The last three months have not been easy, and as I'm struggling to dig myself out of this dark hole, I know going through with continuing to blog will help. It is kind of ironic that my last blog post was about staying positive. I think I wrote that to remind myself more than anything.
The reasoning on why I would never hit publish on my posts is mainly because I felt like it would be pointless because no one would want to read it. Self-doubt can be my biggest vice.
Another source of my depression was situational. My husband was laid off from his dream employer the last day of June. The worst part about it was, it was the 5th job loss and layoff my husband has gone through in just the last 5 years. No joke. It felt like ground hog day. And NO, that's not something you get used to. He is our only source of income right now being as I'm a stay-at-home Mom. So getting excited or thinking about different projects I want to get started on my house seemed so stupid. Every time I would start to think about our plans I would tell myself, "You idiot! How can you get excited about that stuff? You will be lucky if you are able to even keep your house!".
All five of the lay-offs, were just pure bad luck and bad timing. Would you like to hear the condensed, but still very long version of the last five years and struggles with employment? If not, I guess you can just skim through the pictures ;) It's kind of personal, but maybe others have experienced similar circumstances and can relate.
I'll start with the first lay-off from La-Z-Boy. It was 2008 and they shut down all production and moved to Mexico. It sucked pretty bad at the time because I was NINE months pregnant and it was awesome money. I had to beg my doctor to induce me a week early with Keegan because his due date was just 2 days after Rhett's last day which was also the last day for our medical insurance. I assume the Doc wanted to get paid, because he agreed once I told him the reason.
Being laid off from La-Z-Boy turned into not being such a bad thing because since they moved production out of the country, there were grants available for Rhett to go to school to the Police Academy and get paid by the state at the same time. That was the career he has wanted for as long as I've known him, and it turned out to be a good opportunity.
Once he graduation from the Academy, although he wasn't able to find full-time work in law enforcement, he did get offered a part-time reserve position at a local police department.
He also started full time at a local production plant working with steel parts. Although he hated that job, it paid the bills. But, not for long. He was laid off from that job too once the slow season started. We were realizing that getting a job in law enforcement wasn't going to be easy either.
Rhett applied and tested multiple times for all the various law enforcement jobs here in the Valley and although he passed the required tests, and had all of the needed certifications, he was passed by for somebody else every single time. It was also becoming abundantly clear that the department he was reserving for wasn't going to turn into anything more. So we decided he needed quit there and focus on looking for a full time law enforcement job elsewhere. We ended up going ALL OVER the state of Utah. From Kanab (Kane county, Southern Utah), to Provo (Utah County, Central Utah), to Morgan County, to Duchesne County (Eastern Utah), to Box Elder County (Western Utah), and probably some others I'm forgetting. So yes, we went ALL OVER. He would pass their written and physical tests just like all the departments here in Cache Valley, but for some reason he was never the chosen one to be hired.
Things were getting discouraging and unemployment was running out. None of it was making any sense. Rhett had a good work history, good references, and was always a hard dedicated worker. But it seemed like he couldn't pay for a job. Finally, a job in upholstery had opened up at a small local upholstery shop here in Cache Valley. Rhett knew the manager so he started working there while he continued to try to find work in his chosen profession. That job soon proved to be the worst job yet. There were no benefits, no vacation or sick pay, lowest wages to date, and he wasn't paid on time most of the time and shortchanged half the time. He desperately applied for anything and everything. The job market was horrible though and no one was hiring. After working there about nine months, things were so slow there that he was once again laid off. It only lasted about a couple of months though, and he was back to making hardly any money from a boss that couldn't manage his finances.
We continued to barely get by and Rhett continued to apply for Law Enforcement jobs as well as anything else. The uncertainty of if we were going to get paid or if his pay check was going to bounce again was agonizing. After getting shorted on his paycheck once again, Rhett told his boss he was not going to come in to work until he had the rest of his paycheck. Long story short, that was the end of that job.
So here we are, over the course of 4 years, 4 job losses, hundreds of applications, and lots of struggles. We have no job, and since Rhett wasn't able to secure a law enforcement job his certifications had expired, all the while we were half-way through building our home through a low income program.
About two days after the last job loss, the Sheriff's Office called and offered Rhett a job in a civilian position at the jail until he would re-certify. Our prayers were answered! We couldn't believe it, after everything we had been through. THIS was the place he had dreamed of working at since he was a little kid. The only catch was that he needed to go to the Academy in Salt Lake and re-certify by retaking the written and physical tests to become an actual Deputy. But he actually liked the job he was in and he had time. Or so we thought...
January of this year they announced the civilian position he was working in was going to be turned into a certified deputy position and if you weren't certified by June 30th then you would be laid off. So in February Rhett headed down and tested. He passed all the written and all of the physical testing except the very last thing. The mile and a half run. He was too slow by a couple of minutes. So he came home, practiced, and went down again in March. Failed the run again. Came home, practiced some more, cut out soda, and changed his diet. Went down again in May, and failed the run again. June testing was coming up and knowing this was his last and final chance before having to retake the entire academy he decided he didn't want to risk it. Even if it meant being laid off. He knew he would be ready by July but wasn't quite there yet in June.
So on June 29th he handed in his uniforms and decided to get an exercise in to get ready for his upcoming test. He was doing an exercise when something went wrong and he hurt his back. He came home in sooo much pain. Couldn't walk, hardly move, and not sure what had exactly happened. We went to the doctor to make sure it wasn't a spinal injury. Thank goodness it wasn't, but he did tear a muscle in his lower back. It was bruised and he was in extreme pain. This extremely important test was in less than a week and a half and not only could he not run or do any of the other exercises, but he could hardly even walk. Perfect timing. The prospect of getting his job back seemed to be dimming. And it seemed as though some of my faith was as well. What were we going to do now?
The power of prayer is real. Although he was still in pain, each day he made a huge improvement. By testing day he felt like he could do it. He had lost over 30 pounds so far! So he went to Salt Lake, re-took the test, and PASSED! With 40 seconds to spare. :) He was offered his job back that same day, but this time he's referred to as Deputy Garr! It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? And I can't help that I'm a sucker for a man in uniform. ;)
He has been back to work for three days now and I feel like I can finally take a sigh of relief. I know nothing in this life is certain, but I'm hoping we can put all of these employment problems behind us for now. Having three little ones and being not quite sure how you are going to provide for them is scary. My lack of education and trying to take care of three small children doesn't help the situation for me to be able to take a load of the financial burden on. But that is probably another post for another time. I think I've been vulnerable and open enough for the interweb today ;) If you are still reading, congratulations! This is a long freaking post! I promise to try my best to post more often, and I want to thank those who prayed for us, let me spill my guts, vent, and have a shoulder to cry on these past few months. You don't know how much it has meant to me.