Tom Roberts was laid off in April 2009, six weeks after he told his supervisor that he needed to have brain surgery. Paying the bills with a now-exhausted balance of vacation and sick days, Roberts awaits his disability check to pay the rent. He gave away his car because he couldn't afford the payments. His food supply comes from a food bank. All the while, he suffers from nerve disease that makes it impossible to speak for more than a few minutes at a time.
Despite these circumstances, Roberts, 59, says he "couldn't be happier." Until he undergoes brain surgery this summer (which his ex-employer will pay for), he is marketing presentations for his organization, Bipolar Advantage. After that, he plans to return to his roots in broadcasting and public speaking, leading workshops on presentation skills.