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It Wasn’t Meant to Be


I mentioned in the comments on Monday that my husband didn’t get the good job that he applied for. This job would have basically doubled our income.

It is difficult to not think about how much we could have done with that extra income. Our credit card debt would have been gone in a year. Within three years, we would have been able to pay off all of our student loans and our mortgage. Sometimes, it is too easy to get caught up with thinking about what we could have done with the money.

Then you get a letter in the mail that says it was not meant to be. At least, that’s what I tell myself because it is supposed to make me feel a little bit better. I can’t sugar-coat it. My husband not getting a job that he was clearly qualified for stinks.

Anyways, that job was a deciding factor on whether we were going to pack up and move. Where we live now doesn’t have much in the way of jobs that my husband is qualified for. We are very fortunate that my job is portable and as long as I have high speed internet access I can go anywhere. But for him, it’s a little harder.

It’s tough, though, because if we move we could have a whole new set of problems to deal with. We know the area we live now and it is dirt cheap to live here (our home only cost $35,000). Then there are the things you can’t put a price on. Things like taking a short drive to the lake to build a sand castle. Or standing on my porch and seeing a sky full of stars and the northern lights shimmering across the sky. I could go on and on why where I live is special.

C’est la vie. It wasn’t meant to be and it’s time to move onto another phase of our life. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find another spot in the country even better than where we live now.


  • Reply debtinseattle |

    Hi Tricia,

    I always like to think that if one door closes another one will open. Who knows, maybe something better is right around the corner.

    I hear you about housing costs…I live in Seattle & we paid $363K for our house. OUCH! So, I always get a bit envious when I hear that people’s houses cost $35K.

    Hang in there!

  • Reply wealthy_1 |

    Hi Tricia!

    I agree with debtinseattle. This is happening for a reason and things will work out.

    My husband lost his job about six weeks ago. I’ve been really down in the dumps about it because I can’t believe that I allowed myself to get in this situation. He makes (made) twice as much as I do (did) and we have mountains of debt and no emergency fund. We’re going to have to dip into our retirement to make ends meet. (bummer!)

    Anyway, moving to another area could mean a higher cost of living. You may pay more for a home, but your husband could make more too.

    Stay positive! Things will work out!

  • Reply Rob in Madrid |

    I can tell you I’ve been through that more times than I care to remember and I’ve learned when one door closes another one always opens (call Faith or karma if you prefer). This also happened to my nephew. Recent grad and all his friends got hired hot local startup (Kitchener Waterloo home of RIM if your wondering) at a top dollar wage and he was the last to be interviewed and totally bombed the interview. He ended up taking a job he didn’t like at half the wage and a 45 min commute and to boot he had to keep a partime job to make ends meet.

    Anyways while we were visiting they called him back for an interview for a junior communications specialist (routers bridges etc) and he was about to turn the job down when my wife talked to him (she came from the IT field) and walked him through everything. He ended up getting the job and his first day was the best 16 hours he ever worked. (oh to be young and enthusiastic again)

    Best part is he’s listening to us about the need to have savings.

    Don’t give up, another door will open it always does.

  • Reply Rob in Madrid |

    Wealthy 1

    Oh I know the feeling, been there and done that!

    While it’s hard to do focus your energy on frugal living and not everything you did wrong. Also go voer to to thesimpledollar.com Trent has some the best ideas I’ve seen on how to live frugal. Leraning how to do more with less won’t ease the pain but it will help long term

    good luck

  • Reply Matt |

    Sorry to hear that your hubby didn’t get the job – surprisingly I find that something different and better always comes knocking at your door right behind a failed opportunity

  • Reply Jaye |

    Oh boy, I’m in the same position. My husband took a substantial pay cut over a year ago to go work for a large company. When he gets a promotion, he will more or less double his salary. Until then, as my home business is doing poorly, we are in very tough financial straits. It’s very hard not to imagine the what ifs.

    If you’re going to move anyway, I know you have a little one, make good public schools part of the equation. We moved to a more expensive town in pursuit of good public schools for our 3 kids. Well worth the angst! Good luck.

  • Reply Kathy |

    I am job hunting now too and I understand his and your disappointment. The closer match I am for a job, the harder it is to hear the company did not think so, too. It’s a harder fall. My only advice, “keep buggering on!” Winston Churchill said that. I am in South Florida, ground zero for the housing meltdown. Crime is sharply up. Cost of living is skyrocketing. For sale signs are everywhere as are for rent signs. My husband is in the mortgage business for a national builder so we are on very shaky ground. We’re just hoping to get through this hurricane season without one. My whole point is, you’re not alone. Being anxious moves us to be more creative in our approach to job hunting. Like most things in life, it’s all about balance. Best to you, K

  • Reply Nancy |

    I just wanted to say that imho things like this happen for good reasons that aren’t always apparent at first glance. Three years ago, I was in a hell job that made me miserable, but b/c I have very specialized skills, there aren’t that many jobs that I could apply for. A position came up that exactly matched my unique background and skills, but I couldn’t even get an interview. It definitely crushed me at the time. I found out later that the person who’d been hired was not nearly as qualified as me, but was a friend, so they didn’t want to bring me in and then have to explain why they didn’t hire me.

    Three months later, the entire department, including the ‘crony’ who’d been hired for the position I wanted, was fired. A new staff had already been hired by the time I heard about the situation. Then 8 months later the head of the department was replaced. Just today, I read that that replacement was fired. In the meantime, I found a wonderful job at a great company that pays me a lot more than the original job would have.

    You can tell from all the transitions over the past three years, that the original job was definitely in an incredibly toxic environment. Even if I’d survived the first mass firing at 3 months, it would have been a terrible place to have to work, with all the infighting and tension. I definitely believe the universe helped me dodge a bullet back then when I didn’t get an interview!

  • Reply Anonymous Reader |

    Your actions continue to puzzle me. You have $20,000 in credit card debt plus student loans and a mortgage. You only have $1,000 in the bank. What makes you think you can afford to move to an area with a higher cost of living? How will you do this? Will you borrow yet more money on the hope your husband can get a job?

    Your husband needs to get some kind of job today. No more excuses. He should be able to find something nearby at minimum wage or a little more. While he is working that job, he can be filling out applications for jobs more to his liking that are farther away. In the meantime, his income can knock out aome of your debt and build a little bit of a cushion for a move.

    Employers with better jobs in more competitive places are going to wonder about the gap in your husband’s employment record. They will likely conclude he is not motivated or he is not capable of holding a job and go on to the next applicant. If he demonstrates some hustle and a work ethic flipping burgers, he has a much better chance of landing a good job down the road.

    You get a lot of sympathy and empathy from your commentors. That might make you feel better, but it does not help you move forward. As a couple, you and your husband must do what’s necessary to get past the debt and on with your lives. If he won’t buckle down and do his part, then you have bigger problems than your debt.

  • Reply Chris |

    I agree wholeheartedly with the anonymous reader, especially his advice on how prospective employers will view a gap in employment.

    Take for example a relative of mine who had a great job, but was laid off. After finding nothing else immediately, he found a job at a retail store. It wasn’t even near his original salary, but it sure wasn’t minimum wage either – he quickly filled a supervisor position. If your husband is educated, motivated, mature and responsible, and has a good work history, it is really unlikely he will be making minimum wage even in retail. They always need good people in managerial positions and he could move up quite rapidly until he finds something in his real career. That would also help him stave off “work atrophy”, which I think happens to many who are unemployed for lengthy amounts of time.

    What I dislike about the “things happen for a reason” is that it doesn’t motivate you to do anything about it. You have to make things happen for yourself. Great post!

  • Reply Tricia |

    Just some clarification: my husband doesn’t have a huge gap. He has a temp job that pays as much as I make per hour and it’s in his field for a respectable employer. It was at 10 hours per week, but the hours are starting to increase. Unfortunately, he can never work more than 20 hours/week because he is listed as a temporary worker. And, of course, there are no benefits.

    Working 20 hours/week would bring in more money than working 40hr/week at minimum wage. There were a few lulls where he didn’t have work, but he’s always technically been employed by them during those lulls. It is not contract work; he is on their payroll.

    As for paying for a move, we would only move if my husband secured a job. Because employers usually like employees almost immediately available, we are prepared to live apart for a while. I’d stay behind with our son and get our house ready for selling and we’d save up the rest of the money needed to move all of us together. I do not want to finance any part of the move with credit.

  • Reply Chief Family Officer |

    Tricia, I’m so sorry your husband didn’t get the job. I wish I had some useful advice, but all I can offer are my best wishes and prayers that he finds a wonderful, full-time job (with benefits!) soon and that all your financial worries melt away.

  • Reply Heathrow |

    35,000 FOR A HOUSE???? WOW I’m about to pay that for my new LEXUS!! I could have that house paid off in 3 years!!!

    Where do you live again ?

  • Reply arduous |

    Tricia, I am so sorry to hear that your husband didn’t get the job he wanted. Your family is in my thoughts, and I am very sure that you two will figure out a new plan very soon.

  • Reply Anonymous Reader |

    As a manager that made hiring decisions for many years, I would not consider your husband employed. Ten hours a week is a hobby, not a job. I always had several people apply for our jobs that had the qualifications, but I picked what I thought were the best workers from among the qualified. I’m sure there were several applicants that were qualified for the job your husband wanted.

    His hours were supposed to be increasing weeks ago from what you said then, but apparently nothing has really changed. Even if the hours were to increase to 20, that’s not enough. He could get a part time job in retail or food for another 20 hours and still have time to job hunt and help with child care while you are working.

    Your family is just one job away from paying off the debt and moving on. You are also one job (yours) away from bankruptcy. Your husband needs to find and keep sufficient employment to pay the bills.

  • Reply Maria |

    Hi. I’d like to respectfully suggest that Anonymous Reader’s comments be taken seriously. Tricia, I’ve been a reader for a long time and consider myself a huge fan and admirer. In spite of that I must agree with AR that 10 hours a week, for an adult with a dependent child who is as in debt as you are is simply not enough. Why not 10 to 20 hours at the good paying temp job AND 20 or more hours at minimum wage? An extra $100 or so per week could help you build an emergency cushion rapidly.

  • Reply arduous |

    I agree with Mapgirl. I think it’s utterly presumptuous of Anonymous Reader (and why does Anonymous Reader feel the need to be anonymous, anyway) to think that s/he knows everything about what’s best for you and your family.

  • Reply arduous |

    Maria, I think we need to realize that this blog only represents a fraction of what Tricia’s life is. There are many things about the particulars of her life that we don’t know. Maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for her husband to get another part-time job in the area he lives in. Maybe him working another 10 hours would necessitate them putting their son in daycare thus causing an additional expense. The point is, we don’t know.

    And furthermore, this is Tricia’s blog. Not her husband’s blog. And while I think it’s perfectly appropriate to give Tricia advice when it comes to her buying decisions or her credit card picking or whatever … it’s not really appropriate to be giving her advice that is essentially, “Tell your husband to get another job.” He is his own person, and if he had a blog, you could tell him on his own blog. But he doesn’t, so I think the best we can and should do is support Tricia in her endeavors.

  • Reply mapgirl |

    Hi Tricia,

    I’d take the Anonymous Reader with a grain of salt. Every industry is different and gaps in employment aren’t all that suspicious. I recently did an interview and the 6 month gap was to work for my parents launching a non-IT business. It just wasn’t relevant to what I do with databases.

    I am sorry this job didn’t come through, but I don’t think you’re as foolish as AR thinks you are. IIRC, the job market where you live isn’t all that hot. (Heck even in DC, AOL just cut a ton of people. If you can’t pee in a cup around here it’s hard to find work.)

    I know you try really hard and you’ve come a long long way since starting this blog. I for one am really happy for you and want to encourage you guys. I mean, how pissy a comment will AR leave if he found out your husband didn’t even bother to apply for the job? LOL. I think it’s great that both of you communicate and are motivated to get your finances on track. Sounds like everyone is rowing in the same direction.

    Good luck!

  • Reply Anonymous Reader |


    I’d hire you in a minute because you would tell me what you did with those six months and I would conclude that I had a creative, hard-working future employee that wasn’t afaid to take risks and was loyal to family and probably to the company as well.


    I support Tricia because she has done a remarkable job of paying off her family’s debt with very limited resources. However, her posts are almost always about financial decisions that she is making, not that she and her husband are making. This might be Trisha’s blog, but she is half of a married couple and financial responsibility for the family belongs to both halves of the couple. I have read this blog for at least a year, and I haven’t seen a lot of evidence that he is doing his share.

    Tricia and her husband are young and if together they make prudent financial decisions (and sacrifices) now, including increasing the family income, they will get past this mess and prosper. Otherwise they will continue to be a couple of paychecks away from bankruptcy and foreclosure and Tricia will live with constant financial fear and stress.

  • Reply mapgirl |

    Dear Maria,

    I do believe that part of the reason Tricia’s husband works a temp job is because they work in shifts to avoid the cost of daycare. I think if they could find a good paying job like the one that just dinged her husband, that would change.

    People do what they can and from what I see, she’s trying manage the situation as best she can. I don’t see a problem continuing to wait for an offer from good full time job to come through before relocating. That seems the responsible thing to do, rather than picking up and moving on the chance that they could find a better job when they arrive.

    Remember, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush and the temp job is holding down the fort right now. (I love a good mangled metaphor!)

  • Reply GH |

    Sorry to hear your husband did not get the job he was qualified for. Ironically, I was out of work for (only) two months before getting one that is much better than I was hoping for. As you work through this time of stretching your assets and checking application status every five minutes on the Internet you are moving closer to a better situation. I have often been called Polyanna with my half full glass, but the timing of opportunities is often flawless. Be thankful for what you have. In summary, don’t despair. As Annie says, “The sun will come up, tomorrow.”

  • Reply Mar |

    Tricia, I’m also sorry your husband didn’t get the job. I know that you’ve probably thought and prayed about moving and have probably discussed it for hours on end, but … Let me present another point of view. If you are really happy where you live, especially if you have good friends and/or family in the area AND you can at least sustain your lifestyle and pay off your debt, albeit slowly, is moving really the best thing for you? You bought your house for $35K; I put down 25% on our house and it was more than that! A lot of that has to do with where we live (near Baltimore, MD). Your husband may have a full-time job when you move, but your cost of living is liable to go up dramatically, depending on where you end up living. I don’t know what profession he’s in, but is it possible for him to get a job somewhere a couple hours away and work/live there during the week and join you on the weekends for a 2-3 years while you get out of debt and build up savings and then he can quit and come back home and just work part-time? I’m just brainstorming here and don’t know what is feasible for you, but lifestyle, friends, etc., mean a lot and sometimes more than money. If his profession is traditionally subject to a lot of layoffs, it would be a shame to move and then have him lose his job in a couple years.

    Good luck with whatever you decide. We moved last December (I’m still trying to figure out why we moved on 12/29!) and it was very stressful even though it was only 2 miles!

  • Reply Heathrow |

    Tricia, it probably means a better job is coming, Once I made it to three interviews and thought I had “the job” weeks went by never heard from them, 3 months later I had one interview with another company and landed the job a week later. This new company is much better so I’m glad the first one “wasn’t meant to be”

  • Reply Maria |

    I am a firm believer in that when one door closes, another opens. I just know that everything will work out in the end.

    P.S. Vegas has alot of opportunities! 😉

  • Reply Prince of Thrift |

    I would have to agree with debtinseattle when one door closes another will open, so keep your chin up, soon you will be rolling in the income, sort to speak.

So, what do you think ?