Inside views on the jobs market
Lost my job, improved my health
By Meaghan Ringwelski
The auto industry’s problems are nothing new to the people of metro Detroit. The economy’s impact on Michigan hit close to home more than a year ago, when the small Plymouth company I’d worked for closed.
My co-workers and I saw it coming. Microdine, our small-parts distribution company, was struggling badly. As 2007 drew to a close, it was becoming obvious we would have no choice but to shut our doors.
I experienced what so many others in the Detroit area were going through: watching a company, despite cutting as many corners as possible, fall victim to the hideous state of the local economy. Driving away from work on that final day at the end of February 2008, I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me in finding a new job.
At the same time, the news around the country grew bleaker. The economy became one of the focal points of the presidential election season, and I began drawing unemployment. Knowing that it would take a while to find a new job, I decided to make the best of the situation and began figuring out ways to improve my lifestyle for myself and my two children.
Rather than dwelling on the depressing news stories and stump speeches or wringing my hands at the desolate job listings in the Detroit Free Press, I decided to keep busy with some self-improvement activities. In the past, I’d never paid too much attention to watching my budget; but out of necessity, I began learning how to stretch a dollar. I clipped many coupons and hunted down deals. No penny went unaccounted-for.
I will be able to use those valuable budgeting skills the rest of my life. One of the biggest ways I began saving some money, though, was by finally kicking the smoking habit. Within weeks of quitting smoking in June 2008, I saw a huge difference reflected in my finances — and in my overall well-being. Additionally, it felt good to do something that would set a good example for my two kids.
I don’t think I would have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time without things happening the way that they did. Sometimes, I even feel like losing my job and dealing with this bad economy have been valuable lessons. I am confident that things will turn around; and when they do, I will enjoy them that much more with my fresher outlook and healthier lifestyle.