“Bleak May unemployment report suggests economic recovery may be stalling.” — The Washington Post, 6/1/2012
These are no longer the days of working for the same employer for forty years and being given a gold watch upon your retirement.
My mister works for the state. Last year, Mister’s union took concessions in exchange for four years of job security. Let me say that again: Four. Years. Of job security.
Nowadays people are being laid off and just can’t find work again. I read an article the other day that attributed a slight drop in the unemployment rate in California to the fact that unemployed people stopped looking for work; they just gave up. Here in CT, a professional friend of mine just found a job after being out of work for nearly a year. He has a wife and two kids. My own company is reorganizing, which feeds the rumor mill and makes people paranoid.
Of course it’s no coincidence that home prices have plummeted, too. There are houses in our area that are newer and larger than ours but are now selling for $100K less. If we had to sell our house now we would take a bath. And then what? Move in with our parents? Apparently 40% of adults aged 18-39 are doing just that.
Say you lost your job. You owe more on your house than you can recoup. You can’t afford your childcare anymore even though you still need it; job hunting can be a full-time job in and of itself. You can’t expect your daycare to hold a spot for your kids or you can’t ask your nanny to wait for you, to not move on to another family.
I try not to think about this stuff too much because it could easily keep me up nights. I also feel like there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. Yes, I’m keeping my resume up to date and doing a little informal networking. Yes, we’re trying to keep a bit of money set aside to float us for a few months, but it wouldn’t last long. Other than that, I’m just trying to make sure I never give my employers a reason to let me go.
What’s your backup plan? Do you have any strategies for keeping your head above water in this bad economy?