Janet Place: Jobless in NC

July 30, 2013 

Jobless in NC

I am a state employee who has worked for UNC for 17 years. I was recently laid off with 30 days notice. Because I am under a professional classification, I will get no continued health insurance or severance. I can apply for COBRA to cover my family for $1,000 per month.

I am 53 with a master’s degree. I am entitled to $350 per week for 12 weeks. My career has been about strengthening public health systems in North Carolina so that communities are healthy and fewer people need costly medical care. So now I am unemployed and uninsured. My husband is older and semi-retired, and I have a 14-year-old son.

Every day I hear comments dismissing the unemployed or public sector employees as lazy. I am just one of many, but the bucket is spilling over. We are one catastrophic event from financial disaster. Gone are vacations, movies, charitable contributions, gym memberships, eating out, driving and more. While some might say these are luxuries, these things contribute to the economy and, with that, other people’s jobs. Everything is connected. I am the face of the unemployed now, and Republicans must be very proud of themselves.

Janet Place


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