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From the boardroom to the kitchen, trio tell their own tales of misfortune

A qualified economist, an accountant and a long-serving kitchen porter were among those relying on charity to get fed as

The Royal Gazette visited the Cathedral’s Daily Bread service.

The trio, who join 60 or 70 people at the programme on Mondays and Thursdays, said they were grateful for food generously donated by restaurants under the Eliza DoLittle initiative.

All three told us their stories explaining how they came to be unemployed, on the condition we protect their identity; they had varying degrees of optimism about the impact the recession has had on their lives.

The Accountant

A 58-year-old woman, said she used to earn $5,000 to $6,000 a month but gave up her job to help a family member overseas a year ago.

She returned to Bermuda to find her old job no longer exists and has since found it impossible to get any kind of regular work.

“I’m at an age bracket where I’m not old enough to be senior, but I’m not young enough to be young. It’s just an age thing,” said the woman.

“I worked all my life. I had a good job. Now I’m down to zero. But I have good support from friends. People will pay my phone bill and things like that. I volunteer my services for anything and I’m sort of creating my own job. I take what I can get.

“Everybody you see here is in the same boat. I just tell people who’ve got a job, don’t ever get in the predicament that I did. If anyone had told me this would happen, I would have been shocked.”

Remaining philosophical, she added: “I’m happy. I’m not sad or angry, it’s just a lesson to be learned. I have still got my strength and I have made some very nice friends along the way.

“I feel we created our own problem because we are not conscious of what we are doing with our family. Bermudians are very naive.”

The Economist

A 55-year-old man, he built a career as an entrepreneur in the United States before returning to Bermuda for family reasons some years ago and getting temporary work in security.

However, he lost that job after suffering diabetes-related attacks on the job, prompting a spiral of misfortune.

“It wasn’t sudden. I saw it coming,” he said. “The more places you go to, your record follows you in terms of your health.

“I always prided myself I could find work anywhere. I was working two jobs a lot, in hotels and in security. But the more I exerted myself, the greater the problems of my health became.

“When it did happen, I would be without a job. Hopefully I had saved enough money to hold me over until I get another job.”

The man now sleeps rough but has a positive outlook on Bermuda’s future as well as his own.

“Every economy goes through economic cycles. Prosperity, recession, depression, recovery, prosperity,” he said. “Recession is good in a lot of instances. It promotes entrepreneurship, being innovative, coming out with services that during prosperity we are not likely to pursue.

“With your back against the wall, you would be surprised how people can be creative. Consumers are always the ones to benefit. That’s why I love capitalism.

“I have some goals and visions I’m going to pursue when things turn around and get more stabilised I can take advantage of.

“Our biggest problem especially in times of prosperity is that we do not network. Hopefully a recession is going to force us to network locally and internationally.”

He speaks proudly of his son who graduated at medical school, his second son aspiring to be a musician, and daughter currently studying law.

“I can just look at that and be satisfied with what I have accomplished,” he said. “I’ve brought up three beautiful children and an American wife. Life has been good to me. Things turned down, but I’m a firm believer in Christ.

“I’m waiting for the economy and my situation personally to turn around because I always think I can make it. The body’s falling apart but the brain’s still working. I started up a company before, I will do that again. I need to get out of my predicament, need to get a place to live, a computer, and start writing business plans.”

The Kitchen Porter

A 43-year-old man, he has been out of work since the closure of the restaurant he worked at some months earlier.

“I’ve got plenty of skills, I can do landscaping too. I applied at hotels but they tell me I’m overqualified or underqualified,” he said. “I’ve filled so many resumes out I’ve lost count.”

Unable to pay rent, he and his wife stay with friends, while his five children currently stay with family and friends.

“I’ve been out of work before but this time is more difficult because there’s a lot more people looking for work,” he said.

“My typical day is trying to find some solid employment. I know if I can get some solid employment, get money accumulated, I can get back on my feet.

“Sometimes it gets very hard and very depressing to find work. The amount of times people have told me I’m overqualified.

“If you are overqualified, they should have no problem giving you a job. Give you a three-month trial period on probation, and if you meet their standards and criteria they should take you on.

“I went to a restaurant to try to get a job and the guy told me I’m overqualified because I have worked in bigger kitchens. But I don’t care what size the kitchen is. I don’t care if the kitchen is the size of that piano over there, I need to work.

“I feel frustrated. I’m not mad, not angry, I’m just really frustrated and disappointed in how things are going. When you have got so many people out of work, it boggles the mind.”

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Published April 19, 2012 at 9:00 am (Updated April 19, 2012 at 9:53 am)

From the boardroom to the kitchen, trio tell their own tales of misfortune

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