Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Becoming the Object Lesson Guy

So with the end of the year also came the unfortunate fact that I am now unemployed. Nothing evil happened (unless you want to call government shutdowns and sequestrations cutting aerospace programs evil), but I'm on my own now with only so much money in the "rainy day fund."

What to do? Well, anyone who knows me understands that I've been trying to get back to Orlando, Florida, since I left there. I left the area because I couldn't find work in my chosen career, aerospace technical writing. As it turns out, after ten years away from sunny Florida, I found myself in a similar situation. I figured if I was going to start over again, I might as well start over and struggle back where I'm happy.

Over the past few days I tried getting an apartment. This turned out to be problematic. Apartment complex owners all have the same application and background check process, and they all want the same thing: proof of income 2.5 times the monthly rent. I'll probably get there eventually, but I'm not there NOW.

The options were:
  • Try to rent from private owners who didn't use the Standard Apartment Application Form.
  • Try to sublet from someone.
  • Crash with friends.
  • Crash with family.
The first three options cost money. The fourth did not. QED, at the tender age of 45, I'll be moving back with my father and stepmother temporarily. I've got a house-sitting gig in March, but for a little more than a month, I'll be one of those infamous boomerang children. My goal is to NOT be that guy for an extended period, so I'll be making the rounds, working the room, pressing the flesh, whatever it takes to get back on the employment rolls. It offends me to have to apply for unemployment. This will be the first time in my life, and I'd honestly prefer not to. I didn't apply in Alabama until December and then I did it wrong. Frustrated with the Byzantine paperwork, I've given up on filing here and will try again in the Sunshine State...unless I get work, then I'll retract that application so quickly you'll be able to hear the sonic boom from the government wallet snapping shut.

Anyhow, here I am: working on Plan B. Or C. I've lost track. But if you're reading this and you're employed, allow me to be your Object Lesson for the day. If you haven't start setting aside a liquid account for a "rainy day fund," do so now. This is different from your retirement savings or your checking account. Ideally, it's something that's a CD or money market account that can be liquidated quickly if you need it but otherwise is doing something useful for you and not just sitting there idly tempting you. And make the fund 6-9 months. I had a fund good for 3-4 months, which has been extended by occasional paychecks the last couple of months, but it can't last forever, so I've got to go back to basics: 1) get income flowing again, 2) reduce expenses.

2014 is going to be interesting. Stay tuned.

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