From pretty much the day I was born my mother has worked at a local non-profit hospital. She started out in 1971 part-time in the registration department and then worked her way up (if that’s what you want to call it) to become a “Senior” clerk in central registration making the exorbitant amount of $15 an hour. Her primary job was to register patients for surgery and deal with health insurance companies.
Over the years she’s worked every shift. Missing out on many activities of myself and my siblings while working the 3-11 one. Imagine being a parent and for five days out of the week the only time you see your kids is in the morning before sending them off to school. That’s what she did for years. To this day I still remember the telephone number we used to call her. It’s ingrained in my head from calling it so much to tell her how school went.
Ironically in 1990 I got my first real job at that same hospital with her help. By that point she had already been there for almost twenty years. For me, my job was literally being the trash man on the second shift. If there was garbage in that hospital I hauled it away and put it in the dumpster. It didn’t take long for me to work my way “up” and eventually out of hospital garbage and into computers.
But this post is about the economy so now let’s get to the meat of it.
About ten years ago the ownership of the hospital changed hands. It could no longer survive in its current form and went from being a not for profit hospital to one whose sole purpose was to get paid. I remember Mom telling me many times how she didn’t like the demands that were being placed upon her. Having to demand money from people coming in before any surgery, no matter how life threatening. Reluctantly she did it anyway out of fear of losing her position.
Recently I began to get frustrated when I would ask her to come to some activities (my daughter’s softball games, dinner for example) when she would always tell me she had to go into work. Many times this was over the weekend because there was so much work to do and the hospital had no problems with having employees work extra. It was busy.
By now I think you might know where this is going.
Today she called me and told me that yesterday she, along a few other long time employees, had been called into the office and one at a time were told their position had been eliminated effective immediately. No reason like bad performance or excessive tardiness (things she never did). They were simply told to go back to their desks, clean them out and leave.
Forty years as the model employee making a paulty salary let go. Forty years.
She will recieve a small severance package but how long is that supposed to hold up in an economy like this? She is 65 now and may be eligible for social security and her pension but now the huge cost of health care (something that was provided by the hospital) is now gone. With the cost of COBRA insurance being $600 a month my guess is that she is going to bypass getting anything to supplement in the event she gets sick. God forbid if something happens to her.
On a side note my Mom, who is an active subscriber of this blog, will now have to find a different way to get them. They were always sent to her work email address.
The moral of this story is that no matter how well off you think you are or how comfortable you may be with your job, the rug can be pulled out from under you without warning at any moment.
Just ask my Mom.