Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Facts of Life (...94 days)

Starting on day one of being laid off I started receiving emails from colleagues.  They all express kind thoughts and offer to be a resource on the job search front.  I'm grateful that so many people have reached out to me through calls, emails, and text messages.  It's feels good to be checked in on me by people I respect and care about.   It's very thoughtful of them and I feel lucky to have a good network of people to rely on.

What I didn't expect in these emails, calls, and texts, or at least not quite so much of, was the level of shock and anger communicated to me about my layoff.  I was surprised, but not completely shocked.  We were already working with a reduced staff.  My department alone was down 2 people.  Elsewhere in the company whole departments were nearly shutdown.  It seemed possible any one of us could be the next to be let go.  I think the anger people are feeling is not so much about my personal situation but at the larger situation, in the company and in the nation.  The state of the economy, the healthcare debate, and the recent federal budget negotiations are making most people nervous.  And the closer to home it feels, the more fear and anger people begin to feel.

Financial security and healthcare is serious stuff!!  It defines our quality of life to a large extent.  And it's depressing to think about the lack of it.  My healthcare and dental plans will soon be continued via COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act).  It will cost me $635.58 a month if I elect to enroll. While employed I payed $160 a month.  This is a remarkable change in my monthly expenses.  I can get by for a while paying for COBRA, but what if I were like one of my many former colleagues with a family?  For my same BCBS Network Blue and Dental plans, family coverage under cobra would cost $1533.97!  No wonder my former colleagues are expressing outrage.  They're terrified this burden will be imposed on them.

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