A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

, ,

Another Job Bites The Dust


Update: No sooner had I finished writing this than Fortysomething came in to let me know he's officially resigned. Apparently, someone he trusted told his boss he was thinking about leaving (loyalty, it's a beautiful thing). His boss then contacted him to find out what was going on. So he was forced to quit a bit sooner than planned.

Well, this is it: within the next two days, Fortysomething will put in his notice and leave his job unless there are some major last-minute policy changes.

Although this isn't going to be an entirely depressing/blah post, and although I've known for months that this job might not work out, I must say that I'm disappointed that we find ourselves in this position. He's worked at this place for more than three years. He used to talk all the time about how he was probably going to stay through retirement. He enjoyed teaching science to middle and high schoolers. He had a great rapport with them and with his colleagues. He recently received a raise, and he was going to be eligible for a pretty hefty retirement fund match in 2021. 

It was nice.

And then: COVID.

Teachers and students started off the 2020-2021 school year entirely online. For the first few weeks, administration appeared to be making thoughtful decisions with the best interests of everyone in mind. They invested in new technology and ensured that all of the kids had Internet access. They opened their doors every day to the limited number of students needing supervision while their parents were at work. Everyone seemed to be getting into a groove with virtual learning. Technical problems were surprisingly rare and short-lived. It wasn't a perfect approach, but it was a rational approach.

Then something - I don't know what - changed. All of a sudden, admin decided it NEEDED to get everybody back in the classroom ASAP. A series of hastily prepared and, frankly, scary decisions were rolled out very quickly. The reopening strategies they've chosen represent a potpourri of what seem like the worst possible options (I started listing them all, but the list got too long and ranty, so I cut it). 

Teachers have pushed back with scientific papers, county and statewide data, and proposals for a more thoughtful reopening, but leadership has been entirely disinterested in the opinions and concerns of workers on the ground. They're opening, come hell or high water or another surge in cases.

I know a few people who are going to tell us we're overreacting, but for us, it doesn't make sense for him to return under such brazenly unsafe conditions given what we know about how COVID operates. So he's out. At least for now, he'll be focusing on some short-term contract work.

Here's what we've done to prepare for this shift in employment:

Income and savings: We've been saving as much as possible since the pandemic began, so at least for a minute, our emergency fund is looking better than ever. We'll deploy it if we have to, but we're hoping that we can cover all expenses through the rest of 2020 with our combined part-time/contract income. 

Health insurance: We'll be losing Fortysomething's employer-sponsored health insurance, which is perhaps the scariest aspect of this entire situation. I don't receive insurance through my employer. We should have coverage through the end of this month. After that, we can access either COBRA ($$$$$$$$) or short-term insurance. When open enrollment becomes available, we'll apply for a subsidized ACA plan for 2021 and just hope that the program doesn't disappear entirely.

Job search: I've been applying for full-time and part-time jobs since the early spring of 2020. Fortysomething has as well, though he'll be ramping that up a bit once he has more time. We've decided that we're open to job opportunities elsewhere in the state and country, which will give us more options.

Vacations and fun things: On hold through the rest of 2020. The pandemic makes not traveling for an entire year a little easier to accept.

Housing: Our lease runs through next May. Even if we have no new employment in 2021, we should be able to cover our rent each month until then. If things are looking decent financially, we'll probably re-up for another year. If not, I don't know. I really don't.

I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself, but I do worry about what will happen next spring if one of us doesn't have a new job lined up or a buttload of contract work in the hopper. In that case, we couldn't afford to keep living here, and... I have no idea where we'd go instead. I'm not panicking about it, but I'm definitely mulling over next steps. I want to have some ideas and options lined up just in case. Maybe RV life is back on the table as a possibility?

There are some benefits to this new arrangement, and I'll cover those in another post when I've come to terms with everything. For now, yeah, we're fine. It's a bummer, but I'm glad we're doing what we know is best for us, and I'm glad we've wrapped this up after months of worrying about it.

ALSO: For another post by someone whose plans and income got derailed by COVID, check out Return of the Budget by my friend at Table for One. 

COVID can suck it. 

Share:

15 comments:

  1. Oh bummer. Sorry to hear that. Our local school board has been wrestling with the issue since July, with a contingent of angry parents protesting outside meetings and in the public square to open schools. It's given me plenty to write about anyway...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a mess. I completely agree that parents need to have some options for their kids during the day, BUT we could have rolled that out differently. Like, open school for the kids who need to be there, give hazard pay to the teachers who volunteer to be there in person, and have the other kids learn at home. No easy answers but opening simply due to public pressure? No.

      Delete
  2. That sucks.
    I'm retiring at the end of our school year (Dec 2020) because in part I'm unhappy about going back to the classroom. And this is in Australia! Nothing even CLOSE to the horrific numbers you're experiencing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every time I start to think I'm overreacting, I look at what countries like Australia and New Zealand are doing to stop the spread and I'm like, NOPE, I'm not the one who's totally off the mark here. Countries run by logical, thoughtful leaders are making totally different decisions than we are.

      Delete
  3. I am sorry to hear that the school is not making safe choices. I hope you guys find enough employment soon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. *hugs* I am crossing all the things that you're all fine until you get new affordable (? not sure where your options lie on that spectrum) health insurance and that the contract jobs are enough to carry you through so you don't have to draw down too much savings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reallllllllly don't want to draw down savings. I know that's what it's there for, but.... boooooo. I keep reminding myself that a) we do have options for health insurance (the same terrible ones most people have!) and b) it will probably be okay. And we won't spend the entire fall worrying about him getting sick at work or getting other people sick at work.

      Delete
  5. It's hard to leave the security of a (previously) good job, and with insurance. Your partner's job loss, even voluntary, qualifies your family to apply for ACA coverage immediately and I think you can still received subsided premiums based on your estimated income.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awww...thanks for the link. I'm kind of embarrassed now to have written a ranty post when I have it so good, relatively speaking.

    I'm so, so sorry that your husband's administration hasn't been acting responsibly with respect to COVID. I'm shocked and horrified by the number of people who continue to not take it seriously despite all the people who have died or been seriously disabled by it. It's like we're trying to make it go away by pretending it doesn't exist, and we all know how well that works.

    I hope there are better things ahead. Canada and its universal healthcare will always welcome you (following a 14-day period of full isolation, and assuming you meet the requirements of immigration).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suddenly I'm wondering if I could legally marry you and your husband to get you citizenship....

      Delete
    2. Don't be embarrassed at all! I was shocked to see how much this has affected your income and retirement plan. If you have to extend your retirement by years, that's a very big deal.

      My partner told his colleagues that he really, really hopes he's wrong and nobody gets seriously sick. He hopes that in a few months, everyone feels he overreacted. But we're both worried that a teacher or staff member or kid or a parent will get very ill as a result of the school opening.

      Delete
    3. Also, yes, we accept, we'd love to marry you and move to Canada! *starts packing bags*

      Delete
  7. This sucks. Sorry, friend. I hope you and your partner know you're doing the right thing: prioritizing your health, prioritizing YOU, is always the right decision. It's also a decision we workers make too rarely in our late capitalist hellscape of an economy.

    I'm keeping my eyes open for any opportunities and will reach out if I hear of something good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I appreciate that so much.

      It is the right thing, and I hope my lingering anger over this situation dissipates soon.

      Delete