Article 43


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Amber And Ervin


From $80,000 a year to eviction: Hard times in America

By Wayne Drash
January 28, 2009

Amber Easton has gone from $80,000 a year in salary to scrambling for work. At a time in her life when she should be scaling the corporate ladder, she has instead SPIRALED INTO A DEEP DEPRESSION. She recently lost her car and now faces eviction from her apartment.

Just last week, the 35-year-old longtime working professional attended two job fairs with friends in the Detroit area. They stood in line for over three hours with hundreds of professionals of all types.

“It was a real eye-opener to see the caliber of people we were in line with—very EDUCATED with vast skill sets,” Easton said in an e-mail. “Afterwards, we went to the restaurant located in the same hotel and it was filled with unemployed professionals sharing their story, from engineers to graphic designers to marketing professionals.”

Easton’s saga began in July 2007 when she traded in her job as a corporate compliance officer to attend law school, what she thought would help advance her career. But after a year of law school, she decided it wasn’t for her. By then, her old job was gone and the job market had shrunk.

“It’s hard not to be DEPRESSED during a time like this,” she wrote IREPORT. “I never imagined in a million years that I would be in such a situation at my age and at this point in my career. I am humiliated. I am praying for everyone else out there is who are facing the same problems.”

She has applied to 70 different companies but gotten few leads. She recently went through a rigorous interview process for one job in another state, but to no avail.

Every day, she searches for new job possibilities and every day results in more desperation. She estimates she’s making $20,000—“if that”—as a CONTRACT EMPLOYEE working from her home. “I just haven’t made enough to keep up.”

Her Detroit neighborhood a couple years ago was booming, she said, but now “it’s like a ghost town around here.”

“It’s bad everywhere, but it’s so, so bad here,” she said.

Across the nation, people like Easton are feeling the pinch. Good jobs have EVAPORATED. Former full-time employees are now working part-time contract positions just to get by.

Nearly 2.6 million jobs were lost during 2008, the highest yearly total since the end of World War II in 1945. This week alone, major corporations have announced more than 80,000 job cuts, bringing this year’s total to well over 200,000.

Dr. Rosalind Dorlen is a clinical psychologist in Summit, New Jersey, an area she calls a “Wall Street ghetto” where formerly high-flying executives are out of work.

“Here, the people earn millions of dollars with bonuses that are astronomical,” said Dorlen, who is also the public education coordinator in New Jersey for the American Psychological Association. “There is a demoralizing aspect to having a huge salary and a huge bonus and then having to look for a job that is going to pay much, much less.”

She added, “What I’m hearing is a terrible sense of betrayal, anxiety and people experiencing lots of stress.” That, in turn, can lead to an increase in unhealthy coping behaviors, such as an uptick in alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating and worse sleeping habits.

Dorlen has several tips for people out of work:

Don’t panic;

Find a support group, even if it’s just an informal group of friends;

Seek employment counseling when available;

Be professional in your job hunt;

Network with other professionals;

Take time to exercise during hard times;

Spend valuable time with your family.

On a practical note, she said people should contact their creditors to let them know the situation. She also advises people to do volunteer work and to cultivate a “spirit of optimism.”

“Bad times pass, and it’s sometimes hard to see that when you’re in the throes of a terrible place,” she said. “I think we do need to hold onto a spirit of optimism and a sense of confidence.”

“I think we’re getting mired in the gloom and doom, and we need to hold on to the fact that lots of people are working.”

CNN’s user-generated site, iReport, has been flooded with messages from people out of work. One woman held up her husband’s rsum and said, “Please, please, please take him off my hands.”

“My husband can knock out a honey-do list like nobody’s business, and he meets my great, high standards every day. Don’t let my husband slip through your hands. He would be a great addition to your team,” the woman said under the headline “Wife Seeking Job for Husband.”

In Delaware, Manoj Philip, 24, said he had a full-time job in 2007 with Agilent Technologies making about $55,000 a year, including all the perks and benefits that came with it. But in July 2007, he quit that job to pursue a career in real estate.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t think it would be this tough,” he said.

By September 2008, Philip needed a second income because of the withering housing market. He picked up a full-time contracting job and continues to do real estate about 20-30 hours per week.

It was a shock, he said, to return to full-time work while putting his real estate dreams on hold. “It took a lot for me to change that mental outlook. Because before I would’ve thought of it as something holding me back,” Philip said. “But I don’t look at it like that anymore.”

He’s since learned the value of living within his means, budgeting and making every dollar he spends count for something. “These are really important lessons to learn. I’m glad I learned it at such a young age.”

In Detroit, Easton said she knows America will bounce back at some point, but “in the meantime, people are LOOSING EVERYTHING.”

“That’s what scares me,” she said.



With no job and 5 kids, “better to end our lives,” man wrote

January 28, 2009

It was described as one of the most grisly scenes Los Angeles police had ever encountered: the bodies of five small children and their parents, all shot to death, in two upstairs rooms of the family’s home.

“The reaction on their faces was not a pretty sight,” neighbor Jasmine Gomez told CNN. “There was an officer who came out of the house throwing up.”

But even more incomprehensible to some was the story that emerged after the bodies were found Tuesday: A father who, after he and his wife were fired from their jobs, KILLED all six family members before turning the gun on himself.

In a letter faxed to Los Angeles television station KABC before his suicide, Ervin Antonio Lupoe blamed his former employer for the deaths, detailing his grievance against Kaiser Permanente’s West Los Angeles Medical Center, where he and his wife Ana had worked as technicians.

Lupoe claimed the couple was being investigated for “misrepresentation of our employment to an outside agency for the benefit to ourselves’s [sic], childcare.” He said the initial interview was held on December 19, and when he reported for work on December 23, “I was told by my administrator ... that ‘You should not even have bothered to come to work today. You should have blown your brains out.’”

“Oh lord, my God,” the letter concludes. “Is there no hope for a widow’s son?”

Kaiser Permanente said in a statement Tuesday night that while the company is “saddened by the despair in Mr. Lupoe’s letter faxed to the media ... we are confident that no one told him to take his own life or the lives of his family.”

The Lupoes’ employment was terminated over a week ago “after an internal investigation,” the company said.

“While we may never fully understand why today’s senseless deaths occurred, everyone who worked with the Lupoes is shocked and terribly saddened by the tragedy,” said the statement. “It never should have happened.”

Lupoe wrote in the fax, “after a horrendous ordeal my wife felt it better to end our lives and why leave our children in someone else’s hands ... we have no job and 5 children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are.”

Among those struggling to comprehend the news was Lupoe’s 83-year-old grandmother, Josephine Lupoe of Atlanta, Georgia. She sobbed as she told CNN, “I just can’t believe it.”

She said Lupoe was born in Atlanta, but moved to Detroit, Michigan, with his parents as a child before moving to California. She recalled visiting the family when they lived in San Jose, California, “but that was years ago,” she said. “I hadn’t been to visit them since he got married and moved.”

She said she last heard from him when he called her to say they were having a second set of twins.

“Every time I called, he was at work,” Josephine Lupoe said. “He worked a lot, and even when I talked with him, he would be at work.” But she said she had no indication of problems within the family.

She said she had spoken with Lupoe’s mother a couple of days ago, and they discussed his sending pictures of the boys. “And then I hear this,” she said tearfully.

Lupoe’s mother was on the way to California on Wednesday, she said, but Josephine Lupoe said she is unable to travel.

Authorities said Lupoe and the three girls, identified by the Los Angeles Times as 8-year-old Brittney and twin 5-year-olds Jaszmin and Jasseley, were found in one upstairs room. Ana Lupoe and the boys—twin 2-year-olds Benjamin and Christian, according to the newspaper—were in another.

Police believe Lupoe also called 911, about the same time KABC was notifying police they had been contacted by a person who was threatening suicide. In the 911 call, police said, Lupoe reported returning home and finding his family dead.

Lupoe’s co-workers told the Times they remembered the Lupoes as cheerful, good workers and caring parents.

Ana Lupoe was “always talking about the kids,” said co-worker Hamlet Narvaez.

On Ervin Lupoe’s Facebook page, which displays pictures of the family, he describes himself as a graduate of the University of Southern California.

Cherise Pounders-Caver, principal of the children’s school, Crescent Heights Elementary, said Lupoe showed up to check the three older children out of school about two weeks ago and told her the family was moving to Kansas, the Times reported.

The deaths sent shock waves across the city and beyond. Video Watch how the tragedy unfolded 驻

“No matter how desperate you are, no matter how frustrated you are, to think this was the only answer—to take your whole family with you in death—is just too much to understand,” said City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the city’s Wilmington neighborhood where the slayings took place.

“It’s sad that this happens anywhere, you know?” neighbor Jose Rodriguez told KABC. “You see it on the news but you never really become accustomed to it.


Posted by Elvis on 02/03/09 •
Section Dying America
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