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I few years ago, I worked with a client who had no money, health insurance, full-time employment, or left foot. He'd been in a wheelchair for two years because a prosthetic foot wasn't in his budget, and with his recent run of luck, wasn't in his future either.

Right now you're probably wondering what this has to do with women, divorce, or anything even remotely related. Keep reading.

The foot was amputated to save his life after a severe and uncontrollable infection spread through it. Over the next two years he tried without success to get a good job, but as luck had it, he just couldn't get the chance he yearned for. We talked several times, and even though he claimed to be optimistic, I knew he probably wasn't.

On a few occasions he'd say things like: "If I could just get a prosthetic foot, I be able to stand, feel better about myself, and project the image I want others to see. I'm certain that it [a new foot] would change my luck, but I've tried everything. Nobody is going to give it to me, and I can't get a job that will give me any chance of getting what I need for myself".

As a financial advisor, I wasn't very well informed about prosthetics, but I promised to help find a solution that might improve his luck.

The search was on. I Googled every possible phrase I could think of that might return potential leads, and I checked each out. I called every public and private charity in the region. After more than a week, not one penny was raised. I too was starting to think that he'd spend the rest of his years on wheels.

I was about to throw in the towel when I thought of a friend that might just steer me toward something. Marilyn had worked for several companies in various PR and Community Relations roles, and after her husband's death, she joined the staff of the company where I worked. Her office was right next to mine.

Marilyn knew everyone who was anyone in our community, so I just knew she'd be able to connect us to an organization that might help.

As I told her his story; her eyes glistened with tears. She remarked "This reminds me of what I faced after loosing my husband. All I wanted or needed was a chance. I never gave up hope, and I kept looking. Eventually my luck changed".

"I know a United Way chapter director" she said. "I'll call there and a few other people and get back to you".

After two days, Marilyn stepped through my door with a note in her hand. "No luck with my contacts, the well is dry," she said. "I've called everybody I can think of and haven't got much more than very sincere sympathy. I was on my way over with the bad news when I remembered that there's a prosthetics manufacturer here in town. I called there and asked who the sales manager is. Here's his name, you should call and ask him where he'd look for help."

I did. There's a U.S. government program called The Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation which, after applications, interviews, and careful scrutiny, agreed to supply funding to buy the desired foot. Six weeks later, my client was walking, and within a year, he'd not only been hired into a full-time position with benefits, he'd been promoted to supervisor.

Moral of the story? The client's luck improved because of persistence, teamwork, and Marilyn. Just as I started to give up, Marilyn took the wheel and came up with a sensible approach that hadn't yet been considered. She was inspired to help because of the parallel she saw between her situation and his.

There are Marilyn's out there for each of us. Maybe you already know yours, maybe not. First Wives World is intended as a forum where members can find what they want or need. Feel free to use it to improve the luck of others you share parallels with.

Written by Brian Kilroy, an FWW supporter and retired Vice President of MBNA America Bank, N.A. He directed the Financial Advisory Service, an employee assistance, credit education and lending unit servicing MBNA employees worldwide.

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  • Comment Link Guest Tuesday, 08 May 2012 14:54 posted by Guest

    Running out of steam: I allowed my husband to talk me out of college and my life when I was younger. I ended up allowing him to basically turn me into his tool. He got everything he ever wanted and I feel like it was all at my expense. I ended up giving in to him, marrying him and having two children. I don't regret them a bit. Never have and never will. But after working several unsatisfying and underpaid jobs, trying desperately to attend college, even if part time, and working to care for my kids, keep house, and pay bills, I just got sick of not having what I wanted out of life. I found myself, about seven years ago, at the breaking point. I was extremely overweight, working 12-16 hour shifts at a job that I hated and that didn't pay me enought to live on, and so I found myself just sitting for hours crying into my lap while the kids were in school. As a result, depression set in and I stopped showing up for work. I was fired. But a part of me wanted to lose my job. I hated it anyway. I sat down at my desk at home after my boss fired me over the phone, and I just asked myself, "When was I truly happy, if ever?" What a question. But I gave it some serious thought, and although I cannot say for sure that I was ever truly happy, I did recall a time in my life when I felt more in control and had hope for my future. That was before I met my husband and right after I graduated high school. I felt confident and knew what I wanted out of life, but a few months out of high school, I met my future husband and allowed him to talk me out of my life, my hopes and dreams, and into his. Speed up 20+ years and I realized that I had allowed him to turn me into his tool and let him basically step on my head to get whatever he wanted. I was so miserable. So, after I realized that I was happier without him, I decided that since I could not reverse time, I could go back to my original plan which was after graduating high school, I wanted to go to college and get a job that paid me enough to be strong and independent. So when my husband came home from work, seven years ago mind you, I met him at the door and told him that I wanted my life back and would settle for nothing less. I told him that I wanted to go back to school, full time, and not have to work part time or at all while I was concentrating on school because everytime money got scarce, he would talk me out, no, GUILT me out of college and I would quit and work more hours to bring in more money. So I said I would go back to school full time and he could pay the bills until I was done. After all, I had done so much for him all through the years so he could have what he wanted. It was only fair that I get something, too. I finished college in 2009, and received two degrees and a teaching credential by spring of 2010. I had worked very hard and was very dedicated to getting the most out of my education. I was determined to become an independent, strong, mother who could hold her own in the work force. Oh, and as a side note, after I was fired, I had previously lost 75 lbs and was getting into the best physical shape of my life, only to be told by my husband that I was only doing it so that I could leave him and find another man!!! Truly, I was getting healthy so that I could spend a long and happy life watching my children grow up, that's it. But that remark hurt me so much. I can't forgive him for saying that. What a selfish bastard. I told my kids that as soon as I'm working full time I'm leaving him for good. It's over. No counseling or therapy can fix him, and I don't want to even try. I could go on forever about all the things that are wrong with our relationship. We are two people who never should have gotten married in the first place. With that said, I felt strong about getting an education and becoming a teacher. And so for the past two and a half years I have been trying to find work so that I can put the past behind me and move on. My husband is not my partner anymore. We are married only through paper. He sleeps in his own room and I cannot wait to be free. Not because I want another man, but because I want to be independent and able to make my own money and decisions without his interference. I have only been able to find part time, very part time work since I graduated college. I tutored in an afterschool program my first year out, and I have been subbing the second year, but this fall will be the third school year, possibly, without a full time job. My student loans are due and the lenders are demanding payment. I send what I can, which isn't much, but they are still not happy and not relenting. I have explained my situation to my lenders, but they just want their money. I understand that, but I don't have much to give. My husband is very insecure. He was threatened when I was losing weight. Instead of praising me and encouraging me for my efforts, he has always made everything about him. Just as I was finishing my last year of college, he quit his job of $60K a year and accepted a job making less than half that. I know he was just trying to get me to quit school once more and go back to work full time because he did not want me to have a degree in my hands. I know this sounds petty, but he truly is like this. I'm not making it up. I used to defend him when my friends and family would say he was saying crazy things about me, but then he started saying those same exact things to me face to face, and it was then that I knew my friends and family were just looking out for me and not being hateful. And tell why would a man who barely has a high school education making 60K a year during an economic recession quit and settle for less than half of his salary. Mind you, my husband loves money, yet he did this? He truly wanted me to quit school and go back to work so he could feel secure that he had me trapped and I would continue to be his tool for another twenty years. I angry, hurt, and resentful. I have everything and yet nothing. I have literally gotten to where I don't want to get up in the morning anymore. I take my daughter to school and then come home, shut off my phone so I can't be called in to substitue teach, and I want to cry. I have no ambition anymore. I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. I came out of the credential program gung ho on getting a job, and have struggled with no end in sight to find full time work. I am so disheartened that I just feel tired, warn out, and uninspired. I don't know what to do anymore. I've had maybe three face to face job interviews for teaching and was not hired or even considered for any of the jobs. One interview was 600 miles away, but I went anyway. I was told at the interview, basically, that it was nice talking to me but I wasn't going to be hired no matter what because I was a newly credentialed was written on their mistaking. My transmission went out in my car a few months after that trip and I spent money I didn't have trying to fix my car, only to get a job tutoring after school for $600 a month for six months. Gas, at that time was close to $5 a gallon, and I spent the majority of my monthly stipend on gas and trying to keep my car running only to find that at the end of the six months, none of my bosses would give me a reference. They said it was against school district policy?! And the tutoring program funding was cut due to budget constraints so I didn't even have that to fall back on for the following school year. As a sub, I've only subbed maybe 12 days since November, and the assignments I get are the crazy ones that nobody else wants. This is one of the reasons I am currently having a hard time bringing myself to answer the phone when the subbing system calls me. I'm usually a good sport, but the last subbing assignment I had was literally a nightmare!!!! I was actually a bit traumatized afterwards, literally ran to my car to leave at the end of the day, and it took me hours at home to get over it and calm down. All my husband had to say was, well, at least it was a job and you can pitch in a few bucks to help around the house with gas and expenses. He has never cared about my well being and never will. I've accepted that a long time ago. He is the type of person who is all for himself and wouldn't do a charitable act not even for his own family without asking for money. He was extremely jealous of our son after he was born and would pout and hide in the bedroom because he felt I paid more attention to our newborn than him. DUH! Of course I did, our son would have died if I hadn't taken care of him, and I was breastfeeding. Any woman who has breastfed can tell you that alone is one hell of an adjustment to make, let alone having a newborn and a c-section to deal with....then a jealous husband on top of that who ignores the needs of his wife and newborn. My life has been hell, but I have never given up. I had a crazy childhood, and managed to graduate high school, go to college, and raise two great kids. But its all getting to be too much for me now. I just want a good job and a life of my own. Dear Lord, if there is someone out there with some good, sound advice.....connections to teaching jobs, whatever, please let me hear from you.