Back to Work
But when her extended health insurance ended after eighteen months, she started to get scared. Her husband, Pete Held, is a self-employed handyman, and Jackson's job had provided their health benefits--crucial, as she is an insulin-dependent diabetic. Buying health insurance for themselves and their two children came to $1,500 a month. "That put an incredible amount of stress on us," she says. To pay the bills, "Pete had to work seven days a week, sometimes eight to ten hours a day. We were just getting more in debt. Credit cards--we're still paying debts off."
Jackson began looking more intensely, posting her resume online and checking the U-M website weekly for job openings. But she found that more and more jobs were open only to applicants with master's degrees in technical writing. Although she had worked in the field for seventeen years she had only a BA in English.
Vacations and eating out became things of the past. Jackson was borrowing against her retirement savings and doing odd jobs--gardening and giving violin lessons--when a friend tipped her off that Michigan Radio was hiring a receptionist. Amazingly, she'd held that same job before, when she was twenty-five.
She was interviewed last July, and a staffer who had worked with her thirty years earlier spoke out in her favor. She went back to work in August. "It's like my life has come full circle," she says, bemusedly.