When Unemployment Hits Too Close To Home

My mother is on Facebook. I’ve been mildly amused by this until last week when that’s how I found out my mom lost her job. That’s right, my mom - who lives a mile away, who I see twice a week and talk to on the phone almost every day, told Facebook she got laid off before her recruiter daughter. My jaw dropped. My eyes watered. I immediately grabbed my phone and ran down the hall to call her. After two tries she finally picked up, in tears. My brother, 12 years younger than me, is living at home (again) and going to college full time. Of course her only concern is for him.


My mom has been a single mom as long as I can remember… she raised me and my brother without any help. We had some pretty lean years growing up but she always worked hard to support us. About 12 years ago she got a lucky break – a terrific little accounting clerk job with a small manufacturer. All she ever wanted was to enjoy her work and get my brother out of the house. Her company hit some rough patches, but they were a tight knit group and the owner was determined to weather the recession. Things were going well… until she got the call to come in his office.


I’ve been laid off before. My husband has been laid off TWICE. We know what it’s like, and we’ve always managed to bounce back, and quickly. I’ve been recruiting for years and I feel like I should know how to fix this. I’m full of all kinds of advice for job seekers - telling people how to target their resumes, how to prep for an interview… you have a job search question? I have an answer. But this… this is my mom we’re talking about. Suddenly all the reports I’ve been pooh-poohing about baby boomers and the recession feel all too real.


What if she can’t find a job? What if my brother has to quit school? What if (oh please no) they have to move in with me? It’s easy to scoff at unemployment reports, those who purposely “game” the unemployment system and who clearly don’t want to work. On the other hand, many of us have those really tough to fill positions and can’t imagine a web designer or java developer out of work. But what about the accounting clerks, receptionists, warehouse supervisors? What about the countless workers who’ve been blindsided with a pink slip after years of dedicated service and don’t have the first clue on how to prepare a resume, let alone navigate an online application? Before we judge too harshly, just remember - that could be someone’s mother.

Views: 736

Comment by Bill Schultz on December 12, 2011 at 10:32pm

II want to friend your mom on facebook, amy.  she sounds cool.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 13, 2011 at 3:08am
Let's go to work and fix this. With thousands of hot shot recruiters on this site surely we can open the doors for Amy's mom. Game on kids, I don't need s fee to help a fellow recruiter or her mom.
Comment by Tim Spagnola on December 13, 2011 at 8:34am

Sandra - exactly why I petition for a like button on comments!

Comment by David Palmer on December 13, 2011 at 10:14am

Good Luck from London.

Comment by Suresh on December 13, 2011 at 10:35am

Amy, thanks for sharing. The good news is that things are picking up all over the place, although slowly. Manufacturing is coming back to some extent and the jobs you talked about will come along with it. Good luck to her.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 13, 2011 at 11:51am

@Bill just watch out for her political rants :) Actually I should probably talk to her about that...lol

@Sandra - thank you so much. I almost didn't post this blog - it felt too personal and really only wrote it as a way to work through my own feelings about it. Once we get some sort of resume put together I'd love to send it to you for another set of eyes. I value your opinion more than you know! :)

Tim, David, Dr. Suresh - thanks all for commenting and YES we need a like button!!  :) I'll let you all know how it goes... Seattle hasn't been as hard hit as some parts of the county and I have a decent local network that should be able to help her out. I really appreciate my RBC friends!

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 13, 2011 at 12:01pm
@amy, it has been my experience that it is always more difficult to place family members and close friends than other candidates because we are emotionally involved or feel uncomfortable presenting them. I have sent an email to an HR director in your area that I know well to see if he has anything and am contacting other recruiters in your area.
Shoot me her resume ASAP.

If I need to give her a "fellow boomer pep talk" I am happy to do so.
Comment by Amy Ala Miller on December 13, 2011 at 12:08pm

Will do Sandra - just hung up w/ her she's working on it now. :) You're the best!!!!

Comment by Marley on December 13, 2011 at 12:16pm

Amy, my team works accounting clerk jobs all over the country.  Let's connect and maybe we can help out your mom.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 13, 2011 at 1:31pm
It irritates me beyond belief when people get fired or laid off right befor Christmas. Unless they punched somebody in the nose at the Xmas party or got caught in an illegal act.

Come on Mr. Employer if you made it this far you can hang on for another 10 days. What possible good can come to your business by dropping a rock on anybody the week before Christmas. I hope you hear chains rattling..Scrooge.


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