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So Your Husband’s Been Laid Off: What to Expect the First Month


This guest post is from Renee. Be sure to read the rest of my series on surviving a layoff [2].

It’s been slightly over a year since my husband was laid off from Hewlett Packard after his 10-year stint there and the good news is that we’re still here…. we’ve survived.  I remember Day One like it was yesterday:

My husband worked from home and we made it a practice to catch breaks from work and homeschooling our 7 (soon to be eight) children by taking walks up and down the street to get out and catch up on the day. On this particular day, if there was any look of grave concern on my husband’s face, I totally missed it.

“It looks like I’m being laid off,” my husband remarked as we walked passed the neighbor’s house.  He’s not one to joke around, but I looked for signs anyway. No joke, this was the real deal and even though it had happened to various co-workers over the years, I wasn’t prepared for it.

I can tell you that once you get past the initial shock, there’s an air of confidence and hope that moves in, almost immediately. In many situations, a lay-off occurs in an already stressful environment: a boss acts differently when he knows he’s about to drop a bomb and the tension could be there for days, weeks, even months beforehand. Knowing your man gets to be released from that stressful environment is secretly rewarding, even though the paycheck doesn’t get to follow you. And then there’s the “God has always taken care of us” promise and the looking ahead to better days.

Let’s call that the “honeymoon” phase of a lay off situation (but hang with me, there’s a happy ending). You should know that the first month is a flurry of emotion of ups and downs. Here are some you can expect:

There are some positives:

Remember that hope I mentioned earlier? Even though it comes and goes, when it comes, it’s easy to fuel up on it and think outside the box. Is there a new direction your husband would like to take with his employment? Can he set aside time to learn something he loves while taking short-term job assignments? Do you have friends who appear to be living a life you want? Ask how they do it.

As with any tragedy or hardship, there are so many lessons to learn along the way and surprises to be had. They wouldn’t necessarily have happened without the large wrench thrown into our plans.  But I encourage you to remember that God truly has always taken care of you: prepare for a long, hard road, but perhaps it will be a journey to bring you to new heights.

Guest post by Renee Harris: Jonathan and Renee Harris homeschool and raise their 8 children and run their two businesses (www.hardlotion.com [5] and www.drinkbands.com [6]) from their home in Northern California.