As a person who recently had the misfortune of losing my job, I am writing in the hopes that those who are in the position of dealing with the unemployed may realize that someday they may be walking in their shoes.
Last May, fearing a layoff, I left a job that I had been in for seven years and took one that I was assured was more secure.
Six months later, without warning, the position was eliminated. Due to the fact that this had never happened to me before, I left my employee handbook in my desk.
Later, when I didn't receive a vacation check I had been told I would receive, I was unable to get a copy of the policies from my former place of employment. After going for an interview at the Labor Department, I was told to file a claim. I filled out the paperwork as best I could. I guess that years of being a social worker left me unprepared for the treatment I received from the person who phoned me from Labor Standards. She was incredibly rude and condescending.
I evidently made a mistake, and figured out what I felt was owed me by hours, instead of salary. I was chastised for not taking my employee handbook. Whenever I tried to explain what had happened, she cut me off and told me to listen to her.
I guess she knows all the answers, but I think she has forgotten one very important piece of information. If everyone had all the answers she does, there would be no need for her job.
Today we have computers and every electrical gadget known to man. Yet, sadly, human decency is often lacking. The older I become, the more I realize that until you have had an experience, you can't know what another person is going through.
To the lady who reduced me to tears, and to others like her, I'd just like to say that for most people, the loss of employment is devastating. You question all your decisions, and your self-esteem takes a major dive.
Is it any more difficult to be kind than to be nasty? Would you want to be made to feel you are stupid? I had many days at work when my patience was stretched thin, but to kick a person when he's down is not necessary. A little human kindness makes all the difference.