I have been struggling financially off and on for the last five years, mainly due to our economy. I have a wife and three children, and I have been doing my absolute best to improve our financial situation. I was laid off three times during the past five years, and so I feel responsible for the fact that my family is struggling financially.
Although I have been feeling pretty low these past few years in particular, I don’t think I have ever felt as low as I did yesterday. I had a job interview to be an assistant manager at a retail store, and since I could not afford to have our car fixed, I embarrassingly had to ride the bus to my job interview. I have never been so embarrassed in my whole life. I have always been the one that had a vehicle and a good job, and so I feel like I have hit an all time low by having to ride the bus to an interview at a retail store. Thinking back, I believe the last time I rode a bus was in high school, over 25 years ago.
Am I ever going to get out of this rut? Or can I possibly sink any lower than this?
— Feeling Down in the Dumps
Dear Feeling Down in the Dumps,
I am sorry for what you and your family have been going through off and on over the last five years, however, I do not believe that you are alone. A lot of people, since around 2008, have been laid off from their jobs, had to make serious financial cutbacks and changes, and have been struggling financially with their families. So although you may feel like you are the only person going through this situation, you are not.
While riding the bus may make you feel down about yourself, there is actually nothing wrong with riding the bus. People ride the bus every single day, sometimes two or three times to get to where they are going — including job interviews. Since it is new for you though, you are just feeling this way because it is out of your comfort zone.
You are used to being able to get in your car and have the luxury to drive wherever you want to up until this point, and now that this particular luxury is temporarily not an option in your life, it makes you uncomfortable. That is totally understandable.
Often in life, we all take for granted the very little things that we have been blessed with — the shoes on our feet, the kitchen table we eat off of, the nice cozy bed we get to sleep in at night. We have been used to having them in our lives for so long, and in an effortless way, that when those things get taken away, we feel lost and uncomfortable without them. However, instead of dwelling on how we miss those materialistic things, we should really realize how lucky and blessed we were to have them to begin with.
The fact that you have always had a car to drive whenever you needed to go somewhere makes you very fortunate. A car is a luxury, and although your situation is only temporary, perhaps this will make you realize how blessed you truly are.
Riding the bus can be uncomfortable for you at first because you are not used to it and it is going out of your comfort zone, but dwelling on what you miss that you once had is not going to get you anywhere. Embrace riding the bus. Look at it as you are trying a new experience, and that it is allowing you to de-stress from everything you have gone through over these last few years. Be thankful that someone else is going to drive you around for a short while and allow you to reflect on what you should be grateful for in life and value the most. Perhaps it will allow you to be grateful that at least you had a job interview somewhere. That’s better than nowhere and there is nothing wrong with being an assistant manager at a retail store. A job is better than no job, especially in our current economy.
Keep applying to jobs and stay persistent. This situation you’re in is not going to be permanent as long as you don’t let it be. Soon you will see that it will all come together for you and your family, your financial situation will be fixed, and once again you will be fortunate enough to drive your car again, but maybe by that time, you won’t want to.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at www.myaskmikey.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.