Husband laid off

auntneteApril 19, 2009

That is not uncommon, I know that. If there are others out there with this situation I urge you to respond. We have been married almost 15 years and have a solid marriage. BUT all we do is fight anymore. He has always been in a high management position with responsibiity for over 100 employees. I have tried to be patient. I was in high level management in my career as well but was forced to retire 10 years ago due to an illness. I know how I fought the change.

It seems no matter what I do he has to correct it. This morning I was cleaning the tub and he walked by the bathroom and had to tell me the correct way to do it. He does this about my cooking, cleaning, dressing, hair you name it. I encouraged him to go to his doctor and he was prescribed an anti anxiety medication. I understand he is under a huge amount of stress and our financial situation is not great. He has never had to stick to a budget and now he is fighting it. Are others experiencing this? We have always been so close and I am just in shock about his behaviour. Maybe our marriage was so strong because we were never around each other. Is the economy making your marriage stronger and bringing you together? Or are you fighting about petty things? Will divorce be another trend due to the economy?

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How be you keep a log of all of his complaints? Date, time, subject ... maybe a sliding scale of the level (vehemence?) of criticism?

You will know whether it's best to keep it on the fridge door, with each new item added as it appears, or whether to keep it on the quiet for just a day or two ... or three or four, before sharing it.

You are not one of his subordinates: you are an equal partner, no?

How would it go over if you started criticizing about 1/2 of the errors, lack of judgement, etc. that he makes?

Would that possibly produce a positive result, or just get him all the more upset?

Can he present a relaxed, comfortable, unfrantic demeanor when he goes for employment interviews?

Or is part of the trouble that your reply to that one would be, "What employment interviews?

Good wishes for getting your tapestry rethreaded somewhat, soon ... rather than further unravelled.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 2:22PM
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Hi Auntnete,
My DH took a "retirement" buyout Dec 1. I have it in quotes because at 52, he is not retiring. It was just Chrysler's way of cutting the salaried workforce. He gets most of our health insurance paid for (we pay about $300 a month) and about the same amount of cash he would have gotten with unemployment insurance. Since I am a contractor with no benefits at all, we needed the insurance.

My DH has had periods of really being negative and fatalistic in the last few months. He has never been critical. Indeed, he thanks me almost daily for working so hard to bring in the money we live on. He spends hours some days doing job applications, a few minutes on other days when things are slow. He is studying different programming languages in order to be able to qualify for more jobs. Here, the recruiters say, a thousand IT people are applying for each job that opens up.

A few weeks ago, I finally convinced DH to make me lunch most days, and he does, nice healthy lunches. (For months, he did not, expecting to be working again soon.) He always has done all the shopping. Now he is cooking a lot more, too, since we have decided to get take-out only one day a week. He also has been home when his dad's health has declined the most, and has been needed at times to help Dad's daytime caregiver. He is getting more patient with his father, and it is good to see that happen.

Our marriage is going well, it is DH's ego that gets hurt the most. It is so hard to NOT be supporting us, when he has gotten used to doing so. We did just go through a rough time - tax time. We always paid some of my estimated taxes by having his paycheck withhold more, and with no December paycheck, we had to put more aside from our everyday expenses. We were afraid that we would not get enough set aside in time to pay the remaining 2008 taxes and first quarter 2009, but we squeaked through. We have only a small amount of savings, and are trying to leave it in the bank.

We married in our late 30s, and it was a second marriage for me. I learned a lot in the first marriage, so have been a much better partner the second time around. DH had been independent, so looked at marriage more realistically, too. We have had some difficulties at times, but have never intended to hurt each other, so worked it out.

Your situation sounds like so many marriages when the husband retires and stays home with a wife who got along fine with him gone all day! Maybe you can talk with him about what he intends when he gives you "suggestions." If he understands that it hurts you because it feels like a put-down, he may try to change. If not, just hand him the supplies and offer to let him do it whatever way he thinks is best!

I always try to see what someone is "really" saying when the message is negative. Try responding to his criticism by saying, "I know you miss being at work," or "You probably feel like you'll never be a manager again, but you will, things will get better."

I hope you get a lot of good suggestions. Given time, the two of you can adjust and be stronger for it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 12:38AM
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First, I'd like to offer condolences about the job loss. And, yes, recessions always lead to higher divorce rates.

My DH has not lost his job but he's working under tremendously stressful conditions. All week long, at work, he's barking orders at staff. We are only together on the weekends (we're an east coast commuter couple). On weekends, he's snapping orders at me like a drill captain...obviously having trouble changing hats appropriately. He's always been an excellent motivator of people due to his fair, even-handed, & fact based management style. Now, he's becoming snarky & demanding with his staff (his AA has started complaining to me...saying he NEEDS a vacation!). It's bleeding into our marriage. We've been planning on retiring in 4 years (May 1, 2013). But, a couple weeks ago I made an appointment for mid-June with our financial planner to see if we can comfortably move that day forward to May 2010 just because of the stress. There's heart disease in his family & I'm afraid I'm going to lose him if we wait 4 years!

I think these times are taking a toll on many families for many reasons. Some have lost jobs, some have watched their savings vanish, some like my DH are strung out like a violin string, & others are underemployed working several part-time jobs trying to make ends meet in the middle with the gap ever widening. It's bound to take a toll on families.

I'm trying to use humor with DH. When he barks...I give a crisp salute, wink, but say nothing. Sometimes though, I have to admit, when it's time for him to head back to the city on Sunday night I sigh & my own tension relaxes. That's sad.

I'll keep you & your DH in my prayers. You too Nancy.


PS If there's kiddos around don't forget they are feeling their parents' stress. Kids need lots of reassurance, hugs, & kisses in times of stress & uncertainty.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 1:29PM
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We've been through a couple periods of what we call "sabbatical" for DH. They've ranged from 12-18 months - a long time. Fortunately we're not in one of those right now but we are in a commuter marriage situation - not because of unemployment but good offer to do something he thought he would like better (which he does - just in another state). I work full-time though so I wasn't hanging around with him all day when he was unemployed.

Anyway, here are some things I observed/experienced during our "sabbaticals". I tried very hard to empathize with his situation. I think it is very, very hard for men to be in this situation and they also don't tend to talk about their feelings which makes it even worse. DH tolerated it pretty well and remained amazingly positive but he did get frustrated at times. He didn't ever tell me how to do things but he was otherwise rather unpleasant at times. I never let him suck me into any arguments. I would just calmly say something like "I can understand you're frustrated but there's really no reason to take it out on me".

We talked alot about how things happen for a reason and that you have to try to make the most of it. You have to find something to do that is productive, fulfilling and enjoyable in life - even if you're unexpectedly unemployed. DH took advantage of his time off to spend helping his aging parents - something in retrospect it seems maybe he was meant to do. Since I was working he took over more responsibilities around the house - he sometimes made nice dinners for me - and was very proud of making them - which made him feel better.

Does your DH have something to do - other than oversee what you do? Some long neglected projects around the house to work on? Does he exercise - get out and walk if nothing else. Could he go volunteer to help someone else in need? That is one of the greatest things to help you realize you don't have to look very far to find someone worse off than you are - which helps you put the whole thing in perspective.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:54PM
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Im so sorry your husband has lost his job but please donÂt let it end your marriage. Stress and anxiety put together with ego may get downright depressing for whatever spouse is living with someone who has been laid off or just having a long fulfilling job go downhill. My DH has not been laid off or lost his job yet. He works in the automotive industry so every day he has a job is a good day as far as income is concerned. Over the last months I have seen him go from the guy that is always at work early and happy to be there to the guy who comes home early needing to vent about it all. He never takes it out on me he just needs a sounding board.

I have seen him almost burst into tears, not like him at all, on the day he had to lay off the first of 63 employees. He has had to cut compensation, his includes, hours and put on a happy face doing it. I tried to talk to him about all the stress and as usual he kept saying he was fine it was just hard at times.

That all change the morning I got a phone calls from our family Doctor confirming he had an appointment that morning. They were supposed to call his blackberry but they never get it right and called me. It turned out he woke up with his heart just pounding and according to him it took several minutes to get back to normal. I really wanted to vent at him but was afraid to upset him at that point. Over the next week DH had every test you could possibly think of for anyone they suspect of having a heart condition. The good news is he is just fine his blood pressure is about the same as a 10 year olds. The Doctor had a talk with him about stress and said he probably had as anxiety attack. So my guy who is always upbeat and never lets thing get to him learned that stress is not always out on the surface.

The only advice I can offer is try to just let it roll off your back as hard as that may be. Talk to him about how important it is for you to come through this recession with your marriage intact and everything else will eventually fall into place. If you let him know you are in this together and your marriage is the number one priority maybe it will give him a new outlook that he didnÂt know he had. Let him know he is not alone in this and remind him that together you can do anything.

We are so close to retirement that at this point if DH comes home down I just tell him to go in and tell them to take the job and shove it. That always get a laugh out of him I just wish he would do it although the board said they wanted five years notice. June 2011 is our plan and we are sticking to it. I guess I should be thankful that the board thinks GM will still be around in five years.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:10PM
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Hi again auntnete,

I think that I owe you an apology for having given a suggestion which would more than likely excerbate the situation ... which is precisely what you don't need any of, at the moment. Or in the coming days, either.

It seems to me that the other responders offered some worthwhile insight and good suggestions.

Is there someone that you can talk to about the current situation?

Either a good friend, who is sensible and down-to-earth, and able to cope with life well ... and who knows how to keep her/his mouth shut about confidential stuff?

Some clergy persons make good listeners, but I sometimes (frequently?) react negatively to the ones who have ready-made Christian solutions that they can hardly wait till you're through talking to hand out.

Good wishes to you and your husband as you work your way through this new challenge to your marital equilibrium.

Would it help if you were to let him know that some of your friends here are thinking of him ... of you both and your family ... and sending good thoughts and hopes that you will cope well, working through the various issues together as a team ... and that things will improve?

Some years ago (early summer 1957) they had a cloudburst in the French Alps and the people of a small village (Ristolas - high above Lyon) had to abandon their homes in a rush, spending the long hours of a wet night in the forest near their village, listening to the rushing water and wondering what it was doing to their homes: it had left a lot of dirt in the houses ... if anyone had told me that I'd find five feet of earth on the main floor of a home, I wouldn't have believed their story ... but I worked for many days helping to clear away the mess. A youth work camp had their plan fall through and came to work in that village, and some of us volunteers helped with cleaning up - shovelling the dirt into wheelbarrows, that then we pushed out into the street and a bulldozer came along and pushed it away.

The women and children were mostly staying with relatives, etc. in nearby villages... and they were worried about winter, for the stream had washed out the road in several places and they were able to drive down through ditches in summer, but not in winter ... and they were using over-mountain roads in summer ... but they closed in the fall and could not be used in winter due to major snows (they did big business in skiing in winter).

Some years later I wrote a message to the mayor: the work camp leaders and I had stayed in the upper floors of his house, which he used as a dorm for skiers, in winter. In his reply he said that, along with their surprise, one of the most heartening things in the minds of the villagers was thankfulness that strangers from distant places ... and countries ... had come to help them in their time of need, to help them cope with the disaster.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 2:35AM
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I am trying so hard to be patient. I so understand what he is going through. In addition to the anti anxiety medications the doctor put him on high blood pressure medicine. 4 nights out of 7 he is in the bathroom throwing up. Last night was the worst experience. He started hitting his head and calling himself a loser, stupid, dumb. I cannot recall half of the things. I tried to calm him down but nothing helped. I finally let him have some privacy and I heard him crying but I left him alone. He is constantly searching for work. Whether it is headhunters, online, trade magazines, networkings, state employment agencies. He spends hours online daily. The weather here has been terrible so we are both forced to be inside for the past 3 weeks or so. My parkinson's has gotten to the point that I rarely go out in public. It is 5:30 in the morning and as soon as his doctor's office opens I will be calling them. The only thing I can think of that might have set him off is he wanted to invest in some online junk company. I read it and knew it was a scam. If I had the money he has put in schemes over the years but anyway I said, lets research it. Well I did and found pages of terrible stuff from the BBB as well as fraud alerts. I printed it out and just laid it on his desk. At first he was saying I did not support anything he wanted to do and then it went to the selfdeprecating. When you go from high level management to Parkinson's overnight, trust me you have your ego in check. I also know that I am not a real compassionate person, so I try to just smile and say nothing lest I suffer from hoof and mouth disease. My DH is so sensitive and compassionate so I really am trying to be careful what words come out of my mouth since I know sensitivity does not come natural to me. This weekend is an annual event he has not missed in 10 years. We simply cannot afford it. All his buddies are calling him telling him how much they miss him etc etc etc maybe that has something to do with it. I just don't know.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 5:53AM
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auntenete -- I am so sorry you are going through this.

My DH is also a white collar guy working for the "Big 3" in metro Detroit like a few other posters. It is so stressful right now going to work and hoping it is not you they pick to let go. I know he has been second guessing his performance lately --- I hate watching him go through this when he has 27 years with the company.

I would just stress to him that it is not his fault. It is incredibly hard to find a job right now -- he is a victim of the economy and nothing more.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 9:04AM
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I am so sorry for the terrible time the two of you are having. Your husband probably does feel stupid for choosing the online company, especially since you were the one who found the bad news about it. I understand that you don't have money to lose right now and you had to prevent him from sending money their way, but it was yet another bruise to his ego. Too bad he is not the type to do all that research himself, it would have felt better if he had discovered it was a con job, instead of you discovering it.

My DH is downhearted today. Two jobs he thought he was perfect for declined to do an interview with him. A third one has been silent - and this job was one where he knows the guy doing the hiring. Lastly, he got a call from a headhunter trying to fill a job at his old employer. He would take it, as a last resort. The job is supposed to start next Monday. They sent his resume in on Monday, but no word today about an interview. If they want the position filled by Monday, you think he would have been called today to schedule an interview. Job hunting really stinks right now.

Auntente, I am worried for your husband. I hope he saw the doctor today. Listen carefully to your husband. Take seriously any talk of "you'd be better off without me," or anything hinting of not wanting to go on. Middle aged males usually succeed with suicide. If you have firearms, hide the ammo or get them out of the house at the first hint if he starts thinking that way. Pills and alcohol are the other route to watch for.

I know what you mean about your being the less sensitive and compassionate partner. I am, too. It sounds like you are very aware of it, and that is great.

I am thinking about you and your husband, and I hope things get better very soon.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:32PM
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It may be hard if you don't think being a compassionate mate comes naturally but I do think it's important for the spouse to try to bolster the ego and self esteem of the unemployed DH. It is so easy for someone in their situation to quickly go into a downward spiral of feeling like a loser and into a serious state of depression. Low self esteem isn't good when you're looking for a job and depression is dangerous.

DH was pretty good about it but sometimes he would talk about feeling like a loser too. One time I was out of town and talking to him on the phone and he did have a desperate, depressed outlook that rather scared me. I did everything I could to try to offset that kind of thinking. It is hard though when the whole ordeal is stressful to you too for you to try to give your all to support the person. You need support too. Maybe we can help you in that regard.

Please stay in touch and let us know how you and he are doing.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 1:50PM
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Your post has been on my mind for the last two days, and you've been in my prayers.

I'm a retired nurse - trust me, you don't need to be compassionate to help someone. At times, it can be a hindrance. Your husband needs to see a doctor without delay. It's easy to see why he is depressed and anxious, but he has been put on new medications. I have to wonder are the medications working, is he having adverse side effects, etc? Only his personal physician could answer that, possibly along with a therapist. I sincerely hope that you still have health coverage and that this won't be an extra burden you have to carry.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:55AM
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Hi Aunt Nete,

It was about a month ago that you first wrote.

Thank you for sharing your worries and concerns with us.

I think that my suggestion would have been less than helpful: I hope that you chose to not follow it.

I hope that things have been better for both of you in the past few weeks.

I send good thoughts and hopes that things are improving ... and some prayers on your behalf.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 1:48AM
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I thought I would update everyone. It has been about a month. I think his medications have leveled off and he seems to be better about everything. While it seems we have had one set back after another, we did have a very positive thing happened. We thought we were going to have to spend a huge amount of money for a repair we thought unnecessary. No amount of talk on my part could change the inspectors' mind. Finally, as I was hiring a contractor, my DH came out and talked to the inspector. I went inside and let them talk! Bottom line, it was a huge boost to his ego and our bank account but we did not have to make the repair. Yeah! He had one 'headhunter' call and talk to him over an hour. DH was outside when the headhunter called again and that called turned out to be yet another scam, the headhunter wanted money up front....I do not think so. But I did not tell DH. He is really on a high that finally he got a call back from a headhunter and the money he saved us. That boost turned into him going to a job fair and 2 human resource reps have since called. His blood pressure is still high, but I think things are starting to level off. I do appreciate having a place to vent and the sincere advice everyone gave me.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 11:02AM
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So glad to hear things are looking up a bit!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2009 at 12:14AM
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Hi Auntnete,
I am glad things were getting better for him - and that you intercepted that call that turned out to be a scam. I hope things continue to improve. You DO have an empathic ability, see! I am certainly glad to hear he is not as low as he was a few weeks ago. We had a local laid off fellow decide to jump from an overpass into traffic recently. The freeway was closed all day as the police talked him down. They got him down safely.

Here at our house, things are looking up in some ways. After applying for every job he was even close to qualifying for in SE Michigan and not getting a single interview all year, DH decided to try out of state. He has interest in Rochester NY, Madison WI, and Jacksonville FL. We are pretty sure he is out of the running in the Westfield OH job, though. It was the closest job, too. DH still has hopes for the Rochester job, but contract language is holding it up. Everyone says such good things about Rochester, too.

Like your DH, mine has had some good conversations with headhunters/contracting agencies about his skills and his ego is getting the strokes he needs.

Since we have two houses and my job here, I will not be moving for a long time. We are hoping that one of the jobs comes through, but not looking forward to the commuter marriage. If the job looks like it will be permanent, we figure I may move to the new city in about a year. My way of coping with the issue is to do online house hunting in the new cities. If I can learn about the city and find a house I like at a good price, I am more able to be optimistic about the situation. With Chrysler and now GM in bankruptcy, it may be a very long time before Detroit and the rest of SE Michigan are able to support the workers who have had to leave to find work.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 12:02AM
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Nancy - if you end up in the commuter marriage situation let me know. We have been doing this for seven months now and it is going better than I would have expected.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 1:19AM
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I mentioned in a different thread that my husband was laid off, too. It's been about 6 weeks now, and still nothing -- he applies to jobs, and never hears anything back. It's getting a little frustrating. Thankfully, between my job and his unemployment checks, we have just enough to pay all our bills. We just never expected it would be this difficult to get a job -- the last few times he jobhunted, he got something within a week or two. Things have really changed in his industry :(

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:54AM
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This is a hard time to be looking for work, so he shouldn't feel too bad that he can't get one immediately. With the economy the way it is there are many people out there looking for the same job.

Part of the problem is the time on his hands and you are experiencing whay many of us who have retired husbands had to put up with when our husbands first retired. The other part is his feeling of what he is going to do to support his family, so there is stress added to the mix.

He could use part of his time to up-date his resume.

Look into government programs that could up date his skills.

Network--let it be known that he is looking for work. Who knows that aquaintance or family member or neighbor down the street may know someone who is hiring.

Evaluate the skills he does have. Is he good at gardening. Maybe someone needs a new flower bed dug and designed. Carpentering, maybe someone needs a new deck. Can he mow lawns, paint, whatever. Put a notice up on some bullitin boards offering his services and check out what he has to do--like insurance and things to begin a home based business or just bring in some extra cash and make him feel useful, while he continues to look for work

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 12:49PM
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rivkadr - what kind of work does your DH do - what part of the country are you in?

A friend of ours was laid off nine months ago and he just got a job - needless to say he and his wife are very, very happy about that. Like us both had decent jobs and he had some severance so not as bad as some cases but the longer you go the more disconcerting it becomes. When my DH was "on sabatical" as we refer to it, I remember looking for a forum for wives of unemployed DH's - it's a very challenging situation. I don't know about others but I think it is like the old days if you had cancer and no one would talk about it. It's like it's taboo to discuss it - and I think it's really helpful to be able to talk with other people who have gone through the same thing.

Here's a thought for anyone with a DH with excellent DIY capability. Neither me nor DH have that skill so we have to hire a handyman. Fortunately I found a really good one on Angie's List. He's not cheap but he is very, very good. I called him recently to do some stuff and he is swamped. He is so busy he can't take on any new customers and has about a one month wait to get something done. I keep thinking anyone out there who is unemployed and has the skills to do this stuff should start a business. I'm not sure if it was on GW or somewhere else I read a thread about people lamenting the inability to find good quality handyman work. I know it took me many tries to find someone good.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 11:41AM
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gibby, my husband is a video game programmer. We live in SoCal. Unfortunately, the video game industry has been hit pretty hard in recent months -- the last time I looked for a job for him (around 2 years ago), there were tons of companies to take a look at...a lot of those companies are gone now, out of business. He's tried looking for jobs outside the game industry, but his skill set is very specific -- it doesn't transfer well to other jobs, unfortunately. I personally would have no problem moving elsewhere (like up to San Fran where there are many more game companies), but we are tied to our house -- really far underwater on our mortgage, so we're stuck where we are.

He did manage to find a short term contract (a few weeks long), so he's at least doing something right now. He's very depressed in general, though, which makes it hard for him to work and focus.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:19PM
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rivkadr - I think it's so hard to see these guys like this. I don't know for sure but I don't think it is as hard on women as it is for men. I'm not sure how I would react if it were me. Other than the lost income I'd love some time off (be careful what you wish for though).

Though I've always worked and have comparable level job to DH, I think it was really hard for him to have me "supporting" him. I didn't care and I never was upset with him about not working but I think it was very hard. And of course you do have to cut back on expenses and get very frugal and I would give him the facts on the finances and I think he really hated the whole thing.

nancy - what is happening with your DH?

auntnete - how are things going with you and DH?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 10:20PM
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Well, forum members, I have some encouraging news to share. My DH started looking for out-of-state work about a month ago. He has a phone interview tomorrow with a company in Nashville. He may have a phone interview later this week with someone in Jacksonville, FL (this job pays a lot more). Two jobs in Madison, WI have called him and are just waiting for government contracts to get signed. Another company in Rochester, NY has been talking to him for about a month, and is having contract problems that have to be resolved before the job is filled.

DH is much more optimistic. Right now, he is studying for the interview tomorrow. He has been greatly encouraged by multiple responses to his resume, including some very positive compliments. This may be a very hard choice to make, but it seems to be the way to go for us. We have TWO houses to sell that we are underwater on, so I will not be going anywhere soon. Once we have one sold, 6 months of living expenses put away, and are looking like we might have enough money to sell the second house (once my dear F-i- L passes, he is 93 this week and lives with us) THEN I may be able to join DH in whatever city he is at. Or maybe then he can start looking for work here again.

We may both have master degrees, but in the end, we are simply working class - chasing that paycheck where ever it takes us.

Here is hoping the week brings better news for all!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 10:28PM
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Nancy I am so happy for you and your DH! My DH still has not had an interview and has put his resume out all over the USA and even in several other countries. He has gotten a few rejection letters but to me at least they are acknowledging his resume. The job fair contacts went no where yet. I have had some serious health problems and in fact go in today for an angioplasty. We do not qualify for the Obama COBRA bailout. Our monthly medical insurance premium has gone up to $950 a month! The tough times do bring you closer. Since my physical health has gotten worse we seem to be getting along better. He is still quick to snap at trivial things and a few times I call him on it. But the bottom line is that it is trivial.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 7:14AM
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nancy -- I am curious why your DH took the retirement? My neighbor, a Chrysler engineer, is hanging on "until they lock the door" -- he is almost 50 but has elementary aged kids.

My DH is a Ford guy and we discussed what would happen if he took a retirement/buy-out -- the big problem would be selling our house if we had to move.

You get slammed with a double-whammy in metro Detroit because if you lose your job and find another out of state, you must likely can't sell your house or have to give it away.

I have never seen so much nervousness and doom and gloom in our area before.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 11:02AM
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Auntnete, the phone interview went very well, and DH is expecting to fly to Nashville toward the end of next week for in-person interviews, so this is a BIG step. We are hopeful... I know what you mean about "at least they are acknowledging him" when he gets rejection letters, there are so many applying for jobs that they don't even contact the vast majority of those who send in resumes. It is good to hear that you two are getting along better, but I am sorry that your health is not the best.

Stir Fryi, DH could see that Chrysler was not going to keep on much longer. He figured he would lose his job eventually and be stuck with no health insurance and no pension. Since I do not have health insurance through my work, you could say that he retired to guarantee our health insurance until he found another job. He had no idea he even qualified for the buy-out, since he was three months shy of having 10 years in as a hired employee (since his first 8 years there were as a contractor). It was a great surprise when he got the retirement offer. Remember that Daimler had practically given the company away to Cerberus, and Cerberus is a capital management company - not a car company. We were waiting for them to just break up the company and sell it for parts. Getting health insurance "until retirement" and a "pension" that started at age 52 seemed like a good offer. DH figured he would be in one of the first waves of people hitting the job market, so would have a better chance of getting a job than if he got laid off with everybody later. Plus, GM and Ford were about to make cuts. He figured it was better to job hunt now, rather than later. DH researched and learned that since his pension was so small, he would continue to get most of it even if Chrysler went totally under and the Pension Guarantee Trust had to take over paying his pension. He read everything he could find on the subject and is quite certain that he will only lose $50 a month when Chrysler quits honoring their promises and backs out of paying the salaried pensions. So his plan was to take whatever money they offered now, because they are not going to offer it again, then get a job and leave it all behind.

We already have one previous house that we can't sell. We will use the first few months of DH's income to sock away enough to put it back on the market at a low price, so we can get rid of it. Then we will use DH's income to put away the 6 months of living expenses we did not put away before.

Since DH's dad lives with us and needs a wheelchair accessible house, we will not be selling the house we live in now, until he is gone (he is 93 this week). If I move to where ever DH gets that job, then we will just have double mortgage payments. We did it for a year and a half before we got a renter into our old house, and we can do it again. Buying $200,000 houses when everybody tells you that you can afford $350,000 houses makes it a lot easier when you are making double mortgage payments. :-)

No matter what, I would guess that DH will be commuting a couple weekends a month for at least a year, maybe longer.

I still can't believe that we have been able to make it on my income alone. We sure must have spent a lot of money on unnecessary things in the past!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:58AM
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Breaking News!
My DH is no longer unemployed. A job turned up this morning. The company knew DH was flying to Nashville tomorrow, and they got him in for an interview at noon, then hired him at 2:00. He is commuting only 18.4 miles! He starts work Monday. He cancelled the trip to Nashville.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:27PM
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YAY!!! Nancy - that is great news!! And a ray of hope and encouragement for everyone else too!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 11:48PM
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Oh Nancy I am so glad for you and your family. My DH has had no further success. There was a job fair Saturday with 53 jobs. 1500 people showed up! That is very telling. Nancy, I am so happy for you.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:09AM
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Nancy, that's wonnderful news! I hope his first week is going great. And auntnete and the others, hang in there, it will happen for you too!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 10:00PM
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Thanks for all the support. DH just interviewed yesterday. Today he went back and got all the employee info from HR. If he passes his background check, he starts Monday or Tuesday.

Auntenete and all the other wives of unemployed spouses, I have to tell you HOW he got this job. It was through the connections he has made with the recruiters. He works in Information Technology, and it seems that nobody just hires computer people these days. Mostly, they post their needs, and consulting firms then do the advertising and hiring for the jobs. Consulting firms check the references and talk to the potential new hires, then submit names to the companies who need workers. In DH's experience, the consulting company usually will be the new hire's employer, but you often get interviewed and "chosen" by the company that needs the workers. Sometimes there are a half-dozen firms all sending candidates to the company that needs the worker. Only a few times has DH run into the situation where a single consulting company has the contract to fill a job, and only they pick the candidate(s) to send to meet the company who needs the worker. Only once did he apply to a company that hired the worker directly, without the consulting companies involved!

Because of this system, DH has about a half-dozen recruiters in Michigan who he has been interviewing with by phone. Once they decide that you have skills that they need, they kind of watch for jobs for you. Sometimes they will call DH and say that they have an opening at XYZ company. They ask DH if he has talked to other consulting companies about the particular job, and if someone else is "representing" him for the opening. He might have to call another rep from another consulting firm to even figure that out. Sometimes he learns that the other company put his name up for a different position at XYZ, and that the company who called him CAN put him up for the position. Sometimes he just has to check his spreadsheet and see if he has been submitted for the job already by another company. We think that this may be a Michigan thing, with so many consulting companies trying to fill the few positions that come up. It would be interesting to know if it works this way elsewhere, too.

When DH decided to start applying for work out of state, he "got" a whole 'nother bunch of reps at different consulting companies involved. He would see the job posted online, apply for it, hear from the consulting company and do a phone interview with them. If he liked DH, the new rep might even rewrite DH's resume into their format, chosing what to emphasize to the company who needed the worker. Then they submit the resume to the company needing the worker.

DH got his job because a consulting company rep for CDEF Consulting (not their real name) in Boston was going to submit DH for a job in Rochester NY. That job got tied up when the lawyers from CDEF and lawyers from the company CDEF was going to provide contractors to, got stuck while negotiating contract language. Since the lawyers were slowing down the process while trying to get the language right, DH had applied for a dozen other jobs, waiting for the Rochester job to get to the point that they would even interview him. He talked to the rep from CDEF every few days, and developed a working relationship with him. When DH learned he had passed the initial phone interview in Nashville, he called the CDEF Company rep for the Rochester job, and told him. Something like, "you are going to lose me, since I am going to take the first decent job that comes along. It looks like I may be working in Nashville soon. Can you get the lawyers to figure things out so you can interview me?" He made similar calls to people in Florida and Wisconsin who were "putting him up for" positions in those cities.

Unfortunately, there was no budging those lawyers. But the CDEF Co. rep that DH had been talking with for the past month and a half decided that he did not want to lose DH. So he called the CDEF Co. office in our area and asked them to see if they could use DH for a job here. That call probably happened late Monday or early Tuesday. By 12:00 Tuesday, DH was at the CDEF Co office near us interviewing, and by 2:00 he was told he was being employed by CDEF Co. for a job they were working on here in the Detroit area. He starts Monday. In this case, the company CDEF is working for did not want the workers at their site, they just hired CDEF to do the work. DH is employed by CDEF and also works at CDEF's office, not at the company that needs the work done. We now wonder if jobs like these even make it to public online sites, or if they are filled by word of mouth.

If DH had not been keeping in contact every few days through email or phone, the Rochester CDEF rep would not have known him so well. The CDEF Co. rep sure would not have called the Detroit area office about DH if DH had not told that rep that he was possibly going to be hired down in Nashville. It may have seemed that DH was "playing one company off the other" to someone observing from the outside. Some people looking for work would not have made those phone calls, warning the reps who were considering him for jobs that he was about to get hired elsewhere. You don't want to feel like you are pestering these reps. But, apparently, keeping in close communication with these guys did work.

When did finding a job become so complicated?

The reason I wanted to share this story with you is that your DHs may have a similar system in their industries. It is hard to know what is too much and what is too little networking with these consulting companies that fill these jobs now. Maybe DH's experience will give someone the courage to just keep networking. You never know where the job will come from. Remember, DH had not had a face-to-face interview in Michigan this year. Who would have guessed that a guy in Boston (the one filling the Rochester job) would be the key to getting a job right here at home?

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 11:45PM
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That's a great explanation of how things really get done. I have a client, an HR consulting company. They represent companies and have specific jobs they do searches for. There are other types of companies, aka headhunters, who represent potential employees. It's typically commission-based, where the reps don't make money until they place an employee, then get a percentage of their yearly salary for compensation. They can be very aggressive in helping someone get a job if it's the right kind of candidate.

Your story illustrates how diligent one needs to be to get hired these days. Whether going directly to a company or working with a recruiter, it's critical to establish relationships, network, and follow up relentlessly.

My DH knew his job was going away about 18 months ago (large contract expected to end and not renew). Casually, he made sure that fact came up in any conversation with friends, old co-workers, business acquaintances, former customers, etc. He went to trade shows, signed up for LinkedIn, followed up with old college friends on Facebook, you name it. Over the many months, those contacts never directly produced a job interview, but instead many email contacts, many conversations with future job possibilities, etc. But no real offers. At the end of April, the contract ended. He was out of a job. Within 3 days, he had 2 verbal job offers without ever really having had formal interviews. The one he took was with the parent company of his former employer, so he never really went through the interview process. Just this week, formal job offer #2 finally came through. (His first email to this company was over a year ago!)

Yep. Job search is completely different... but the tools out there,, LinkedIn, Facebook, online searching... are so powerful for networking.

My brother-in-law in Michigan just recently got laid off. He's currently in Mexico doing contract work for a former client because of his informal networking pursuits.

I agree with Nancy completely. It's all about establishing relationships. Job fairs might get you a first contact with someone, but they're not going to get you the job (not with odds like 53 jobs, 1500 candidates!). Instead use that time to network, to get names and emails, and use that information for lots and lots of follow-up to hopefully start establishing a relationship.

Also, in case anyone reading this thread is not already laid off, the best advice I got from my HR consultant client, was start the job search while you still have a job. Not that you're actively looking or going on interviews, but it's always time to build those professional networks.

Sorry so long-winded!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:44AM
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Yay for your hubby! I've been following this thread without comment. I am very glad for you and yours...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:48PM
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What great news that your husband has found such a satisfactory position, and so near home, Nancy!

Thank you for describing the way that he worked through the issues during his search, and how those things are working, these days. I hope that they will help some of the others in their searches.

Good wishes to the rest of you while you are going through these trying times: I hope that you will find a fulfilling position soon.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 4:05AM
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Nancy! Maybe you are startng a positive trend. My DH has an orientation at a local company on Thursday. I never heard of going through an orientation before getting hired but it has to be a positive move. The job he was applying for has been filed. It is a two day orientation. It all seems kinda wierd but it has to be positive. I will keep everyone updated.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:18PM
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Auntnete, it does sound like your husband is making some progress, let us know how it turned out for him!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 12:18AM
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Nancy's post reminded me of how my sister-in law (a nurse) got hired from hospital to corporate nursing job--better pay and much better hours in this case. Someone she had worked with in the hospital moved to a position with a large company in town. They were looking for someone to fill a position and SIL's picture just happened to be in the paper for winning a trap or skeet shoot. Friend clipped the photo for the bulletin board and a light went off in her head. Why not call and see if she was interested in the job. Heck yes!

So, hey, you never know what contacts or exposure will lead to a job. Glad to know both your stories have happy endings, Auntnete and Nancy.

Nancy, I was just about to mention that home prices here in Rochester are pretty stable and reasonable compared to most of the country. And I'd be glad to let you know what areas are more desirable and those to stay away from, but really glad you don't have to move. That's the best possible outcome.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2009 at 10:57PM
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OK, the orientation must have paid off because he has an interview on Wednesday! It is a very qualified interview. The email said you might have more than one person interview you, that more than one possible candidate might be in your interview, etc etc. But it is an interview. He is so excited as am I. And the background check is unreal, he was in the airforce and I do not think they did this much when he needed a higher security clearance! They said they will do the acutal hire on August 4th. If he gets the job he will have to go to Korea for a month for training. It is 45 minutes from our home, which is closer than the job he had when we lived here before but we were so spoiled when we lived in IL. He was 5 minutes away! I will keep you updated. Nancy is your DH enjoying his new job?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:59PM
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Auntnete, what great news! I hope your husband has a successful interview on Wednesday.

No, DH is not enjoying the job. He didn't aks enough questions, he now says, and assumed that the job was more than it really is, based on the questions they asked in his interview. He is not using most of his skills. On the other hand, he is thrilled to be working again and he likes the people he works with. Last night he came home with a tune in his head that he had been composing. He ran right to the synthesizer to get the tune down. When he played it for me later, I said, "The job can't be so bad if you get musical inspiration when you are driving home."

    Bookmark   July 3, 2009 at 10:09PM
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They called from the company DH had an interview with today and he did not get the job. I have to say that he was certain he got the job when he came home from the interview. Darn! Of course the income is important but his emotional well being right now is more important. I am so disappointed for him

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 5:54PM
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Awww - that's too bad. I'm sure he is very disappointed. I know how disheartening that can be especially if you really get your hopes up. I hope he can try to stay positive - it's a good sign that he got the interview.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 10:21PM
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Hi auntnete, just wanted to say I'm thinking of the 2 of you and hope you are hanging in there. It sounds like you are no longer in IL? We are in Chicago and I know 4 people who were laid off within a week of Thanksgiving. 2 just found jobs (1 a week ago) and 2 are still looking. The 2 who have gotten jobs were both heavily networking through every means available (I don't know about the other 2). But, also important, also spent time doing non job hunting activities to try to keep sane. Still I know it was extremely difficult. 1 realized how much stress the *job* had been putting on their marriage. The other ... I'm worried about theirs. Hopefully they can repair the damage now. Wishing continued strength to you and your DH.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:40PM
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Blackcat, no we are no longer in IL. My DH accepted a position in IL in 2007. I moved up there in 2008. We made double house payments for quite a while and the house never sold. We rented it for a short period of time but that was a nightmare as well. Since we were making a house payment in Georgia we decided to move back. DH has stayed in touch with co workers in IL and they tell him things are really bad there. I want to thank everyone so much for their input. My health is continuing to decline, and I go back into the hospital on Tuesday.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 10:56PM
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Hi again Aunt Nete,

I was sorry to hear that, though he'd been hopeful, your hubby didn't get the situation.

And sorry to hear that your health has deteriorated to the point where you need to be in hospital.

(((((Aunt Nete and Hubby)))))

Good wishes for things to improve right soon.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 11:49PM
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OK, I only read about the first five responses, all aimed at giving salvation to your poor, pitiful husband.

Hey Girl... If he doesn't like the way you clean the bathroom, throw him the sponge. He don't like your hair... have him pay to get it "fixed".

He sounds like an arrogant ass, and since he is now without a job, why don't you go on your merry little way?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:58AM
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