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#1 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I am hoping someone can help me brainstorm. Cuz I’m plum out of ideas. We are in bad trouble and I’m scared and desperate. Here’s the deal….DH is late 30’s. He had a hard childhood, and he has no formal education beyond high school. But he worked HARD and built himself up. He is smart. Started doing AutoCad and (like moving on a chess board, taking jobs with more responsibility each time) ended up as a Director of I.T. making 6 figures. He was very competent and had many companies contacting him with job offers. 2.5 years ago his industry collapsed, and the company went bankrupt. Now, for 2 years he has not had a job.

We lost our home. I’ve taken a job, but I just can’t make much $ (admin). He is really smart, but he doesn’t have formal education. Also, since he was a Director, he wasn’t doing the hands-on computer programming for many years, so he’s way out of the loop on certifications. The jobs out there are ridiculous…they are asking for people to be certified up the bum, yet they are offering $35,000. It is totally crazy, and there is NO way he can compete. Even if he went back to school to get his certifications (which would cost thousands of $, which we don’t have), he’d be competing with a ton of other people for crappy wages. It is so discouraging.

We are renting now (small place), but we ended up being upside-down on our mortgage for our house, so we owe $40,000 on that. I can’t support us on my wages, so we’re using some of our (meager) retirement savings. We've sold EVERYTHING we can (including DH's hockey skates and my ski jacket and all my little girl's old clothes/toys). We sold our 2nd car (at a significant loss). We don't have cable t.v. anymore. I own 2 pairs of jeans and 1 pair of shoes.

Here is where I need some ideas: He has been applying everywhere. He has had H.R. friends help with his resume. He has head-hunters. Everyone knows he is looking for a job. He can’t find anything. He is SUCH a hard worker, but it just doesn’t seem to matter. Nobody will give him a chance. His industry (manufacturing) is in very bad shape, but he’s been applying even for construction jobs (which he is very good at….but again, he doesn’t have formal work experience so nobody will hire him). I’ve even tried to get a 2nd job in retail and I don’t get any interviews. We love where we live (Toronto), but we’d be willing to relocate if necessary. But even when he applies elsewhere he doesn’t get a response. None of our family has any $ to help us, and they have no room for us to move in temporarily.

I am so discouraged and upset. I feel like we are total losers. I don’t know anyone who has been out of work as long as DH. And he isn’t lazy or anything, but nobody will give him a chance. He was making over $100,000 before, and now he can't even find a job for $12/hr. Not even fixing computers or working at a Help Desk. He does absolutely amazing photography, but of course everyone wants him to do pictures for free. I certainly didn’t expect this scenario at this point in my life. I cry all the time.

Basically, if anyone has read this rambling nonsense, what would YOU do? Is there something I'm missing?? All we want is DH to get a job. Hopefully something that will make a living wage and allow us to climb out of this stupid debt and save $ for our child's education. But short-term, he just needs A JOB.
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#2 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 02:09 AM
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Has he contacted any of the companies that he worked with while he had the Director position? I'm thinking of customers/vendors/clients - those are usually a good place to start with regards to networking.

Which certifications are you looking at that cost thousands of $? As far as I know, self-study can be done for most of the major IT-related certifications including Cisco certs (my husband did self study for his CCNA and CCNP and will be working on his CCIE in the coming year). If self-study doesn't fit his learning style then look into your local community colleges - several of our local community colleges have Microsoft, Cisco, and other computer certification courses at the typical $/credit hour rate so much more reasonable than customized classes.

Good luck to your DH!
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#3 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 02:20 AM
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If you lost your house to foreclosure, doesn't that mean you do not have to pay anything on it? Or are you trying to keep your credit score by paying some part of it? Make sure that you know what you're paying $40K for and that its worth it.

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#4 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 02:30 AM
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I'm so sorry. I don't know how canada works..can you file bankruptcy?
I woudl also expand the job search, as you mentioned, outside of toronto. Look all over. Like a pp said, network with old associates.
I also dont know how student loans work up there, but could he go back to school, like a pp suggested? Get some "official" education on record?
I'm very sorry. I hope somethign works out for you.

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#5 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 09:33 AM
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Is bankrupcty (or something similar to) an option? That's what I'd recommond looking into if you were in the US. Unfourtanatly we've found ourselves in a place where we will be filing ch soon as we can save lawyer fees...because of a job loss and a few other things. It has been a hard decsion (it means giving up our home and at least on car that we need) but just knowing that there's a light at the end has been very helpful in reducing stress.

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#6 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 10:23 AM
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Sending you a PM.
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#7 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone. I don't know exactly what certifications they are (I'm sooo not a tech person). But I see the job ads asking for 15 different certs + experience, and according to him it would be about $15,000 to get them. And no guarantee of work since there are so many people after the same jobs. He is excellent on project management, but again, there are so many people out there looking for work. He doesn't get any calls.

At this point (late 30s), it is VERY daunting to start over in a career. He doesn't even have a clue where to begin. The idea of going to school (for what??) and then starting back at the bottom just is incredibly depressing. Especially after he worked so hard to get where he was. I know this is childish, but I feel such anger towards life. I don't personally know anyone else (in real life) where the husband had their job yanked away and then just never could find work again for years. We didn't lose our home to forclosure....we had to sell it (fast). By the time we got out, we owed $ on it, which is where the $40,000 debt comes in.

I just feel so sick. 3 years ago we had no clue this was coming. We were comfortable, we owned our own home, and we had savings. Now, we are worse off than when we were in our early 20s. I just want to say it is so unfair!!! (there, I feel better now).

I don't know if bankruptcy is an option. I guess maybe it is, but how flipping depressing is that?!!! 7 years of no credit. I guess I can rule out having a normal life. Very much doubt my child will get to grow up in her own home. I know a lot of people are in the same boat (although I don't know a single person in real life). It is just a hard pill to swallow, especially when it all happened through no fault of our own.
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#8 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 10:52 AM
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I don't know what the deal is in Canada, but since your DH does not already have a degree, check into him going back to college. I live in the US, and I looked into me going back to school, but I already have a degree and there seems to be more financial aid available for people who don't already have a degree. Check into what Canada has to offer by way of education/money for education, for both of you. Even a two year degree could be more beneficial than not having a degree at all.

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#9 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 11:52 AM
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My ex is into computers. He got his MSCE for about $900, and has parlayed that into a 70K career. All those other certifications (A+, Cisco, etc) can be gotten along the way with self-study. At least in the US, the MSCE is kind of the one to get, and then you can move up from there. But an MSCE will get you a decent job anyway.

I'm so sorry, you must be incredibly stressed.

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#10 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 12:56 PM
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I am in pretty much the same boat working two jobs trying to pay the rent..doing a lousy job of it too...

But I did want you to know..You are not total losers...Please don't call yourselves that..People who try to work hard are not losers..

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#11 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 01:08 PM
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If he's received EI in the past few years (after getting laid off or parental benefits after your dd's birth) , he may qualify for funding to go back to school. He could get tuition money and a small living allowance. Check with Service Canada.

Sorry you're going through that, I couldn't read and not respond.
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#12 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 02:27 PM
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Ok first off, breathe. It WILL work out, there is no alternative, it just may not be in the way you expect it to. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it's unfair. We BOTH lost our jobs in the same week approximately 15 months ago, lost our house, no jobs yet. Prior to that we were making over $100k a year. It's not just you. Don't know if that helps or not, but you're definitely not alone.

Although certification costs vary, I don't know that right now that would do a lot to help out to be honest. In the past 2 years I've seen employers getting increasingly specific about what they want and will accept simply because with so many people unemployed right now, they can afford to be extremely picky.

If you file bankruptcy it does stay on your credit for 10 year. HOWEVER, that does not mean you can't own anything during that time. Many people are able to get back into home ownership in 2-3 years if they manage things right.

It looks like your DH has the following options. All of them have some risk. All of them are scary. All of them have a chance for failure.

1. Continue the current job search, keep applying for everything and hope for the best.

2. Go to school. Get an education. Change fields. It's like a co-worker once told me she said to her DH when he was wanting to go to med school in his 30's but thought he was too old. She told him "Bobby, you're going to be 40 one day either way. Whether you turn 40 as a doctor or not is up to you." So yeah, it sucks to change careers mid-life, but sometimes it's better to make the jump sooner than later if that's what needs/wants to be done.

3. Side work. There was a guy back in KC that advertised on Craigslist all the time. He'd accept old pcs, rebuild them and then sell them. He would also look for companies going out of business, get their old systems and upgrade. He was the only person on Craigslist who offered a warranty on his work and after 6 months was making a fairly decent living doing this. My dad worked in banking for probably over 30 years. Getting laid off as banks were bought out was commonplace. Finally he had enough, and after one layoff decided to take a break from the field (helped by the fact that no one was hiring). To fill his time, he billed himself as a "Handyman". Within 3 months he was working 40-50 hrs a week clearing a decent amount just doing projects for people (like finishing a basement, fixing stuff that had broken, etc.). Look at what you're both good at and see what job you can make from your skills. It doesn't have to cost a lot to get started. At one point I was looking for general computer work and spent I think $30 mailing out letters to local small businesses on what I could do to improve their business and tech situation and ended up with work for 3 months off of that investment.

It's a lot of work. It's discouraging. But it CAN be done. Being in this situation doesn't make you or your DH "bad" people, it's just one of lifes really hard knocks that you have to find a way around. Think of it like a puzzle - what pieces can you fit where to make the picture whole again. I hope some of this helps a little. ((Hugs!))
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#13 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 02:57 PM
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"I guess I can rule out having a normal life."

Yup. But you certainly don't have to rule out financial security in retirement. It is so doable at this point.

Do you have a college degree? If you don't, I think you'd be well served to go back to school yourself. If you can declare bankruptcy and get out from under that 40k, and you and your dh are both in school with access to student housing and stipends and the ability to schedule around each other to take care of your dd - it really is possible. Most of the families I've known who've done this were in their 20s, but they were most definitely not suffering as they did it. They just weren't rich. I really think college, for him or for both of you, is the way to go here.
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#14 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 03:04 PM
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Somebody else mentioned this, but it was the first thing I thought of when I read your post so I'll say it too -- craigslist.

I have found my last two permanent gigs via craigslist, but have also picked up a number of freelance jobs there. I'm a self-taught tech person, too (I do have a degree, but in a different field). Look under gigs-->computer for lots of listings for projects -- MANY of which do not need to be done onsite. Look in cities other than yours. Put together a current resume stressing all of your DH's skills and competencies, and draft a few REALLY WELL WORDED cover letters that he can modify for emails when applying to specific job postings.

I've posted a lot of jobs on CL as well, and let me tell you -- an articulate, well written cover letter will get you VERY FAR in the tech field. Most of the emails I received were horribly written, and were often from an overseas recruiting company. Your DH will stand out from the crowd if he is a clear communicator.

He may not be up to date on every certification, but he certainly has a great level of knowledge that can be applied to a number of jobs. And if he's unemployed he can always be getting books out of the library and doing reading online to get back up to speed -- that's precisely what I did after I was out of the game for five years when I was home with the kids.

The more gigs he can pick up on CL, the more current stuff he can add to his resume. And, of course, he can bring in some money as well. All of this will add up to his hireability in the coming months.

The tech sector is going to start picking up soon. The more recent stuff he can get on his resume -- even if it doesn't pay great -- the better chances he'll have in landing the kind of job he wants.
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#15 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 03:21 PM
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OP, if you want to do as the pp suggested, I'll help you write the cover letter. I've written professionally in the past. No, I won't charge you anything. PM me if you're interested.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#16 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 10:44 PM
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If he isn't already, make sure he actively pursues any and all positions that pique his interest, even if they "require" certifications, education or experience that he does not have. His concern right now should be getting his foot in the door for an interview, at which point he can sell himself in person.

"I am the right person for this job. I have fifteen years of experience that will make me a valuable asset to your company and am willing to go above and beyond your expectations in order to make sure this company's vision is fulfilled every day through my performance." Blah, blah, blah.

Is he bringing in unemployment income? If not, then I would think your family would be best served by his pursuing (and being willing to take) any job, no matter the pay. $35,000 may seem like a pittance compared to his previous six figures, but it is still $35,000 more than nothing.

Also, has he tried temp agencies?

There ARE tech jobs available in this economy. My husband is trying to hire five tech guys before the end of the month. I'm sure they are hard to come by, but they are out there. I hope your husband's spirit is still in the job hunt. I can only imagine how difficult the past two years have been on him (and you). I hope things turn around for you very soon.

ETA: I see you did say in your post that he can't even find something for $12/hr. How about jobs that are "always hiring", such as newpaper carriers, merchandisers, etc.? The pay is crap but, again, it is better than nothing. It may at least help you stay afloat until something better comes along.
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#17 of 23 Old 01-10-2010, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Malva View Post
If he's received EI in the past few years (after getting laid off or parental benefits after your dd's birth) , he may qualify for funding to go back to school. He could get tuition money and a small living allowance. Check with Service Canada.

Sorry you're going through that, I couldn't read and not respond.
Yes this. I know someone personally who is currently completing a dental hygienist course which Service Canada is covering 28k out of the 35K tuition while she receives EI. When she finishes she will be getting a great salary and plans to open her own practice. Definitely contact Service Canada. And be persistent... there are options for you guys.
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#18 of 23 Old 01-11-2010, 12:00 AM
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My husband got his MCSE and CCNA for about $2000 in books and test fees, and it has definitely paid off. Your husband should certainly be able to self teach with the experience that he has.
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#19 of 23 Old 01-11-2010, 01:48 PM
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well, first off, you are not losers.

this economy has hit a lot of people hard, so don't take it so personally. just because you don't (think) you know anyone else who has been or is struggling like this, doesn't mean you don't, or that there aren't hundreds of others like you. none of them are losers either.

second, bankruptcy--if it is an option--is a good one. my parents filed in their 30s, and it was the best thing they ever did. my mother tells me that she would do it again, and no, your credit isn't ruined. she said it was actually easier to get financing *right away* after filing than it was before! so, don't worry about any of that.

third, i agree with the PP about going to contacts that your DH may have. all he has to do is contact them and ask them what they hear and know about work. i keep my eyes opened for all of my friends and clients who need *any* work, and i've actually been able to connect a number of them together. and i'm a "random person" in their lives--the yoga teacher. honestly, anyone in your network can help you, so don't worry about whom you talk to about it.

forth, check out if the local job center (if you have one) has free options or low-cost options. here, there is a job center run by a non-profit that offers all kinds of training courses for people so that they can get work.

fifth, it might actually be a good time to consider what your DH does want to do. rather than looking at it as a challenge to change jobs, he could look at it as an opportunity to get an education and do the job that he wants to do. you're in debt anyway, going back to school could carry you over for 4-5 years, the economy will ahve recovered in that time (more or less), and there will likely be work on the other end. AND he'll be cutting edge and experienced at work. so, it will give him a leg up.

i know that you are upset about a lot of things right now, not the least of which was feeling proud of the lifestyle that you'd built and become accustom to. you can build it again. just don't let it all get you down. remember, this is also an opportunity.

you just have to figure out where the opportunity is.
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#20 of 23 Old 01-11-2010, 05:41 PM
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hoping you get some lucky breaks soon!!
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#21 of 23 Old 01-11-2010, 06:35 PM
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You might have him tailor his resume to the job he is applying for. He may need to leave off some of the high paying jobs he's had to get the $12/hour jobs.
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#22 of 23 Old 01-11-2010, 07:38 PM
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I would echo those who suggest bankruptcy.

And you're not a loser. My hubby doesn't have a job either! And he has a MBA! There are so many people out there without jobs. It's hurtful to make it about YOU. Better to just shrug and realize that the economy sucks right now.

Do something (for free) to emotionally feel good and work on healing your spirit. Make a list of the happy things in your for instance, you live in Canada and get universal health care, which is more than unemployed folks in the US can say! Consider having hubby volunteer or develop a cheap (and maybe even profitable hobby). My hubby runs a community group and it keeps him busy and engaged.
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#23 of 23 Old 01-11-2010, 08:47 PM
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Are you familiar with the Ontario Student Assistance Plan (OSAP-Ontario student loans)?

You may not realize that your hubby could qualify for up to about $28,000 /year, and only $10,500 would be repayable (I'm talking $3500 per term x 3 terms if he doesn't take the summers off). You could also be eligible to earn several hundred dollars as a family without being penalized, in addition to any government tax credits of benefits you might be eligible for because OSAP is not considered income by the government for things like CCTB and the OCB that is now included with the CCTB. Also, there is "interest relief" which really means no payments if your income is too low once you graduate, for up to a few years. If you qualify for interest relief for the maximum time period, you can also be eligible for loan reduction of $10,000 or half your loan.

You can approach the $$ thing two ways when it comes to student loans: in some cases such as university (not sure this is what you're hubby would do or not), tuition costs the same if you take 4 credits per 8 months or 6 credits per 8 months--so you can fast-track for less money. Alternately, you can take a part-time courseload so your tuition fees are less and you have more $$ to live on in the interim. The downside to this of course is that you end up with more debt because you take more terms of loans.

Just an idea as many people think government student loans are 100% repayable.

Also, declaring bankruptcy can affect your eligibility for these loans, so if you're considering applying for OSAP, hold off on any bankruptcy proceedings until you figure out whether you can get OSAP while bankrupt.

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