The holiday phone calls didn’t yield much in the way of glad tidings. Most of us are hale and hearty — or at least ambulatory. But I was struck by how many friends and extended family members have been hit by the hacking blades of the Great Recession, with its layoffs, foreclosures and bankruptcies.
A cousin told me her son, a college grad, had been laid off. He’s just one of several young adults I know whose early experience with the job market has been marked by lay-offs, cutbacks, shortened hours and smaller paychecks. News of an acquaintance I hadn’t heard from in years included her husband’s futile, year-long quest for work. Other friends reported that they’d found jobs, at last, but were earning less.
I’ve grown use to the mind-numbing news reports of double-digit unemployment, a “jobless” recovery and “structural” difficulties that suggest well-paying jobs may be slow to appear. Still, I was taken aback by the personal accounts from people I know, proud folks who