Jobless – Part 21

What a week!

I admit that it has been a time of discouragement lately. The quality of the jobs that were open were not exciting me, to say the least. I got knocked out of several right at the gate, simply because of poorly written questions on their applications. I have to answer honestly, but there is no room for “Yeah, but….” and that would make all the difference. Employers should be paying attention to this, but they’re getting lots of applicants who fill in the blanks as expected, without caring about whether the answers are accurate. Some may fit the job, but perhaps they could get more experience for the same price if they realized the implications.

But enough of the discouragement, then came the rainbows. They always arrive eventually.

First I found out that I did qualify for the extended unemployment due to the coronavirus. This included the federal portion. It was simply awe-inspiring to wake up and look at my bank account and feel the relief of that balance.

This means I have a longer time before I have to hit my retirement accounts, If I am careful, it could possibly allow me to go through the year without withdrawing from my IRA. I’ve gotten my expenses down to such a low level, that I don’t need a lot to get by. My house payment is still a major expense, but that’s my only debt. The other expenses are all consumptables, such as utilities, trash pickup, insurances, car expenses, food, and such. I still could cut those down as needed. (Trash pickup is on my radar.)

And then there was the second rainbow.

Last year when it was open enrollment for the Marketplace (the Obamacare exchange), I did a quick quote online and the premium for me was astronomical. I did not qualify for a subsidy because of my prior year’s income. It made more sense for me to stay with my COBRA plan, even knowing I could only continue it through July.

Had the quote been good, I would not have actually bought it online. I would have gone to a local agent and purchased through her. I’d always rather a “real agent” get the commission.

A friend of mine has just retired early and she called this agent to talk about a policy that will cover her until Medicare. During their talk, my friend learned you can estimate the current year’s income and use that for subsidy consideration.

That totally changed the picture for me. I was able to talk to the agent yesterday afternoon and we were able to get me free coverage! It’s better coverage than I had, though a more limited provider network. But I am fine with the network, and am able to drop that onerous COBRA expense.

If my income goes up, we’ll have to adjust the premium, but if not I can breathe a sigh of relief.

This opens up all of my possibilities. I don’t have to be so focused on jobs that were at the same level as my old one. I can take less salary. (This sets off complicated emotions in me, as I hate to feel I am encouraging companies that it is fine to overlook older employees whose salaries may be higher than the younger ones. But I’ll have to accept the current reality, and deal with that in other ways. Life is hard for an idealist who expects corporations to realize impact on people.)

Another benefit to all of this is that I can more easily take on short term assignments. I can write more and see if I can get myself into a position where I can make a living there. I can learn some new skills and see if they make me more marketable.

I can volunteer more. There are so many needs now. I’ve gained a lot of skills in my job hunt and there are people out of work for the first time in ages. I possibly can help.

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at grant writing, so maybe I can do something with that. (Non-profit friends, if you need me call me!)

We have to endure the thunderstorm, but if we hang in there we’ll see the rainbow. This saga is not even close to being over for me, but I hope those who have been keeping up have noticed that everything has been working out. I see so many people invest so much of their lives in negativity and anxiety, and it buys you nothing. Looking ahead with hope and expectation you will find it will usually turn out so much is better than we expect.

One more reminder – tell your truth and talk to your people. I know a lot about heath insurance but not about Marketplace coverage. Had I called my insurance friend who sells for the Marketplace, I could have saved myself a lot of money these past few months. What’s written on the internet is not always all there is. Often the “but”s are not included. We need to find the people who know the buts. They often will gladly help. That’s often why God has prepared them.

We are not alone. It not only takes a village to raise a child, but our village can also help us see those rainbows that are ahead. Hold them tight. God is working through them, through you, and through ways we can’t even begin to comprehend.

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

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