As unemployment benefits run out for millions of people across the country, one Cove resident, who calls herself a “workaholic,” said she will not go long without a job.
Renee’ Anderson has held only four jobs in her lifetime. She worked for the same company for nearly 20 years, until it was purchased by a new owner and she lost her job. But in less than 10 days, Anderson found another job. The longest she has ever been unemployed is two weeks.
As of Jan. 21, Anderson became unemployed again when the government contractor she worked for on Fort Hood shut its doors.
“I am one of these people that I have to work. I’ve never been out of work for long,” said Anderson, as she made her rounds filling out job applications. She said she will not apply for unemployment.
“Not if I can get out of it ... I cringe at the thought of having to get food stamps. I was brought up in the day that if you want it, you go out and work for it,” Anderson said. “I applied for unemployment one time. But by the time they got around to calling me for an interview, I already had a job.”
Anderson was laid off at 10 a.m. and had applied for five jobs before the end of the day. She was an over-the-road truck driver for 30 years and holds HAZMAT and tanker certifications.
“I could make one phone call right now and be back on the road with my experience and endorsements, but I don’t want to be on the road anymore. My old body’s getting too old for all of the beating and banging that goes on on the road,” said Anderson, 47. “But I will go back to truck driving before I apply for unemployment.”
Anderson will be fortunate to find a job this time of the year, said Wendy Ann Damon, Career Center supervisor at Central Texas Workforce Solutions.
“Most companies hire in November and December. Only absolute hiring is done in the first of the year. People are frustrated,” Damon said. “People are asking, ‘What happens now? What can I do? Will unemployment benefits be backdated?’ Unfortunately, it is in the hands of Congress.”
Damon recommends that those out of work continue their job searches as if they were still receiving benefits.
So if benefits are backdated, they would still qualify for unemployment. And if they are lucky, they will find jobs, she said. The worst-case scenario is that they will get back pay if Congress chooses to extend benefits.
‘Anger and depression’
“The loss of unemployment is like losing a job all over again. The person experiences anger and depression,” Damon said. “The job search mitigates some of those circumstances.”
On Jan. 23, Anderson was contracted as a newspaper carrier, but said she is continuing to fill out applications to get an afternoon or evening job.
“I am very easy going. But I cannot stand to sit still. It’s just not in me,” she said.