So I apologize in advanced for how discombobulated this post is probably gonna be. A whole lot of crazy went down yesterday and in what might be a stupid mood I’m using this blog as a way to try to process what the fuck is happening instead of calmly waiting until I’ve processed it and then writing about it. This may be a mistake but my god I just need to get these thoughts out somewhere and this is a pretty big deal for my life.
I had been taking a small nap when Matt got home from work yesterday. He came in to say hi to me and he started asking if I was feeling sick or was just tired. He seemed kinda weird but I figured he just wanted to watch TV in our room and that he would probably do so if I was “just tired” so I said in a very fake way, “Oh I feel so sick. Cough cough.” (I did actually say cough instead of fake coughing. I was just being silly.)
That’s when Matt hugged me tight and said he had good news. He was going to have the month of April off with paid leave. My first thought was, “Wait, what about the baby?” I asked him if maybe it would make more sense to have this paid leave off, you know, after I give birth to our baby, but he said he couldn’t do that. Annoyed now, I asked him what we were gonna do when I did give birth. Was he gonna have to work straight through it? He said he didn’t know. Finally I asked him why he was taking a month of paid leave in April.
And that’s when he told me that his company had let him go.
I mean, he didn’t say it in that many words actually. First he told me that they had moved his position to another state. My brain tried to wrap around that as I asked, “Are they moving you to that state?” (Details are purposefully being kept sketchy here because I really don’t want his company to find this blog or this post.) Matt shook his head and said that they had already found someone in that state to give the position too.
So my follow up question on that was, “Well what does that mean you’ll be doing?” I can’t remember his exact phrasing but that’s when he told me. He said something along the lines of that he didn’t have a position over there now. He is finishing out his last week of work and then he’s cut free. Granted he’s cut free with a month of pay but still, no more employment.
And if that wasn’t enough to give me the feeling of the floor dropping out from under me Matt brought in the kicker with the only idea he could think of in the short drive home after work: “We should move to Pennsylvania.”
Now this isn’t quite as random an idea as it may seem. Matt is originally from Pennsylvania (the northeast corner specifically) and his family still lives there. We have had talks about moving out of state at some point. Neither of us are thrilled with New Mexico’s school systems or just the idea of raising a kid here in general. (It doesn’t help that in 2014 we were ranked dead last in the nationwide ranking of Overall Child Well-Being by the AECF. If you want to look at their report for 2015 click here. They discuss how they came to their conclusions and you can see that New Mexico and Mississippi like to duke it out for 49th place a lot.)
But Matt has started missing being near his family and friends and has talked about wanting to go back to PA specifically. He’s asked me before if I would be okay with leaving behind my family and friends and the only state I’ve ever known. I’ve been honest with him and said plainly, I don’t know. I like the idea of moving out of state and living somewhere else but I also know that there will be a lot of culture shock for me and I’ve never lived out of state away from my family before. I don’t know if I’ll actually be okay but I’m totally up for trying. But whenever we discussed these plans and ideas it was always with a like, 5 year deadline on them, so we could be moved before we really officially had to enroll our kid in school.
But a month? That just seemed too soon and too crazy. I’m entering my third trimester this week and the thought of trying to move across country and find a new obstetrician and everything else… Plus it would mean my family wouldn’t get to be here for the birth. We had already made arrangements for Matt’s family to come out and see the baby shortly after its birth but my family can’t make the same arrangements. If we moved that soon my family wouldn’t get to see my baby for a long time.
I didn’t really know what to do at the time so I called my older sister to tell her what was going on.
My sister and I are really close. She’s three years older than me and out of everyone in my family I probably get along with her the best. She works as a labor and delivery nurse and is so freaking good at it that she gets requested more than any other person there and her patients often come back to visit her. Needless to say I’ve been talking to her a lot about my pregnancy and getting advice and help from her when I can. So when I called her last night she was immensely helpful.
She pointed out that switching obstetricians in the third trimester is a huge pain in the ass and makes everyone’s lives more difficult. I’ve already established a connection with my doctor and it would be very difficult to try and establish a connection with someone new in a very short amount of time. She also pointed out that high levels of stress can totally induce premature labor and since she had noticed how terrified I sounded on the phone she used her Nurse Voice to calm me down. She made a very good case for at lease staying in this state until the baby is born and it was such a relief to hear someone agree with me. With her help and hours of more talking between her, myself and Matt a Plan was formed.
Our basic plan, as it currently stands, is this:
Matt is gonna apply for unemployment for the moment being. Since he wasn’t fired, he was let go because the company is trying to downsize to save money, I’m pretty sure he’ll qualify. This will help us while he looks for work.
We’re gonna scout for jobs for him here. The goal is to find something that is in the same pay range (or in our wildest dreams, higher) than his last job and hopefully something he enjoys. If he does find a job like this and gets it, then we will stay in NM until we feel that moving to PA is more realistic, e.g. more in line with our previous plans that had the five year cap on them.
If we can’t find anything or Matt does not qualify for any of the higher paying jobs here he will just get whatever kind of crap-ass job he feels like working (retail sort of stuff, apologies if your life is currently spent in retail hell. God speed and may the work you do always be appreciated) to tide us over until I give birth/our lease ends. But once the baby’s born we will move to PA.
So in summary, we are either moving to PA in a few years or in a few months. It all depends on what Matt is able to find job wise. But either way we will be here for me to give birth, I won’t have to switch doctors, my family will get to see their newest relative, we got this.
The whole reason that all of this hinges on Matt and Matt’s ability to find work is because, well, he’s the main bread winner. Even before I got pregnant I wasn’t the one who pulled in the big checks. My money helps, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t like my paycheck was the majority one.
Plus I recently had to leave my job. I was an at-home caretaker, helping people whose health conditions make caring for themselves difficult. I only worked with one client but she and I got along fine and it was pleasant enough work. Unfortunately her health took a turn for the worse recently and she began to require much more mobility assistance than before. This in itself is not a bad thing but when I asked my doctor if it was okay for me to help a 200-ish pound woman stand up and sit down using a gait belt she glared at me so hard I thought the floor was going to crack. So with a big NO from my doctor I stepped away from the position so my client could get the care she needed from someone who could physically perform the job without risking injury to themselves (or the baby).
So with me unemployed and pregnant enough that no company in the world will hire me (oh they’ll never say it’s because I’m pregnant but it’s really easy to turn someone down for work without having to bring up the pregnancy. Your hours aren’t what we’re looking for, someone more qualified applied, we already filled the position, etc.) our livelihood rests more firmly on Matt’s shoulders than it did before. So where he can find good work is where we’re gonna live. I do freelancer work stuff but that can be done anywhere. It’s not pivotal for me to stay here for that kind of work.
I know we are lucky. We have family and friends who are willing to help us out and get back on our feet. Our situation could be so much worse. I know there are people out there who lack the connection safety net of friends and/or family to help in these sorts of scenarios so when disaster strikes they have to pull themselves out of it alone. I am so freaking grateful that we are not in that same position. I wouldn’t even know what to do if we had no one to help us figure this out.
But even though we aren’t totally screwed and we have a vague Plan in place, I am still so mad at what happened to Matt. (WARNING: HUGE RAMBLING RANT AHEAD)
I remember asking him right away if he was okay, telling him how sorry I was that this happened to him. I know I’m his wife so it’s not like I’m going to speak against him or anything but you guys, he worked so hard for these people. He put so much of himself into his job and was always doing his best to make sure that the products he was working on did the best job they could and were working in a way that made people’s lives easier.
It’s always a tremendous blow to the ego when you get let go or fired. It’s something that feels so personal and difficult to deal with. He told me that he kept asking the big bosses if there was something he did wrong, was there something he should have done differently, something he could have improved on. But they said no. They had moved the position out of state and could not afford to accommodate him; either in moving there or getting a new position. There was nothing he could have done, the decision was made.
My anger has a lot of levels, you guys. His company knew I was pregnant and they knew I was due in July. They like to preach that they treat their employees like family but that is a lie on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Well, how about it is super fucked up to fire someone whose wife is 26 and 1/2 weeks pregnant!
Especially since the main motivation it seems they had was an attempt to save money. The big bosses who run and own the company have seemed incompetent to me in the past. This past December they literally could not afford to pay their employees. Paychecks were late for everyone but the people who got especially fucked over were the temp workers that got brought in to complete a big order that Management had placed too tight a deadline on. These temps had worked 40+ hours a week for anywhere from 4-8 weeks and they were being told that they wouldn’t see any of their wages for at least a few months.
I remember being nervous when Matt told me about all this and how his own check was delayed (this was happening right before Christmas too. So happy holidays! We can’t pay you.) I remember telling him that a good company should always be able to afford to pay their workers. Wages aren’t a surprise expense, they’re a pretty solid part of running a business. If you can’t budget for paying your workers maybe you’re not as good at this whole, “running a business” thing as you thought.
Like, it was super unfair of them to expect people to keep working even though they weren’t getting paid. That’s not how the system is set up. You know that if the reverse were to happen (“I’m not going to work unless I get paid!”) they would just fire the people. So why do they company to do it? (The fact that the temps were friends and family members of regular employees made it extra sad; I almost think that they specifically didn’t use temp workers through an agency because they knew they wouldn’t be able to get away with shit like this.) It just struck me as so unfair and such bad business managing that I expressed concerns and doubts to Matt right then and there. But he is/was loyal to the company and wanted to stick it out. And now they’ve rewarded this loyalty by letting him go.
I’m still in such a state of disorientation. My brain can’t really wrap itself around all of this yet. We might be moving out of state with a newborn baby. I don’t know how I feel about any of this yet (other than the anger you just read). Matt doesn’t know how to feel either. I hope I can be supportive and helpful to him through all of this. I keep telling myself that it’ll work itself out however it needs to. If we stay, we stay. If we go, we go.
We’re just gonna have to work through this one step at a time.