Nov 14, 2007

Balancing on Someone Else's Back

Well, it's for certain that John's firm didn't get a piece of the town attorney work. The partners are bracing for the downturn of work.

As anyone involved in real estate in New England (and, indeed, the entire northeastern US) knows, real estate has been very slow and they've basically been carrying the real estate paralegal position since June or July hoping they'd get the town attorney thing would work out. They're going to lay their real estate paralegal off. They're going to tell her this Friday, her last day will be next Wednesday and they'll pay her for all of next week. They're also planning to send her with a glowing letter of recommendation and are making calls to the local title insurance company execs to see if they have any work to offer her. She'll also be getting her Christmas bonus. John knows it needs to be done; they've been overstaffed for quite a while. But even though he brought it up to his partner (who was a bit relieved as he thought so too but was having a hard time addressing it), it's really bothering him. She's an excellent employee - the best real estate paralegal he's ever had - reliable, smart, relatively unflappable. This is the really hard part of having all excellent employees; how do you choose who goes?

It bothers me too. They've made the right decision for business, I know; the 2 other secretaries have specialities that are busy and real estate is dead. They are clearly overstaffed for the work they've got. It just sucks because I know her husband's a drunken sot who can't be bothered to find steady work. She has a school-age daughter. What gives us the right to make sure our mortgage is paid at her expense? Just because I logically know this is the right decision and that, as business owners, they have to look to keeping the company afloat, doesn't mean that my conscience is easily assuaged.

I was able to cancel the B&B weekend - helps to be friends with the owner - and get a full refund. We may go over the winter or in early spring if money permits. We have a gift certificate that we won a while back for a free night's stay (Sun - Thurs) and a steakhouse dinner at the local casino ( We'll probably try to use that mid-January for a minibreak. Doesn't really do it for me (not fond of casinos) but I think we need the escape even if it's just overnight.

I will be installing a clothesline as soon as I make it Home Depot to get one. I also am switching the lightbulbs over to the compact fluorescent. For what my folks' electric bill has gone down, I think it's probably worth the upfront money for the OMG-expensive bulbs. It's also good for the environment, which is nice.

I cut my 401k contribution from 15% of my paycheck to 7.5%. I don't want to cut that out altogether because it's our only active saving for retirement right now but this will give us a little extra cash in the month.

Voice lessons are done for the time being. My voice teacher was great about it and I will still be singing with her choir in December.

We've decided to go forward with our Christmas party anyway. This year, though, when people ask if they can bring things, we're going to say 'yes' (where, in the past, we've usually just said, "just bring yourselves!"). We figured we needed the cheer.

My boss ok'd the extra 5 hours a week and she's working out what I can do now.

Still working on cutting the grocery budget but we've refrained from eating out so far. I want my Starbucks decaf nonfat extra-peppermint mochas but you do what you've got to.

We have decided to keep our dinner date with friends this weekend even though it requires a babysitter - they're buying dinner as congratulations that we're pregnant. (At least it's one of the $5/hr babysitters, not one of the $10/hr ones.) The only kicker with that is that I am *certain* the guy, at least, voted for the republicans and he's not shy about talking about politics. I am hoping that I will not have to deal with his political rhetoric - instant agita not to mention a fair amount of personal angst.

Thank you very much, everyone, for all your support; it means a lot to me. Well, I have an OB appointment in a half hour so I'd best get a move on. Out of the first trimester now. Less nausea, less tired, not feeling the baby yet (probably at least another month at my size).

If you guys could keep the real estate paralegal and her family in your prayers, I would appreciate it.

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Blogger Greta said...

i will def. be keeping her in my prayers and i can understand whyt his is a tough decision but that is part of being a business's just terrible though...hopefully she will find something soon and everything will work out just fine...

oh yeah and if you will email me your address i want to put you in my blog buddies address book for when i send out my cards...sometimes on a whim and sometimes for ya just never know with me...

Big hugs girl

4:44 PM  
Blogger Jade said...

Well, a one night break is better than nothing. You don't have to hang out in the casino itself, there is usually a bar and they might have some entertainment or something going on?

2:38 AM  
Anonymous Betty897 said...

This is the problem (at least for me) with "small" businesses. Big companies can lay people off and it's just numbers and names (maybe). With small companies, we KNOW these people. They are not just a paycheck being lopped off the bottom line. And knowing their family situation only makes it worse. I'm so sorry that John had to go through this. I can only imagine how much it hurts him to do it. I pray that I'll never have to do something similar, but you never know. That's what makes our health insurance situation so difficult. I know probably three of the five employees on our insurance couldn't get insurance on their own (outside of a large "group" plan). The board did approve keeping the insurance for another year this week, but it's only getting more difficult by the year to justify it.

(((hugs))) to you AND John

12:06 PM  

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