Do Hard Things

by Darla on January 22, 2010

in Doha, Qatar,Life

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just like people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, and most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is just like an old time rail journey … delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
Gordon B. Hinckley

This post originally started out as something about current books I’m reading but it fits my mood and our life situation to write one about our life this week.  Brian received notification that his contract is not renewing.  His last day will be march 31 which gives us just about 2 months to find a job here before we need to leave or in the US.

There have been blessings already that are evidence to me of God’s watchful care over our family.

1.  Decided not to make a large purchase for a luxury item at Christmas.  Just couldn’t decide.

2.  Tried to enroll the children in lessons, Karate and Tennis.  Each time they fell through and the Tennis the coach forgot the application the previous day.  Thank Goodness we were easily able to back out.

3.  As Brian started to network after receiving the news he found that the support from his office and colleagues in the business extend much further than he realized.

4.  A colleague that Brian worked with some time ago offered to write him a letter of reference as he is a fan of his work.

5.  The professor that he worked with upon finding out that Brian was leaving said he would provide him with a letter of reference and made several recommendations on places he could try to stay in Doha.

6.  Several staff approached Brian about petitioning for an appeal on Brian’s behalf and did.  We did learn that the non-renewal has nothing to do with Brian but rather a move the university is making to handle their systems administration needs – which we don’t think will work.  That said at least his co-workers will have more notice that they need to start looking for employment.

7.  Friends near and far have offered to pray that we will know the direction we are to go.

8.  Our family has said that we can stay with them.  Our savings can stretch that much further while Brian looks for work.

9.  We are debt free and started saving up for a 3 month short term savings of our income.  If all the outstanding monies come in (insurance reimbursement etc) we will have 3 months + monthly income saved.   This does count the modest sale of our car here in Doha.  If we make more than $5000, which is possible it will be that much better but we don’t expect it.

10.  Brian has submitted at least 7 resumes for open positions both here and in the states.

11.  We have a fall back position but it will be a trial the first year to make it work due to our tax status.  Our last 2 years worth of taxes will need to be redone and we will need to pay significant amounts to state and local government.  The good news is that our savings will cover it.  We won’t be ahead but we won’t be behind either.

As we contemplate our blessings our thoughts also turn to what we need to do to be prepared for the unfortunate possibilities.  So my thoughts turned towards what I can do to help out.  My husband has asked only that I be happy.  Being the person that takes care of the finances in our family my thoughts turned to more practical measures – how can we reduce our cost of living now so that we can increase our savings.

My search led me to the internet to see what others have done.  It seems to me that there must be too much shock at this stage to articulate how they dealt with the emotions of losing your job along with the practicality of what do we do next.  I don’t think our situation is hopeless but it is a Faith Walk.  Well here are a few articles that are helpful.

http://careerplanning.about.com/od/jobloss/a/job_loss.htm

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/budgeting/a/BBB_Explained.htm

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/budgeting/ht/Bare_B_Budget.htm

Our plan of action is to

1.  Assess our current financial situation.

  • What debts do we have?
  • Are there reoccurring expenses that can be eliminated or reduced?
  • How much savings do we have?
  • Do you have outstanding insurance reimbursements that need to be addressed?
  • Do you have accounts that will close because they are associated with your husband’s employer?
  • Are the fees you pay too high on your current accounts can you switch or change them so you get interest instead?
  • Do you need to work out some options with your credit card companies/mortgage company?

2.  Speak with Human Resources

  • Are we eligible for unemployment?
  • Do we need to move our 403B?
  • Shipping arrangements?
  • How soon can we expect reimbursement on shipping fees?
  • What things can we ship back to the US?
  • Get an inventory of items that need to be left in the house here.
  • How soon do we have to leave the country/our house after the contract finishes?
  • If we go back to PA can we have the tax preparer redo our taxes to undo our breaking domicile?
  • Are we eligible to go back to Pittsburgh campus?
  • Will we still receive our home school monies for this semester?
  • How do we arrange for tickets home?
  • Can we receive cash for the unused vacation time?
  • Are there other benefits that will help our family that we should know about?

3.  Finding New employment

We have been so fortunate to have supportive friends and family.  Keeping track of it all and keeping communication lines open are key.  On the other hand it isn’t necessarily the topic you want to have after a hard day at work.

About a year ago we implemented a Family Executive Council (FEC).  You can learn more about it here.  In any case one way we set up our agenda is through Google documents and then sharing it with each other having read and write permissions.  Yesterday we decided that we need to add a new section where we can keep track of resumes, suggested places to send your application, and possible job offers.  This way I as the spouse have an idea of what is going on without having the job discussion every night which my dh finds painful.  Really I do as well but curiosity you know and it will keep us both from losing our minds.

We have felt the peace that comes through our own prayers as well as yours, Thank you.   Today, we are having a family fast for knowledge of God’s will for our family.  It would be so easy to spend our time pursuing the wrong end.

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