Photo: Courtesy Paul Pittman
Nine months ago, we spoke with Paul Pittman, a married father of two and Air Force veteran who’d been laid off from his job, had his home foreclosed and had to move hundreds of miles to start anew.We called him “Mr. U.S. Economy.”
But by then, the worst was already behind him.
He’d been hired by Odyssey Logistics through a temp agency to coordinate freight traffic, and his wife was thriving in her job marketing medical equipment.
As the broader economy stumbles forward, we wanted to check back in with Paul to see how he and his family were faring.
The news is mostly good.
In April, Odyssey hired him full time. Pittman, 50, declined to say what his salary was, but said it was more than what he was making doing similar work for the mum-and-pop outfit he was laid off from in Wisconsin during the recession.
“I’m satisfied,” he said.
They are still cutting back on expenses as they work to rebuild a credit score damaged by getting foreclosed on in 2011. They’re also trying to replenish their savings.
“Anyone who’s out there still looking for work will basically just have to get used to certain sacrifices you’re going to have, but I would definitely not give up on getting back to work,” he said. “It’s easy to get into that whole feeling of worthlessness. You’ve got to keep yourself above that.”
But Pittman will earn his bachelor’s degree from an online degree program next spring. He credits his enrollment in the program with helping land the Odyssey gig, especially a human resources class that taught him what to expect in a job interview, something he hadn’t had to think about in decades.
More profoundly, it’s gotten him thinking about transitioning to a career in education. It doesn’t hurt that there are lots of schools in the Charlotte area hiring. But the main goal would be reducing the odds of anyone having to go through unemployment like he did.
Finally, we asked him what if anything the government should be doing to help other unemployed folks. In an email, he said he and his family had gotten no federal help — and didn’t want any:
The only help we actually had during this entire time was from my wife’s employer in the move from WI to Charlotte through their relocation. Having depleted my unemployment, there was no real aid that we could qualify for as her income and my income from the previous year made us ineligible.
Didn’t matter! We were determined to make it anyway.
In my opinion, the federal government is too involved already. Their efforts to help us have not been very successful and have really only helped to make sure our children will continue to pay our nation;s debt.
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