Not Working

The Pulse of the American Depression

Henry Diggs

Below is a brief overview of my journey since the elimination of my employment after 31 years of service.

Reduction at the management level had been occurring at our facility for many years and I was quite aware that it was just a matter of time before I too had to face the reality of being displaced. I am African American and over 55 years old. Job opportunities with similar salaries and benefits are very limited in the area that I live. We are well established in the community and consider this area our home for many reasons. My wife and I relocated to this area in late 1978 and have since started our family with three sons that know this place as home. While there are potential jobs available, it would more than likely require relocation and that in itself is extremely challenging for us at this stage of our lives. I am very grateful for assistance through unemployment that bridged the gap as we try to meet financial obligations including college expenses for our youngest son. Perhaps the major hurdle for us has been that of securing adequate affordable medical, dental and eye insurance. This has been the biggest challenge in that much of the expenses are now being paid via my limited income. I can now appreciate the value of the insurance made available to me while employed.

Although my profile history seem impressive on paper and I aggressively seek opportunities, there have been very few companies within my established travel boundary that have expressed any “real” interest in offering me employment. Therefore, I’ve had to really prioritize my spending. I’ve also had to use some of my retirement funds to help pay college expenses. So far, things are going ok and I have not found myself in a panic mode of survival.

There is another side to this phase of my journey that has been very exciting since my unemployment began. I am a pastor of a newly established ministry that was established in late 2008. This time of unemployment has given me “much needed time” to focus on ministry development. I have been blessed beyond measures because I have really grown in my faith walk with God. I have discovered that through obedience to “God’s Will” that things will work out for the overall good! I share this as part of my journey because things are working out and there is peace within me! I continue to seek employment because the funds can support ministry needs as we begin construction on our worship center within the next few months!

In summary, although things have been somewhat of a struggle financially, I am still very blessed and I know it!