Friend facing layoff: no Plan B

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Friend facing layoff: no Plan B

I just had a very disheartening online converstion with a friend who lives near Anaheim, CA. She teaches kindergarten.

I got my latest evaluation, and my principal sang my praises as if there were no tomorrow. I adapt for each child, I have super classroom management, I’m well respected by my peers and throughout the district, I’m an asset to the school, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, yeah, and I walk on water. Moving on.

Cut to the staff meeting after school. Whereupon he says that if we are selected to move to another site (one school is being completely restructured) it is not because we are not good at what we do, but because we ARE very good at what we do.

Can you read between those lines?

I have been in my classroom for twenty-two years. Imagine how much stuff I’ve accumulated. Double it. I won’t know until Wednesday. I do believe I’ll be relying on alcohol to get me through the next few days.

to which I responded:

Every time I've read anything about California's budget woes, I've said a little prayer for you. Now I will say a big one.
I hope you have a Plan B, and I hope you do NOT have to use it. Message me here if you need to vent or if there is anything I can do - anything at all.

..and she replied...

You know, I never thought I'd need a Plan B--I teach, I enjoy it, and I'm good at it. Now I'm flailing for what a Plan B might even look like. So yeah, prayers are good. Real good.

What?! Much as I love her how the heck could she not have seen the writing on the wall? And not have a Plan B? You'd have to be blind or deaf and have your head in the sand of deep denial. A few relevant links from her local newspapers:

http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2011/11/15/o-c-schools-chief-73-million-cut-almost-a-slap-in-the-face/132623/

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/billion-354097-budget-million.html

http://www.aconews.com/news/article_2dcea216-a5c2-11e1-b406-001a4bcf887a.html

(I was particularly disheartened by the "business as usual" tone of the people attending a school board meeting in the last article.) I can again point my friend to the a prepper custopm group on my blog. She declined to opt in last time and it may be a way to direct her here to CM. Sadly, I'm not sure she will take me up on that or joining here - or that there is time for her to act if she does. It hurts.

So here is a thread to vent about our loved ones and friends who do not get the three Es and are blindsided by a layoff.

Ken C's picture
Ken C
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 13 2009
Posts: 753
Too many Ostriches

I am retiring this month from my teaching postition and I see first hand how those at all levels in education refuse to see the train wreck coming.

I do not have to retire but I am going to in order to concentrate on my own plan B (and perhaps C). Since I have much seniority and teach mathematics I could ride this wreck all the way to the bitter end. A couple of years ago when I first encountered the Crash Course and the 3 E's I tried to share this with some co-workers and basically got nowhere so I gave up on that and now worry only about my own. There are many people that will only see the wreck when it runs over them.

Here is an illustration. The district in which I teach has had serious financial difficulties ( so who hasn't) and has had budget cuts for the last several years. The current budget plan for the district is to hope that the state tax increase passes Calif. voters in November so that even more serious cuts are not necessary. THATS THE PLAN. Ha HA Ha. There is no way on earth that a tax increase will pass. So instead of making all necessary cuts and adjustments now the plan is to HOPE that we are somehow saved.

The ostrich mentality is alive and well here.

Ken

silviatic's picture
silviatic
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2012
Posts: 17
About plan B's

Hi Safewrite,

I have to confess I have no plan B. I’m starting to think about it, but it’s so overwhelming that it hurts and I do understand why people don’t have one.

Not sure if you saw my post about the options “the average Joe/Jane” has. I’m not saying that it’s impossible, but when you learn about the three E’s late and you are already buried, options are small. You just keep doing, improve the strategies, and change the priorities, but mostly, you just pray that you will have some time...

Most people everywhere trust that things will continue more or less the same, and don’t think two months further in the future. Because it is painful and because they don’t think they have enough choices: for most of us moving to a more sustainable place is just impossible. As paying debt and bills is the priority, there is little left for preps and changes. Circumstances are very different for each one of us.

On the top of your own circumstances, think that many of us are loners in our families, among friends and communities: nobody seems to be aware and nobody wants to listen. So how do you prepare for a plan B when your own partner is not on board?

In my case, I know my current contract ends March 2014. It may end earlier than that. I’m not that young, but I can’t retire either as I am an immigrant: so the money they took for years from my salary is now somewhere else, unreachable. I have to start again and need to work for another 7 years (at least) to have access to the minimum retirement in Canada. I also need to work to pay a debt I acquired trying to study a degree so I would have a better job. I got the job, but didn’t finish the degree...I may not get the same or similar job when this contract ends, but I can’t afford the around $CAD8,000 I still need to pay to finish my degree...and according to all what I am reading, a degree won’t guarantee anything anyways...so I’m stuck.

BTW, I didn’t access student loans; I put all in my credit cards. I’ve never used any government program and I pay taxes.

My prospects are unknown: I work with refugees and immigrants and with non-profit and humanitarian organizations. That’s what I do. But they are cutting and changing the rules and these organizations will disappear or change in unexpected ways.

I have made huge changes, such as where I put the money now (pay off debt as fast as I can, some basic preps), and the whole lifestyle, but plan “B” is a big word for me right now...so I understand.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
ostriches

Ken,

You're sadly correct about mere "tax increases" not solving California's buget woes, even if they do pass. There've been a lot of articles in the Daily DIgets about California's underfunded pensions and their underwater mortgages; I won't go back over old ground except to say that anyone interested in economic conditions in LA should read the postings of CM member soulsistersteph. She was able to get out of SoCal. Many people, like Poet, cannot leave. Hang in there and do the best you can - at least you're aware and awake!

My father was a teacher, and my mother was on the schoolboard. It might interest the average American to know that over 90% of a school's budget is Federally mandated: unfunded mandates,  I might add. The third article I linked to above has a school board official reassuring people that we are going to have a Federal curricculum next year and "that will solve everything." I can't see how: we practically have a Federal curriculum now, as Federal funding is tied directly to you doing what they say.

Glad you got out, Ken. Here's hoping that out of the chaos that may come people like you can pass on skills in a more old-fashioned environment, as a tutor. Who knows - in a post peak oil world we may have to bring back the one-room school house.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Dear Silviatic, Yes, I read

Dear Silviatic,

Yes, I read your post, and the wonderful reply by Amanda (did you read her "Preppping on a Shoestring? post?)  It is normal to feel alone in this, even with an immediate family that is all onboard. Most relatives think you are crazy to worry about such things, and there are many posts on that here, too: try

http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/dealing-reluctant-partner/49618

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/spouse-who-just-dont-get-it/14777?page=0#comments

http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/how-do-you-deal-abject-ignorance/48981?page=0#comments

And I know what you mean about other people outside of the family. Most of my neighbors and co-workers are not trying to get ready for the changes that are coming.  My coworkers--I telecomute to NY from SC--are all oblivious. A couple of my husband's coworkers are changing their lifestyles and raise chickens and try to live sustainably, but we only have four people in our neighborhood who really "get it." And to meet them took a herculean effort. Suburbanites and rural folks seem to just pretend that they are the only people in the world and usually no one knows their neighbor's names. I am still breaking through that shell with some of my immediate neighbors.

As for getting out of debt I had a good experience with Dave Ramsey's tools, most of which are free online: click to learn the tricks of getting debt free more quickly. I love the blog Wisebread for tips and tricks, too.

Hope some of this helps!

Safewrite

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Sure You Can Still Make Plans

Don't forget that even if you can't "leave" California (or some other fiscally imperiled state like Illinois), it doesn't mean that you can't have plans.

We can't leave right now because my wife is currently going to college (she's also a full-time stay-at-home mother). Community college in California is still less than than $3,000 per year for a full-time student (including books and tuition). That's a frickin' great deal still - even if tuition were to double, it would still be a good deal. Because she's doing this part-time, it will take a few more years before she gets her RN. After that, we'll have to evaluate where-to next. We might still stay, depending on how things go.

But I do have plans, of sorts.

First, we have no debt and we rent, so we are not tied down to a house or underwater on a mortgage. Over my wife's objections, I've refused to buy since we got married, and I've proven to her that it has been a good decision so far. So we can move out-of-state if we want to. My wife is from New England, and we have numerous relatives there that we could move in with.

However, if I somehow were laid off and I couldn't find a job within a few months, one Plan B would be to move in with my parents who live nearby. With that, we have enough put away that it would last the two years it takes for my wife to get her RN. (That's assuming I can't find a job, and I instead stay at home full-time to care for our kids so my wife can gear up and attend school full-time.)

During that "down-time", I would ramp up my knowledge. I definitely could build up my photography, auto repair, and handyman skills beyond the basics. I've learned to do things on my own that have saved us literally hundreds of dollars each year. Get better, and I could start doing stuff for friends and family for money or trade. There are some technical skills and certificates that I can quickly pick up through self-study or at the community college level, to augment my existing experience.

So anyways, hopefully as the example above shows, you don't have to think of yourself as being in a place with no plans. You can do a lot right where you are.

Lastly, your friend who has been teaching for 22 years likely won't be laid off. She likely has union seniority.

Poet

 

Tim_P's picture
Tim_P
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 23 2009
Posts: 298
 For me, plan B includes a

 For me, plan B includes a diverse set of skills that will be useful either in or out of a major change.  I am a software engineer and I know that my days are numbered in my current position.  Most of the IT work is being offshored in my company and it is only a matter of time before my job goes to India as well as the thousands that have preceded it.  Sometimes I think I have 18 months to 3 years, but other times I think I'll be lucky to go 6 months.

My plan B revolves around reduction of debt to zero as soon as possible and building skills in welding, metal fabrication and vehicle maintenance that will get me by if the software world disappears.  I'm also working to build skills in other types of development such as smart phone apps and web service apps.  The key for me is the reduction of debt and maintaining it at a zero level because I know I will not find a replacement for the current job that pays the current salary.  Elimination of debt is a very liberating act.  It opens a whole world of work that can be done and still be able to make ends meet.  The real core of my plan B is to put myself in a position where I have as many options as I can give myself and building skills while eliminating debt is the best route for me.

Tim

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