Friday, December 9, 2011

How to succeed in getting off welfare 101

I've been told that I've lost my compassion more than once.  I've no sympathy for those who have struggled, they say. HA! Compassion is something I save for those who actually show some sort of effort in bettering their life.  It's something that has been on my mind for a while now, to let in some light to the darkest part of my adult-hood.  From the time I became pregnant with my son Alex (now 19) to the time he was 4, I was a single Mom on welfare.

In fact, I was homeless when I was pregnant; bunking at my sister's house or my parent's until my Section 8 application was approved. I moved into my apartment the day I came home with Alex. Four years later, I was a graduate with an Associate's Degree in Electro-Mechanical Technology with a $15/hour job.  How did I do it? I had a plan.  Here's the outline:

1. NO drugs or alcohol.  I did not take nor sell drugs.  Very little alcohol passed my lips.  Why? Alcohol and drugs are bad. No getting around it.  Also, drugs or alcohol lead to crime often. I did not need that. I also did not go out and 'party' at all.  It's a distraction and I needed to be focused.

2. NO Men.  Sorry if this makes you uncomfortable, but for that 5 years...I was 'responsible for my own orgasms.'  I did not have the time, nor willingness to try to vet a new boyfriend. They demand time and my previous experience led me to believe they could not be trusted to have my best interests in hand.

3. NO MORE KIDS.  One is easy enough to handle when in school, but each additional kid would make it exponentially harder to get off welfare.  Which is another reason why #2 was so important.  With no boyfriend to have to deal with, no birth control issues to deal with. I had an adverse reaction to birth control pills and could not take them.  Therefore, my family planning method was abstinence + basal-muco-thermal method of natural family planning.  Hey, it worked!

4. Pick a Career path that has the best payout for study.  My Tech School had a leaflet they gave prospective students.  It had their courses of study listed, with the % of students who were employed after graduation, % of those who entered program who graduated, and how much $$ they made.  The first course was Electrical Distribution - which is linemen.  I can't do that due to my asthma.  So I picked the 2nd most-successful program.  If you're going to put out the $$ for a future job, it should pay, right? Why spend $20,000 to become a child care worker who makes $7/hour?

5. I gave myself 30 days to find a job after graduation to get my 'dream' job. After that, I took what job was available.  I spent a month soldering anti-personnel land-mines for $7.50 an hour.  A month after that, I got the call to that job where I made $15/hour.

The plan worked.  I know it looks pretty organized here on the blog, but I really didn't have a 'set' plan.  I knew what were the barriers to success in my plan and I just avoided those barriers. It was not easy, and I remember staring up at my ceiling in the bedroom one day thinking, "I'm wasting the best sexual years of my life." but it was worth it in the end.

I've been married to a wonderful guy for the last 12 years who loves me and my son.  My studies have helped me gain jobs in the electrical field for over 10 years and I made some tall cash. Self-sacrifice is not bad, but it is hard.

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