How Not to Prepare for Potential Financial Troubles Ahead

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I know. I know. Long time no post. Bad blogger!  I just don’t know where the time goes. Apparently it hasn’t been going into this blog!  I’ve been a little distracted.

Well, on the job front it appears that D-day is approaching. Our new Director had been expected to visit around now and we (satellite office workers) were nervous about what he might say or do that could impact our employment. Well, last week we learned through the grapevine (no official announcement has been made) that our Director will not be visiting, but two senior level executives will be visiting instead! As I’ve mentioned before, for my company, this is one strong sign of possible layoffs. We’ve gone from nervous to panicked. One co-worker has already cleared out her cubicle, convinced that she’s getting laid off next week. Others haven’t packed up yet, but are ready for the axe to fall so they can at least be out of limbo.

red panic button

 

I’m not sure how I feel. I really don’t want to lose my job, but a small part of me (darkly) would welcome unemployment in order to have at least 2 or 3 months break from work. I feel like I’ve had a low-grade case of burn out for a while now. I just wish I didn’t have this debt hanging around my neck. My co-workers try to convince me that my job is more secure than most because of the type of work that I do, but I don’t buy it. When I say the same to them, they don’t buy it. So we’re all anxious and stressed.

I’m glad that my co-workers are so kind and supportive of each other, especially at a time like this. You hear the horror stories of toxic work environments where rumors of layoffs cause employees to turn on each other. Co-workers pass each other in hallways like inmates eyeing each other while crossing paths in the prison yard. Co-workers who throw each other under the bus trying to stay aboard a sinking ship.

executive musical chairs

Yeah, glad I don’t have to worry about that.

My health?
I’m a little very stressed that I might be unemployed next week, but other than that I’m fine. I’ve had no additional trips to the emergency room. I am, however, STILL getting bills from my ER visit in March for things that my insurance won’t cover (or at least won’t cover in full). Some are small bills, $23 here, $68 there, but the last one I got was for $203! WTH?! These are of course adding up. My doctor needs to run more tests to properly strategize the best surgical option for me. More tests, more appointments, more money.

I haven’t been able to save a dime over the past month! I have no savings thanks to the emergency room visit. My immediate family has been supportive made it known that they’ll pitch in to help me out, if worst comes to worst; so I don’t have to worry about being homeless. I won’t let it come to that. Because my rent is so low (for this region), unemployment should cover my rent, my monthly student loan interest payment, and food. I can just squeak by if I keep my food budget small.

I’ll keep you guys posted.

So what have I learned from this experience; facing my second bout of unemployment in just over 2 years? Not much, from the looks of my financial picture. I’m in almost as vulnerable of a position as I was back in 2013. I know that I don’t want to go on this ride again. This ‘working professional’ thing is not what I thought it would be; a little too rough and tumble for my liking.

kid falling

As promised:

How Not to Prepare for Potential Financial Troubles Ahead

Let my failings here remind you of what NOT to do when facing a challenge.

1. Ignore the possibility of trouble and do nothing.
I’ve known about the rumors of layoffs for at least a few months now. What have I done about it? Not much. I’ve looked at job boards from time to time and have applied to no more than 10 jobs. This is a half-hearted effort at best.  I didn’t want to admit that I could really lose my job. I wanted to believe that I could come out unscathed. I didn’t want to leave. I was too lazy and afraid to put in the effort that I should have.

2. Be afraid of change and do nothing.
If you’ve read more than two posts on this blog, you’ve probably heard me complain about how much I fear and loathe being on the job market. I was in this position two years ago, when I was too afraid to go on the job market until the job that I had at the time had become so unbearable that my impending firing was obvious and unavoidable.Recently, one place to which I applied wanted to do a phone screen but they backed out the following week with a ‘scheduling conflict’ as an excuse. I didn’t even follow up. I’ve identified that I need to be braver and just put myself out there. In other words, apply (for the job) anyway.

3. Fail to save money.
I’ve lived without savings for a long time, most of my life really, so its a state that i’m unfortunately used to.
What I’ve decided from this experience is that I need to make saving an emergency fund a priority. Because of my medical issues the fund will need to be quite a bit more than Dave Ramsey’s $1000. I will need to keep making interest only payments on my student loans until I build up at least 3 months (preferably 6 months) of expenses plus the annual out-of-pocket maximum on my insurance to cover any medical expenses.

 4. Develop expensive health problems that take what little savings you do have.
I won’t go into details here, but to tell you to take care of your health.  Don’t sacrifice it for anything – not even to pay off debt.

5. Don’t take stock of all of your options ahead of time.
I’ve determined that I need to have at least two or three specific, actionable contingency plans ready to go on day one if I find myself unemployed again. I’m in the process of collecting resources and coming up with said plans.

Even if the worst does not happen next week and I somehow keep my job, these lessons will remain. Will I finally learn them? Well, we’ll see…

.

“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

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