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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Day at a Time – Part One

The day my husband lost his job is one I will never forget. It was a few years after 9/11 and our children were babies at the time. They are 14 months apart in age and as such were still in diapers. I was at work when he called and I knew immediately that something was wrong. He was upset and of course my first thought was that he was hurt or something equating to that but what he told me was just as frightening to say the least.

Recently, we had been coping with our daughter being diagnosed at eight months of age with an illness (Central Precocious Puberty) that isn’t something we had ever heard of. Luckily it wasn’t terminal or disabling. We still feel lucky to this day when we have to go in for treatment and doctor’s visits that we aren’t coping with many of the issues parents face with children that have terminal or life altering illness. Nevertheless, additional resources for treatment were coming out of an already struggling paycheck to paycheck budget. You can read about our ordeal with the illness here.

So when he called and told me he was at home and that he had lost his job, it was a shock to say the least. Texas is an at will work state and as such they can pretty much let you go and of course you can quit at any time with little recourse. He told me what had transpired and no matter how unfair we felt it was, the fact still remained that he would get one remaining paycheck that would pay him for time worked in the pay period and the vacation time he still had left to him. We would now be a one income family until he found another job.

So I’m calm the entire time we are on the phone. Once we get off the phone however, panic completely envelopes me. I’m cold and clammy and scared out of my mind as to what we are going to do until he finds a job. I feel like I can’t breathe and am trying to keep from crying. We have car payments, a house payment, feeding us and 2 kiddos, daycare and all the normal expenses of a four person household. One paycheck is simply not going to cut it.

So we went to work, he was applying every where he could think of and scouring the paper and internet for available jobs. I googled for temporary programs that could help us for a bit while we were in this jam because I was not too proud to do whatever I needed to do to feed my kids. What I found was even more frightening. Only using my income which was all we would have, at the $32,000 income per year we did not qualify for anything. We were about $3000 above the level we needed to be to qualify.

So I’m facing the stark reality that we don’t qualify for any help. I’d already called the banks to see what we could do with car and house payments. I wouldn’t say they were sympathetic but did extend us one month’s grace period. Frankly I quickly tired of hearing how we needed to go ask family for help. Everyone was struggling to get by that we knew at that time which probably seems like a cakewalk to many compared to now with unemployment at the highest it’s been in years.

This scenario, while not new and is being faced by far too many in this country now, is something we went through. I know many families are hurting right now with one or both wage earners having been laid off. This is the first installment in a series discussing how we felt, what we went through and how we coped.

Kathie Hitt

We have never forgotten what it what like to be worried about how you are going to take care of your family after a devastating job loss. It could not have come at a worse time in our lives which is often the case for most people. It made us determined to never have to go through that again so we researched a lot of options and found something that made sense to us. We wanted security to fall back on and to have something that no one could ‘fire’ us from. We would love to share it with you as our way of Paying It Forward. Contact me today to set up a dedicated time to speak with you.