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My Stomach was in Knots but it is Okay

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Written on Tuesday…

For the first time EVER in my life, I had to meet with someone and tell them I could not take care of my family.  I had to go to the same building that I visited so many times as a foster parent and later adoptive parent full of pride that I was doing something to give back, something good and right, and admit that I was a failure.  I had to look at a woman in the eye and in essence say “I’ve failed to prepare for this situation by not saving and by using my money un-wisely.”  It was the worst feeling EVER.

And what a lesson.  I hate this situation.  I hate that my decisions brought me here.  I cringe at admitting what a failure I am.  But if the last year and then have taught me anything, it’s that I AM going to do better.

In no way shape form or fashion am I making excuses, but the one thing that helped me get through this morning while I was turning in shot records, leases, bank statements to what turned out to a extremely compassionate worker was that this is temporary.  I will get another job.  I will choose more wisely where my career path takes me.  I will make better money choices, even better than the ones I have started to make.  And more importantly, I WILL give back.

I do not deserve the support my community has given me and yet people have reached out offering Thanksgiving meals, help with Christmas and just words of encouragement.  But I do know that when I am back on my feet, the first thing I am going to do is find someone who has entered a dark time and reach out to them as so many have to me.

I will find out in a few days if/what assistance we qualify for, and I’ve been told that I have 10 days after I get my first paycheck to report a change in status.  I continue to seek the next step in this transition.

(And just a side note: I just completed my first of two phone interviews scheduled for today…and the second interview is scheduled for Friday.  I am counting on God to steer me as I step out in faith to follow what He has for me next rather than what I would choose.  Use me, send me…that is my prayer.)


How Do You Write about Money…

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It’s very hard to write about money and paying off debt when you don’t have any money to pay off debt.  And I’m certain we don’t want to turn Blogging Away Debt into Hope’s Job Search.  So there is the challenge I face as I continue to try to write.

Thus, the goal of “finding” some money to not only sustain us while I job search but to also, maybe continue at least paying the minimum debt payments.

So I’m back to finding more things to sell and even downsizing even more.  Prior to the job loss, we were DEFINITELY moving in April so I had a timeline to digitize all my files, update all my scrapbooks and trash the duplicate pictures and finish going through our limited items in storage.  Now that timeline has been moved up since we may move sooner than that depending on what happens with a job for me.

As I’ve been cleaning things out, I’ve found even more items to sell and some or hopefully all will bit a bit more on the valuable side.  The problem…I’m not sure where to sell these items or if I just got the ebay route…how to price them.

So here’s what I’ve collected thus far:

  • Soft sided luggage in like new condition (have a 6 piece set but we really only use the smaller pieces so have 2 large pieces)
  • Care Bears in like new condition (the old pose-able ones)
  • Antique cameras – about a 1/2 dozen of them
  • Some collectible memorabilia which frankly I have no idea where it came from
  • Antique silver ware set that was either my great-grandmothers or even older than that

So I’m going to do some digging this week to figure the best place and price to start selling some of these more unique items.  I’m also working on crafty presents for our homeschool co op teachers, family presents and even some for the kids.

I’m grateful for these ‘chores’ to work on.  They help me feel like I’m still being productive, although the bulk of my time is being spent on networking and job search.

Two more phone interviews yesterday….and several last week.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the right opportunity comes along and that I make good decisions in the mean time.


What to do When You Lose Your Job

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I’ve been attending a Job Transition group since I got the news of my impending lay off.  It’s been great to connect with like minded people (faith based group) who are going or who have gone through similar situations.  This morning the talk to turned to me with questions of healthcare now, unemployment benefits and general “what to do when you lose your job” tasks.

It’s been a LONG time since I was here…2006 to be exact.  Then it was pretty cut and dried.  I applied for unemployment benefits that lasted 4-6 months, paid for COBRA medical coverage for up to 18 months to continue our medical benefits and started a job hunt with weekly reporting to the Employment Commission to continue to receive my unemployment payments.

Now I’m not leaving corporate, I’m leaving contract work so no unemployment as far as I know, no COBRA and I had three weeks notice rather than the single day I had last time.  Very different and not so cut and dried.

So I’m hear asking for your collective wisdom…what do you do now when you lose a job?  Here’s what the Job Transition group advised me this morning….

  1. Apply for unemployment…let them tell me if I’m eligible or not.  At least it might result in some temporary income.
  2. With the new Obamacare, I cannot let my medical insurance lapse or I will face penalty, so I have to do something about that.  And without steady income, well that could be problematic.
  3. There  are lots of alternative resources out there, research them now, apply for help now, just in case, so that I don’t get to the point where I’m panicking and reach the point of no return with certain financial matters…suggestions are United Way (strict guidelines for help that I probably wouldn’t meet at this point,) local churches are not governed by strict regulations, grants for single moms, etc.

So here I am asking for your best advice, what would you do in my shoes?  What steps do I take now?


And the Job Search is On

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First week without a job…it’s a very new feeling after 10 years of working 70+ hour work weeks.  I have really been focusing this week of keeping things low key and not going into panic mode.  It’s a very different routine, and I’m not taking it for granted, trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

Over the last few weeks, I have been knee deep in the job search primarily focusing on returning to the corporate world and with the possibility of moving.  I’ve had four first interviews and received one rejection email.  Things have certainly changed since the last time I looked for a corporate job!

I have been very blessed by a particular reader on this blog and I wanted to take a moment to publicly acknowledge that and thank her…

Faye from LeapofFaye.com reached out to me and offered to take a look at my resume and give me some feedback.  And I’ve got to say, WOW!  She completely re-did my resume and gave me some awesome advice on marketing myself…it was SO needed and I attribute her guidance to the interviews I’ve landed thus far.  And frankly, after 10 years out of the job market…things have certainly changed.  So I really want to thank her for reaching out and giving me a great push in the right direction as I tackle this transition in my life!  Here’s a little bit about her…

Faye is an almost-40-something mother of two (with a third on the way!) who has recently left her high powered 20+ year career in the financial services industry to pursue her passion of writing and spend more time with family – you can follow her experiences in making the leap to self-employment, adventures in parenting, and all her other favorite topics. Check out her site at LeapofFaye.com

So this afternoon, I have a second interview for a part time job that I’m pretty excited about. It will allow me to continue to work from home, have flexible hours and seems like a pretty cool gig. It won’t pay the bills, but would be money coming in, and I’m sure you know, every bit helps!

I continue to look at jobs and have expanded my search area to pretty much Anywhere, USA. I would love to go overseas, but not sure the kids would handle that well at this point.


Panic Mode to Inspiration – Future Planning (Part 3 of 3)

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This morning I rose at 6:00 am, early for a 9am start girl, and made my way to a local Job Transition group. And that is where I will start.  This group is faith based and was very welcoming.

I don’t know what I will do at this juncture…do I try to return to corporate, do I continue with my current consultant structure and resume marketing in the same manner, do I try something new, do I just get any job I can, or do I take the time and really do something out of the box???

I LOVED what they focused on today….essentially they said, that for any of your skill sets that you are considering pursuing as a job…make a 30 second commercial or spiel.  Not that you film yourself but that you have a card with a couple of bullet points that at any given time, you can “sell” yourself.  It’s alot harder than you think.

I think I am going to look for a few other networking opportunities that I can jump in on while I am transitioning to whatever comes next.

I am working really hard to not let panic mode take over and instead focus on the positives….

  • At this point, I will get to really focus on my kids wholeheartedly right around the holiday season, how cool is that!?
  • I do have several resources I can sell…my car being the big one that comes to mind.  And the inspiration for slowing down before I make any quick decisions I might come to regret.
  • My ex husband is to be starting a new job within a week or two and has committed to stepping up to help me.
  • While we are still living pretty frugally there are a few places I can cut back…
    • Cancelled Netflix (we don’t have cable) as we can use Amazon Prime which is paid for the year for entertainment – $9 month savings
    • Cleaning out storage which I should be able to cancel by the end of the month – $70 month savings
    • Changed the animals food to a cheaper brand which I can get even cheaper on Amazon – $60 month savings
    • I’m sure there are more that I will come up as I move forward.
  • This gives me the chance to really start over if that is what I should do as far as jobs go without really letting anyone down.

I will end with this and it’s probably the most important part right now….

I have really struggled over the past year or so in trusting myself and my decisions.  My prayers have been that if I was not on the right path, I needed that made CRYSTAL CLEAR.  This might just be that CRYSTAL CLEAR sign that I needed to push me in a different direction.  I can’t say that for sure, but I am totally and completely open to whatever God may have in store for me/us next.  He has a plan and I will put my faith in Him as I certainly cannot do it myself.

 

 


Panic Mode to Inspiration – The Call (Part I of 3)

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Mondays are my least favorite days.  They require from 3-5 hours straight in the car for me.  I run the twins and sometimes Princess to another city to work with their competitive robotics team, run back here to drop off the Gymnast, a few miles down the road to coach Princess’ volleyball team and then back to the other city to pick up the twins.  It is a grueling day…and this is all after I take Princess for a couple of hours of volunteer time at the local shelter.  I am not complaining, although it does sound like it, I choose this, I could say “No” – I own that this is my choice.

But this past Monday was a whole other roller coaster in and of itself.  First the day started out on a high…we celebrated four years of being a family which I wrote about on my personal blog.  In years prior to our tiny space living, we would celebrate with a visit to the local pottery painting place where we would all paint a dish including the number of the anniversary and a meal out.  This year and last, we opted to skip the painting due to financial reasons and because we just don’t have space for more dishes.  But we did go out to eat.  So a good day.

However, in between my marathon chauffeur duties, I got the dreaded call.  My biggest, longest running client, the bread and butter of my business for the last 8 years…they are downsizing.  They gave me three weeks notice.  Tears sprang to my eyes.  All the plans for housing, out the window, all the debt pay off plans, out the window.  All with one phone call.  I was devastated.  But I had to pull it together and go coach Princess’ first ever volleyball game….we WON!

There have been sleepless nights since then as I toss and turned, panicking, wondering what if as I look back at how I got here, and just worrying.  It took me a year when I first started my business to get to the level where I could support us.  And I have to admit while I do have some smaller clients and occasion bigger projects, I’ve become complacent.  So I will essentially be starting from scratch again.

I ended the day with dinner with my kids to celebrate the four years that we’ve been a family…since the day the twins moved into our life.  They all knew about the call as I couldn’t hide the devastation.  But we spent the meal reminiscing about those first days, learning more about the twins’ feelings at the time and being grateful for the experiences we’ve had to this point.

 


Phone Case for the Save!!!

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I’ve mentioned that when we switched phone providers, one of the perks was that we got new upgraded phones for free (of course…this was right before the newest iPhone came out so now our “new” phones are one generation old. But I digress…)

Anywho, when we got new phones I immediately invested in really sturdy, hard-core phone cases. It seemed like the prudent thing to do and, Lord knows, I have a bit of a history of shattered phone screens (see here and here).

Well, this week I proved to myself that the investment was in fact worthwhile (and I say “investment” because the phone case was about $90. At that price point it certainly seems like an investment to me!).

I have a bit of a walk from the parking garage into my office building so I always listen to music or podcasts on the walk. One day this past week as I reached my building I went to  take out my ear buds and put my phone in my purse, but I missed and dropped the phone straight on the tiled floor. It fell hard, face down, and upon hitting the ground the impact was hard enough that the case actually split open. Like…it didn’t break…it popped open along the seam. There were a couple other people in the main floor hallway who witnessed the event and there was an audible gasp at the sound of the impact. It was dropped that hard.

I reached down and grabbed up my case and phone and nervously flipped it over to see the front (screen side). 100% intact. No damage physically or functionally. And since the case wasn’t actually broken I was able to put the phone back into the case and simply snap it back together.

Phone case = 1.

Tile floor = 0.

Phone case for the save!!!


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