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Job Loss: What to Do Next


NewIma
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My husband has been working at his job for 8 years and loves it. We love where we live and imagined we would live here the rest of our lives. This morning, out of nowhere, my dh's department was completely eliminated.

I am in shock with waves of grief. We have 14 and a 10 year old. We have the perfect set up-live on a block with lots of kids. A super great friend community. And now it is over. My shins very specialized and there is no way we will be able to stay here.

I don't know what to do. When do we tell the kids? How do we tell the kids? One of them is emotionally fragile. Do I start cleaning my house? Talk to a realtor? Declutter? Cry? 

How do I help my dh? I am just at a loss.

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Oh my goodness. I'm so sorry. What a shock.

I don't have advice other than, don't tell the kids today, don't do anything today except grieve and process. The things you mentioned can definitely, definitely wait until tomorrow. When something catastrophic like this happens, you need at least 24 hours before dealing with the fallout.

Maybe go to the park as a family or something else fun, depending on your community's covid restrictions.

You're in my thoughts today. 

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I agree with the above.  Also, once he’s ready to start job hunting again ask him if he would consider looking at open positions in your location in other fields of work.  There may be no opportunities for his field of work where you live, but perhaps he’s willing to do something different to keep the family in the neighborhood they love.  

I’m so sorry.  

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I'm so sorry.  Job loss is hard.  Wait a day or two to tell the kids.  Your dh and you both need to process this first, so that when you do tell the kids you'll be better able to deal with their emotions. 

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((((Egao_gakari))))

We went through this when our twins were two years old. I totally panicked.

You need time to adjust. You might not want to tell the kids right away.

People would often tell me that the Chinese symbol for crisis is opportunity. (I don't even think this is true, but at the time I thought, "What if 'crisis' in this case is really crisis??)

It was several months of being scared. Dh had worked for himself (down to one main client) and so he couldn't apply for unemployment.

Eventually we made lemonade out of lemons.

I know it's scary beyond belief, but give yourself time to adjust, time to right your ship. Take hot baths, read a comforting book, only talk to positive people -- you don't need the-sky-is-falling folks at this point. At all.

Try to remember: human beings are incredibly resilient.

A song was my mantra back then: One Way or Another. It's yours now.

You're going to build a beautiful new life together.

Start by giving yourself time to adjust to the new normal (I know it's a tired phrase, but it really helped a friend who went through this too.)

Hugs.

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Life has a way of working out.  So yes, take a day to process this and then just start working a plan.  Check benefits, insurance options, etc.  I would not put off telling the kids for too long.  Things like this have a way of getting back to kids and it would be better if they hear it from you.  Prepare yourself for how you present it to the kids.  Measured.  Reassurance.  That you and your husband will take care of things and they don't have to worry too much.  If they express fear and saddness that they have to move, acknowledge that as very real, but just reassure them that they will be fine.  Change is part of life.  They won't be the first kids to have to move for a job.  

(((Hugs))))  I know this is a terrible feeling.  I have been through it multiple times with my dh in the 10 years we have been married.  But it always has a way of working out.....and often there have been things that were better with the change of circumstance.

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Take today to grieve and breathe.

Tomorrow sort out medical. If you have a few days left on insurance (common), shove through whatever you can with re:  medicine refills, glasses, etc. Decide whether you are going to COBRA or buy something on the marketplace.

File for unemployment the next day.

Then, resume, etc.

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7 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Take today to grieve and breathe.

Tomorrow sort out medical. If you have a few days left on insurance (common), shove through whatever you can with re:  medicine refills, glasses, etc. Decide whether you are going to COBRA or buy something on the marketplace.

File for unemployment the next day.

Then, resume, etc.

Great advice.

Don't tell the kids today.  Your dh needs some time and so do you.  But you are going to be ok.  I am so sorry this happened, but you will be ok.  Have your dh find out about any severance pay and any benefits he may have for a certain amount of time.  Then look into unemployment.  

Have him update his resume and get it out there.  Have him reach out to all his contacts and start applying to jobs. 

I wouldn't think about selling the house right this second.  Breathe

Do you have an e-fund that with unemployment you can rely on? 

Are you currently working? 

Can you cut any bills down right now?  Eat out of the pantry.  Shut off cable. 

Can you sell things? 

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2 hours ago, NewIma said:

My husband has been working at his job for 8 years and loves it. We love where we live and imagined we would live here the rest of our lives. This morning, out of nowhere, my dh's department was completely eliminated.

I am in shock with waves of grief. We have 14 and a 10 year old. We have the perfect set up-live on a block with lots of kids. A super great friend community. And now it is over. My shins very specialized and there is no way we will be able to stay here.

I don't know what to do. When do we tell the kids? How do we tell the kids? One of them is emotionally fragile. Do I start cleaning my house? Talk to a realtor? Declutter? Cry? 

How do I help my dh? I am just at a loss.

What does the bolded mean? 

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I so sorry!  We went through this a year ago.  Actually still going through it as dh has not found a job.  We had planned to keep it to ourselves for a day or two but dd sniffed out that something was wrong and was much more distressed at not knowing what it was than the actual news.    The shock lasted a week or so.  Then we started sorting things out, health insurance being a big one to tackle ASAP.  We are lucky in that I had, and still have, my job.  It's not enough for our family to live on but we have been able to limp along between that, being very frugal, and our emergency savings.  We also love where we live and really do not want to relocate.  Our house is not in any condition to put on the market either.  It needs a lot of basic repairs that we simply cannot afford right now.  Dh is now looking at jobs WAY outside of his previous field in an effort to stay here.  We are now contemplating dh considering a partially remote type work situation which will have him on the road some but allows us to keep our house and give dd some stability until she is soon on her own.  Still no luck but we have gotten used to the uncertainty.  It really does get easier.  

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2 hours ago, Carol in Cal. said:

My suggestion, having been through it, is to wait on talking to the kids.  Figure out what kind of benefits your husband may be offered for the transition.  Help him focus on finding another job.

I agree.

My husband’s department was eliminated as well in 2013 and while he did land a job before the official retrenchment date, those who didn’t had generous retrenchment benefits (including health insurance) to tide them over.
 

My husband did help his ex-colleague land a job with his current employer since they need a good and experienced lab tech and that guy is great at lab work.


In our case we didn’t tell our kids because the retrenchment benefits would be able to cover mortgage and my husband could tutor to cover food. My parents also helps us out financially.

OP,

My husband’s skills are unfortunately very niche. He is a hardware reliability engineer. We were just lucky that the big tech companies in our area can afford to have more reliability engineers then they need on payroll. 
 

My husband was previously unemployed in 2004. That was why we relocated from Asia to the states. 

2 hours ago, Alicia64 said:

 

People would often tell me that the Chinese symbol for crisis is opportunity. (I don't even think this is true, but at the time I thought, "What if 'crisis' in this case is really crisis??)

Crisis in Chinese is 危机

If you break up the compound word,

危 is danger (危险)

机 is opportunity (机会)

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20 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

I agree.

My husband’s department was eliminated as well in 2013 and while he did land a job before the official retrenchment date, those who didn’t had generous retrenchment benefits (including health insurance) to tide them over.
 

My husband did help his ex-colleague land a job with his current employer since they need a good and experienced lab tech and that guy is great at lab work.


In our case we didn’t tell our kids because the retrenchment benefits would be able to cover mortgage and my husband could tutor to cover food. My parents also helps us out financially.

OP,

My husband’s skills are unfortunately very niche. He is a hardware reliability engineer. We were just lucky that the big tech companies in our area can afford to have more reliability engineers then they need on payroll. 
 

My husband was previously unemployed in 2004. That was why we relocated from Asia to the states. 

Crisis in Chinese is 危机

If you break up the compound word,

危 is danger (危险)

机 is opportunity (机会)

Technically the second kanji is "change point" (which could be an opportunity) but it is not a direct translation. 

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Food pantries/banks will help you cut down on grocery expenses. Don't make the mistake of being too embarrassed to use them. We had to use them in 2020 due to pandemic-related loss of income. You are not alone. Along with the food pantry, there are other resources to help with medical bills, dentist clinic, utilities, etc.

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1 hour ago, Scarlett said:

What does the bolded mean? 

Somehow spell check apparently turned, "my dh is very specialized so we will have to move to find a job" into that and I didn't even notice.

 

 

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OP: I’ve been there, too, twice.  Once DH and I worked for the same company and they shut down the office we both worked in, so zero income.

The second time, I was a SAHM and was 8.5 months pregnant and he was let go, so again, zero income.

We made it through both times, praying a ton!  

You’ll make it through. It’s horrible right now and you’re probably feeling like you could throw up at any point, but you will make it through.

Edited by Garga
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I don't think telling the kids would be wrong today. If they are pretty oblivious kids, then it might be fine to wait, but if they are sensitive to mood, they are going to pick up on it. If you are in a place where you can be honest yet reassuring, I think it would be fine. They don't need details, and you don't have much to give, but telling them what happened but you have all these resources etc. and you will be fine is good. I would certainly tell them if they ask what's wrong - I wouldn't dismiss their questioning.

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In our case, we couldn't keep it from the kids. They knew something was up and in our house we find it is better to lay it on the table and talk it out. Even if there are alot of "I don't know but we'll figure it out". My dc totally would pick up on it and then not knowing what was going on would make it worse. 

My dh was suddenly let go with no severance or notice six years ago (from a job he'd had over a decade, almost his whole adult life). He found something quickly (about 6 weeks) and that lasted six months and he was let go again. Such a tough year. He then found his current job and we were forced to relocate from a place we expected to live forever and had family and ties to the homeschool community. It was rough. 

We were no where ready to sell our house but we decluttered and cleaned and got it on the market. Dh had to go ahead so I was left behind with four kiddos (and all their sports and activities) and getting the house sold. It was SO stressful. Really took more strength than I knew I had some days.

But you know what? I got the house sold and made all the repairs and everthing else that went along with that. I got my kids to their stuff and kept their lives as normal as possible. We had crisis after crisis during that year and every day I would wake up and just pray that i could get through whatever the day brought. I always did. 

We got moved into our new house and with in 48 hours I looked at my family as said "You know it is really OK". And it was. We were all put back together in a new place and it didn't take long until I knew it would be OK. There were rough times and challenges but it really was OK. Six years later were are better off and we never would have made this move if we hadn't been forced. There were snags and challenges, no doubt. But it really is OK. Some losses, but some things are better. Much better. 

When I was going through it (and really there were so many terrible things that happened that year I can't even list them here without you thinking I am making it up), I kept telling myself that people move all the time. It's hard. But people do it all the time. I did. You can too. 

But it is okay to grieve and it is okay for your kids to see it. I know our kids saw alot of raw moments but they never worried we were not telling them the truth and they always knew we'd stick together. My kids were a little older (16,14,11, and 6) but they learned alot. I know someday one or all of them will face something similar and I know we showed them that they can get through it.  

Hugs to you, OP. It is so very scary and unsettling. But you will get through this. 

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First things first: Yes, cry! Tears release stress hormones.

Feel your feelings: Until you process some of your emotions, you will literally be unable to think clearly. You are in fight-flight-freeze survival mode right now after such a huge shock. So your pre-frontal cortex is offline. 
 

Breathe deep: this will also help down regulate your stress response.

Tap (EFT) if you know how. Clinically proven to de-stress nervous system.

THEN, think about what to do next. Maybe there are aspects of your husband's work experience that he could use in a local job, if he chooses. Maybe he could get remote or semi-remote work related to his specialty so you don't have to move. Maybe he can get on with his company in a different department? Give yourselves a day or two to grieve and process before making decisions and looking at possibilities.

Last, but not least, big big hugs. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this. ❤️

 

 

 

Edited by fraidycat
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I say take a shower and cry, then plan a way to tell the kids- I'd do it today instead of stressing over it.  Try not to worry about big changes like moving- its too early to think about that.   Make a 3 month budget with your stimulus money plus extra UE.  Make a list of bills that can be cut- buy don't cut anything yet.  Give yourselves the weekend to process and brainstorm options.   

 

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I'm so sorry your family is going through this. (((hugs)))  You've gotten lots of good advice already, but I just want to add that the covid relief package that Biden just signed includes a subsidy for COBRA — the government will pay 100% of COBRA premiums through September, so at least that's one cost you don't have to worry about for the next six months.

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4 hours ago, Arcadia said:

I agree.

My husband’s department was eliminated as well in 2013 and while he did land a job before the official retrenchment date, those who didn’t had generous retrenchment benefits (including health insurance) to tide them over.
 

My husband did help his ex-colleague land a job with his current employer since they need a good and experienced lab tech and that guy is great at lab work.


In our case we didn’t tell our kids because the retrenchment benefits would be able to cover mortgage and my husband could tutor to cover food. My parents also helps us out financially.

OP,

My husband’s skills are unfortunately very niche. He is a hardware reliability engineer. We were just lucky that the big tech companies in our area can afford to have more reliability engineers then they need on payroll. 
 

My husband was previously unemployed in 2004. That was why we relocated from Asia to the states. 

Crisis in Chinese is 危机

If you break up the compound word,

危 is danger (危险)

机 is opportunity (机会)

Thank you! I've always wondered.

What's funny is that I have a friend who speaks Chinese, but it never occurred to me to ask him.

Thank you again.

 

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3 hours ago, Ethel Mertz said:

Food pantries/banks will help you cut down on grocery expenses. Don't make the mistake of being too embarrassed to use them. We had to use them in 2020 due to pandemic-related loss of income. You are not alone. Along with the food pantry, there are other resources to help with medical bills, dentist clinic, utilities, etc.

I agree with this one hundred percent!! When dh was out of work, I completely forgot about food banks and pantries. Never even occurred to me. If I had to go through it again, I wouldn't hesitate.  ♥♥♥

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9 hours ago, NewIma said:

My husband has been working at his job for 8 years and loves it. We love where we live and imagined we would live here the rest of our lives. This morning, out of nowhere, my dh's department was completely eliminated.

I am in shock with waves of grief. We have 14 and a 10 year old. We have the perfect set up-live on a block with lots of kids. A super great friend community. And now it is over. My shins very specialized and there is no way we will be able to stay here.

I don't know what to do. When do we tell the kids? How do we tell the kids? One of them is emotionally fragile. Do I start cleaning my house? Talk to a realtor? Declutter? Cry? 

How do I help my dh? I am just at a loss.

((hugs))

A similar thing happened to dh 4-ish years ago.  One of his good friends worked for the same company and knew ahead of time, but was under some sort of gag order and wasn't able to tell us.  I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for him.  Does your dh get any severance?  

I agree with the above poster about getting your insurance in order.  Take the kids (and yourself) to any dental, vision, and medical appointments you can before your insurance runs out.  Set a little aside just to do something fun on.  Obviously you don't want to stretch yourself too thin financially, but knowing you have $50 set aside for take out or an outing can take the stress out of a tough day.  We looked up free days and took advantage of a local history museum and discount tickets to another science-y type museum.  Dh now works as an IT consultant.  He loves it much more than his previous job.  I hope and pray the same for you.  Feel free to vent anytime and please keep us updated.  

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Hugs! When DH's job ended early when I was expecting #3 (We knew it was temporary but thought there might be opportunities to extended it), he decided to check into contract work barely related to his field, thinking it would tide us over.  One thing led to another and it became a career in a totally different field than what he trained in.  People are always so perplexed when they hear what he does, and what his PhD work was in because they seem so unrelated (there is a tenuous connection, but not an obvious one).  He's met a number of people in his current field who trained or previously specialized in totally different areas.  So, just wanted to throw that out there as a hopeful story.  I didn't want to move either at that time, and was so thankful for the way things worked out.

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I don't have great practical advice, especially about immediate things without information about severance/ notice/ etc.  But I'm going to disagree with people here about not telling the kids.  I don't think you're going to be able to hide being upset and things being weird from the kids, and so I would come out in favor of telling them sooner rather than later.  In my experience, kids pick up on stuff, and they often imagine things being worse than they are, and your kids are old enough to be really perceptive.  And it's going to be scary and upsetting for them when they find out, but I don't know that you gain anything by not telling them right away, and you take real risks of creating MORE anxiety.  

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16 hours ago, Corraleno said:

I'm so sorry your family is going through this. (((hugs)))  You've gotten lots of good advice already, but I just want to add that the covid relief package that Biden just signed includes a subsidy for COBRA — the government will pay 100% of COBRA premiums through September, so at least that's one cost you don't have to worry about for the next six months.

That is a HUGE relief! Insurance tied to employment was among the biggest stressors for us when dh was laid off a few years ago. I posted here asking if we reeeeeaaaaalllly needed COBRA since it was so expensive. (I think everyone said yes.)

I'm sorry you're going through this. It can be a frightening and frustrating and just plain sad time. 

Trying to be helpful, people said things to me like, "Something better is right around the corner!" I hated that. I wanted people to just let me be sad for a little bit. I'm a big proponent of weeping with those who weep. So, if possible, surround yourself with people who will support you in the ways you need--emotionally, practically, financially, etc.

You've got a solid crew here who will listen.

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Thank you all so much for your kind words and really solid practical advice. Financially we are ok for a bit. There is a severance and they are going to cover our cobra costs for a few months. Plus we have the stimulus. Ws know that we are super lucky that we have those things. 

I opened a word document and have started dumping my random thoughts into it for housing projects, yard work ideas, paperwork, ways to cut our budget,  dr. appointments I need to make, and a local bucket list of things I want us to do before we leave. It is just a mess right now, but once I put it on paper I feel like I have a little more head space bc right now 200,000,000 things are swirling around in my head.

We did tell the kids yesterday for better or worse. My dh and I are not good at not showing how we are feeling and they would have known something was very wrong. They are heartbroken, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. I know the road ahead will be very difficult and painful, but that step has been taken.

Today I'm just going to try to make dr appointments and give the kids a mostly normal day. Then tomorrow I can figure out the next step. 

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1 hour ago, NewIma said:

Thank you all so much for your kind words and really solid practical advice. Financially we are ok for a bit. There is a severance and they are going to cover our cobra costs for a few months. Plus we have the stimulus. Ws know that we are super lucky that we have those things. 

I opened a word document and have started dumping my random thoughts into it for housing projects, yard work ideas, paperwork, ways to cut our budget,  dr. appointments I need to make, and a local bucket list of things I want us to do before we leave. It is just a mess right now, but once I put it on paper I feel like I have a little more head space bc right now 200,000,000 things are swirling around in my head.

We did tell the kids yesterday for better or worse. My dh and I are not good at not showing how we are feeling and they would have known something was very wrong. They are heartbroken, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. I know the road ahead will be very difficult and painful, but that step has been taken.

Today I'm just going to try to make dr appointments and give the kids a mostly normal day. Then tomorrow I can figure out the next step. 

These sound like great steps! Especially the making headspace. The news about the severance and cobra is great too. You’ve got this

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You’ve received some really great advice.

My dh and I went through this very unexpectedly in Aug 2009. We had 3 young kids (ages 5,7, and 9) and we also lived in a house that we loved surrounded by a community that we could never match in a million years. No kidding, I found out that I was expecting #4 the same day that my dh’s company laid-off everyone in his division. No cobra, no severance (not even 2 weeks pay). It was devastating to say the least. He’d already been interviewing and applying for jobs over the previous year so we knew that we’d have to move/sell the house. Thankfully, the house sold quickly and then he got an offer about 6 months after losing his job. He loves his current job and he’s been there ever since. We are thankful for where we are now but to be honest, I still miss our old house & neighborhood. We moved 2,000 miles across the country so it was a major change. 
 

Change is hard and stressful but there are unmistakable blessings and new opportunities too. 

 

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This happened to us last February, right before the shutdown started....after 10 years on the job and completely out of the blue, living in a very expensive part of the country. We did have severance but not COBRA and I had been out of the work force for 15-plus years. Our kids are a bit older, but you are right, yours are old enough to notice and old enough to be told, in fact, old enough to help you plan for possibilities as a family. In our case, we were very open, which helped all of our anxiety. Because of the shutdown, I feel, the job hunt was twice as long as it would otherwise have been. I do think things are better now.

What we did, in no particular order:

-- Start praying for our ideal job solution (unlikely as it was) and ask our friends to pray with us. Hold possibilities lightly (don't over-invest in them).

-- Invite a realtor over to suggest ways to improve the marketability of the house, what we did/didn't need to do. We completed some very small projects but mostly she told us we could probably get at/below market without major investments. LOTS of book decluttering (took us forever and still at it); every box to the thrift store is a deduction on taxes and less to move if you eventually have to.

-- Investigated my return to work. In fact I was able to connect with a former work colleague and do writing/editing for him remotely and he paid me by the hour....that got us through. Because I am working from home, there was still some flexibility in my schedule and we were able to work around other family stuff.

-- The difference between COBRA and covered CA basic plan for us was a couple of thousand a month. We went with the cheaper option. Likewise we postponed my then 16yo's driver's liscense...little did we know it would be put off for a year and a half! Just getting started back on that.

-- The best tip dh got about job hunting was to pay for a professional membership to LinkedIn and use it like his own personal networking platform to connect with people he used to work with, find out about job leads, post his resume, etc. The job dh eventually got came up on linkedin, an old colleague was the hiring manager, and even though it took 1.5 mo to get hired has been a great fit. Recruiters and indeed.com were not nearly as effective as LinkedIn.,

-- And yes, the food pantries are there for "people like me" in all situations. Don't hesitate to ask for, show up for, accept help. In a previous layoff, when our kids were little and I found out I was pregnant with #4, we also had a formerly homeless friend living in our patio and his contribution to the household was to go to all the food banks in the area weekly...he was our forager. Foraging made him feel valued and valuable. 

--If you garden, if your neighbors garden, plant food. It is very therapeutic in such circumstances to be able to gather something from your garden for dinner. Often there are neighborhood exchanges. This year my community is giving out seed start sets to people who will agree to donate that food.

In our case, dh finally got a job offer just before Thanksgiving and started 1/1/21. It turns out to be the job we were praying for, although I was convinced it was a pretty big ask of God; slightly lower salary so it's good I am working a bit too. We didn't have to move, which was good because mid-year my 28yo lost her job and moved back in with us, bag and baggage and shed. I think the job hunting situation is much better now than it was the first 6 mos. of shutdown. I encourage you to hope for the best and plan for the possibilities. ❤️

Quote

 

 

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RE: Gardening

Don't think you have to spend a ton of money on this either.

Many people who garden have leftover seeds or plants that they might not need. I would totally not be offended at all if someone asked "Hey, I've been thinking of gardening a bit this year to save on food costs (no need to share with acquaintance level folks about the job loss if you don't want to) but the budget is really really tight. If you have some extra seeds or plants, I'd be glad to take them off your hands for a few bucks if you want." IT's likely, the person might just give them to you for nothing. I always have extra plants and seeds and would be fine passing unused things to others just to share the joy.

You might be surprised at how much you can save on groceries by just growing a few things. In the summer, we can add a big home grown salad to a pot of beans and some cornbread and it's an incredibly filling meal for just pennies. The homegrown salad with fresh tomatoes and all gives tons flavor to help the plainer beans and cornbread be more appealing. 

And my family can eat an entire pot of fresh green beans from the garden with little else for supper. Those fresh veggies just seem more satisfying to us than other veggies because they taste so much better.

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