As we mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, May was an interesting month for us. Actually, this whole summer has been an interesting whirlwind of insanity. But May is when it all started — when we were blindsided by Johnny’s job loss.
For me it was a typical Monday morning of working and tending to Baby Girl. Johnny had gone into work early for an all-staff meeting that he’d been stressing about over the weekend. “I think there’s something up, Jo. I have a bad feeling about this meeting,” he’d repeated half a dozen times over the weekend. Each time I’d nonchalantly replied, “No, I’m sure you guys have just won a new client or something. Don’t worry until you know for sure.”
A few minutes into his meeting, Johnny texted me: Welp, layoffs. They will be sending out emails this morning.
And then it was a waiting game. And four hours later, he got the email saying that he’d been laid off, along with 20% of the staff. He’d been hired in the last year, and so he fit the criteria for the chopping block. Johnny called me and said he’d be home soon.
I felt jittery. All I could do is pace. I didn’t know what to think or feel — all I could really think about was Johnny. How was he feeling? When he got home, it was clear we were both in shock. We knew it was a big deal, but both of us were pretty emotionless. We immediately began discussing what our next steps would be — clinically, mechanically. We thankfully had a good emergency fund. And so we decided we’d take whatever time necessary to figure out Johnny’s next full-time gig. Maybe it was time to say goodbye to the advertising industry — the late nights and lack of work-life balance. We would be okay. And we had each other, which was really all that mattered. We fell asleep that night feeling good.
When I woke the next morning, I felt sick to my stomach. Johnny didn’t have a job. He didn’t have a job! I couldn’t support our family on my own. But, no. It’d only been one day. I needed to calm down. Everything would be okay.
The next few days were more of the same internal freak outs and mental pep talks. The weirdest was realizing all these purchases I’d planned and that were within our pre-layoff budget had to be nixed. Aside from groceries, we’d decided to initially freeze all of our other spending. Even Chick-fil-a is too extravagant? This is bad. We’re poor. I’m rather prone to dramatic thoughts. I took walks around the neighborhood with our baby girl and willed the stress to dissipate. I mentioned the news to a few family members casually, hoping to exact the least reaction possible from them. I felt so sorry for others who had lost their jobs. But Johnny and I were different. We weren’t those people who other people felt sorry for, were we? It was humbling. And I had a new-found respect for money. It is a very, very necessary commodity. Never would I take for granted our incomes again.
After a couple of weeks, we settled into our new life. Johnny woke up each morning, showered, got dressed, and went to the computer. He freelanced and applied for jobs almost eight hours each day. Johnny had freelance income and almost two months’ severance, so our finances were better than we’d initially thought.
At some point through it all, Johnny and I began to appreciate the new perspective we’d gained. When other people go through a job loss, we’ll know just what they’re feeling. I’d be more than okay if we never go through this process again. We realize our situation wasn’t nearly as hard as others who have gone through a layoff. We feel very fortunate that we were debt-free, that we had an emergency fund, and that Johnny was able to get a new job within a couple of months. And when we focused on all that we did have (our health, each other, a beautiful baby, loving family, and all our basic needs), our job loss didn’t seem so bad after all.
Those are my thoughts, folks. But Johnny will be sharing his firsthand experience very soon, so stay tuned!