In 2012, after a couple years of going back and forth with it, my husband finally decided that he was tired of working a “dead end job” and wanted to instead go to a local vocational school to learn the trade of welding. The plan was for him to keep his job while he went to school, but about halfway through the yearlong program, he informed me that he had left the job that he was working. I was upset with him, but fortunately we had a little money saved up and I was working full-time as well.
“I wouldn’t worry too much, honey,” he said to me. “The job market for welding is great from what I’ve seen.”
I believed what he was saying because I didn’t have any reason not to. But little did I know the journey that we would begin once he graduated. After graduation he spent hours and hours looking online for jobs and applying for every job that he could find, but he was having no luck. Mostly because most of the jobs that he was applying for required anywhere from 2 to 5 years of experience. How was one supposed to get that kind of experience if no one would hire you in the first place?
After months of no luck, we became desperate for him to find a job. Our savings had run out and we were struggling very hard to pay our bills with just my minimum-wage job. This meant that my husband had to do something that he was desperately trying to avoid: find work through a temporary agency. It definitely wasn’t a permanent solution but it would give some relief while he continued to try and find a permanent job. Plus, working for a temporary agency meant that it was possible for him to become a permanent fixture at any company he was sent to work for.
I was trying to stay as positive about the situation as possible but it was proving to be harder to do than I once thought. For the next 18 months, the emotional roller coaster became bigger and bigger. He would start a job with a particular agency only to be let go for one reason or another.
With every dismissal from a job came a wave of hurt and pain for my husband and more resentment and anger towards him from me. I was becoming convinced that he was not doing everything that he needed to do in order to get hired on at these companies, even though some of the reasons that he was being let go, like lack of work, were completely out of his control. Every time he was let go from a job and the process had to start all over, it would always be longer than the time before. We would end up fighting with each other over things that didn’t really matter because the emotional and financial stress was becoming more than either of us could really handle. We were constantly worried about money and having the things that we needed, like food for our children.
Finally, after a long conversation with me, my husband decided that it was time to look outside of the welding industry to find a job. It made him and I both upset, especially because of the money that we put out for his schooling, but we decided together that there just weren’t enough entry level permanent jobs for him to pursue this field. So he went to the temporary agency that he was working for at the time and told them that he would take any job that they could find for him, not just a welding position.
It took them awhile but they finally found him a job. It was a manufacturing plant job so it was way out of the field of welding but despite some initial reservations, my husband took it and started his first day. One day turned into a full week. Then one week turned into two weeks, and then a month before we even knew it. After five months and two interviews, my husband got the news that he was going to be hired on to the company in May of 2014, and he still works at the same company today.
Finally, after almost two years of uncertainty, my husband had a full-time job and somehow we managed to make it through yet another bump in our road of doing life together. There were many times when we just wanted to give up and say “enough is enough,” but our desire to be different from the divorced families we came from and to give our kids something that we never had was greater than our desire to throw in the towel when things got too tough for us handle. There was no magic formula to surviving those times, but we found that our perseverance and commitment to each other was what mattered—and still matters—most.