Allie and I sat down in Charlottesville, Virginia and since she had been unemployed we talked about looking for a job, how to find a job, the economic opportunities in her area and her opinion about people that have faced or may be facing money troubles and tough times.
I was really surprised when she talked about landing jobs and feeling that she had been passed over because she was the wife of a military service member.
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Steve: So I’m here with Allie in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hello, Allie.
Allie: Hi, Steve.
Steve: And I’m traveling around the country and I’m talking to people about the economy, how things are in their area, some questions about credit and debt and, you know, how people look at others that have been through tough times. So let’s start first with you live kind of near Charlottesville, Virginia and how are things in this area?
Allie: Things are improving. They’ve really been rough around the first of the year. We had a lot of companies with layoffs and a lotta people were looking for jobs at the same time which was not a good thing.
Steve: Now did you know lots of people who – did you know people who fell into trouble and were having a difficult time making ends meet?
Allie: Yes, quite a few.
Steve: And, you know, when people live through times like that they often feel like they suffer in silence, you know. They’re – they sometimes feel like they’re losers or rejects or being punished in some way. What advice do you have for people that are living through those troubles?
Allie: Just to keep a positive outlook. Amongst my friends, the people that had gotten laid off that got jobs fairly quickly were people who didn’t let it bring them down. The people who approached it with that they were too good to work a menial job in the meantime to pay the bills are the ones that are still looking for jobs out here.
Steve: So the people that contact me most often are feeling very desperate, sometimes even suicidal, and they don’t know what to do at all. I know that keeping a positive outlook is a good thing to do, but when you’re feeling so – I don’t know. When you’re feeling like you have personally failed, I know – what advice do you have for somebody to get to the point of being able to have a positive outlook? How do you put those feelings aside?
Allie: I think you have to rely on your friends and family. You have to have a good support system. I think you have to approach it as looking for a job is your job. It’s not just something you have to do. It’s – you know, you make a fulltime job out of searching for employment, and I know there are some people that get very down in the dumps there. I think you just have to have a support system to do that or rely on your support system or reach out to your friends and your contacts and, you know, don’t be ashamed of where you’re at. Just, you know, tell everybody that you know what you’re doing and what you’re going through so that they can help you out.
Steve: So you’re feeling more positive about the future.
Steve: And do you see that there’ll be a time when you might make a big purchase? You might feel confident enough to go back to using credit again?
Allie: I’m getting there. We are carrying a lotta debt from the last year and a half, two years, so I’d like to get that paid off before, you know, we start doing that again, but it’s feeling more comfortable than it was.
Steve: Now your husband’s in the Navy and has been for two years?
Allie: Two years.
Steve: Two years now. Is being a military wife – is that a difficult financial path?
Allie: The thing I ran into – I had it happen on two separate occasions – as a military spouse going in it’s pretty common knowledge that we have very good benefits and, you know, his job is steady. He’s not gonna get laid off. So I found jobs where I was one of many possible candidates. A lot of the time the feeling that I got was because I wasn’t the most desperate of those seeking jobs that I probably got passed over because – for somebody else who did need a job because they knew that I wasn’t – you know, yes, we need that extra income, but in terms of jobs with benefits and things like that, I wasn’t top of the list as far as that goes and I think a lot – especially in a small town, a lot of employers were looking at that as well as qualifications.
Steve: You live in an area that’s probably 30 or 40 minutes from a mid-sized city, Charlottesville. Would you consider relocating to a different area to find employment or is living in your small town that you’re very comfortable with your top priority? You know, what I’m trying to get at is that there are jobs that are available out there for people and I hear people telling me that they’re not willing to relocate. What’s your opinion about that?
Allie: I would be willing to relocate. The military makes that kinda difficult. Granted, my husband’s stationed somewhere and he’s committed to being there for the time being. Within a local area, that is certainly a possibility and there’s a lot of things, you know, people have to do. We’re at a disadvantage because we own a home, so the housing market also impacted us and, you know, kind of limiting us where we could – where I personally could look for someplace else to be while he was gone because, you know, of the housing situation. So having a mortgage and also having to rent somewhere else was not a feasible thing.
Steve: I was just thinking today on the long drive down here about, you know, living through financial troubles, being nervous and scared and concerned about that, looking at moving to a new area where you don’t potentially know anybody and looking for a job at the same time all seems like it creates so much fear that you’d almost get paralyzed into not doing anything.
Allie: Well, I think us being a military family it’s – you have to be open to moving anyway because it eventually happens and that’s the lifestyle, so having to look outside for a job, I think we’re in an advantage of that because we’re used to being able to be prepared to go if you need to go. So it’s not as scary for us as it is for, you know, most people, who especially have lived in a place for a long time and have established, you know, family or friends or, you know, spent their professional career in one place. You know, it’s a little bit different. We’re always on the ready to go, so.
Steve: All right. Well, thank you very much, Allie.
Allie: Thank you.