of the death of one parent and the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s for the other. Because I was unable to find full-time work, I left my home in Dallas to search in nearby states for a job. Along the way, I lost a lot of material possessions, but I also learned from painful experience that I am not what I wear, what I drive or where I live.
These were sentiments I expressed in a letter I sent to President Obama last year asking for a job and sending him my résumé, something I am sure many other “discouraged” Americans have done. I also told a White House staffer that I hoped the president would read my column about the unsuccessful job hunt in this paper. In the November 2011 column, I admitted to readers that the president, in all likelihood, would never see my letter explaining that I wouldn’t quit looking for work.
‘Close calls,’ no job
Months went by, and my all-too-common roller-coaster ride continued. While I had a couple of “close calls” on jobs, they did not come through. I was starting to lose hope.
Then, last April, a letter arrived from President Obama asking me to hang on, even though times were hard. At the time, he wrote that he was working “diligently every day” to address the hardships of many Americans. He ended his letter by writing that it took years for the country to find itself in this economic situation and that it would take time to “bring about the changes our families need.”
I took pride in the president’s acknowledgment of my letter, his personal outreach, his understanding and compassion for people from all walks of life, without health insurance, homes or jobs.
Hoping for good news.
Four years ago when Obama took office, unemployment was 7.8%. During his tenure, we saw unemployment peak at 10%, leaving 15 million Americans out of work. Today, 12 million Americans are waiting for decent jobs with 40% battling unemployment that has lasted six months or longer.
Good news has a way of helping dejected folks stay the course. That’s why I’m eager to hear what economists will say about the December jobs report out this Friday — and about the president’s plan to improve the economy in his second term.
I have moved back to my home in Dallas, where I will hang a framed letter from the president, which has filled me with hope for a far better year in 2013.