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Joe’s Unemployed

March 18th, 2016

Last Saturday we hosted a get together with people Joe used to work with. I enjoy this group of people, although it does tend to get a little boring by hour three when they are still gossiping about people I don’t know. And that was the gist of the entire night; for a little perspective – people began arriving just after 6 pm and left around 2 am. Even though I used to work at the same company as everyone else, it was a long time ago and not in the same office so there was very little I could add to the conversation. Maybe that’s why I had a mint vodka shot before they got there and a mixed drink during which is two drinks more than my usual. I’ve learned from past get togethers how to help myself. Interestingly enough, even though I don’t know the people they spoke about, I did recognize quite a few stories because they’ve been told before. Oh well. I did have a few side conversations with the only other person who didn’t know any of the people being gossiped about so that was a plus.

So yea, Joe has no job at the moment. We were completely blindsided by that “development”. There wasn’t any indication upper management was unhappy and so when they let him go out of the blue on February 29th we didn’t even have time to schedule any wellness exams since our insurance coverage ceased that same day. As it stands we’re currently uninsured as we wait to find out whether or not he’ll be getting unemployment. All signs point to yes, although it still won’t cover our bills (plus insurance) so we’ll be dipping into our savings account every month to get by. I guess I should be thankful that we at least have savings, right? Especially considering the fact that more than 50% of Americans would be hard-pressed if they needed $500 immediately.

I have to admit, I’m kinda bummed that no one is that worried about the situation we’re in. I guess you have to be a screw-up for people to sympathize with you when your main source of income suddenly disappears, but if you’re financially responsible like we are people just assume you’ll be fine. And it’s not like I want them to say “oh you’re screwed” but it would be nice to hear “I’m really sorry you’re going through this” instead of platitudes about how we’ll be fine. They are probably right, but it seems rather dismissive.

Besides, who knows what the future looks like? I’m freaked out! It could be well over a year before Joe finds another job. Considering how much his last job was making his miserable, there’s very little chance he’ll accept a similar role which means our annual income will take a hit which will affect the rate in which our net worth will grow. Obviously I’m making assumptions here, but I’d be (pleasantly) surprised if we’ll be able to continue maxing out our retirement accounts plus sock away money every month.

I know, boo-hoo, we’ll no longer be able save what amounts to the equivalent of many people’s annual salary. What a whiner, right? Sorry, but I got used to not spending our money freely so we could save like gangbusters. The plan was to be able to retire early.

On top of that, I was just about to pull the trigger on two big purchases – a new iPad and a new car. Those will have to wait. I cancelled my monthly subscriptions (Birchbox, Graze, Ipsy, and Walmart Beauty Box) because I’d rather be very strict with my non-essential spending than run through our savings too quickly. Better to be safe than sorry!

Other cost-cutting measures we’ll be taking soon – dropping our cable service and switching to all streaming services. We already have Netflix and Amazon Prime and I think we might add Hulu so we can still have access to some of the shows we enjoy watching. In addition we are probably switching our wireless service from AT&T to Ting Wireless which will cut our bill in half. I’ll lose my unlimited data but I rarely exceed 3 GB monthly anyway so it’s no big loss.

We were about to plan a trip to California with E as a graduation gift but that’s on hold. I guess the good news is we only have two more months of child support payments so that will reduce the amount of money coming out of savings which will help with my anxiety.

I’ve also been cat-sitting pretty regularly which will help with the bills.

You’re probably wondering why *I* don’t just go full-time at my current job. Good question. I know they’d be ok with it, but if I did it would be permanent and with my anxiety and depression I’m really hesitant to go that route unless absolutely necessary. It’s a struggle just to get through three days a week because I realized not too long ago that I’m an HSP (highly sensitive person) with Misophonia which means my coworkers unwittingly drive me crazy and make it very difficult for me to focus on work. Basically I’m on edge the entire time I’m at work which makes for a pretty miserable three days every week. If I could work from home I’d be more inclined to increase my hours but finding such a job hasn’t proved fruitful, although I continue to search. Unfortunately my company is too paper dependent to make it possible in my current role or I would have already pursued that option. And getting insurance there would wipe out most of my paycheck because it’s a small company so there’s not a lot of incentive in that respect either.

It’s weird having no alone time anymore. In the past two weeks the only time I’ve had the house to myself was on Friday the 11th for three hours when Joe was having drinks with his old coworkers. That was a pretty satisfying conversation for him, by the way. Basically, everyone is going crazy trying to cover what he was doing there. THREE people, no less. Serves them right. I really don’t know what they were thinking, or expecting from ONE human being, but to then let him go without any warning is one of the shittiest and most unfair things I’ve ever experienced. He literally worked 18 straight hours one weekend trying to make things run smoothly but there’s only so much one person without the necessary resources can do. It makes me so angry because there was literally nothing he could have done to prevent what happened. Needless to say, I can’t stand the company he worked for and have nothing good to say about Joe’s former boss. I hope he learns the hard way like we did that working hard doesn’t necessarily mean squat at the end of the day.

Despite all my fears, I am trying very hard to focus on the positive:

1) We aren’t in fear of losing our home because we have enough in savings to last us a good while thanks to our obsession with saving money.

2) Joe is no longer at risk from having a stress-induced heart attack. Seriously, I never saw him more stressed than in the past year.

3) We are getting along better now that he’s not at that place. We don’t really fight, but in the past year we had more disagreements than in all 14 preceding years combined.

4) We have already pre-purchased tickets for some fun things coming up so we won’t go crazy with boredom.

5) Warmer weather is on the way which will offer us more free things to do to keep us entertained. Going to the library is only going to keep us entertained for so long.

6) In conjunction with the above, we have already paid-for memberships to Cosley Zoo and Morton Arboretum of which to take advantage.

7) Joe has taken over all the cooking and cleaning which at first was hard for me to deal with but now I’m liking it. He even packs my lunches for work! Shit, he makes me look bad.

So yes, things could be worse. I’m worried, but I’m not. I try not to think about it too much now that the shock has worn off. Now, if we’re still bleeding money a year from now I will be in a panic, but no use in jumping the gun.

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  1. March 18th, 2016 at 17:38 | #1

    I think I would rather have people say “you’ll be fine” than them pitying me because I’m broke and can’t afford my bills. That is real screwed up that there was no warning about the firing. Was joe put on a PIP or had he been told previously that he wasn’t meeting expectations? It would be interesting to hear what people at askamanger blog would have to say about what happened. If you don’t real that blog you should. It has lots of great job related advice.

  2. March 19th, 2016 at 14:33 | #2

    Not asking for pity – just for a little consideration. It’s very dismissive to say “you’ll be fine”. Obviously it’s not the same thing, but imagine if you were diagnosed with a disease and someone said that to you – you’d be hurt. I don’t expect them to dwell on it, but “I’m so sorry” is a little kinder than “you’ll be fine” as it shows you feel sympathy for someone’s situation.

    No PIP or anything like that, otherwise we would have known his job was on the line.

    I read Ask A Manager every day.

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