The second-longest resident of my hotel left yesterday. Hurray!
The man, I’ll call him Steve, is a bit past his mid-fifties. Over the past nine months we’ve been here, he’s always flashed a kind smile whenever I’ve encountered him in the hotel lot, always stopping to ask how we are doing. Until a week ago, Steve worked three jobs to pay for his hotel stay and minimize the damage to his long-dwindling life savings and the severance pay one of his former employers paid out.
Steve is a civil engineer. He was laid off at the start of the Great Recession, in 2009. His wife passed away in 2011. That same year, he was hired by an engineering firm. Two years later, when the firm was bought out, Steve was terminated as a part of the consolidation of the two firms. It took until a week ago for Steve to be hired in his profession.
As we said our goodbyes, Steve shook my hand and said, “I really thought the new job I would be taking was with a supermarket chain. I’d lost hope of ever working as an engineer again.” He then scooped up his canine companion, secured him in the back seat and both rode off the lot.
Good luck, Steve! You made it out of Hotel California and, soon, you will be out of the precariat, as well!