In October 2012 I was laid off from my job at a commercial printing company. I was 53 years old with a mortgage, and a set of job skills that were no longer needed in a fading industry. My wife suffered a debilitating illness. We had about half a year’s worth of rainy day savings. I needed new skills, I needed them fast and I couldn’t afford to spend the
thousands of dollars that training required.
After I filed for unemployment, two lucky breaks came our way. We were able to get a year’s worth of mortgage relief via the Keep Your Home California program and through JobLink I qualified for education funding in the WIA program.
In my job searches I noticed several ads for people with
AutoCAD skills. Since SRJC was a short walk from my house and offered AutoCAD
classes, I chose Surveying as a major and was once again a college student.
One of the required classes for the major was Intro GIS. I had never heard of GIS but it sounded interesting. As my classes progressed, I became fascinated with GIS and switched to GIS as a major.
Two years later I have begun my new career as a CAD and GIS technician for a local surveying company. This is how it’s supposed to work. I have new skills in an industry with a growing, rather than declining future, and if all goes well, we’ll be able to keep our home.
I also need to acknowledge Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act for helping us save $800.00 a month when we needed it, allowing my wife to
have the surgery and followup therapy she needed to overcome her ailments,
return to work and begin a new career of her own. A former President once
remarked that one of the most frightening things he ever heard was, “I’m from
the government and I’m here to help.” Easy for him to say, he was wealthy and
never needed it. For those of us who have, government help has been a
Thanks that there's food in the fridge and the roof doesn't leak. Thanks to Lydia, for being her wonderful self and perservering. Thanks to friends and relatives. Thanks to Crazy and Lazy, you know who you are.
Gil Scott-Heron died yesterday. One of my favorite artists, he gave me a little insight on how African-Americans view this country and their place in it. Considered to be one of the forefathers of Rap, he also was a great jazz artist and wordsmith. Although the peak of his career was decades ago, a lot of his songs still ring true, like this one.
Tunisia? Egypt? Wisconsin?! The Middle East is not the only place they're taking to the streets. Teabagger Governor Scott Walker is attempting to cut the wages and break the union of Wisconsin's state employees. To make sure they don't strike, he's willing to bring in the National Guard to "prevent disruptions."
However, some teachers, along with their students, went to the capitol and staged a peaceful protest. How many? Estimates ranged from 13,000 to 30,000. Result? Now Walker and the Republicans are considering some changes.
As for the Middle East, it's interesting to note that people suffering under authoritarian regimes are rising up and toppling those regimes one after another with no involvement from us.