A bad day

bun and ted baja

Bunny and Teddy in Baja

My husband called me today, “How has your day been?” Immediately, I knew that he had bad news. He works in oil and we knew that there was a possibility of redundancy. He had been laid off and I felt a sinking of my stomach. I wasn’t quite sure what to say but told him to drive carefully on the way home. We have been preparing for this since the dramatic drop in oil price. I could tell that he was worried that I might fall apart but I didn’t.

He is a geologist with specific skills. When we first married in 1982, he had a job with a small consultancy. He had been working in Kuwait and things looked good but then…he was made redundant. It was devastating for him and he drove around all afternoon taking photographs before telling me. I was stiff with shock – I had a part-time job and we were already struggling to pay the mortgage and utility bills. Almost immediately he was offered a job with lesser status but the same salary for the sister company. His pride took a knock but at least we could pay the mortgage.

From that moment on we were careful with money, paid off our mortgage in our 40s and saved relentlessly. It was a valuable life lesson but harsh, nonetheless. We are fortunate, compared to most. We still have no mortgage, no debt, two cars paid for but what next? There are half made plans; opportunities with small oil companies; possible contracts in the Middle East but still nothing concrete.

I feel guilty that my mental illness makes it difficult if not impossible for me to be the sole wage earner. That said, I could probably get a job in the short term. His company has given him a generous pay off so we can relax over Christmas and then make definitive plans. Strangely, my thoughts today were with the people who jingle the bells for the Salvation Army. They have reached rock bottom and yet still have a sense of optimism. They seem grateful for every donation and cup of coffee offered.

We have drunk too much cheap Trader Joe wine today but know that life will improve. I was concerned for him because he was unhappy at work but couldn’t afford to move in case we lost essential benefits. Thank goodness we have lived in a third world country and are able to put life in perspective. He will get excellent references because he followed the rule: “Be good to everyone on the way up because you never know when you will be on the way down”. He is a good husband, provider and the love of my life.

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53 thoughts on “A bad day

  1. I am so sorry. Times have been hard. The economy just isn’t straightening itself out. Never heard of the word redundant being used like that. Try your best to enjoy the holiday season, and hope the new year brings good things. I wish you all the best. Hopefully, you will be posting a brighter post with good news in the near future.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I “liked” the post although I didn’t like it’s content Kerry. Sad times when a man is made redundant.
    However, you are right when you compare to other countries and those worse off in our own countries. Things will be better in the new year. Take some down time and enjoy the holidays. That will mean you can start the year re invigorated and absolutely focussed on getting back into the work place.
    Be positive and positive things will happen.
    Thats a Magnet promise 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kerry, it seems you and I are in the same boat right now.
    My husband was made redundent and is in a bit of a doom and gloom mood. It’s happened a few times over the years, but now he’s older and it’s a lot harder. We’re ok, but he has trouble seeing it right now.

    I’m keeping an optimistic attitude. I believe the new year will be brighter. Best wishes!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your support, Joanne. My husband is still in shock mode and is 57. He could probably go independent or do some consultancy work but I would prefer a regular company with all the benefits. Half the people in my street (in an affluent area) have had a lay off but we all bounce back. I was brought up in poverty with a mum on disability – I would prefer not to be hungry every Thursday but I could live in a trailer if I had to. Everyone I spoke to at work today had been hit by a redundancy recently. Networking groups seem to be a good way of feeling better or maybe volunteering? Let’s hope 2016 is a good year for both of us!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It appears to be a contagion among 50-some-year-olds. I lost my job almost 5 years old and took early retirement when I discovered how challenging the job market was.

        Like you, my husband grew up poor and is terrified that we are heading in that direction.

        I believe very much in a positive attitude though 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • I haven’t worked in years (apart from volunteering) and my psychiatrist has been urging me to apply for disability but I think that will wait until 2016. Thank goodness your husband has you, reminding him to be positive and optimistic. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  4. My husband has been out of work since August, but under different circumstances. Having endured bare-floor and empty-cupboard experiences in my youth, I found myself just shy of full-blown panic for the first couple months. I understand full well when you say you’d live in a trailer if you had to and I also ‘get it’ on a visceral level when you express concern over losing benefits and state your preference for not going hungry every Thursday. I’ve been there (past mess) and I *am* there (present stress). You’ve made some really smart moves financially from what you describe; you’ll make it through. I’m rooting for you. 🙂

    And I just want to add… Your love and appreciation for your spouse shines through beautifully in this post. It’s heartening to read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for this lovely response. I am astonished by how many people have been through similar experiences and I am rooting for you too. 🙂 When I was a child I didn’t realize we were so poor and it both frightens me and gives me strength. If only our society would share the wealth more equally we would be much better off.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Kerry I’m so sorry to hear this, and the timing is lousy too, what a Christmas present, the kind no one wants.something else will come up for him, I’m sure. I hope 2016 brings you better luck and a great job for your lovely man. All the best and a big virtual hug to you. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are so much luckier than other people in the same position but I thank you for the virtual hug! I know that he will figure something out – he is so talented. In the USA we have bell ringers who ask for donations for the Salvation Army and I really felt good this year for donating something and giving the guy my Starbucks card to get a coffee. Most years I feel like I am patronizing. Today I also applied for Obama care – our equivalent to a health service which I hope we won’t need.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. He has had a verbal offer for his first contract but life will be very difficult in the oil world next year – for everyone. Nonetheless, after a fraught week, we are settling into a new routine which will adapt. Thank you for your good wishes – very much appreciated.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: The Christmas Letter | Postcards from Kerry

  7. Hi Kerry, Sorry to hear of the lay off. I’m sure Andy will be able to find another job. He is too talented to be left without work. I’m retired now as of October 31st of this year. Its great to be off. There is always something to do. I don’t know how I found time to work! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Your cousin Chuck in California.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Clare. So far, so good. Losing your job and your mum is a lot in four weeks so I am trying to be as supportive as possible. I am pragmatically optimistic that even if we end up a shack in the boondocks (with him working at Walmart) that we would have fun there! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! Great attitude! I know you two will do just fine and I just met you! It does seem to me (from personal experience) that it all falls apart at the same time. The Universes’ Midterm exams all on the same day as it were! It can only get better.

        Liked by 1 person

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