I spoke before about my husband being an electrician in our early days. He did that for nine years until the ripe old age of 25 when he was offered a job in the homebuilding industry by a brother-in-law. That involved a move for our family to a small town about an hour away, but we felt it was well worth it. My husband worked very hard to learn his new trade, often putting in six to seven days a week, often working dawn to dusk. We rocked and rolled along for eight years until that subdivision was built out. At that point, the company decided not to keep building in our small town and we had grown accustomed to it, so it was decided to part ways with the company instead of the town. He quickly found a job with a homebuilder new to our community, but the pay was 30% less. That lasted about two years until my husband couldn’t stand working for that company any longer. My husband is one of the most honest, dependable persons you’re likely to ever meet and working for dishonest people does not sit well with him. Since he was setting up shop for this company in our town, it was a while before the dishonesty in how this company was run at the main office became evident. And even then, since he had a lot of control as to the deals he made with the contractors and the buyers he was able to get things done his way for the most part. When his payroll checks and his own paycheck started to bounce occasionally, he realized he needed to do something else.
For a couple of years he worked on getting his own homebuilding company off the ground. He and one of his contractors partnered up and built a few homes. He was also working part-time as an inspector for the city. The housing market was tight so building and selling homes in a small town was not very lucrative and he began looking for a position with companies in the city where we had moved from ten years before. He found a job and commuted an hour sometimes an hour and a half when traffic was at its worst. He kept this up for two years until we sold our house and moved back to the big city.
Fast forward to the housing crash in 2008, the company he was with managed to avoid major layoffs until 2009. Then, they had two within six months. For the second round of layoffs, they asked for volunteers and after much discussion, we decided he would take it. He was worried that if he didn’t volunteer, he would get laid off anyway since he was one of the higher paid employees even though he had no college degree. Plus, the layoff package was supposedly better if you volunteered. His main concern was that our insurance with the volunteer package would stay in effect past the end of my chemo treatment (that’s a post for another day.) If he didn’t take the package and got laid off, we wouldn’t have any insurance at all, so the package seemed like the best choice.
The first two years after the layoff were great. We sold our house and downsized. Not only did we downsize, but we bought a hurricane damaged house for the land value and did the renovations ourselves. This kept us busy and saved us money. Our youngest kids had just left for college; the next two up were still away at college. Only our oldest was living at home with us. He was the only one who chose to go to a college within driving distance. During those two years, we lived off our savings, our layoff package, and the small 401K we cashed in. My husband also bought old boats, refurbishing and then reselling them. Plus he made knives and sold them on ebay. After two years, we were starting to get nervous that the homebuilding industry had not started to make a comeback.
He got a job with our eldest son who had by then graduated college and gone back to doing Landman work. This lasted almost two years until finally, the homebuilding industry started up again. He got a job with a mid size homebuilder and worked for them for two and a half months. He couldn’t take another day of it. This had to be one of the worst companies ever to work for. They were unorganized, dishonest and expected miracles from their employees without giving them the proper tools to do their job. And that’s where we are today. In between, in limbo as he searches for a job with a decent company. He has a couple more boat projects that he’s working on and a motorcycle project. He doesn’t have his forge anymore so he can’t make knives at present. He still sometimes buys and sells knives when he finds a good deal. You know, buy low, sell high. Something will come along, he’ll find work. He always does.
Alrighty, that’s enough work related talk for the day, unless you want to chime in with your thoughts, opinions or your work situation. Tomorrow, I’ll post about going to college in your fifties!