Unemployment

The company where I have been working for over 5 years filed for bankruptcy this Tuesday, and all the employees were let go. Well, more like kicked out on our butts, as it were! It was extremely sudden, and I’m not optimistic that we’ll even get our last paycheck. I saw the stock plummeting over the previous 48 hours and knew something was wrong, but then an hour later it was all over. Police at the exits, a few minutes to collect personal posessions, and that was it.

The last three days have been surreal. I knew the company was going downhill for a while now, and I had started the process of overhauling my resume and knew several places I wanted to apply for another job, but it all just went down so quickly that I find myself unprepared and extremely poor! I’ve been in serious debt-payoff mode the last several years, so I have nothing to live on but credit cards and a small loan from my parents. Oh, and unemployment checks (what a great system!). I’m quickly wrapping my mind around that and reverting to the way I lived after college, when I had no money, debt, and not even credit cards to lean on. It’s a big overhaul, and it’s taking a lot of effort. I’m exhausted. To quote Cher in “Clueless,” “I have an overwhelming sense of ickiness.”

I’m not saying this to whine. I promised when I started this blog that I would not devolve into emotional self-involvement. I’m saying this to urge you all to prepare yourselves for big changes in your life. I have a friend who grew up with divorced parents and was raised mostly by a single mom. She watched her mother struggle after her father left, and she decided never to let that happen to herself. When I lived with her, she got a fantabulous job with a great company right out of college and worked hard to get her career underway. She lived frugally, saved, fought for pay raises as soon as she could get them, and made sure she could provide for herself. She had big supplies of household items stored in her closet – enough for several months at a time. I asked her about it once (because at that time, I could barely afford the single box of Kleenex or toilet paper, much less the giant, economy Sam’s package), and she said that she wanted to make sure she didn’t end up like her mother did – alone with two children and no money to support them and herself. She remains one of the best examples I know of a young, professional woman who knows how to take care of herself. She’s not selfish with it, either. She volunteers with several organizations, is heavily involved in her church, and she truly cares about people. She’s married now, but she has remained strong in the way she takes care of herself. I’m sure they’ll be happily married for the rest of their lives, but in case they aren’t, she will be fine. She owns rental properties, investments, and knows how to get the best deal.

I had a very specific goal these last years of paying off school debt, which she did not have to deal with, and I’m working in a decidedly-lower-paying industry by choice, but I still wish my financial life looked a little more like hers. And I’m angry with myself for letting myself end up at this place, being dumped by a company I knew was failing. I should have done a better job of taking care of myself, no matter how much I loved the job. I was too slow taking my head out of the sand, and it was the wrong choice. So to all you women out there, single and otherwise, please take some advice learned the hard way. Make sure you’re prepared for unemployment, for divorce, for a large disruption in your way of life. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself!

(Also, a side note to those of you who have been very kind in helping and checking on me the last few days – thank you so much…you have no idea what it means to me.)

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One Response

  1. we’ve been there before and we’ll get through it. just let me know what i can do. i love you. you helped me through the hardest thing i’ve ever dealt with, so i know you’re strong enough for this and much more.

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