Thursday, January 29, 2009

Change Is Good. Right?

I try not to blog when I can't be good company. And I never blog about work. But what the hell. I'm doing some much-needed wound licking today, and I feel like writing about it, so here it is.

The good news has been that I have a job at all. In this market, at my age, and with my health issues, employers aren't exactly jumping the line to sign me up. This one has great benefits and the pay is OK. The bad news is, it's the kind of job where you often consider whether a bullet to the brain wouldn't be a better way to start the day. Now, at least, I won't have to make that choice.

A number of people familiar with the place told me to watch my back once I reached this particular year of service. Long term company benefits vest at a certain year. When you get this close, it was said, the company looks for ways to make you miserable enough to quit. Failing that, they can always find fault with your performance and fire you. They don't wait to do it in the year before vesting, because it's too obvious then. I didn't want to believe that, but it is apparently true.

I'll spare you the details, but as of today I am considering myself to be unemployed. I'll keep going in as long as I can, because we really need the paycheck and the health insurance, but it's clear my days are numbered. If I'm lucky, I figure I'll last another two months. But I'm not counting on it.

This is where all those years of frugal living and saving pay off. We'll be OK for a while, and the hubby's company offers health insurance, albeit of the sucky variety. But his industry is on the ropes, so his job isn't secure either, and we've lost most of our retirement money to the market collapse.

And we have this new place. Could our timing have been worse? It's as though we finally grabbed the brass ring, only to discover that there was a bull's nose attached to it.

Today I'll be brushing off the resume and doing some networking, though I don't hold out much hope for that. So I'll also look into potential businesses to start, products, services and so forth. There's a whole irrigated field behind the house and 40 acres for lease next door. The former owners grew hay over there. That's worth looking into, I guess. (Is there a Farming for Dummies book?)

And you know what they say. Comedy is tragedy in retrospect ... God can't give you a gift until he empties your hands ... When a door closes, a window opens ... Yadda yadda yadda.

Wish me luck, friends. I'm gonna need some.


~ Lor said...

I hear you on all of this. From not posting when I'm not good company (even though this is usually when I can think of what to say!) to the "wonderful" job, needing insurance, sucky job market, house, etc. etc. etc. Just wanted to know you're not alone! Big hugs, ~ lori

Anonymous said...

I need your label of 'aw crap' cause that is just what it is. My sister husband was laid off recently and it will be difficult for them. I wish you many people in the same position but maybe not as wise as you were to live carefully..Where is the American Dream....

sallyacious said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're struggling. I have never understood how companies can be so selfish as to get rid of people before they have to shell out for retirement, when those people have given so much to the company. Good luck to you. I have faith you'll find something better.

Anonymous said...

Sending you lots and lots of good vibes. Best of luck with what will hopefully be new (better) endeavors. My heart goes out to you!

JC said...

Sometimes misery doesn't really love company, huh. I do wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Everyone over 57 in my company has been offered an early retirement package. The only good thing about is insurance until age 65. We all pretty much know what will happen if we don't take it. Sucks, huh??

MyMaracas said...

Thanks, Lor, for the hug. I needed that.

Rambling, I have found that "aw crap" label to really useful lately LOL. Feel free to use it. I'm sending good thoughts your way for your sister and her husband. I hope they'll be OK.

Sally, it really is discouraging, to be betrayed by people you have tried so hard to please. The financial gurus and Social Security number crunchers all advise working longer. They don't seem to understand that employers will not let us do that.

Fivegreenacres and JC, thanks for the luck and the well-wishes!

And Anonymous, I'm sorry to hear you got the "royal treatment" too. At 57, I guess I'm right on time for the boot too. Although, I have to say I would kill for healthcare access until 65. That's going to be the worst part of this whole ordeal.

It really means a lot that all of you took time to stop in and comment. It helps not to feel alone.

Nancy said...

Sorry to hear that this lousy economy hit you hard. It's all so scary.
Good luck on the hunt....oh, and thanks for visiting! ; )

(PS Love that snow ad)

Terri said...

Oh wow, I just read this. So sorry to read about it. I hate that companies can do this - they expect loyalty from you, why can't they return it? It really sucks. Keep us posted on what happens.

I wish for you a way better job just around the corner; then you can just flip 'em off.

MyMaracas said...

Nancy, thanks for the well wishes. I'm glad you got a kick out of the ad. I thought it was a hoot.

Terri, loyalty is of no value whatsoever at this particular company, nor are years of service. You're only as valuable as your last review. I guess that's the way most companies are these days. We can thank "Six Sigma" for a lot of it, and corporate greed for the rest. I am indeed looking forward to the flipping off part.