Personal Testimony: Piper in Seattle, WA

Apr 12 2012

Piper in Seattle, WA writes to us:

I have been unemployed since June 2009. I collected two years of unemployment benefits, which helped because my husband was also unemployed for a large portion of 2009. We are both licensed attorneys. My husband is employed, thankfully, but we are living paycheck to paycheck. We have a small child.

During unemployment I sent hundreds of resumes and applied for hundreds of jobs - I rarely got a response. One organization was helpful and gave me feedback as to why I was not selected for a position: I was overqualified. The woman told me that when an attorney applies for a non-legal position people are skeptical and think the applicant is going to leave the position as soon as something "better" or better paying comes along. After that I tailored my cover letters assuring potential employers that I was not looking for legal work and that pay was not an issue (yes, I would have worked for $15 an hour); still, no replies.

One of the main reasons I haven't continued to look for work is because of the cost of childcare: the prospective salary was never going to be enough to cover the cost of full-time childcare (quality childcare... I don't want to leave my child just anywhere). Looking at unemployment on a positive note, it has given me three amazing, wonderful years as a stay-at-home mother and I wouldn't trade that for anything. At this point I believe it is more rewarding to be a good, dedicated, focused parent than to have a job for the sake of having a job. For me, any other job would pale in comparison.

I know full-time parenting isn't for everyone, though. Also, I am lucky enough to be able to do it, though we struggle financially every month. My husband's salary is terrible (for the type of law he practices/the type of firm he is in). We live on under $80K a year and we have almost $250K worth of law school debt we are paying off.

That is our snapshot... Thank you for asking and for doing this project.