When I was laid off from the oil business for the second time in my 15-year career, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I was out of work again. Ups and downs are normal for the energy sector, and Texans are used to it. But the 2014 oil bust in Houston was particularly harsh for me. What was supposed to last a year at most would never come back, at least not like it used to be in the boom days.
By 2015, I had nothing in savings and I needed to work. Because I was a contractor who worked on a project basis, the 2014 down cycle was harder on me because I was not eligible for a severance nor unemployment benefits. Losing my career was not only financially devastating, but emotionally devastating as well. Most of my adult life I had a title and a hefty paycheck, and my identity was tied up in my career. I lost my identity when I lost my job, and I had no choice but to start over. If I wanted to have a better life long term, I had to find a career that was stable and offered more security.