Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I Think I'm Losing My Job...Shouldn't I Be In a Panic By Now?

Even though I am self employed, my biggest client (you know, the one that pays my mortgage and all of my other bills) looks like it will be going toes up within the next week. I do have a handful of other clients that I make small amounts from each month and a few others that call me up occasionally for random projects, but this particular client has given me a ton of work over nearly the past decade so this is where I have focused most of my time and energy. (Note to self, don't put all of your financial eggs in one basket!).
So anyway, I was at a meeting yesterday with said client when she got a call and then left in a hurry. Fast forward a couple of hours when she called to say that her Board of Directors had put her on administrative leave and it didn't look like she would have a job by next week. Since my contracts go through this particular lady, there is a slight possibility that the company will continue with my contract but a really big possibility that they won't. I feel like I should be panicking right now but for some reason I am not. Here's my take on the situation:
  • We have our vacation already planned and paid for. We will be leaving next week and won't be back until mid November. It seems insane to leave when everything is up in the air but on the other hand, everything is paid for (airline tickets and cruise) and when we aren't on the cruise, we will be staying with family so our expenses will be minimal. We also incur zero expenses while we are on cruises since we don't drink, go to the fancy restaurants, go to the spa, etc. We decided to just go on vacation no matter what happens because everything is paid for, because a month plus of no work will give me lots of time to focus on other projects that could turn into new business for me, and because a change of scenery may provide for more/different opportunities for us.
  • I still have a mortgage payment to pay and some tax debt but fortunately, the huge list of debts I had just a year ago have been mostly paid off. If not for that, I really would be panicking about how to pay my bills should I end up without this lucrative contract job.
  • Unfortunately since I am self employed, I won't be entitled to unemployment. Bummer. However, since I have worked as a contractor with this company for nearly a decade, I will certainly wrangle with the Board for a significant bonus of some sort if I do leave.
  • I have been doing this sort of work for nearly 15 years. I like it, I am good at it, but I certainly don't love it. This may be just the shove from the universe that I need to follow my bliss and find work that I absolutely love to do.
  • If we needed to, we could sell our house and move to a smaller/cheaper place. We would have to sell for less than the amount we want due to the current home values in our area, but at least we would make a profit because we have a good amount of equity in our home.
  • I have a good husband that will support me no matter what I do. Although he is retired and has a set pension/income which pays our household bills so there isn't extra to pay ALL of the bills, moral support from him is a super good thing to have.
  • I am, in an odd way, kind of looking forward to living minimally. We've had our big house, and our nice lifestyle for years and years but now that the kids have all grown up and moved out, I have often thought, "what's the use of supporting this lifestyle?" I think I would be much happier with a smaller home, a smaller income, and lots more time to enjoy simple things like going to the library, hanging out with friends, doing yoga each morning instead of running out of the house to meetings, and having time to cook really simple, yet really good meals.
  • We may be "forced" to move overseas. We have toyed with this idea for a few years but it has always come down to what would we do with the house and how could I leave such a good job. This may be another push from the universe to try something new and we could easily live on just hubby's pension in his home country in southeast Asia.

So I guess, oddly enough, I am looking at this drastic situation as more of an opportunity for an exciting change than as a threat to our current lifestyle. I hope it pans out as such.


  1. You have a great outlook and it sounds like you have many wonderful options, if indeed, the company discontinues with your contract. First and foremost enjoy this extraordinary vacation you have planned.
    My husband has been unemployed for 20 months now and panicking serves no purpose whatsoever.

  2. 20 months???Yikes Actually my husband was laid off last January but since he was so close to retirement age (one year before he could draw Social Security) he just didn't even try looking for work and we have got by fine with his small pension simply by ratcheting back our bills and overall lifestyle. It's pretty scary to hear that people can't find work for nearly two years!!

  3. It's not uncommon, especially in Michigan. Luckily he is still on extensions and can draw unemployment longer than someone whose place of employment did not close.
    Your husband is lucky he qualified for retirement.
    Our modest house is paid off, so at least we don't have to worry about losing a roof over our heads. At times it's frustrating not being able to afford repairs, home improvements, etc. The only time I freaked out was when I was laid off last Sep. and we didn't have health insurance. I was called back to work a whopping 3 hours a day which wasn't enough to qualify for insurance. A full-time position came up within the school district and I was insured again at the beginning of Nov. 2009. My then 21 yr. old daughter who lives with us was hospitalized with H1N1 the week of Thanksgiving. I have faith that we are watched over and taken care of. That was close though!!