The XX Factor

We Don’t Want Your Pity

This is one of several reader responses we’ve published responding to the question “What have you given up in the recession?” Read more reader responses and Emily Bazelon’s related story on recession concessions . Next question: What haven’t you given up, despite the recession? Send answers to us at .

I gave up my job early last summer to spend time caring for a terminally ill parent, thinking that when it was over, I can easily find another job. No regrets on leaving my job for my parents. When it “was over” the economy tanked. I prepared to be unemployed until January, and it was then I realized how competitive it is out there and how tough as an older worker (late 40’s) the task before me is.

Two months ago I gave up my absolute favorite car (and cried) to pay my mortgage. This after giving up and selling other items to pay my mortgage previously. The car sale allowed yet one more payment to be made on my home. In this economic time, it is about NEED, not WANT. I WANTED to keep my car of 14 years, but I NEEDED to keep my home. I sure wanted other items I gave up, but I didn’t NEED them.

I gave up my red nail polish, coffee, fast food, hair appointments, fitness membership-Yes, I want all these but don’t need them.

I gave up on Social Security benefits when I’m eligible since my annual statement/estimate actually read that my benefits paid WILL be 70 percent of the actual earned entitlement. And after 2037, nearly insolvent.

You hear a lot about families with kids, yet I assure you many are like me. Almost homeless, single, older, 401K virtually non-existent and losing job opportunities to those in their 30’s.

Apparently I gave up a lot of friends, their choice, as being unemployed. One friend with whom I had been very close actually came out and confessed, “….I feel awful talking to you knowing you’re not getting work and can’t bring myself to ask how it’s going.” REALITY IS THIS: We are being treated as terminally ill people by some who hold the attitude that there is nothing they can do to help, so they stop contact and think someone else will help. Ugly but true. But they CAN help by talking to us. We are still the same as ever, just not so financially privileged as before.

I personally remain very optimistic about my future and I know that if I cannot find the opportunity, I have to create it for myself. I’m healthy, creative, terribly realistic and have not asked for money. I don’t see my enthusiasm in a lot of other similarly situated folks. Wake up everyone!!! The real damage done to those people isn’t lack of money. It’s the utter lack of respect and disregard displayed by those still working to those who aren’t, including by family members. This is so prevalent, that I proactively visit with people in my situation and help ensure they do not engage in a pity party. This is such a large scale issue that I see the economic boom of the future as this: counseling service providers will not be able to handle the number of Americans in need of their services.

You next question should be “What won’t you give up?” For me, I won’t give up my drive, passion to succeed, confidence, my house and my clear nail polish. I can easily live on oatmeal and bananas until the next job is secured. Life is good.