J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Sudden job loss and unanticipated unemployment is causing a lot of bankruptcies that we are seeing at my bankruptcy law office in Houston. One client called yesterday and said that her boss let them work all day at an assembly plant, and then called all the employees together at 4 pm. "I'm sorry," the boss said, "but we are out of money and have no money to pay you. The company is shutting down and you are all out of work. Please shut your machines down, and leave." That was it; 50 people out of work, no notice, no warning, no severance pay.

A prospective client was in this morning. She had lost her job after 18 years; again, no notice, severance or anything. At her age (mid-50"s), it will not be easy to find another job. She may never find a job paying as much as the one she lost. She was "shell-shocked," just couldn't get over it. I can understand. Anyhow, a bankruptcy case can get these folks out of debt, but it can't get them a job or a livelihood.

I don't know what is going to become of some of them. I guess some will end up living with relatives or friends for a while, until they can find some kind of work, that will pay enough to live independently. But meanwhile they will have to change their entire lifestyle, they'll lose houses and cars, and not be able to help relatives like they used to. Some people are keeping their jobs, just not getting raises, or having their hours cut back.

One lady this morning said that she was told she would keep her job, but have her hours cut back to 32 per week. I'm sure most of these folks will be all right. Heck, the unemployment problem in Houston is not yet as bad as other parts of the country. But it seems to be getting worse. Have you had an experience with job loss that you can share? Any that caused you to file, or consider filing bankruptcy? Please post any comments that you have.

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