Downsized

Members of Salon's Table Talk community share their tales from the recession this week.


Salon Staff
January 31, 2009 1:05AM (UTC)

Family Life

Families and Financial Meltdown

Inara - 03:55 pm Pacific Time - Jan 23, 2009 - #859 of 938

My family has now entered the financial meltdown stage, as my husband was let go from his job last week. He held a management position and was terminated without warning. Our finances were rocky even before this happened and I was looking for a job myself. Now we are both out of work with two kids, a mortgage, and a whopping four weeks of severance.

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Our biggest concern is healthcare. DH has a heart condition and I have MS. We cannot go without insurance and risk being declined for preexisting conditions once we have benefits again. So, it's COBRA for us, and the premiums are as much as DH's unemployment.

We'll get by, I believe that. I'm just angry. My husband moved to Michigan and we left family and friends so he could take this job. He was never one to miss work, or slack off. His employees loved him. He spent a day over the holidays (we were on vacation visiting family in Philly) on the phone with his boss, working on performance reviews and fighting to make sure his employees were going to get the raises they deserved. He feels completely betrayed. I can't help but be wishing all kinds of bad things to happen to his bitch of a boss.

He has leads on some positions that he's qualified for, but so far they are all out of state. Due to the economy, our home value is down by about 1/3. If we have to sell to relocate, we'll lose all the equity we had and be starting all over again.

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kit - 05:04 pm Pacific Time - Jan 23, 2009 - #867 of 938

You can so easily find yourself selling your dream house and pulling your kids out of school just to relocate for a job and there's no security in it at all. We decided not to sell our house, but continue to rent it out (we'd initially rented it out & moved into an apartment to reduce our expenses after the first twelve months of job hunting) and instead took an apartment in the new location.

It really sucks, Inara. I have absolutely not one word of advice, but whatever comfort there is in knowing that we're all in this together.

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Karenem - 11:51 am Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #902 of 939

DH just called. He's on his way home after getting laid off this AM.

We should be OK in the short term, but with all these perfectly competent, professional people out of work for month after month after month and no end in sight, it's a little scary to look into the abyss.

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Safelight - 01:14 pm Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #908 of 939

Does anyone else find the numbers of people getting laid off to be breathtaking? It's one thing to hear about it on the news in aggregate figures, but seeing beloved Table Talkers stumble in day after day with reports of being laid off (or an immediate family member being laid off) is one of the things that really brings it home to me just how big this thing is.

Inara - 01:24 pm Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #909 of 939

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I don't know that I have a representative sample, but I know of 7 families within the last year who have had a family member laid off.

It's very scary. 

Erythrosine - 02:19 pm Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #914 of 939

In case it makes anyone feel any better to know that it can happen, my husband just got a good job offer this week, after a little over six months of job search.

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Tinsel - 02:23 pm Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #917 of 939

Seeing so many TTers affected personalizes this in a way no newspaper or broadcast can. I've got two people on soft money on my staff and I'm trying to figure out if I could protect them if I took early retirement.

Karenem - 04:56 pm Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #919 of 939

DH actually heard on the radio on the way to work that Kodak was announcing a big layoff, and then guess what?

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My boss has OK'd me upping my hours so I can qualify for full-time benefits; hopefully the contract agency will also OK it because until today all our medical etc. was through DH's job.

And in other news (talk about a roller coaster) DH called up his old employer, and he's starting contract work Monday. I'm therefore sending 95% of those vibes right back at people who need them.

Sky Bluesky - 09:09 pm Pacific Time - Jan 29, 2009 - #929 of 940

Does anyone else find the numbers of people getting laid off to be breathtaking?

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This. Exactly. We're not a large group, and it's stunning to me every time I read about a TTer family being hit by layoffs.

Good job-finding vibes to Karenem and everyone else. I have a job interview lined up in a couple of weeks. It would be a $10K pay cut, but I'm going to see if I can talk them up on salary. I really hate to turn down a job in this economy, but I also can't afford such a massive pay cut without us doing something drastic, like moving into a one-bedroom apartment.

Thryn - 08:04 am Pacific Time - Jan 30, 2009 - #935 of 940

DH is still looking, still not finding. But he's got unemployment through June, so we'll be sorta kinda ok until then. After that ... well, it doesn't bear thinking about.

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Lots of vibes to all of y'all, though.

We just filled a low-level job here in my office, and where we'd normally have 15-20 applications, this time we had over 200. And only interviewed 3 people.

Best of Table Talk is an ongoing feature of Salon's vibrant community forum. Older posts of the week may be found in TT. Want to join the discussion? Sign up  here.


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