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The Blessing of Getting Laid-Off

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

pink_slipFor those of you who’ve been reading the blog for more than about six months, you’ll remember when I posted this message about finding out that I was getting laid off my job as an editor for Ideals Publications/ GuidepostBooks.

I didn’t share much of what I was going through here on the blog when I got laid off. It was a really hard transition. I didn’t sleep well at all that first month. While trying to stay on a somewhat normal sleep-wake schedule (trying to be up every day no later than 10 a.m.), I also made myself try to get out of the house every day—whether it was going to the gym, going to the library, or meeting friends for lunch. But yet even though I would be exhausted by midnight/1 a.m., when I turned off the light, I found myself staring at the ceiling, unable to shut my mind off. I already had freelance work coming in (thanks to the wonderful editors at Barbour!!!!). I had my book advances that gave me enough financial freedom to know I could last until at least December before I had to make a decision on whether or not to find another full-time job. I got unemployment the weeks I didn’t have freelance work. So why couldn’t I sleep?

What had me lying awake until three or four in the morning was the health-insurance piece. I went through several weeks and several quotes to find out that until I could get my weight down, to be on a plan that didn’t have astronomical deductibles (around $10k, with no coverage for pre-existing conditions—like my high blood pressure—for eighteen to twenty-four months), I was looking at paying between $500 to $600 per month. But then my cousin turned me on to Tennessee Farm Bureau’s insurance program, and I discovered that for very little money, I could get temporary coverage that was actually slightly better than those “regular” plans. And immediately, I started sleeping at night.

Early last year, when I sent the Ransome Trilogy proposal to Chip to start shopping around to publishing houses, I’d had the fleeting thought that maybe it would have been better to wait to send it out until after I’d completed—or at least mostly completed—the three books I already had under contract (the Brides of Bonneterre series). After all, if it sold, how in the world was I going to have time to work on two novels at a time—with more in different stages of production—while working full-time? Though we heard back from Harvest House in April, it wasn’t until November that they decided to contract the trilogy—three and a half months after I got laid off, the exact time when I needed to get more books under contract, since I was down to one left to write on the first series.

When I got to Christmas, I realized I hadn’t budgeted well enough to make sure I had plenty of money in the bank to get me through the holidays/January—because there was no freelance work coming in those months. Though I hated to have to do it, I ended up having to borrow money from my parents just so I could pay rent and utilities. (And for those of you who follow my weight-loss blog, yes, the three weeks in which I lost almost 12 pounds fell during that time. It’s amazing how much weight you can lose when you’re on a very restricted budget for groceries!) But then the requests for freelance work started trickling in. The advance from Harvest House came. Additional publishers started asking me if I had time for their projects—including one locally that wants me to go in and work on-site.

Well, it’s now been seven months since my full-time employment ended. And having done the onsites at the local publisher four times, I don’t know how I ever managed to get up and go into an office every day for almost twenty years! Though I’m still not as comfortable with my finances as I (hopefully) will be after a few more months, and though I owe the IRS a boat-load of money next month (what I still owe for 2008 plus my quarterly estimate for the first quarter of 2009), I don’t think I’ve ever had a time in my life when I’ve been happier, more joy-filled, less stressed, or more content. And actually, as I’m writing this blog post, I can’t help but think about all the work that’s sitting here waiting for me to do—freelance work, critiques, reviewing the Ransome’s Honor galley, writing A Case for Love, beginning work on the first three chapters of the first book of the next contemporary romance series I’ll be pitching, cleaning the house, meeting friends for lunch, preparing the next series for the blog, studying up on writing descriptions for the next MTCW meeting, trying to get a new quarterly meeting started for folks in southern-Middle Tennessee and Northern Alabama… Oh, and traveling—Michigan the first week of April, Louisiana and Arkansas the second and third (and part of the fourth) weeks in May, Arkansas again in June, Colorado in September.

Even though it threw me for a loop when I first learned I was getting laid off, I can now confidently say it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’d been saying for years that my “ideal” job would be to be able to stay home, freelance edit, write, and teach. I didn’t think I’d be able to do it for another five or ten years—until I had worked out all the details and had enough money saved for a safety net and had all my ducks in a row. But, as He often does, God didn’t want me relying on myself to make it happen. He wanted to bless me with the desires of my heart—but make me depend on Him to make it happen.

So, you see, that’s the blessing of having been laid-off my job.

  1. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 3:58 pm

    What a beautiful testimony to what God can and will do when we get out of His way! I know I’ve struggled with getting my ducks all in a row for years, for any number of situations. But I’ve discovered that faith is not depending on God within my narrow parameters but rather tearing down the walls and letting God loose!


  2. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 5:20 pm

    I’m glad it’s working out for you, Kaye. I love working from home, but I’d love it even more if I never had to leave the house–I’m such a homebody. 😀


  3. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 5:52 pm

    Sally, I’m a homebody, too, but if I don’t get out of the house at least a couple of days a week for at least a half hour or so—a quick trip to the grocery store, or a walk through the neighborhood now it’s getting nicer outside—I start having dreams that someone’s chasing me. When I looked that up online, I discovered that they’ve linked those kinds of dreams to feelings of entrapment or confinement. Plus, if I don’t get out and have some kind of interaction with other human beings, whenever I do, I tend to make a complete dork of myself by running on and on and on at the mouth since I haven’t talked to anyone else for so long! (A hazard of working from home when one is single and lives alone!)


  4. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:17 pm

    Love it!


  5. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:47 pm

    It is a testimony to your faithfulness to keep going in the midst of the turmoil. We started a church 3 years ago and we decided last week to close it down. Not sure why God’s blessing wasn’t on it, but I know we learned alot about faith and trust. We are totally broke, but are trusting God will open a door for my husband. You take one day at a time. (My problem is letting “life” get in the way of my writing. I tend to want to read people’s blogs rather than write!) Thanks for sharing. It blessed me today.


  6. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:08 pm

    Kaye said, “if I don’t get out of the house at least a couple of days a week . . . I start having dreams that someone’s chasing me. When I looked that up online, I discovered that they’ve linked those kinds of dreams to feelings of entrapment or confinement.”

    Really? I’ve not heard of that before, but that’d be an interesting start for a suspense novel.

    May have to look into that one. Hmmm.


  7. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:09 pm

    Sherrinda, I’m a pastor’s wife, and I know how the ministry and money stresses can go hand in hand. I’ll be praying God provides and leads you to where He wants you next.


  8. Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:43 pm

    Sally said, “I’ll be praying God provides and leads you to where He wants you next.”

    Thanks, Sally. I certainly appreciate your prayers. I know God is the source of all things.

    Kaye, isn’t there a word quota we use each day? Seems like I heard a woman’s quota was 20,000 words and a man’s only 7,000. Maybe you need a steady wordy-verbage outlet of some kind before you get out in public. 😉 Just kidding, of course. I have the opposite problem and want to clam up after work.


  9. Thursday, March 5, 2009 11:38 am

    So glad to hear you’ve discovered the blessing! Isn’t it great when we see how He made everything fall into place for us. Praise worthy for sure!


  10. Thursday, March 5, 2009 1:33 pm

    God has a way of working things out, even though it may not be in a way we would have wanted. I’ve discovered this in my own life recently. 😉 So glad for you!


  11. Thursday, March 5, 2009 1:48 pm

    I am so thrilled that you are at this place in your life! Its wonderful how God has made everything work out for you.


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