More About Work

I had a short workweek- just 15 hours over 3 days.  And I’m thinking it’s good to be starting slowly!  I’m working for a very small firm.  There are currently three of us in the office.  And I’m the only one on the 2nd floor.  I was wishing for peace and quiet but you know what they say about being careful what you wish for!  I have a big office with a desk, file cabinet and bookshelf.  And a fireplace.  It’s very nice, but very empty and devoid of personality at present.  I think I will buy a plant this weekend.

My co-worker and boss (who is at least 20 years my junior) are nice.  It was a fairly slow week, with most of my time spent doing paperwork, reading about current projects, and reviewing RFPs (requests for proposals) to see if any available work matched our skills and services.  Not much billable time – time spent that could be billed to a client – which is to be expected at this point but makes me nervous regardless.  I was laid off because there wasn’t enough billable work at my old firm.  Returning to work after such a long hiatus is strange – I’m eager to get back into the working world but at the same time it feels very constraining and oddly, a bit boring!  I expect that will change over time, especially as I get involved in actual projects – or better yet bring in new work to manage.

I will get my first paycheck July 28th, but my unemployment will likely end as soon as the folks in that department receive the form I sent in today. I’m making less money now than at my last job – about two-thirds of my old salary – but still, working 15 hours earns me as much as I received in unemployment benefits each week!  The difference is that once taxes and other deductions are taken out my net pay will be less than the unemployment check.  As you know that is the only benefit we’ve signed up for aside from Medi-Cal for my children.  I will have to check and see what happens to the Medi-Cal coverage – since I’ll have even less money I think we will still be covered.

The good news is I have a small amount of money from friends and – we sold our old trailer!  We have to pay double rent and electric for a week but we’ll still have a little left over to register the new trailer and pay for gas and other incidentals (we are pretty stocked up on food right now).  Since you’ve seen the new place I thought I’d show you (now that we’ve moved out and at least minimally cleaned) where we spent the past two years – one adult, 4 children, 2 dogs and one cat!

My oldest slept on the dinette, making it into a bed each evening and a table each morning, my middle daughter slept on the sofa, which was seldom in sofa position (photo shows it with the pop-out in but it only extended partway), my son slept on the floor in front of the door (we also had a bookshelf against the back of the dinette), and my youngest daughter and I slept on a foam mattress on a platform behind the camera.  There wasn’t a lot of space.

We are very happy to be in a bigger trailer, although there is a lot still to be done and I’ll admit I was somewhat torn while sitting at my desk this week, thinking about the painting, and serious carpentry necessary to make any of the storage places useable.  The pantry is one big hole, the closet in the bathroom – which should be spacious storage is useless until a new floor is put in and shelves built in one side with the other left open for the laundry hamper.  My very narrow bedroom closet is in similar shape with a dangling hanging rod. So I was sitting at my desk working but being teased by thoughts of all that was to be done at home!  Right now we have piles of clothes, books, and other possessions all over my nice new floor and it is an irritant (not to mention it made it even harder to find something to wear each day). Speaking of which it turns out the office is very casual so my kakhis are acceptable.

So in the next weeks as I get acclimated to work – and the children get used to seeing less of me and having to do more for themselves (I think they’ve gotten spoiled in at least that way in the past two years) – I’ll be filling my spare time trying to get us organized and settled at home.  I will need to hire a competent handy-person to do the carpentry as I was greeted by my daughter this afternoon with the news that the shelf I’d tried to put in the pantry had given way under the weight of the canned food! The walls are very thin plywood. I’m thinking about screwing some hooks in and just hanging bags of various kinds of food in the meantime!

While I am rejoicing to be back in the working world again, the unemployment and jobs numbers this week are not good and I have not forgotten the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are jobless and struggling. We are blessed by our good fortune, by the support of our family, friends and blog readers, and by the kindness of our neighbors. Even though we live in circumstances many people consider unenviable (or even as one commenter once said, dismal) we aren’t disheartened. In fact, these days we’re pretty rejuvenated! But at the same time I, at least, am very aware of just how close we still are to the edge of the slippery slope, resulting in joy tinged with butterflies in the pit of my stomach. I feel the weight of knowing that I have to make it at this job, I have to succeed.

This entry was posted in Job, moving, tiny houses, unemployment benefits. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to More About Work

  1. Jynet says:

    Hope you are doing well in your new job and it is becoming everything you want it to be. You are in my thoughts always.

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  3. Happiness for you and your family.

    Jules

  4. Pam McCormick says:

    When I read your post I thought I would burst into tears…..just overwhelmed with emotions for a stranger facing such difficult times …well I was overwhelmed to say the least.Not sure how you do it….but what choice do you have? the children and animals count on you and you rise to the occasion every time.But I only imagine “who is there for you?” cause every person reading this knows how delicate a balance this is, how fragile the situation is, the stress,the worry, the prayers to just get up each day and put 1 foot in front of the other.We are all rooting for you! Best of luck

    • Julia says:

      Beautifully written comment, Pam. You echo my sentiments perfectly.

    • boxcarkids says:

      Thanks Pam and all for the nice compliments but honestly I’m just doing what needs to be done. I was raised by the best mother, who rose to the occasion during some very difficult times – I owe her!

  5. Mela says:

    wow.. is all I can say. You truly are an amazing woman and mother. You are an inspiration. Congrats on your new gig and I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life…

  6. SAB says:

    I know you’ve avoided food stamps (or whatever the program is called where you are), but it might be a very good short term option, at least for a few months. With the reduction in net income, until your hours increase, having the security of some extra for food would be really handy. That leaves the job money for rent and utilities gas, etc. Just a thought….

  7. Barbara says:

    Congratulations on the move and the job! Your strength and persistence is an inspiration.

  8. Janis says:

    Can you use one of those laminated pantries you buy at Target (about $20.00 on sale). They are tall and narrow with a couple doors.

    Wish you lived closer. I have 2 of them not being used.

    If that would work, can you try craigslist or Freecycle?

    janis

  9. Becky R says:

    I know how hard it is to be a single mom (I have been one for almost the past 13 years (with a brief year in between.)

    I have been self employed for the entire time so I have not even had the chance for unemployment.

    I pray that your new job will go from 15 hours a week to enough. I pray that you can work around your kids school schedule (once Sept. comes) and be there for them after school. I pray you can pay all your bills, buy food, and provide for all your kids needs.

    I know how hard it is is and stressful to every month not know what bills I can pay in full. I know the sadness when my kids ask,” Can we go out for ice cream?” and I can’t afford it. I know what it feels like to wonder if the food we have will last.

    But I also know how blessed we still are. We have never been homeless, I have paid my rent almost every month in full and on time. I have actually only paid it late once in past 6 years. We now have a home (and a mortgage) and every day I want to cry I am so happy to have a home (I bought from my grandma, so family holds the mortgage.)

    I have a working car (it was given to me free 2 years ago.) We all have clothes that fit, lots of books, toys, and stuff (actually I try to declutter stuff daily.) We are all healthy. I am able to homeschool and still provide (it is all GOD) an income.

    I love your positive attitude as well.

    Have a great day and week.

  10. maja says:

    What an amazingly small space you guys squeezed into in the old trailer!

    Bit disappointing that the jobs growth was so small compared to what was expected, but I’m glad you’ve got your job now 🙂 It’s always hard at the start of a new job, but pretty soon you will be settled in and as busy as you can be!

  11. Heidi says:

    I have been following your blog and am very happy to hear of all of the exciting changes that you have made in your life. What a blessing to have a new trailer and a new job. I think that you should call and talk to someone at the unemployment office regarding your benefits. I don’t know how it works where you live, but where I live you can work part time and still get unemployment benefits. I was laid off a few years ago and it took me a long time to find work, and when I did it was only part time. I was allowed to earn up to a certain amount, and if my paycheck was over the allowed amount they would just subtract the overage from my unemployment check. Its worth a phone call, you may just be surprised! Good luck!

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