Big day here at 26 Clinton Avenue, and I’m not referring to the snow day. Today, after seven months at home, Dan went to work.
Working in finance it’s almost expected that you will be let go, downsized or simply fired at some point in your career. Its often not a reflection of your work ethic or knowledge base, it’s just that companies change their strategies or decide that someone is easily replaced with a cheaper version. Dan and I have both known it was a possibility, but have always been lucky to enjoy the security of consistent paychecks, fun bonuses and good medical insurance.
When Dan first got let go, it did take me a little while to put it in perspective. Our family has certainly had worse days (heard worse news), but the news of Dan losing his job shook my foundation. Dan’s job has always been a stable structure in our percarious house of cards. We’re not so well off that we aren’t aware of money, but it’s something we don’t need to worry about often. We have enough. Enough to pay bills, enjoy vacations and pay for help that allows me to breathe. Money makes our lives easier. I know this, because I know many families with complicated lives that don’t have any. It makes difficult circumstances, more difficult.
Although those first few days after hearing the news I did feel the unease of not knowing what to expect and feared the possibility of losing our security, I wasn’t as panicked as I would have imagined. My confidence in Dan, our families resilience and our savings allowed me to keep my perspective. Dan put me further at ease when he explained the generous package that his company had offered. Not a “golden parachute”, but solid silver. And, a package that included a “garden leave”.
Although Dan managed to secure his next job quickly, this “garden leave” required him to stay out of his industry for a period of time. “Garden leave” protects companies from having their ex employees hitting the market quickly. It meant Dan got to enjoy all the perks of working (salary, benefits, etc) without working. And, he got to spend the last seven months going through our family weekday routine – a routine that he has never had the opportunity to truly witness. I thought it would be tough adding Dan to our days, but it’s been wonderful. He’s been great company, had meaningful time with the kids, and has enjoyed hiking, reading and growing his beard.
After seven months, it was strange to see him put on a suite this morning, and kiss my forehead with his freshly shaved face. Strange having breakfast without him. The house seems oddly empty without his music playing and offers to do the grocery shopping (and shoveling). It’s going to be an adjustment, but we’re ready and grateful that we had this break. I’m so glad I didn’t waste too much time worrying.