Alarm rings…eyes open…I have work to do. But today is different, today is Thanksgiving, and the work I have to do involves family, feast and fun. Time for the turkey prep, followed by the sweet potato casserole, the green beans, the dressing, and all the accompaniments that go with our family meal…all this with a room full of family chatter and grandchildren laughter. It is the beginning of a beautiful day and a long standing family tradition-only made more bountiful because we have jobs- work that allows us to enjoy the holiday together, whether we celebrate on the day before, the day of or days after.
For the thousands that are unemployed – either unable to find a job or keep a job- Thanksgiving may not be a time for thankfulness. It is a time of uncertainty- is there a roof overhead? Enough food on the table? A way to work when there is a job? And someone to care for the children while away? For me, I am reminded daily of the power of work- not only in the self-esteem and engagement professionally- but in the ability to provide for a life that allows for Thanksgiving celebrations.
There are those that struggle with the basic foundations for security and even with employment, these continue to be a struggle. It is not just about the job, but about keeping the job and growing in the job to be more successful in attaining those life dreams- better housing, more food, available transportation, adequate childcare, financial stability. The focus on a holistic solution for the individual seeking employment or career advancement is critical to getting someone off of public assistance and into a sustainable life. Goodwill, the leading nonprofit community workforce provider, recognizes this complexity and is looking for collaborative solutions with community partners and local governments. A recent article in the Charlotte Observer clearly shows an example of this struggle for individuals who are working hard to be successful in managing both a job and a life. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/eric-frazier/article111170597.html
This year, as I serve the turkey on Thanksgiving, I will remind myself once again that I have a job. And that job is not about me…but about the individuals that want and deserve celebrations just like mine. Our mission at Goodwill is just that…a celebration of work and the security of life that rises above the job. Isn’t that the American Dream? More thanksgivings…more often.
“…the “benefits cliff.” It is a powerful killer of the American Dream. Sadly, most people don’t even know it exists.”