As a part of a "running your business" class that The Wife is taking (gee, would this have been a good idea four years ago?) they had her do an Excel spreadsheet about personal finances. It was horrifying. Really, really, horrifying ... and (of course) the housing part of it was the least of the problems.
However, our one "investment" is money tied up in the condo. So it looks like we're going to have to sell. And move.
We could, for instance get 4 Bed, 2.5 Bath, 2,703 Sq. Ft. house in Billings, MT for about 1/4 of what we should be able to get for this place. Why Billings? I don't know ... The Wife came up with a list from of various cities from some internet sources. I just wish I could believe that we'd have good jobs and nice life. Unfortunately, the prospect of us losing everything over a very short period of time and still being unemployed seems far more plausible.
I have been, in essence, looking for a job for SIX YEARS, with various interruptions. Eschaton pretty much was "done in" by early 2001, and I started cranking out resumes back then (while keeping the book biz "on life support", hoping to be able to resurrect it), primarily looking to get back into Public Relations. Of course, at that point, I'd been "away from the game" for something like 8 years, and, while I got some very nice rejection letters, I never even got to the point of being interviewed (well, with one exception, but that was a bad situation). Of course, the fall of 1991 was not a good time for doing anything (following 9/11) and not much moved on any front. The Wife and I had been working with a "career counseling" group which indicated that I might be happy in I.T., so when we saw that the Chubb Institute was opening up a downtown campus, I signed up and was in the first class in their "programming track". Of course this was at the same time the dotcom collapse was surging across the country, and by the time I got out there were 50 guys with 5 years of experience in front of me for every damn job. I spent all of 2003 trying to get an I.T. job, but, again, never even got interviewed (with one exception, which was a "clerical error", they weren't actually looking for programmers). We eventually signed me up with a "career management" group, and developed a bunch of new stuff (resumes, cards, "elevator speeches", etc.), much of which I'm still using. Unfortunately, 2003 was a horrible job market, so horrible that the group I was working with ended up going out of business in early 2004, just weeks after my Mother died. I spent most of 2004 dealing with my Mom's death. Frankly, had we not had the influx of insurance money (and later proceeds from the sale of her condo), we would have been at this point in 2004. I still cranked out resumes, but the job search was tepid. That fall we bought the Tutoring business franchise for The Wife, with the hope that we'd be able to build it into something that we both could draw salaries from (with me as "Marketing Director"). We got a late start on the '04-'05 school year (buying the franchise in September) and had a weak first year. In February of '05 the feds tried to pull all tutoring funding from the Chicago Public Schools, which (successfully) argued that there was no other system in place to absorb the role, and got the funding back through the end of the school year. That summer was the start of No Child Left Behind. At the start of the '04-'05 school year there were something like 28 "registered tutoring entities" in the State of Illinois (of which all the ClubZ! franchises were "one entity") ... by the start of the '05-'06 school year there were something like 290, with everybody with any sort of education program lining up to get in on the federal money. Unfortunately, we had spent all summer dealing with the No Child Left Behind program, with meeting after meeting and conference call after conference call, and the rules changing every two weeks ... it was a madhouse, with three separate layers of bureaucracy (CPS, the State, and the Feds), all trying to put their stamp on the process (and the schools trying to wring every dollar they could out of the available funds) ... the coup de grace for us was when we got a 2"-thick book just about reporting to the State, and we opted out, allowing another franchise to handle the NCLB schools in our territory. It was again September, and we didn't have things much more prepared than the previous year. By early 2006 it was evident that we weren't going to have enough cash flow for me to be able to do any effective "marketing" so The Wife suggested I might want to do bartending, on the theory that it was a short training, and should be able to bring in at least some money. So, off I went to Bartending School in March and started looking for work. As detailed in this space, I spent all of the late spring and summer of '06 literally "pounding the pavement" filling out applications for bartending gigs, openings which had be sent to the bartending school by places supposedly needing bartenders. Over those months I applied for over 90 gigs, and got interviewed only 3 times. I did end up working (although only 2 days a week on average) with a Temp group, but was making nothing (generally) for my time and effort. Towards the end of the summer, I got sent out on a "straw that broke the camel's back" gig, where I had been told that I would be bartending, but ended up pretty much being a busboy at a huge event .. with a college degree ... at nearly age 50. At that point I figured I had to get back to finding a "suit job" and signed back up with the Career Transitions Center of Chicago (which I'd worked with back in '01). I have been working with job coaches and going to various seminars, groups, and events with CTC for over a year now, and have been in a face-to-face interview situation 3 times. I have a phone interview on Monday. If, by some miracle, somebody does hire me in the next month or so, perhaps things can be salvaged, but a dinky 40k job's not going to do anything but put a bandaid on a gaping wound, so I'm realistically needing to "hit a home run" with a serious suit job (and, admittedly, I do have resumes out for positions like this, but my track record has not been promising on being pulled in on these), or it's "game over".
I don't know what it takes. I've applied over the past year for various "fill the gap" jobs, with hotels, with book stores, with various small companies, but have had zero response from anybody. I don't know what it takes. At this point it looks like "what it takes" is going to be a miracle, and being a life-long Cubs fan, I know how infrequently those come along.
The fact that we don't have much of any family, and no RL friends to speak of, at this point is also not helping. Aside from me venting in here, there are no "shoulders to cry on", no intermediaries to say "hey, the guy down the block was looking for a...", nobody to even commiserate. I don't know how to do this "lose everything" or even "change everything" stuff ... I'm just in shock. I'm still cranking out resumes (sort of my "Arjuna at Kurukshetra" response), but at this point I'm beginning to feel that packing boxes is a more timely approach to my days.
Can I just wake up from this nightmare?