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Chuggin along, but am I really moving?

September 22nd, 2011 at 05:52 am

This month marks a milestone I'd rather not think about, but it's sort of like the elephant in the room: September marks the two-year anniversary since I was laid off from my job. The job, a salaried position with full benefits, seems quaint to me now, and I wonder seriously if I'll ever find another job like that again.

(Meanwhile, the president of Bank of America, I recently learned, earns $10 million a year. I could easily live, for the rest of my life, on one-tenth of what he makes in a year. Ironically, we do share something in common: we've both gotten handouts from the government...me, in the form of unemployment benefits and him, in the form of TARP money.)

These days, I have more luck finding contract or freelance work, short-term, project-based stints that can help me squeak by, but hardly puts a dent on my ongoing anxiety about finding the next gig.

I actually feel like roadkill these days.

On a more positive front, yesterday I interviewed the money manager in my hometown for an article that I already wrote that will appear as an insert in a local daily newspaper. I think it came out very well and (hopefully) he should be pleased. I also did some simple design and layout, which I don't normally do, and it looks good.

I won't earn much from this project and I think I under-bid it ($200) compared to what he says he spends to put on a dinner seminar ($3,000), but I'm hoping it will lead to more work. (He'll also have to spend $600 to the newspaper for printing the insert itself, but still, I'm obviously the cheapest part of his marketing equation at this point.)

Tomorrow is my interview for that p/t copy editor position. The pay is so little that it amounts to just $173 more a month than unemployment is paying me. But unemployment will end eventually. This will get me out of the house and no doubt improve my mental outlook. It could lead to a better position at this company down the road. There's no commute involved, maybe 1 mile.

I have to keep reminding myself of the pluses, modest as they be, because after crunching numbers and looking at it every which way, I think I'll still be living as uber-frugal as I am now...an extra $173 a month won't do much to change that. I will still absolutely need to generate at least $200 a month in other ways (freelance writing, focus groups, product testing, online surveys, etc) to break even, and that's barring unforeseen expenses like car repairs, healthcare or something related to the house. That shouldn't be too hard. It's basically what I'm doing now except that now I'm relying on unemployment benefits to form the bulk of my income instead of this p/t job.

I keep feeling like I'm trying to crawl out of a hole on all fours. It would just be too easy if I were given another $75K salaried job with health benefits. No, the universe has said I must crawl, and crawl I will.

4 Responses to “Chuggin along, but am I really moving?”

  1. laura(momcents) Says:


    (hugs) Chin up, buttercup! As my grandma used to say.

    You are an amazing example of resilience, and I hope that if my family faces unemployment in the future, I'll be able to do as good of a job as you have managing your income and slashing expenses.

  2. My English Castle Says:

    I agree with Laura! I always find your blog inspirational!

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    Hugs.

    I really can relate. I too, feel like roadkill!
    It's been four years since I left my full-time gig, and I've just been peicing together work every since.
    A few days ago, things were so crazy that I literally fell to my knees and asked "How long can I go on like this?"
    Contract gigs are definitely what's out there, especially in the creative fields, which it sounds like we both are.
    I'm trying to define what my next act will be.

  4. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I agree with Laura and MEC - you have a great attitude. I understand how disheartening it can be to apply for job after job after job. Twice in the past six years I got to the point of despair - feeling like I wasn't going to get a job, and that I was going to have to ask family for help. Then I got a job.

    I hope that something comes along soon for you!

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