The strain of the economy can be felt throughout Charlotte. Our neighbors are losing jobs, or fretting that they might, or worrying about their dwindling incomes. They are all suffering - all feeling the squeeze.
Today we bring you Susie Kirsch, who has lived in Charlotte for a little more than two years with her husband, a daughter, and now a new baby girl.
Here's Susie's story:
My husband had a stable job, working for a Marketing Agency in Charlotte, and I work for a non-profit agency that does work with mentally ill individuals. When the news was breaking about the state of the economy, and the R word ... Recession, I guess we thought that it would never happen to us. We don't spend out of our means, we live in a modest house, we don't carry a massive amount of credit card debt, and we both are very hard workers.
A little over 5 weeks ago, I gave birth to our second daughter. We were on top of the world. We had just moved from a town home to a house in August 2008 to accommodate our growing family, and we had completed painting and minor improvements to make it just the way we wanted before the baby arrived. We didn't have any issues receiving financing, and we got a payment that was well within our means. Also, my fellow co-workers were very generous and donate some of their unused PTO so I could take paid maternity leave. I thought we were doing very well, and was excited to welcome our new baby stably into this world.
My husband took a week off of work right after the baby was born, and returned to work ready to start the new year. His annual performance review was scheduled for the next day, and he was excited to hear about his progress at the company. Before he left that day, he told me his review was at 10 a.m. and he would call me when it was over to tell me how it went. A few weeks prior, the president of the company stood up and told everyone that the company was doing well, I had no reason to think that he wouldn't get a raise. They were even giving out partial bonuses this year, which no one expected, so everyone thought that the company was in a great place!
When the phone rang at 10:13, I knew that something was not right.
His review could not have taken only 13 minutes. I answered the phone and just knew from the sound of his voice, they had laid him off. With a week-old baby in my arms, I began sobbing, and all of the worst thoughts started going through my head. Our new house - foreclosure? What about insurance - he carried all of our insurance? What are we going to do? How are we doing to pay bills? Feed our 2 kids?
Well, here we are a month later. He hasn't found a job yet and his last day is next Friday. Our new little angel has started having some minor medical issues, so now we have an even bigger financial burden. When will this end? When will good, honest, hard working people stop losing their jobs? I too fear for my job security, as the non-profit I work for is primarily government funded. What will we do if I get laid off? I just can't imagine.