I quit my job of eight years in February 2020 to start my own business with a partner. It felt right and I saw no future at the company I’d pledged my loyalty to. I was making really good money but it wasn’t worth the stress and toxic workplace it had evolved into. As the sole breadwinner it was a risk my husband and I decided to take as he has been unable to work for years due to physical disabilities that limit his options.
Then COVID-19 took off in the US and the company failed. We weren’t alone in our situation but it was devastating. We had barely any savings and it was depleting fast. I contacted my debtors and made arrangements but knew I needed a paycheck soon. My credit was maxed out and we had just a few hundred dollars to our name. We are thankful to the friends and family who loaned us cash to help out; without them we would not have made it.
I tried filing for unemployment in April but the system was not stable and I couldn’t get anywhere until mid-May. Finally it went through and I even qualified for the federal $600 a week bonus which helped me catch up my rent and relieved some stress on how we were going to make it through. The stimulus payment also helped but it was spent on rent and bills, leaving nothing for food.
Then we got a call from my ex-husband about our son. I haven’t seen him for seven years and only rekindled our relationship a few months prior. He is a high functioning autistic child of thirteen and his doctors had advised us when he was three or four that my relationship with him had to be all or nothing. I was unable to move and uproot and as much as it killed me to do, the choice was made to remove me from his life. One always does what is best for their child even at great sacrifice.
So we took the 650 mile drive from South Florida to North Georgia a few days later with the expectation of move even though it was just a surprise visit for my son. He had deep rage centered on me not being a part of his life. He once stole a phone, money, and tried to apply for a credit card just to make the trip south to me. As though his life would be any different and I’d be less strict.
I knew something was different about him by the age of one. By two I was trying to get him professional assistance but to no avail, he was too young they said and it was just the terrible twos. I knew better and told his dad much the same. It took him and his new wife a lot of years to finally get him properly diagnosed. First it was ADHD and ODD but the meds weren’t doing the trick. Later tests showed he was high functioning autistic with the ODD and maybe a smidgen of ADHD. So they treated the autism first and after a few years of different meds he is balanced and can function as needed for school and life. I’ll spare you the sordid details of it all; I may not have been around for it but I was kept updated through it all.
So we get to GA and all is well. I advised them that we were in a position yo move and that I was reviewing the job market. When my ex offered me a job at his company I accepted. This meant that DH was stuck with the packing and moving while I managed to add funds to our depleted bank account. It took a lot out of us to be separated over a month. I was able to stay with my ex and his wife and finally able to have a relationship with my son.
It is a few months later (this post was started in late May and it is mid August now) and I’m no longer working. Thankfully DH was able to locate a job that pays well and is Covid secure, they have so much work that I’m not worried about making ends meet. Money is still tight as we have three months of unpaid bills to catch up on plus the $3,500 it cost us to move. 2020 is a bust but I’m so thankful that things worked out as they did.
We coparent and I have my son every Wednesday and Thursday and we rotate weekends which includes Friday. It has been overwhelming to say the least but I don’t regret a thing. I managed to find an amazing property that is secluded and suits our needs. There is a forest steps from my backyard and we often see deer in our driveway. The fireflies are amazing and I can see the stars!
My son has adjusted well and I’m looking for a part time gig that let’s me work around his schedule as any funds I bring home helps pay off excess debt and save for a home of our own. I want to have a garden and animals and be a bit more self sufficient than we are now. Ideally we will buy land and either acquire a double wide or build depending on budget. For income the plan is to have enough land to set aside an acre and plot a trailer on it and rent it out. The rest we will grow and if DH wants to work I can manage most of it alone.
So while 2020 may be a bust it has pushed us closer to our dreams and the feeling I had about quitting and starting my own business and how right it felt was obviously not the opportunity to be my own boss. It was this and I’m thankful I listened. I never would have done this if I still had a cushy job no matter how toxic.