The Great Recession in the United States was a severe financial crisis combined with a deep recession. While the recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, it took several years for the economy to recover to pre-crisis levels of employment and output.
The Great Recession: Income poisoning years that put so many of us on the edge of financial ruin. From blue collar to white collar its venom respected none as homes were lost and family security destroyed. An economic downturn that carried far beyond its peak years, its residual effect redirected the course of countless individuals. A fact not only experienced in my own life, but one confirmed to me in the meeting of todays stranger now friend; a testament to the depth of how deeply our hard working citizens were hit, Miguel.
A few quick notes of introduction: Miguel had a great work ethic and paid his fair share of taxes. He communication was very clear and he spoke as a man of integrity, yet he had not worked a paying day in over a year. Not by any lack of effort or weakness of ability, mind you, rather by forces of the down turned economy. A welder by trade, he was laid off of a well-paying position; one that not only supported him, but fed and housed his single mother and six siblings. Since that time he had applied for endless employment opportunities with no results. However, it seemed with the slowdown of construction and halt of development projects, jobs were scarce and competition high. A situation I’m sure many of us have found ourselves experiencing on one level or another.
One of an endless list of hard-working Americans, Miguel was not looking for a handout, simply a respectable job. His pride to provide on the line, I could see the concern in his face as we talked about the pain of unemployment and its effects on him: Weight gain of over one hundred pounds, a bought of depression and the stress brought on by a very real possibly of loosing his home–all the while, first and foremost, expressing love for his mother and siblings.
Miguel was truly a good man!
A subtle grin came over his face as he told of how he rapidly overcame the depression. Realizing it would get him nowhere. He credited physical activity as the major contributor that kept him grounded and on path to maintaining his health as well as positive mental perspective.
Miguel stood strong, committed, unshaken and humbly willing to share his story, in which he stated, “I’ll never fall that far into that depth of depression again.” Going on to explain how it actually turned out to be a great motivator as to where he did not want to be.
No selfish words were in his vocabulary, again, only concern for his mother and siblings. It was apparent his desire to provide for family was paramount on his agenda. A responsibility he held as an honored privilege. You see, his father left when he was eight, making him the patriarch of the family; and please don’t get me wrong, this is not a poor me story, quite the opposite. There was no guile or victim in Miguel’s tone. He even went on to state, “I am wanting to find my father and talk with him, to see who he is.”
He talked of his dream, simple and to the point, “Work to kick-in, so we can keep the house, everything, and I can help my family.”
I’m telling you, Miguel was a fighter. A to-the-point man with one very defined priority: Family First. A point-of-view, that as we concluded our time together, he paused in self-inventory. After a moment of thoughtful consideration, he focused away from himself. For it would have been easy for him to ask if anyone had a job to offer. But breaking the introspective silence, he revealed yet another level to his character. Turning his eyes outward toward you and I, he wished, “I hope you don’t go through this.”
Readers, if you are returning, so nice to be with you again. If you are new, looking forward to getting to know you.
To all: please comment,like, and forward. Every engagement goes a long way toward connecting us; as together, we grow a movement that betters the way we view and treat one another.