Friday, February 19, 2010

How We Dealt with My Husband's Job Loss

Tysdaddy's post on the topic last week was totally awesome and hit so close to home that I've decided to write another one coming in from the spouse's viewpoint.

The first time my hubby lost his job was about a couple of months after the 9-11 incident, heck it was just a few days short of Thanksgiving. His reaction to that job loss was mostly on the shocked side. My reaction was completely on the denial side. I remember the day he walked into our door in the middle of the day (because he worked five minutes away from our house, he would come home for lunch everyday) and was not his usual self. He usually walked in with a little humor, either a joke that he was dying to tell me or tease me a little. That particular day he was quieter than usual. Before he sat down on the couch, he blurted out that his company has laid off a bunch of people and he was one of them. At first I thought he was joking, after a few minutes of silence again on his part, he confirmed it again.

"But I thought you said your job is set for life and that company you work for doesn't lay people off, that once a person got a job there, they're in it for life. You're joking, right?" I blurted out.

"Why would I joke about something like this? And yes, I thought that my job was set, but I guess I was wrong. For all these years I've worked for that company, I've never so much as a take a pen home from the office and then today, not only did my boss say, 'I'm sorry but we can't afford to have all the employees working here, we're letting you go', he had me escorted out of the building like I was some common criminal". (Talk about harsh, that really ticked me off right there picturing him escorted out the building like that.)

I think the next few weeks kinda went by in a blur. I kinda gave up the nightmarish thought that one day we'll wake up and it was just all a dream, you know. Yes, I still wasn't fully convinced that he's lost his job. After he started attending to unfinished projects we started on the house, the roof for example, I had to come to terms with the reality of it all. Of course, our family pulled together. For the first month or so after he lost his job, after I've come to terms with him losing his job, I started enjoying having him home. We kept busy, he had resumes sent in wherever there are jobs opening, put in a new floor in our upstairs kitchen, re-roof our house and hung out at the beach. He even took our kids (there were four of them at the time) to visit family on the mainland.

The second time he lost his job...he called me on his cell to tell me that he up and quit his job. That time was not as hard or surprising as the first one. I knew the day would come, either he would quit or they would let him go. He wasn't happy with the next wasn't the job he was unhappy about, it was the people he worked with that he was unhappy about, especially his supervisor. {Veronica mentioned in her post last week about never disagreeing with the boss's wife...let me add on that it is absolutely not a good idea to disagree with the boss's pet employee.} Anyways, when he called to tell me he quit his job, I was upset. I was so tempted to call him an idiot but I could hear in his voice that he regretted what he did so I just told him to come home. At that time I was pregnant with child number seven (yes we had two kids after he lost his first job, one adopted and the other surprised baby).

There was one more job after the job he quit that he also called me from his phone in Honolulu to tell me about. Again, same thought but never did I voice it. It seemed like we were a lot closer than before, he was coming to me for my advice and I've joined him full force on the job search. Whenever he got an interview, he would call me as soon as he finished to tell me about and then asked about how I feel about this job or that job. Yes, I think I've prayed more in those times than I've prayed before...not just that he got a job, but one that he would get along with his co-workers and please dear God, make it a job close to home. All those times he commute to town to work, he would leave 5 in the morning and come at 7 at night, I felt like I was a single mom...a lot of the times I have to be two places at once for the kids. Oh yes, money was really tight...but I can honestly say that even with all that not knowing if my hub would get a job and stick with it, the only big bill that worried us was our mortgage.

We were so used to living within our means that him going from job to job didn't really devastated us as much. A real cool plus...if you haven't started or ever heard of it, besides having savings to fall back on, have a food storage. That cut down on the grocery bill worry. Yes, you have to get creative on eating canned foods but at least, it beats starving to dead or it reduced the amount of money spent on grocery, especially at a time like that.

Now that my hub has gotten a job working for his Alma Mater, about five minutes away from our house, I look back on those hard years and can only conclude that everything happens for a reason. My hub is happier with his current job and I am not as naive as I used to be and have learned to not take things for granted. Those years were hard, yet in some ways it had brought our family much closer.

Thanks Shelle for letting me post this today. I know you have to rearrange some of the scheduled post to accomodate me...You are BEST!! Mahalo!


The Crash Test Dummy said...

YAY! I'm first.

I didn't realize you had gone through this three times. But I love how it helped you guys grow together and toughen up. This is a timely post, as everyone is so stressed about finances. It puts it in perspective. If the relationship stays strong you can weather anything.

Anjeny said...

Woohooo, yay for the dummy..LOL. are such a doll, who did you knock down on your way here? LOL Thanks so much for rushing over here to show your support.

Actually, I think he lost more than three but those were the most memorable ones, I think. He was in between jobs so much I was beginning to think it was going to be the norm.

Did I tell you how totally amazing and shall I say total divine intervention it was how he got his recent job at BYUH? He actually was the last person hired before they froze all the job hire there. And they offered him the job a day before the stop to job hiring came into effect..isn't that amazing?

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Anjeny I read this at work and just now have the chance to comment. I have no idea why this is such a slow day for comments but this was so beautifully written.

My father was always in and out of jobs and yet I never felt deprived. We laugh about stuff now, but honestly my childhood was great! And money had nothing to do with it.

I think shock helps us adapt. We realize that it can't be all bad. Prayer and priorities fall smoothly into place.

I love how it brought u guys closer together. Something that doesn't always happen...for some couples it drives a wedge in their marriage!

Beautiful post Anjeny... Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

This year has been a tough one for us too along with millions of others losing jobs and what not...I totally agree with the food storage comment! We have been using ours a lot this year. It's been interesting trying to be creative with canned food :)

Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practise anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)

Anonymous said...

Nice post & good advice. I like how you chose to bite your tongue and be supportive. That takes a lot in stressful situations like you described.

Friends of our are going through a scenario like many others these days with the loss of a job, going on 18 months now. They did have savings built up along with extra food goods they had bought in good times.

Because of it, they have been able to meet their financial commitments for a family of 5 through odd jobs (him) and babysitting in their home (her).

Looking at their experience from the outside made us realize that there is probably more that we could do to prepare for a rainy day...especially when it pours so to speak.

Anjeny said...

Shelle..thanks. I guess everyone's gone on a weekend get-away uh..LOL. It's neat that even with your dad in and out of jobs, you still had a great childhood. We've been working really hard to make sure that our kids understand that money isn't everything, and we do spoil them not with materialistic things but our love..loads of them.

Anon 1..I wish you guys all the best. Hopefully things will get better for you guys.

Anon 2...thank you.

Anon 3...I appreciate your comment. I feel for your friend. There was a period of time during those in and out of jobs my hubby went through which was a total of 8years that I did babysitting, I even drive an airport shuttle and work as a tour guide part-time while my hub was doing a little home business fixing either cars for people or computers. Hard times but looking back on it, I actually felt good, u know..I felt useful somehow..isn't that something?

Becky Andrews said...

Great post - After 25 years of stability this past year my husband has gone through two layoffs -- it is challenging but there are positives. I am glad that I have a career that I love and that we have been able to get through this difficult time -- cutting back and keeping things simple.

TisforTonya said...

I have struggled sometimes with being the supportive wife through some of our job changes - mostly because they've involved packing upeverything we own and moving states away... but in the end I usually smiled and went with the flow - and was pleasantly surprised at how much I was able to learn from the different places we lived.

except Wichita - I'm still trying to wrestle some of those lessons.

Anonymous said...

boy a bunch of folks are looking for work right now. It has to suck.

Sounds like you made it out though thats a good thing.

Good post.

The Songer said...

My husband too has lost his job several times... He's an electrician and lately it has been as steady as construction. Currently he has been out of a job for four months... the longest period of unemployment we've ever had to deal with, but luckily we have scholarhips and tax returns that have kept us a float!

My husband is usually one of those that will go out and apply for everything and anything when he finds out that his company is out of work again and staying at home is usually such a pain to him, but this time has been different. The longer that he stays home i can see the less he wants to go and look for a job.... and it worries me a little bit, although i have really enjoyed having him home 24/7, and not worrying about a babysitter, and in the past couple months I havent had the thought, "I wish I had another 5 of me, to do laundry, or cook dinner.. etc.. etc" because he has been doing it all! so until we run out of money and start to feel the really stress of not being able to pay bills, Im going to enjoy my SAHhusband!

H.K. said...

My husband just lost his job a few weeks ago, not good after we just experienced a devastating loss.

This is the 3rd time he's been laid off in a job, but with each job loss came a better job.

Your reaction to your husband's job loss was the same as mine, shock. However this time around, my husband and I have this feeling of peace which we never experienced with his other jobs losses.

We truly believe that my husband will get a job soon and it's been great to have him home to help me out. We have always been close, but I feel like we have gotten closer and I love him even more.

Anjeny said...

Becky..thank you. It's always a good thing to look at the positive sides of things even when things are getting difficult. I'm glad you have a job that you enjoy.

T..I totally love your attitude.

SS..thank you.'s always a hard thing when going through something like that. I think it's an awesome thing that your hubby is helping out more around the house and I'm sure the kids also love having daddy home with them more often.

H.K..I'm sorry about your hubby's job loss. I know your hubby will get a better job soon. Good luck. Glad you're enjoying having your hub home to help out, it's always a great thing to have the hub around as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to get here so late. It's been a very busy weekend.

But I did read this on Friday morning, and it moved me greatly.

Thank you for digging deep and sharing this amazing story with us. Sounds like you guys managed to stay on the same wavelength through all the tough stuff.

As one who has been laid off a few times, I can empathize with your husband and those first few moments of having to tell your spouse that the work has ended. Those are some of the hardest moments to live through. To just say the words is more difficult thing I've ever had to do . . .


Should I file for child support? My husband just move out of the house He has no job?