Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nancy Hubbard: Laid off? Think you might lose your job? Can it be comforting to think about your bottom?

By Nancy Hubbard

No, I don’t mean the body part that you can’t find with two hands. I’m also not referring to getting out a crystal ball and foretelling when we will be at the bottom of the economic downturn, either. Although wouldn’t that bring some level of comfort if we knew that the bottom of the economic downturn was going to be on July 5, 2009, for example? We might be able to enjoy some of our free time a little more.

No, I’m referring to the point at which you personally (or financially) hit rock bottom as a direct result of your unemployment. Here is an example of what I’m talking about: If I don’t get a job and I start running out of savings with no end in sight, I would pack up the animals (no small feat for me with horses, a donkey and dogs) and move to the land my parents purchased 50 years ago. 

The land has no debt on it, so I would just have the property taxes and minimal cost of living. If it got to that point, it would mean that I turned in my nice leased car and lost the house (or if possible sold the house before it went back to the bank) — not a good situation, but it’s just “stuff” that I have accumulated over time. 

For me, thinking about and identifying my backup plan is comforting. I won’t be homeless. I will be strong and I will be okay. In some ways, it would be adventurous and exciting.

But each of our situations is different — so I’m curious to know if identifying your backup plan for the time when you are close to hitting rock bottom is a comfort to you or frightening? Please share your thoughts.

Nancy Hubbard is guest blogging on Laid Off Loser April 30 and May 1 as part of her project offering to work any job for free for two days. Hubbard, who recently was laid off from her job as a development and construction manager in the health service industry, lives in Wilsonville, Oregon. She can be reached by e-mailing


  1. Nancy, I find it both comforting and frightening — comforting that I have a safety net, frightening what the lead-up to reaching for that net might entail.

    We have had offers from both of our parents to move in with them if we hit bottom — my parents live in Ohio, Erica's in Florida. Both situations would be fine, but we would rather stay put and emerge from this with our finances (and sanity) in tact.

    I agree with you that the not knowing is maddening. I haven't given myself nearly enough time to enjoy my jobless state. Instead, I went head-down into trying to solve the problem. I need to allow myself more time outside to enjoy the spring.

  2. Nancy: Being one of the few that was laid off with you, I am comforted with the fact that I had planned for such an event. I should be able to come through this OK, but will have to build everything up again. On the flip side, I am concerned about being able to retire - ever! I have seen my 401K;s turn into 201K's and it is difficult to imagine being able to retire in comfort (I hate the word "retire" anyway!).

    Prior to being laid off, my oldest son moved out and I was ecstatic. I thought: 2 more to go! No such luck...he's back and I am back to a full house with all of the drama of having 3 adult "boys". One good thing has emerged...they all kick in to help me out financially. As with any situation, there are good things and bad things. I prefer to look at the world as if my glass were half full.

  3. Sorry Nancy, but I'm in the "terrifying" column. Middle-aged and laid off from an industry that's collapsing (I was a newspaper journalist, not an auto worker. :) ). Moving back in with parents would take me to an area where there is little opportunity, and into living conditions (basically, an abandoned house with no electricity) that would take "no frills" to a whole new level.

    But that's the only backup plan I have. Except, perhaps, welfare, which I have considered.

  4. I'm like this story because it is such an eye opener for many homeowners having trouble with their mortgage. I am a homeowner who writes passionately about the mortgage crisis situation , this site has the most up to date information on just about any kind of mortgage problem a homeowner might have.