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Help a Single Mama in Need

our urbanMamas community is tight and supportive of all mamas.  A mama emailed the other day and would love to hear from the rest of the community:

This is a little different than I normally read on the site, but I need support in a big way. I lost my job yesterday and I am the sole breadwinner in my single-parent family. I have a 2 year old, and receive no child support. My family is going to help me, but I'm still feeling a tremendous amount of stress and guilt. I sent my daughter to day care today and I will continue to do that as much as I can to keep things normal while I look for a job. Obviously, my mood has been one of anxiety and distraction lately, as I was anticipating the AX falling at any minute for the past 2 weeks. I think I am holding up well around her so far, but I don't know what the future will bring us, if we will have to sell the house and move, or even leave Portland (sob!). Since this happened, I have heard many stories of people who have been "terminated" from their jobs for various reasons (in my case, they have been wanting me gone for 2 years and were just waiting for the right set of circumstances to occur) and they did work again! I have been reading articles on Monster.com about how to tell a perspective employer you were fired without it getting you booted out the door. It's helpful, but this is still scary. I am on my way out the door right now to go apply for unemployment, but I wanted to hear from others if they have been through similar situations and how they dealt with it, especially while caring for little ones. Single parent responses especially welcome.

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Very sorry to learn you've been dealt this blow. It might be helpful to hear the perspective of that prospective employer. I do the hiring for my office. We know that s*** happens in the workplace & I would be willing to hear out a candid & mature explanation as to the why & how of a candidate parting way w/ a previous employer. If your feel your former supervisor wouldn't do you any favors, you could also always get a reference from someone there who was not your supervisor but who was nonetheless well-acquainted w/ your work and is a good person generally to vouch for you. I would caution you against leaving your job off your resume altogether (esp. because it sounds like you worked there a bit longer than 2 years): depending on what sort of work you do, you might be in a small enough "everyone knows everyone else" world where the omission could be found out, & it could come across as not looking good.

Take heart, it sounds like you were working under extremely unhappy conditions at that job. Even though this doesn't come in the manner of your choosing, you may well be better off in the long run.

Ugh, i'm so sorry to hear that. How awful!

One good thing about unemployment is that unless you've done something illegal, you will qualify. I learned that the last time I was terminated. There are also TANF grants through DHS. If you need a shoulder to cry on, or anything else I can help with, please email me. kmh1970@gmail

How about a staffing/employment agency? Then at least you can do some temp work while you continue to search for a permanent job and it doesn't interfere with your unemployment. At least you could make a little $ and maybe do some networking...

I was laid off before our son was born and my husband was also (although they managed to avoid paying him a severence package) three weeks before our daughter was, so I understand a portion of your stress (but I get it's only a portion). Unemployment is a good thing for 6 months. Is your daycare at all flexible about payments?
Contacts, contacts, contacts. Reach out to all you know, professionally and personally to see if they know anyone looking for people, that's how I found work. Also, craigslist is a very popular place to list jobs, both temp and straight to hire (that's how my husband did it). Now might be a time to try and revisit child support. I have heard the nightmare stories but if it's possible... good luck, try to stay as positive as possible. I hope you land in a MUCH BETTER place than you just left.

Actually temporary work does interfere with your unemployment, even if you have just a one week assignement.

I was in that place, and It made me a little crazy. I think keeping child care going while you look for a job is good plan, especially your folks can help with that. Sometimes you'll need the time to look for a job and sometimes you'll just need the break to sob hysterically in the closet.

Take the time you need for yourself, cause if mama ain't happy. . . . and this is quadrupl-y true for single mamas. Surround yourself with folks that believe in you, and that will also let you cry if you need to.

Do the little free stuff like bookbabies (toddlers) at the Library that you might've missed cause of work. It's a strange time because you're not balancing work and mom-ing so you can connect with your kid in a different way. But then the stress of world caving in (which it what is SEEMS like but isn't really) kinda dampers that.

Girl, I have been and bought that tshirt on a payment plan. I have cyber hugs and head-rubbing for you!

I will add that I am sorry for your situation. Knowing that you had a boss wanting to remove you for two years must have been very stressful. I have been in that type of job and it takes it's toll. If you can take a few weeks or whatever to regroup. Tell everyone you know that you are looking - this will get you support and is the best way to find work. Of course also look in the other typical places.

I have been on unemployment in the past and worked temp jobs. Agencies can find you a wide range of opportunities and some can lead to permanent work. It also can feel good to be getting out of the house in the morning. Some of my temp jobs were for a week or so, some were for months (I had one that lasted 8 months and I left it). When you work a temp job or receive any kind of pay (I have done little contract jobs on my own) you need to report it to unemployment when you file for the week. They will then deduct it from you weekly stipend. The good part is that you have a total amount coming to you that is typically spread over 26 weeks but you have two years to tap into it. So if you work for a week then you extend unemployment to 27 weeks (with not getting any money from unemployment for the week worked). If I am not making sense then try asking a representative at the employment office about it. I have been encouraged to do this because you are out working which is what they want.

I will also add that I took some classes through them several years ago. While I did not learn a ton I did get a lot of positive support. I left the classes with the same resume but feeling really pumped up.

It sounds like it wasn't the greatest job in the world for you, huh? I have been in a few of those myself and I have just left them, not ever really knowing where I would head next. Each time it took about 3 months to really get back on my feet and there was at least a month in there where I allowed myself to enjoy that I was a away from such a dysfunctional situation. I don't know what line of work you are in but contracting has become very lucrative for me. If you have that option, I highly recommend it. It also gives you the power to fire a client if they are just not working out for you and that makes for a lot fewer Pepto- Bismol tablets. I think the hardest thing isn't getting the work, it's getting over the fear. Fear of not paying bills, fear of failing but in my business venture I have failed many, many times and it has just meant I did some good and fast learnin'. It was never as bad as I thought it would be. Of course there is a plan, B, C, D, E in place but I shoot for plan A and above and to my surprise and gratitude I get there. Best of luck with this. I am sending good thoughts that your next career move gives you great satisfaction and plenty of $$.

This is becoming more common in the workplace. This past year, I was terminated from my civil service position. I worked for the federal government for 24 years with excellent performance appraisals. My new supervisor disliked me and gave me one bad performance appraisal and fired me with it. I took it to court and the judge had management purge all my records and removed the "termination". I will receive my retirement annunity checks and will receive all my benefits, i.e, life & health insurance, etc. I will turn 50 in approximately six weeks and will need to find employment until I reach age 62 and can collect my Social Security in order to supplement my income since I was not prepared to retire this early in my career.
I worked my way up from the lowest entry level and was making approximatly $60K when this took place. Where am I going to find another position that pays that much?

I have seen alot of politics in the federal government and management will blame anyone to cover themselves. Also, alot of jealously, especially with women and they will wait till the perfect opportunity to use it against you. It has become vicious.

As a Security Officer, I've had upper management come to me and try to get "dirt" on employees they did not like in order to fire them. I would not be a part of this and did not go along with their BS. I am not going to be a part of destroying someone's life. Maybe if I had, I would still be working there, but I cannot live with myself knowing I was part of this.

ATTENTION HR PERSONNEL: If you are hiring perspective personnel, a red light should go on when you see a person has worked for 24 years with excellent performace appraisals and a good record. It would be a different story if you only worked there for a few years and had bad appraisals. There are two sides to every story. Take the time to listen to the applicant. You should be aware of what goes on in workplaces by now...It's a whole different game than it was 24 years ago when I started. People will stab anyone in the back to get ahead. You are either liked or disliked...It's a good thing the judge took a good look at my previous record or I would have really been screwed; just because of a supervisor on a power kick. One year earlier, she also did this to my co-worker. I testified at his EEO case against her and she also harassed me for two surgeries I had within eight months, which I proved were urgently necessary.

Incidentally, after two law suits against her in one year, she "quickly" found a job outside of the organization. I blame upper management because they allowed this woman to do this to two employees. Like Dr. Phil says, the peson who has the power to stop the bullying and does nothing is even more guilty than the bulley.

File an EEO complaint, although it is my experience (I have seen several cases of this, that EEO will take management's part; aferall, they work for the Government, too). If possible, hire a good attorney to fight your case for you. I'm glad I did or I would have lost everything I had worked for in 24 years as a single parent. Since the judge had HR purge all my records of any firing/termination, I can apply for jobs and not have to list this on my job application. According to my records now, it never happened. It cost me $300 per hour to hire an attorney to have this turned around. Most single mothers do not have this kind of money and it is not fair.

My heart goes out to you and I wish you the best. Take one day at a time and accept all the help you can from your family at this time; they will support you while you go through this difficult time. Best wishes to you!

If you are upper management and making the decision to let an employee go, take the time to listen to their side. I was never given this opportunity. She just took the word of my immediate supervisor. By doing so, she was not doing her job. She also had the EEO Officer relay the message to me that I would be fired and she sent me a letter in the mail and never told me to my face. All this after serving 24 years for my country. During this time, I also was a Budget Analyst and Management Analyst. This is the thanks I get for all my hard work. I worked hours and hours of mandatory overtime while I had to find babysitting for my daughter and missed out on precious time with her being I was a single parent. What a hateful environment to have to face everyday.

I am starting over in a new place and hope the people are not like that here. I don't know if I could ever work for the Government again, but will find something new and hopefully something enjoyable to do on my new journey.

Karen, thanks for sharing! How awful! Something similar happened to my mom about 10 years ago. She worked for the Commonwealth of MA and got canned short of 20 years. It was the "old dog new tricks" theory, but it didn't apply to my mom. The good news is, at age 60, she found a new job, and at 62 she found an even better job, and has been there for 6 years (do the math!) with no intention of retiring any time soon. BTW, would you be willing to share the name of your lawyer in your wrongful termination case? I might have a case and I need to have a consult. You can email me privately at mousecat86@aol.com. Thanks!

i'm 22 year's old with a 4 year old and a 1 year old and one on the way january 3 2008 well i recently had back surgery and wuz laid of work so i haven't had any income at all soif there is any body out there that can help us with some clothing , my daughter is a 4t or 3t and my son is 12 months and newborn thanks so much iam willing to do volunteer work but i can't left anything heavey

i'm 22 year's old with a 4 year old and a 1 year old and one on the way january 3 2008 well i recently had back surgery and wuz laid of work so i haven't had any income at all soif there is any body out there that can help us with some clothing , my daughter is a 4t or 3t and my son is 12 months and newborn thanks so much iam willing to do volunteer work but i can't left anything heavey email me @ czamihajr@yahoo.ca

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