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I Lost My Job: Why You Should Pay Attention to Politics



“This is supposed to happen to other people. This was never supposed to happen to me.”

As I’m sitting on my mother’s porch on a Tuesday afternoon these are the thoughts that ran through my mind. Its funny how having plenty of time on your hands leads to contemplation. Officially, I will be unemployed as of April 15th but unofficially my last day at my job was March 29th. I hold a bachelor’s degree in biology (minor in chemistry) and a doctorate in biomedical research with a concentration in biochemistry and cancer biology. Sitting on the porch, one of the skits from Kanye West’s debut album comes to mind:

Then you get your doctorate,
You go man, then when everybody says quit
You show them those degrees man, when
Everybody says hey, you’re not working,
You’re not making any money,
You say look at my degrees and you look at my life,
Yeah I’m 52, so what, hate all you want,
But I’m smart, I’m so smart, and I’m in school,
And these guys are out here making
Money all these ways, and I’m spending mine to be smart.
You know why?
Because when I die, buddy, you know
What’s going to keep me warm, that’s right, those degrees.

My first job out of school was awesome. Who wouldn’t want to move to New York City and work at New York University doing exactly what you went to school for? I jumped at the chance. Plus, jobs in academia are supposed to be secure and not transient like pharmaceutical or biotech jobs. I was on my way towards greatness. I had a great job in a great city, until Congress in all their ineptness did something that only Congress does. They allowed the sequester to take effect on March 1st.

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sequesterThe sequester refers to a series of federal budget cuts of approximately $85.4 billion in 2013 alone. Cuts to the National Institutes of Health will equal more than $2.4 billion and more than $444 million to the Centers for Disease Control. Since 100% of my salary comes from federal funding that meant I was essentially out of a job. These are just numbers related to biomedical research. Imagine how many jobs have been lost across the country in all areas. Teachers, policemen, firemen, construction jobs, librarians and doctors are all losing jobs.

Looking at MSNBC or CNN and imagining that the decisions made by politicians can directly affect my livelihood is a tough concept to grasp. It may have been hard to conceptualize but now this is my reality. Looking forward, I’m viewing this setback as a blessing in disguise. I’m taking some much needed time off to rest and concentrate on my hobbies. Luckily, with my background and experience I won’t be out of work for long, but the same can’t be said for everyone who loses their job due to this sequester. Some people will be out of work for the foreseeable future. It is really sad that even after all this members of Congress will still get paid their average salary of $174,000 per year. In most workplaces such ineptness would lead to termination, yet it seems like we’re rewarding it.

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Do you know anyone who has been affected by the recent sequester? Should Congress still be paid their full salaries while their bad decisions led to the loss of so many jobs?


  1. They want to make a whole lot of little cuts to the everyday people when they need to just make one big cut to their own damn selves. They pay themselves 100k+ to sign papers and sit in a room all day bickering with each other over some bs policies that screw the majority of us over i.e. letting these corps sit on piles of cash why simultaneously evading billions in income tax. Meanwhile you have police risking their lives, scientist on the brink of discovery, and teachers who care enough to teach other’s peoples’ kids and they’re the ones that have to pay he price. I’m sorry your having this experience. Hopefully you’ll find another job soon. Good luck.

  2. Life can be humbling, huh? Tunde keep your head up. The older I get, the more I realize that bad circumstances don't discriminate. They don't care how smart you are or what a faithful Christian you've been. I've been out of work for almost a year. I have two Masters Degrees and live in the DC Metro Area.

    At first, I was a bit discouraged about finding work because of the sheer numbers of others who are also looking. But I've kept myself busy by volunteering, joining professional organizations related to my field, prayer, and seeking out informational interviews.

    One thing I had to get used to was the judgement from others. A friend I grew up with and have known for over 25 years made a comment about not wanting to date a guy who had been laid off. I told her that was why I hadn't really put myself out there. No matter how great or educated you are, when you don't have a job, no one cares, lol. She later admitted that she used to think people who were laid off must be lazy or not good workers. Smh. Luckily, I shook it off. Everyone is going to go thru their share of rough times in one way or another.

    1. "Everyone is going to go thru their share of rough times in one way or another."

      Mine was early on in my career (age 23-25). It made me much more appreciative of the life I live now and how to brace for impact when it (rough times) comes back around. I am truly appreciative of that time in my life. Life is suppose to be about ups and downs…if its not, that just means youre dead.

    2. appreciate that.
      "No matter how great or educated you are, when you don't have a job, no one cares, lol."

      as sad as it may be this is so true. and this is why?

      "She later admitted that she used to think people who were laid off must be lazy or not good workers."

      being laid off could happen to anyone.
      My recent post What’s Next?

  3. I am definitely sorry to hear that this happened to you. I understand the feeling. I was laid off from my job about 2 years ago. They laid off about 500 people and outsourced our jobs. After we were notified, I took it as a sign that I wasn't in the right space at that time. It is weird, but I felt like a weight had been lifted. Even now that I am employed I cannot face job loss with the same sense of doom I once did. It can definitely happen to anyone and there isn't thing I can do to change that.

    I wish you much luck on your future plans, whatever they may be.

    1. "It is weird, but I felt like a weight had been lifted."

      i'm looking at this as a blessing in disguise. i already was starting to despise my actual work environment so this break came at the right time. thank you very much. 🙂
      My recent post What’s Next?

  4. Tunde, I'm sorry for your loss. This is the very reason I tell friends and associates to save some money and have a nest egg of some sort and investments. In these days and times its Necessary. When u fall on hard times hopefully you can use that money to start your own business, or move to a state where your field is more in demand. Sometimes we're just in the wrong place at the wrong time and we need to make a move.
    Best of luck to you Tunde and God Bless.

    1. That first part is everything. Sometimes it takes people losing their jobs to actually "get it". Due to what I went through earlier on in my career, I can't understand people who are closer to age 30 than 21, gainfully employed with no children being "broke". I don't judge though…I just make sure my 8 month emergency funds is tight.

  5. Yeah Tunde, sorry to hear about your lost Bro. Keep your faith in the most high and everything else will fall into place.

  6. I'm sorry for your (their) loss. With your degrees and background I would like to suggest that you look to the agricultural field. There are plenty of opportunities for those in your position and it is one of the fastest growing job markets out there today.

  7. life is funny it always serves a rude awakening, i think making plans is overrated, ive made countless ones and most have always never panned out. The younger me took it to heart, took it so personal that it was my fault. Now i make no plans, my next move is always for tomorrow never the week never the month. i think this serves as a reminder to continue to build, progress, and most importantly to live. the silver lining was that there was a place for you to lay your head . I wasn't so lucky, with a B.S in Functional biology of animals and no job in my near future, my funds were low and i decided to go to graduate school as a way to keep a roof over my head. i applied to a prestigious school in the Dc area with barely the qualifications and they took a chance on me and its been a love affair ever since. if i had a plan i wouldn't be here, if i was comfortable i wouldn't be here. You would probably be saying the same thing in a few years. my mother always said science is a guarantee, i don't think it is anymore but those dedicated to the research, to the discovery understand why we it defines us, why it haunts us and consumes us to the point where we forget to come up for air. i think this was your break…

    1. Love this comment.

      The best laid plans…

      A lot of where I am now is because something unexpected happened. I am in a different state than where I started. I can make all the plans I want, but you just never know. Great to hear this morning.

  8. Yes Tunde sometimes it is a blessing in disguise, be grateful for what you have now as long as you safe and have your family, the rest will fall into place

  9. I'm in the Norfolk, Virginia area and the Sequester hit us pretty tough. We have the largest Naval base in the world and they cut alot of military money. So that effected the nearby businesses and the shipyards. Alot of people got laid off or furloughed from the hot dog ladys to contractors that work on the ships. Luckily, nobody I know personally got hit but it definitely had an impact on the region as a whole. To everyone that got effected, I'm keepin yall in my prayers!


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