Downwardly: Olivia, Bill, Joe and Tammy
Good on Salon.com - they're profiling people who are caught up with the deep financial slide. In this article meet Olivia, once an accountant, now trying to support her kids on fewer working hours as the restaurant she works at serves a declining clientele.
In Jackpot, Nev., a casino town of 1,416 people, Olivia A., 38, waits tables at Barton’s Club 93 Casino. She is a lot less busy these days, even with the prime rib special dinner on a recent Monday going for the tantalizing price of $5.98. The casino is not empty — there are still a few older women pulling on long, thin cigarettes and feeding slots with names such as Winning Times and Stinkin’ Rich — but Olivia says business is way down. As a result, her hours have been cut. A mother of three, she never expected to be struggling so hard to pay the bills when she left her job as an accountant in Mexico more than a decade ago to come to the U.S. with her husband. Leaving a middle-class job in Mexico was difficult, yet worth a better life for her children, she had thought.
But lately, every day seems less of an improvement over her previous life in Mexico. “Sometimes, I think about going back,” she says. “the only reason I’m here is for my kids. Back home I was a professional. I had a completely different life.”
Here's Bill Rosenbaum:
In recent times, Bill Rosenbaum, 48, was installing carpet for new subdivision homes in Southern California and Arizona, traveling so much that he found it easier to stay in hotels. Then his van blew out and the home foreclosure crisis crippled the market for new carpet installation — and he was homeless for the first time in his life. He recently found a day job picking up pine cones for a rancher outside town. He hopes to save enough money to buy a new van and start his business back up.
Alden Collins, 56, lost his job when he refused to take a pay cut from $10 to $8 an hour at a restaurant in Lake Tahoe. As he told his story, it quickly devolved into a song. (His friends nearby noted that he had been off his medication recently.) Nashing his teeth between notes, and banging his foot in the dirt to keep time, he sang, “Trying to go to work/ yeah yeah yeah/ but workin’ in the dirt just don’t work for me.”