Yesterday, my husband came back home from work with the news that his department has initiated the dreaded lay-offs.
Already, three people from his functional team have been given the pink slip (or the purple one, since pink is for “fired”, and not for the respectably “laid off”). Of course, we have been expecting something like this. But really it is like “cancer”, even with the statistics and family history, you never think you’re really going to get it! Until you do, and then despite all the signs pointing in that direction, it still comes as a shock. Yes, my husband is quite certain he will be laid-off and yes we are still in denial. Do the stages of bereavement apply?
A little background: my husband is a reasonably paid IT executive, a data architect, with one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world! He is a techie who has moved on to project management, and like most techies, hates it. He’d rather be writing code than anything else in the world. He has been stressed at work and leaving it will not really be the worst thing that can happen to him, except, it will be.
We, like many others are over-extended, have a huge mortgage (for a modest town home) and car payments for the first cool car we’ve ever owned, and practically no golden or even silver parachute to break the fall. We have a small emergency fund (no really, it’s tiny) that will not last us more than a couple months and we have lots of payments; including a small debt and two parents that we are fortunate enough to support. I am generally an optimistic person, sometimes irritatingly so. But I have to admit, I’m scared.
Now, why am I writing this blog? Well, the idea came to me while I was driving to my (almost minimum wage) job in sub zero temperatures, after having been up all night, worrying and planning. Both, my husband and I were tossing all night and in the morning when we asked each other if the other had slept well, both replied “like a baby!” So you understand why I am writing this. I need to talk, and for a private person, feelings shared on paper with unknown readers, is a lot easier than in person with friends or family.
Another thing is, I am a writer, that’s what I do, or at least, used to do. I was a a high flying creative director in my previous life, back in my country of birth, before we immigrated to the land of opportunities. And now I am a soccer mom who bakes and scrubs bathrooms, (my own for now) in her spare time. We have two children in elementary school and the younger one just started full time, last fall. Since the last year and a half I have been looking for jobs but without luck. Turns out my (non-digital) portfolio from another culture is irrelevant and out-dated, and there is a gaping hole on my resume. I almost got the job a couple times last year, but “almost” was not exactly what I was looking for.
I have had a few jobs here and there but nothing permanent. I am far from embarking on a career. I have embarked though, I think. I have been training and studying for a career change and acquiring hard skills since the last two years (after swallowing my pride) and have finally found a low paying contract position (if one can call it that) without benefits, at a small design firm in Chicago.
Another big problem I foresee is no health insurance, if my husband gets the boot, no, not the boot, the sandal. A boot would hurt way more, sincere apologies to all those fired. I am learning to be politically correct. So, about health insurance, see I have a chronic health condition, well-managed with expensive medication and regular labs!!! You get the picture. And COBRA with its whopping premiums will be as dreaded as it’s namesake.
I believe this blog will be a constructive way to stay braced in what’s going to be a bumpy ride. I am hoping to get support and ideas from all of you and to share and maybe help those in a similar predicament.
This is the plan. I will write a daily post (or every-other-day) in this journal, and share what we’re going through and what we are planning. Next week we find out for sure, If my husband (and he is 90% sure) actually gets laid off. It could also be as early as today. And then as we say…”it hits the fan.”
Either way, I’ll check in and report tomorrow. I promise, I’ll get you inside my head and give a a blow by blow account of what happens; so you can experience this vicariously, through our eyes and brains. If nothing else it’ll be cathartic for me. In the mean time please leave comments and give ideas and stay tuned for the next installment of “Grey’s Anatomy”, oh that was last night; I mean “Anatomy of a Layoff”.
Telonu Layoff Tracker