Marisol Valdez worked for a company that plans corporate travel, and Tuesday was her last day.
She and most employees of the company were laid off because coronavirus has all but halted the travel industry.
Valdez started with the company in 1998, when she was 20.
“It’s been basically my only job except for right out of high school, when I worked at a department store,” she says.
She knew two weeks ago that the blow was coming, but that doesn’t make it easier, she says.
Valdez, an Oak Cliff native who lives by herself in a rented house near Twelfth and Bishop, was waiting until after 9 p.m. Tuesday to apply for unemployment assistance since the government website has been overwhelmed with applications. She’d already gone through her monthly expenses and eliminated unnecessary subscriptions, such as Netflix and Hulu.
She works from home, and she says, she hasn’t left her neighborhood since March 12 because she also looks after her parents, who live about a block away. They’re older and have health problems.
“I can’t get anywhere near anybody,” she says. “I can’t expose myself to anyone because I have to care for them.”
In the meantime, she’s been working out a lot on her Nordic Track bike. And waiting.
She says it’s stressful to know that few companies are hiring right now, but she’s still looking for customer service work that she can do from home.
“I know there are people who have it worse than me. I know I’m not going to end up on the street,” she says. “A lot of people will lose everything and have nowhere to go. I’m lucky in that respect, but it’s still really difficult to get through.”