This newspaper has run a number of stories about people who have lost their employment – some of the 30,000-plus people - due to the ongoing pandemic and how a number of them have taken active steps to find new employment.
The stories are refreshing in that these people understand that while getting help from the government is useful, it can never replace the feeling of self-worth that comes with having a job, supporting yourself or your family and making a go of life.
This pandemic has thrown far too many people into tailspins in their lives. Far too many people find it too easy to begin depending on the government to support them and provide the minimal services they need for themselves and their families.
The problem with that approach to life is that the local government cannot continue that financial support after Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, government subsidy programs such as these suck the independent life out of individuals and the family’s sense of freedom and self-worth.
If left to continue, the self-initiatives that are the foundation of our nation as a free society will soon fade away. Any sense of self-accomplishment will disappear along with self-worth. Dependency on government handouts will take over and the very freedoms we enjoy will slowly fade into government subsidies and control.
People such as April Ignacio, who was furloughed in March and lost her regular full-time employment permanently in September, are superb models for others to follow.
Her original place of employment will not even exist following the end of the pandemic so she had no job to return to.
But she had the inner drive and self-esteem to look for work somewhere else rather than sit back and only depend upon government handouts.
Even during the pandemic there are employers who are looking for dependable workers to fill positions, but if you do not seek them out you will never find them. April sought out employment and found it.
As April put it, "Any legitimate job that you can do, any job that can help feed the family and pay the bills, take it. You don't need to be picky. Getting into a new job, even if it's not your ideal job, is much better than not having a job at all."
This world and this island need more people like April Ignacio, people who don’t want to remain dependent on the government to support them.
People who are willing to dig deep into themselves and find that grit and courage to do something different. People who become examples to their children, spouses and the entire community.
For April and some 30,000 other workers affected by COVID-19, the PUA will expire soon for her as well as for most Guam workers after they reach their 39th week.
April’s message “to others who also lost their job, don't stop looking for a new job. Grab every opportunity. Don't feel so sorry for yourself because that feeling will not get you anywhere," she said. "I wish everyone success."
Personally, I wish April and her family all the success the world has to offer. Because they took the time to look for it!
Lee P. Webber is a former president and publisher of media organizations on Guam and Hawaii, former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia, and a longtime business and civic leader on Guam.