Joblessness woes – in which I start freaking out

We have been bitten by the jobless bug over here in the RSG household.

Mr. RSG was laid off from his panic attack-inducing job as a mechanical engineer last October.  His severance was pretty decent:  8  weeks pay plus his company agreed to continue to pay our health insurance for the sum total of one year.  We weren’t too sad, at the time, to hear of his layoff.   He was, quite literally, popping Xanax twice a day to deal with his frustrating boss and the work stress related to his company, which was struggling after some sales person in his division messed up big time by buying scrap metal at over double the cost they could resell it at.

We were eager to have Mr.  RSG home and more relaxed.  We weren’t too worried about finances at the time.  Our home, a smaller, older one, was very affordable and we didn’t over-extend ourselves when we bought it.  The property taxes are low too.   In addition, I had some help from my family.

Mr. RSG went to massage school, and he’s midway through it.  If he hadn’t been laid off, it’s doubtful he would have found the time to do it.

But now, the year has gone by and he’s still unemployed.   In the past few weeks, we discovered little E (6) needs glasses, and I need mine replaced too.  This time, in addition to being blind as a bat severely nearsighted and having astigmatism, I can’t read the small print on medicine bottles so I need bifocals.  Which means, in addition to the extra cost of special lenses to reduce the weight, the rolled and polished edges, all of which is so it won’t look like I have coke-bottle lenses, I need to drop an extra $400 for progressive bifocals.  I about nearly puked.

I come home, dejected, almost afraid to tell my husband of my total shame at having such horrible eyesight that it costs $800 for a pair of glasses.  He said, well, it’s about that much when I get my glasses and contacts, so don’t worry about it.

But then, the next day he tells me, “oh, yeah, we got our notification in the mail that we will have to start paying Cobra to keep our insurance…which is $1600 a month and we have to pay it by November 1st”.  Ugh!

And then later I came across our property tax bill.  It’s ALWAYS been due by the 30th.  This year, it’s due November 10th.  Not that those extra twenty days will make much difference, but at least I can delay the bite.

Oh, yeah, have I mentioned we are STILL paying on middle daughter’s braces following her palate expander?

Argh!  Damn it.  I have a pretty decent financial cushion, but it will soon be decimated.

Yes, I’m done with my resume.  Yes, I’ve even started putting it ‘out there’.

I have one resume sent out to one of my old companies I worked for.  I sent it out last Wednesday, and I hope I get a bite.

A friend told me about a recruiter she uses for her scientific field.  She gushed about this person.  I actually submitted my resume, only to be told I have a glaring almost 8 year absence from the STEM field that does strike against me.

Sigh.  I knew that was coming.

I wrote about it in this post about Female attrition in the STEM field.  I know WHY I was happy with my choice to leave work in the first place for my daughters.  I’m glad I did.  I even wrote a post about Why Being Happy As a Stay At Home Parent is Truly Rebellious.  For the record, I stand by my statement.

I am the BEST caretaker for my children.   I had fun being their first teacher and teaching them some cool science experiments.

No one could have done what I have done better.

Given the same decision, knowing what I know now, I STILL would have made the SAME choice.

Even though I am FREAKING OUT a tiny bit about the bills coming due.

What I want to know is WHERE IS THE ON RAMP back into the STEM field?

I’m about ready to beg any local laboratories to give me some job training of ANY kind.  Even washing glassware in exchange for a little bit of money but more importantly MEDICAL INSURANCE.  Yes, despite the fact I was a supervisor of medical genetics laboratory that diagnosed orphan genetic diseases at a private university hospital, I will start at sub-basement level just to get back in the field.

I hope it doesn’t come to that.

Any job re-entry into the STEM field advice would be GREATLY appreciated here in the RSG household.

If you know of anyone willing to re-train individuals with very rusty microbiology or DNA analysis skills, please let me know.

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This entry was posted in Biotech, career, STEM, unemployment. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Joblessness woes – in which I start freaking out

  1. Rick says:

    Man, that is tough. As you know, that’s where I was, not too long ago. Let me see what I can do to re-foster the good karma you sent my way… I also have two friends in your field/related field (they’re managing labs that do some sort of protein/DNA analysis for immunology)… let me see what ideas they might have, too.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Rick.

    Any advice would be great. I have to pound some pavement, do some informational interviews at some local companies and I’m going to go back to my old university biology advisor to speak with him about entry level lab opportunities they might know about. Lots of times they contact him looking for cheap labor.

    He might know of something I can get in on.

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  4. Julie says:

    So sorry to hear your husband has been out of work 😦 My husband is a mechanical engineer, too, but in the food manufacturing industry.

  5. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thank you, Julie.

    I got your other note too. I’ll send you the files in a moment.

    Best Wishes,.

    Casey

  6. Phil says:

    I empathize with your struggles, and it always seems that financial ones appear in clusters. I do hope you and your husband will manage to find something meaningful soon, mitigating some of the stress that you feel.

    Stand proud of your decision to spend time raising your children. While you’ve a gap in employment in the STEM field, it is not as though you’ve totally forgotten and forsaken anything related to the science field. I’m sure you can point to many things you’ve done for your children and gathered experience while away. It’s pretty evident to me that you didn’t just sit around wasting away those years watching TV and scarfing down Bon Bons. So don’t let anyone make you uncomfortable about it at all. Here’s hoping you find a bit of swagger when that comes up.

    Meantime, network, network, network. People and their connections and networks, each node who in turn has their own network. That’s a good place to start. Connect with your alma mater for their job placement offices, and lastly, don’t be afraid to talk to employment agencies and recruiters looking to place jobs. Just make sure they are fee paid by the employer.

    Hang tough!

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Phil,

      Thanks for the well wishes and the tips. I have actually heard back from the company I sent my resume to, to fill out some more information before they review the resume.

      I am heading out to my alma mater this week to talk with my old advisor as sometimes local companies recruit student workers (which is how I landed my very first laboratory job) and I am telling just about everyone I run into about my job hunt – even in casual conversations with anyone just in the event that someone knows someone that could help me out.

      I have some of my old procedures manuals from the companies I worked for. I am reviewing them and literature on new procedures on the internet. There are some interactive tutorials I’ve taken to at least remember the process or learn new ones, even if I’m not practicing using real materials.

      If I get desperate, I’ll contact another recruiter. I got turned off by the first one I have dealt with.

  7. Julie says:

    Thanks, Casey. I am looking forward to getting the files whenever you have a chance to send them.
    Thank you!
    ~Julie

  8. Heather says:

    I just found your blog tonight and what a blessing! It is so good to know there are other people out there dealing with the intensity of a highly-sensitive gifted child. The resources have been great. I’ve ordered a bunch of books. I’m sorry to hear of your job-plights. Economy is sooo tough right now. Wish I could help.
    A question for everyone out there – do your hskids have sleep problems??? Mine is awake between 4 and 4:30 a.m. every day. Yes, I’ve tried putting him to bed later – it makes no difference, other than he’s more exhausted. I’m convinced that these kids need alot more sleep than other kids because they are processing everything so much. My little guy who’s 4 is begging for bed by 6 each night (no naps) and I am begging for bed too (being a highly-sensitive person myself). However, he wakes often, we still share a bed, and I get few breaks during the day. He is obviously exhausted all day but I can’t get him to wind down or stay asleep. The only way I can get him to wind down enough at night, even though he’s exhausted, is to give him small doses of melatonin, hidden in a grape or something. Any ideas? I’m desperate!

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Hmm…we’ve had sleep issues here too, but not super early risers, just kids who won’t go to bed until like 10 or so because they are reading.

      By 4, my oldest was sleeping 7pm to 7 am. The only one who slept like that like clockwork. She was also the only one who never needed co-sleeping to fall asleep.

      My middle extremely sensitive child as a 3 year old wouldn’t sleep until 10 or 10:30 until I cut out naps and it was a hard transition, but she did get tired by 8 (slightly more reasonable). But your son already gave up naps, so that won’t work.

      My third child goes through periods where she wakes up in the middle of the night with nightmares.

      If you try again to move the bedtime later, I wouldn’t do it all at once…just perhaps try moving it up incrementally a 1/2 hour at a time.

      Is it possible for him to sleep in the same room but NOT on the same bed? Perhaps if he’s a light sleeper, your movements are waking him up. Do you have enough room in your room for a toddler bed in your room so he has his own space to move him to when he’s asleep?

      One thing I have done is lay down with my children so they fall asleep because they have always had some issues falling asleep (lately it had been nightmares), then I move them into their own beds when they’ve gotten fairly deep so they don’t end up kicking me all night long.

      I know that calcium/magnesium helps promote sleep. I don’t know if you can find a children’s chewable that contains both.

      If you can’t find a chewable that contains both calcium AND magnesium, you could try epsom salts baths before bedtime, which contains magnesium and it is absorbed through the skin. Just a quarter cup dissolved in the tub is all that’s needed.

      Lavender too helps promote relaxation and sleep – either find a lotion with lavender oil and give him a nice rub down before bedtime…or maybe put some lavender oil in the bath too.

      Are you a member of Mothering.com? There’s lots of co-sleeping moms there that might have some more tips for you on the forums. They also have a gifted children’s forum too that you might ask more questions about gifted kids and sleep issues.

      Good Luck,

      Casey

      • Heather says:

        Thanks for all those those tips. I’ll try and get calcium and magnesium today and check out the website.
        Blessings

  9. Heather says:

    Oh, and I’m a single parent! So no hubby to share the load/ sleep!

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      That has to stink. Hugs…

      I know when husband worked nights, it was impossible for me to get my girls to sleep on my own. I was a wreck.

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