She was running out of hours before her company knew she was pregnant, which means her maternal pay would be very small.
Her company didn’t offer paid maternity leave to begin with. So even if she’d been full time when she went into labor, she wasn’t getting any at all. That’s the underlying problem with this entire story, and one that still affects half of all families in the United States, regardless of income level.
She seemed to think Uber was a get rich quick scheme and didn’t seem to figure out how she could make it work for her when it wasn’t proving profitable.
While she should have been more mindful to return the car as soon as it became apparent that she wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the payments, I don’t agree that she thought it was a “get rich quick scheme.”
She thought it was a job that could net her sufficient extra cash to offset the dwindling work and car rental. Uber advertises that drivers earn $600–700 per week on average and claim $19 per hour, which would be sufficient to replace her waning home health aide job, even after accounting for the car rental. However, that is based off of data from a voluntary survey offered to drivers in only 20 of their markets (presumably the most profitable ones), and glosses over the expenses of driving and their effect on one’s real income.
She hasn’t saved any money or seemed to have looked for a better paying job.
From the article:
Warren accepted the job because she sees herself as a natural caretaker. After high school, she took general education classes at a community college before landing at an air force base, watching kids at a day-care center.
She quit to tend to her cancer-stricken grandfather — “my favorite person,” she called him. She stayed with him until he landed in hospice. For those two years, to make ends meet, she worked at a nightclub in Maryland.
In 2010, Warren googled “home health aide jobs,” found Maxim and scored an interview. She didn’t think to ask about benefits. She prioritized a regular schedule.
From the looks of it, she is pretty much the poster child for working to improve herself and just hadn’t quite gotten to that “end point.” She took general education classes at a community college (which is the typical response for dealing with the expenses of higher education), but that’s not without its own costs (as the article mentioned, $5,000 in loans). She left her job in order to take care of her dying grandfather (which is what most conservatives expect people to do), and picked up a job at a nightclub to make ends meet. She then started working as a home health aide job (which is arguably a step up from whatever she was doing at the nightclub).
Also, it sounds like her meager income was more or less sufficient while it was just her. Tight, but it worked, and she doesn’t have that much in debt — less than $6,000 including the student loans — which is pretty damned good for someone in working poor status.
She has uterine fibroids and was very likely told by her doctor that she was infertile, which means prescription birth control was an expense she felt she could cut or it may not have even been an option, given that fibroids are very responsive to the hormones in birth controls and a myriad of issues are contraindicated for things like IUDs (and the onus should be at least as much on the man for not using condoms). So, the pregnancy was unexpected (and she didn’t know about it until a visit to the doctor for abdominal pain).
Also, her hours didn’t dwindle before she found out she was pregnant, they did before she started to show. That means she knew she was pregnant, and that also means getting a new job — and keeping it for any length of time — is exponentially more financially risky, especially since the time required to find, interview, and land a job is long enough that she could start to show.
So, she could have looked for a new job, and run the risk of a) not landing one before she started to show or b) being “let go” for some bullshit reason when she did start to show (thanks, employment-at-will laws!). Or…she could keep the job she’d had for over 5 years and pick up a side gig with one of these “gig economy” places that sound reasonably lucrative.
And if you don’t think companies would fire an employee for being pregnant, or that they could get away with doing so, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you, because I’ve had exactly that happen to me. Employment laws in the US have more holes than Swiss cheese.
The whole article made it seem like things were happening to her that she was helpless to control.
While she was my no means completely blameless, the fact is, her humanity and its resulting imperfectness is essentially being used to gloss over the fact that several systems have failed her (and millions like her).
It’s easy to play armchair quarterback and say “she should have done this or that or the other,” it’s a completely different matter when you’re actually dealing with the circumstances. When you’re too “well off” to get government help, but can’t quite free up enough extra cash to actually make improvements, or doing so is as slow as frozen molasses, and any curveball life throws at you sets you back years, if you’re fortunate enough to ever recover from it. When you’re stuck in a job, because getting a better-paying one requires a financial investment that you don’t yet have the means to make.
She tried doing exactly what all the “just pick yourself up by the bootstraps!” people always say to do. She picked up a second job that she thought would make her money and fit her needs (since she needed the flexibility a gig economy job offered her, due to her primary job needs and her own physical needs). She set weekly goals for herself at the new job and strived to meet them. She sacrificed her own health to work more/harder.
And it set her back even farther.