Monday, January 31, 2011

Unemployed: Joining the Ranks

Here is some text extracted from the thought balloon over my head since last Thursday, 2:30 p.m.:
Ugh. 2 weeks? How much money do I have in the bank? What's due? Where's the CD with my resume? That Fossil purse, ugh, I wish I'd known this before I splurged on the new purse. Health insurance, fuck. I think I'm going to be sick. Facebook it! Get the word out. I can do this. I'll be fine. I can get two jobs. Why should I get two crappy jobs when I can bring in more money on unemployment and skate until I find something worthwhile. How much would I make on unemployment? How do I find out? Unemployment! God, how embarrassing. I'm dynamic! I'm worthless. I'm worthless to Clint! I have nothing to bring to the table in his home right now. I'm smart! I'm a giant pain in the ass, a big financial drain. God, my own house payment. I have a house payment! What do I want to do? Could I possibly do what I want to do? I've wanted to work on my own for years. Can I? Could I? Are my ideas ridiculous? Am I living in a fantasy world? Should I go for it, or will reality knock me between the eyes with a two-by-four? I think I'm going throw up.
Rinse. Repeat.

Yes, after 36 years the company I've worked for is closing its doors. I've been here for 24 years. I was 24 years old when I began working here. Brian was 1. 24 years. 2 husbands. 7 houses. 1 job.
It's not that it's a huge surprise. Outsourcing, globalization, and technology has done us in, as it has many other U.S. publishing and printing businesses. 6 years ago I was in a managerial position, training and overseeing several employees. For the last 3 or 4, I've been side by side with 1 employee in my department, at the same time moving into the "receptionist" chair in the front office.

I'll admit to skating. Skating on a slightly higher wage while I can, trying to knock down some debt. I've also held off moving forward professionally while I rode out the last couple of years. How could I tell a new boss, "yes, I'm reliable, but my sister is ill, and I'm taking care of my mother, and I need to take phone calls, and I need to leave when I need to leave!"? I just didn't see too many potential employers going for that, while my own stood by me every time Mother lost her glasses.

This was to be The Year. It was less than a week ago that I was discussing with Clint the number of changes that were going to occur in my life in 2011—thus affecting his life, and ours together. Changes that would will causing both some unstability, and yet lock in a more solid future with a little more breathing room: I'll get Mom settled, and tend to her house, her assets, her finances. I'll decide then, what my options are: school, employment, self-employment. Sell my house, keep my house, what to do, what to dooooo.

Well, circumstances have taken a turn, and while I still have the same decisions to make, I have to make them fast, and oh, figure out how to bring in thousands of dollars while I do it. I've got 10 days of employment left before I figure it all out.

I have ideas. I know what I want to do. I know what I have to do.

Wish me luck, smarts, courage, and, if I need it, the sheer false bravado I need to somehow make the two coincide.

I'm going to go throw up now.


  1. Anonymous11:54 AM

    Damn, I'm sorry about that.

    But you can do it. And if you don't have the bravado, you can fake it. You WILL get through this. There isn't a doubt in my mind.

    - Jazz

  2. So the thing everyone is going to say is ...

    "you're smart, you'll be fine, you'll pull through, it's opportunity, you should follow your dreams, become self-employed"

    F*ck, I'd be throwing up too!

    *But I hope and pray something comes you're way fast! (((Lori)))

  3. Encouraging Part: Lori, you definitely have the resources and the skills to pick up and move on past this difficult and unexpected time.

    Realistic Part: Holy cowhorns. I haven't even graduated college yet. I sooo don't want to think about unemployment!

  4. Been thinking about you a lot since you first talked about this on FB. Such a scary time for you, but a lot of possibility lies ahead. Those who know you, know that you'll be just fine - but that doesn't make the next period of time any easier, does it?
    I'm thinking nothing but the very best for you and wishing you very quick re-employment!

  5. i've been there. it was terrible. i won't bore you with platitudes with shutting/opening doors, but it was true for me.

    one resource i found really helpful: twitter. i got connected with local temp agencies, the local paper job listings, and all sorts of other people who kept me motivated even as i applied for positions that i knew (and was told) i was over-qualified for.

    also helpful: a spreadsheet of all of my job applications. because even if the phone wasn't ringing, every day i added to it and felt like i was accomplishing *something*.

  6. I think you have balls of steel and the courage to match. I have never known someone to weather so much and do so much and take so much as you have and still keep going and going ang going.
    And that's what you will do now.

  7. My comments are going to different than everyone else.

    Since it will take another 5-7 years for our national economy to stabilize (longer in "rural" areas) and with the real estate market in sharp decline I would suggest dumping the old house. Then you would be free of the mortgage load. You might just break even or possibly profit by a few measly thousands of dollars.

    Downsize your lifestyle and obligations with a hatchet. This is the hardest thing to do. Forget any emotional factors. Your goal is to survive for the next 10 years or so until the economy is (hopefully) booming again. Have Clint add you to his health plan. It will cost but will still be cheaper than buying your own.

    I have complete faith in you but things are going to get rougher before they get better. You just need the fortitude to make some really hard decisions.

    My heart is with you Lori.

  8. If you ever need a cup of false bravado, come knock. I've got plenty to spare.

  9. It will all come together again. I've been there.

  10. It's tough. You're tough. You'll do what needs to be done and be stronger for it (though what you'll do with more strength is beyond my comprehension, Hercules!).

  11. Oh, gosh, Lori, when I read about the shutdown, my heart just hurt for you and the other employees there. It was a great place to work, and I'm very sad. If I'd still been there, I probably would have been throwing up too. That has to be so scary. I don't know what kind of comfort I can give, really, or words of advice, that your friends haven't already given you, but I'm pulling for you and the other folks there to get better positions elsewhere. I'm *so* sorry. *hugs*
    ~Beth in Seattle

  12. REally sorry to hear this but like your other commenters, I'm not too worried about you. I love the spreadsheet idea; might need to implement it myself actually - I'm wishing you all the best though and looking forward to good news that I'm sure will be coming before long.


Back talk! Comment here!