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When Sarah quite suddenly lost her job due to a Covid-related downsizing at her company, she couldn’t make rent. Her parents stepped up and helped her for a few months, until she found a new job. Sarah’s parents were her safety net.

“It was the most difficult moment of my life,” says Sarah, who graduated from university in 2019 and immediately found her dream job at a tech start-up in downtown Toronto. “The industry was hit hard,” she explains. “And the last in, was the first out”.

She imagined that she would find a job rather quickly, but after two months of intensive searching, she came to realize that it wouldn’t be that easy. “It seemed like literally no one was hiring.” In the meantime, she ate up all of the little savings she had been able to accrue throughout her year of fulltime employment, on rent and living expenses.

“It got to the point where I was actually scared. My account was overdrawn. My credit card was maxed out and I was eking by paying the minimum monthly payment,” she says. “I made job-searching my fulltime job, and had to cut back on that, too.” With applications in at dozens of firms in her field, she picked up some freelance projects, copy-editing and tutoring. But it wasn’t anywhere near enough to make ends meet.

“The bills were piling up. I had no room on my credit card. I felt completely helpless,” says Sarah.

Then something happened. Her rent cheque bounced.

Her landlord appeared at her door, with a notice in hand. “Of course, I reassured him that I would take care of it immediately,” she says, “but I honestly didn’t know how I could. It was awful. It was my lowest point.”

Finally, Sarah reached out to her parents. “I really didn’t want to ask them for help,” she says. “It was so important for me that I had become independent, and to have to make that call, well, let’s just say it was my last resort.”

Sarah’s parents immediately wired her the money she needed to cover the bounced cheque, pay off her credit card, and cover her expenses while she resumed job searching.

Two months later, Sarah found a job.

“I honestly don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t have the parents I have, who are generous and who were willing and able to help me. I would have been evicted from my apartment, and I would have found myself mired in a pile of bills and legal paperwork. Or worse, I would have become homeless. I hated asking them, but I am so grateful that they were there when I needed them most. “Thank you, mom and dad, for being my safety net.”

*Sarah’s name and photo have been changed to protect her identity

Be a safety net

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