Cross-posted and archived from DC Metro Moms. Original post from June 19, 2008.
The front door opened. Startled I looked up to find my husband coming home from work early yesterday. I was about to take a work related phone call so I just briefly asked him what was up. He perched himself on the edge of the kitchen counter and said, "It's done. Over. I got laid off."
Immediately, I had to grip the counter myself and keep from feeling as if my brain was doing a fade to black sort of thing. If there wasn't already a baby growing inside me it would have felt as if my stomach was being kicked in. Pummeled. I hear the words being calmly stated, "Two weeks severance...one month of insurance...", and my mind just reels. How are we going to survive? I feel like one of those brief profiles you read about in a story on the current toll of the U.S. economy being featured in Newsweek.
The writer of the article would includes bits about our peaceful townhouse community, the average household income and how with one toddler and a baby on the way we were already feeling the strain of this lousy economy and weak dollar. Now this. Now we join the ranks of so many others in this country and it is all a bit surreal. Already we have heard the "You'll be fine. It will all work out." comments about a million times. It's been under 24 hours and I already want to smack those who say, "Just think! Now he can find something completely new that he wants to do. This is a blessing in disguise." I can't help but grouse and ask myself sarcastically, "Oh. Really? Is is also a blessing in disguise that in a few weeks I will be an uninsured pregnant woman too?"
Yes, we are luckier than some. We have family that could help us out if we really needed it, though when my parents mentioned all the room in their Connecticut home I couldn't help but think of the real meaning there. We would have had to lose our home to move in with them. My mind cannot go there right now. We are lucky to live an area where jobs are not scarce and we have many connections. It is odd that today is the day we have the gender determination sonogram as well. I am struggling with this too. I feel as if we have already let this kid down. This moment is bittersweet. I realize that for not just my peace of mind and sanity do I need to stay positive but also for my husband and child. We will get through this. We will weather this storm. We have to.
Somehow though, at this very point in time, it feels much scarier than when he left for Iraq with no return date given.
You haven't let this baby down,
Stay strong, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 06:04 AM Mel said...
I'm sure everything you are feeling is completely normal. Forgive those who say it is a blessing in disguise because they do mean well, but I am sure I would want to punch them too. I think sometimes we just don't know what to say and feel this enormous amount of pressure to say something to make you feel better. All I can say is that I am thinking about you and your family and hoping things fall in place for you all. It is good to hear you looking at the positives of at least you have contacts and live in a place where jobs are around. Keep us posted!!!
Reply June 19, 2008 at 07:53 AM De in D.C. said...
What field does your husband work in? I'd be happy to submit his resume to my company if you guys think it would help.
Best of luck to your family. Just focus on growing that little guy, and keeping yourself healthy. You have a long time before you have to start worry about worst case scenarios.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 10:15 AM Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama said...
I hope today's sonogram went well and I don't think you've let the baby down. You are still the same loving family you have always been.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 10:43 AM JessicaAPISS said...
@#$%. There are not enough words we can't say in front of our kids to express how crappy this is. Emailing you the names of places that are hiring.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 11:10 AM Melissa said...
You are not letting the new baby down. Life happens, some things you can't control.
Its like rain, you know it will happen sometime, you just don't know when. To that end it is important to have an umbrella. You will pull through it, but it will for sure be rough. Probably it will get worse before it gets better. Just stick with it. A great resource that has been a help to me is Dave ramsey. You can check him out at www.daveramsey.com.
Get his book the Total Money Makeover. Read it, learn it, live it.
Me and my husband just paid off our last debt this week, and now we are saving up for our emergency fund. It feels great. Hang in there, and be sure to write and tell us how things are going.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 12:06 PM the Farmer's Wife said...
It stinks, truly it does. The FIRST time it happened to us was 25 years ago and we had a two-week old baby! It was what I call white knuckle time. It was scary and there was a possibility that the stress and insecurity on both our parts could have damaged our relationship. Be conscious of that and don't let it happen.
The first thing you want to do (although at first it seems counterintuitive) is to let EVERYONE know your situation. Literally tell everyone. I know it feels a little odd, like this is something that shouldn't be shared but letting everyone know gets the word out and believe me, you never know where a job prospect might come from. Tell your husband to pull out the stops on the networking avenues. Again, you never know who might come through, if not with a job they might pass his name along to someone else.
Dig in for the long haul. Pitch all luxuries. We cancelled cable, cut our entertainment budget and did lots of other things that actually saved us a lot of money immediately. He should also look into temp work in his field. That turned into one very good job for my husband. He was hired as a temp and they were so impressed they hired him on full time at a very good salary.
Accept help when everything else fails. At one point we got behind in our mortgage. He'd found a new job but there was going to be some "catch-up" time involved in paying on our bills. We accepted financial help from a family member which we repaid as soon as we could. We've also paid this favor forward, providing financial help when other family members needed it.
Think outside the box. My husband actually had to accept work totally unrelated to his field until something came up.
Never give up. Hard to say because it does get discouraging.
Now...at the beginning I used the phrase "the FIRST time". Yes, it has happened to us many times over my husband's long career. What we learned after that first layoff was invaluable to us. Listen to what Melissa said, because you will want to take steps so that you're never put in this precarious position again.
The economy has been in much, much worse places that this, believe me. We've weathered alot and so can you. Is it going to be easy? No. But you have no other option than to learn and grow. Keep us posted.
- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife
Reply June 19, 2008 at 02:51 PM Cheryl Wenzel/New Mom Central said...
Arghhh...I hate this friggin economy and the oil and war mongers who put us here!
I hope he finds something soon. My heart is hoping with you and your family. It's easy to say 'be strong," not so easy to do sometimes. I say let the tears flow and the anger flow. Then get back up and do what you always do: deal with it and find a better way.
I don't know if this helps but one thing I do know is that every time I thought there's no way I will ever find a great job/relationship/house like this one, I have been amazed that I, in fact, always found one better!
Reply June 19, 2008 at 02:51 PM Victoria Mason said...
Thank you so much to everyone who has commented, offered advice, job tips and even asked for my husbands resume! We are both so touched beyond what I can say. Thank you!
We are lucky in that we do have an emergency fund and we had already cut luxuries because things were getting tight anyway. We both dropped our gym memberships today and we've pitched a lot of other things in the past few months too. We are firm believers in creating passive income so at least we have a tiny bit of that going for us.
I think the insurance thing really scares me and what would happen to us a few months out. I've been laid off and it was scary but I wasn't even married then.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 02:56 PM JillS said...
I'm right there with you... my husband was part of a structured layoff at his company (the first ever) of 10%...that was 2 weeks ago. This is the second time it's happened to us in 3 years, so I have a pretty good idea of how you're feeling. My little guy was 6 months old when my husband was laid off last time.
I agree with the earlier poster who said tell everyone you know. It can really make a difference.
Hang in there and know you aren't alone.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 07:01 PM mama speak said...
This happened to us when I was pregnant w/my first child, a month before I had her. It was the scarest thing ever. But in the end it was it really was a good thing. We got some great family time together and he ended up getting his dream job.
I know that and $4 will get you a coffee at Starbucks, but my point is that it'll make you stronger and hopefully put you in a better place then you are now.
You have to know from these comments that there are a lot of thoughts and prayers coming your way. Hang in there, it'll be ok, it always is...
Reply June 19, 2008 at 08:58 PM Andrea said...
I feel for you! Being in this situation feels so much worse when you have kids and another on the way. Sending you an email re: some job contacts.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 09:14 PM Kim/hormone-colored days said...
Been there. Done that. It sucks beyond belief. Ironically my DH looks back at his time of unemployement as one of the best times ever because he got to spend so much time with his litte ones (then 3.5 years and 6 months). I think with his rose-colored glasses he forgot that his former employee had stopped paying the med. insurance premiums and we were stuck without health insurance for a while.
It's a hard time, but it will pass.
Reply June 19, 2008 at 09:51 PM Amy@UWM said...
Sending you hugs and lots of energy and strength to make it through this scary and uncertain time. Wishing your husband the best of luck in finding a new job he truly loves.
Reply June 20, 2008 at 05:19 AM stef said...
I'd like to qualify the statement "tell everyone you know". Having been laid off before and professionally coached others post layoff, I have coached others to think through how and what you are going to tell others. Your network (everyone you know) and extended network (your network's network) are one of your most valuable resources to reemployment, but think through the message first so people know how they can best help you.
People will be happy to help. Sometimes the best help is information that can be exchanged...about an opportunity, or research about a company, who to contact, etc. Give them something specific they can help you with.
By organizing your thoughts, you can ask for the support you need. Your husband should craft his 30 second commercial about himself, what are his top 3 skills, what companies or types of companies would he like to target, what types of jobs or work is he looking for (is there a specific job title or type of work)? Think through and ask for the kind of support you are looking for: information, an introduction to someone in a particular field or particular company, info about resources or finances, emotional and informational support on this blog? You can also memorize the "commercial" and tell your network (as you've reached out here). Ask for an active response at the end of it, "if you hear of any opportunities for engineering work, can you let me know?" "Do you happen to know anyone who works at ABC company?"
Best of luck! We are all routing for you and your family.
Reply June 21, 2008 at 07:52 AM STL Mom said...
Oh, so sorry! My husband was laid off when I was 6 months pregnant with our second, and I had just given notice because I had decided to stay home with the kids. My replacement was already hired, although they did let me stay a few extra weeks to train in the new person.
We ended up moving halfway across the country (when I was seven months pregnant) for the new job, and althought it was very difficult at the beginning, it all worked out very well. We made friends through a mom's group I found online, and through the preschool my daughter attended.
I don't know about family time - my husband ended up spending as many hours job-hunting as he did at work. But I totally agree with telling everyone about the job hunt - you never know who will have a connection.
Reply June 22, 2008 at 03:26 PM Lawyer Mama said...
Oh, babe. I'm so sorry. What a crappy time for this to happen. (Not that there's ever a *good* time.)
I'm so glad you have so many contacts. The DC area is such a great place to job hunt. Your husband isn't by any chance a techie, is he? My husband's company is ALWAYS looking for great people.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Cross-posted and archived from DC Metro Moms. Original post from June 19, 2008.