Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Magic 8 Ball


There are times when I really wish time would stand still and I could open the big bag of Answers and pull out the one I am looking for. If I had one of those cool Magic 8 Balls I could shake it up and get what I need. In the past 7 years through multiple moves, one career change and three subsequent job changes within the same company, I’m ready for some stability in life.

The problem is that I’m not the person with the bill-paying job. While my husband certainly supports our family well with his work the past four years have been especially unstable through no fault of his own. The company has changed and reduced again and again. As in you could have a job one minute and not have one the next. I’m sure there is a lot of that in this economy and we’ve been very lucky (thus far) to have avoided most of the worst of it. He does still have a job.

Come December though, unless he finds another one, that’s it. Unemployment. Of course they call it downsizing and redundancy and end of contract but call it what it is. Unemployment. Sure, it’s unemployment with a nice package if we have even a shred of luck left but between a job and no job, I have to state my preference for having a job. Would I go out and work? Yes. Can I make as much money as he can and support our family? Not even close. Until that multi-million dollar book deal rolls around there’s not much I can do. Even basic admin work would be challenging – I haven’t worked in seven years and believe me a lot has changed.

He’s looking, his contacts are looking and offering suggestions but the knowledge that in a few short months this could be it just freaks me out. I know he will find a job. The people he knows are in high places and know a lot of other people in high comfy places with lots of help on offer.

He will find another job. Right?

The scary part for me comes in the waiting. The kind of scary that keeps you up nights and for the first time ever I’m clipping coupons ‘just in case’. I’m not looking for sympathy (but if you have chocolate let me know) but I am curious just how widespread this reality is for others. I’ve heard this is something people everywhere are facing. It puts stress on any relationship no matter how stable.

Are you dealing with (or have you dealt with) an issue like this in your own relationship? Which role is scarier to you – being the sole breadwinner or being the one serving the bread?


SciFi Dad said...

I've always won the bread, not served it, so I can only speak from that perspective.

While I know no job is permanent or guaranteed, the situation you're facing is exactly why I only consider full-time positions. I could make a lot more if I went contract, but the instability - especially with only one of us working - makes it not an option. Instead, I take my reasonable full-time pay at a company I believe will stick around at least long enough until I get fed up and leave.

Missty said...

Oh Andrea, so sorry it is scary! Matt has had to lay off people, and he comes home literally sick to his stomache. He just aches that he has to do it.

On another note - our oldest son was laid off in March with 500 other IT computer people from his company. We have been footing his $2000.00 a month expenditures from March - July! (yes 5 months, do the math) UGH! So that has put a bit of stress amongst all of us. He finally got a job in South Carolina, so of course we had to pay for the flight out there, the move, etc.

I would do what he is doing - LOOK, LOOK and LOOK some more. Don't wait, start now! And sounds like you are. Our son put in over 300 resumes before looking out of state. California is really bad off, other states are much better. Good luck and keep us posted.

Jessica Stier said...

I am married to a risk taker. He has worked with numerous start ups and done a lot of contract work. There have been months where we didn't have an income but strangely it always has worked out. We have been very blessed.

Struggles like this have brought us closer together and have helped us to rely on the Lord a bit more.

ZenMom said...

Sending virtual chocolate your way!

The waiting and the worrying and the what-ifs are always the worst. I'm so sorry. But I really do believe in the power of positive thought in situations like this.

My husband is self-employed. Which is nice for us in a lot of ways. But it also means that that his income fluctuates with the economy. And, yeah, the economy pretty much sucks right now.

It's been hard and stressful and, yeah, sometimes it's scary as hell. But you just have to keep going and doing and being. You change, you adapt, you push on.

You have to remember htat you can do this - no matter what "this" is.

Remember that quote:

"This is what it is to be human: to see the essential existential futility of all action, all striving -- and to act, to strive. This is what it is to be human: to reach forever beyond your grasp. This is what it is to be human: to live forever or die trying. This is what it is to be human: to perpetually ask the unanswerable questions, in the hope that the asking of them will somehow hasten the day when they will be answered. This is what it is to be human: to strive in the face of the certainty of failure. This is what it is to be human: to persist." ~ Spider Robinson

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

SciFi - When we went into this the company was thriving (we moved about a year before the big bust of the housing market and the follow out since then) so it was a great opportunity. We stayed when they asked us to renew for a different job two years ago cause the economy here was tanking. It was the only way to actually still have a job. But now after 70% reductions in his office we are what's left and in a few short months even we won't exist anymore.

Missty - It is pretty scary because I can't make the money that he can so there really isn't anything to do but keep searching. while we settled for now in PA he's submitting from Seattle to Virginia. The biggest obstacle so far has been not having a US address to give for resumes but now we have one and we hope that will help. He actually started looking several months ago and now we are in the crunch.

ZenMom - Thank you. I can't imagine being self-employed (well I can cause I am but it doesn't depend on us being able to eat on a daily basis). I love the quote. It can only go up from here right? The hardest part is if he does get a job elsewhere in the US the kids and I aren't moving till end of June so Boo can finish out school (it was the reason we left early in the first place). That would hardly be ideal but it is one of those do what you have to situations.

Anjeny said...

Oh Andrea...I'm sorry to hear what you're going through right now. I can totally relate to hubby got laid off of his job(the PERFECT job)right after the 9/11 incident and he had to go through three jobs and on on the side doing business on his own here and there and I gotta tell ya, it was the most uncomfortable and worrisome time because one moment everything would be good, he's working hard and the next moment, he'd called me and told me he no longer had a job.

For years it was like that...whenever he got a job somewhere, just as we got comfortable with it, he lost it again because those jobs where more on a temporary basis deal. After years of turning resumes everywhere, even internationally, and lots of prayers, we got a job close to home...the neatest thing about the job he has now is that he was the last person hired before they put a freeze on all the hiring in the company. That was a miracle to us.

It was a very scary for me because I know there was no way I could make the kind of money he makes to support our family. Hang in there, can do it!! Things always have a way of working out and if you don't mind me doing it, I'll remember you in my prayers.

Email me your addy and I'll send some Hawaiian Host chocolate your way.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

OKay Girl this sucks. I hate hearing about everyone losing their jobs... I hate that that EVEN has to be a problem. I wish I could help or make it better, but I can't.

(I do have chocolate for you though)

I have to work right now, I get the changes you are talking about in the work force from being a stay at home Mom...

I'll pray for you and you husband to find that stable job that will stick.

We have had career problems, but we've been lucky in that he has had the same job for 13 years... and I've always been able to help out with either Teaching Dance or doing photography or having a part-time admin job.

BUt I could possibly make as much as him if I had to put myself out there and do that. He doesn't make a WHOLE lot! :)

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Anjeny - You're sweet to send chocolate. It doesn't have any calories when it's from Hawaii right? ;) I know he will get something, logically it will happen. It's the until its all done part that is sooo nerve wracking.

Shelle - I was going to attempt to go back to school so I could start working (because I want to and I only have just over a year to finish my degree). It wouldn't be finished in time if things get 'sticky' but it's a start maybe.

Or someone could offer us a million bucks for this site! It could happen ;)

Steph said...

Andrea- I'm so sorry you're going through this. If you need any info about the South, please let me know. We have friends who are scattered all over the S. East.

My husband and I are in a similar situation. We both work in construction and for sister companies. There is alot of stress on both of our parts, and right now DH is traveling for work, while I work FT, along with being at FT mom.

Hang in there. It will work out.

Missty- Where in SC did your son move? We live near Greenville, SC.

ZenMom- Love the quote!!

Cookie Crums said...

I more than feel your pain....and the stress of it!

My husband and I both work but have been reduced to one salary as of late. I work in the family construction business and to say it's been slow is putting it midly. I've learned some valuable lessons about being prepared for the "worst" though. I guess you live and you learn. I'm learning a few lessons the hard way that's for sure!! Fingers crossed we're almost over the hump but in hte process we've gotten a few bumps and bruises.

Good luck and hang in there!! I tell myself every day "it'll be alright!" Damn, it has to!! :)

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