Job loss is scary. Job loss as a parent is terrifying (and a single parent at that). It’s been two months since I received “the call.” The call that attempted to force my resignation and ended with job termination. I’m not going to go into detail around everything mostly because lawyers are still working out details, and I’m in no position to compromise whatever settlement I might receive. But it’s un fun, as my 4.5 year old would say …
Practically, though, what comes with job loss?! I mean, the obvious thing is loss of income, BUT that’s the least of my worries. Now, was I in a hugely stable financial place? Not exactly, but I’m not truly scared about money YET. I have about another month before fear will most likely grab hold there.
The first awful thing about all of this is loss of insurance.
I’m losing insurance just days before my son turns 5 and is due a well visit. I think we can all agree that the current state of insurance options / cost are not ideal. The system is broken. But here is one of the way’s it’s SUPER broken … I have already made more money this calendar year than qualifies me for any amount of Medicaid or potentially even a tax credit on my premium costs. There is no consideration that my monthly income has gone to $0 … but the fact that I’ve already made a certain amount in the year bumps me out of consideration.
The next awful thing is making decisions in fear.
I have had to make every financial decision regarding summer child care or prioritizing bills or school tuition out of a place of uncertainty. I remember shaking as I clicked “pay” for a few weeks of summer camp totaling slightly over $600 … but knowing I wouldn’t be able to work or find work with a 5 year old at home all day every day.
Then, a biggie, for all women regardless of job title or position in/out of the home … imposter syndrome.
Y’all. THIS IS REAL. I have spent countless hours … into the hundreds of hours easily … wondering if maybe I was faking my job this whole time? Maybe this organization I helped to start and keep afloat during leadership transition and established systems and processes for and on and on and on … maybe it was all a lie?! Thankfully many people around me have voiced reason to me, but dang. Nothing like losing your job out of nowhere to make you feel like 6+ years of work has been a joke. This leads to a lot of sleepless nights too … nothing like anxiety waking you up at 3am to help, right?!
Now, the positive.
I have a super, loving and committed boyfriend who has supported and encouraged me along this awful 2 month roller coaster. He has helped with groceries and pick up and even ended up splitting the summer camp bill with me. What a blessing.
And money. I don’t know if I will end up with a severance package or if I will be able to replace my income quickly or ever … but the Lord has shown up. First with a free ride and stay at Disney with my aunt and uncle. Then surprise checks for things I had forgotten about or didn’t expect. Then my tax return came the day I needed it to … and then my parents gifted me (and my sister) a VERY generous sum of money after the sale of some property; a sum that will cover my son’s summer costs and back to school costs and a little more! I have definitely slimmed down all expenses outside of REAL necessities and definitely no more “I’m at Target and I probably need this coffee mug and dress that’s perfect for summer trips … that I won’t be going on” necessities.
But I have had enough for everything I’ve needed.
Finally, I have an option. It’s a scary option, but it’s an option. I own a business. It’s a business I worked at alone myself in the wee hours of the morning for about a year and then it ballooned into a much bigger thing that involved hiring employees and a manager. And now I have the option to step back into my business. That’s what I’ve used to occupy my time since being put on administrative leave and then, ultimately, terminated. Is this a passion of mine? YES! Is it something I’m good at and can grow? YES and YES! Can it replace my income in the next month or two? Probably not.
As I have watched the Lord create a path even before my job loss, I am clinging to the belief that He will continue to create that path. He will provide. He HAS provided. But damn. Job loss is scary enough in a vacuum … as a parent it’s terrifying … as a single parent it is almost debilitating. If you know a friend who is going through job loss, remember that money isn’t always the immediate challenge. It might be the change, it might be some version of imposter syndrome, or it might be the sheer logistics around parenting while looking for work. There is likely far more need for words of encouragement over financial help … but a gift card to the grocery store probably isn’t a bad way to show your support either! I know I’m immensely grateful for the friends who have checked in and listened to my fears just as much as I’ve appreciated the Trader Joe’s gift card!