Planning a Wedding with Job Loss on the Horizon

by Melissa on October 7, 2011

My fiance and I are extremely lucky. We both make good money and have secure jobs. We decided to keep our wedding budget reasonable, even though we make nearly $180,000/year. So, although we make good money and have a secure jobs, we make responsible mostly responsible decisions related to money.Well, I thought I had a secure job. I am a Federal employee after all. The saying goes, “although you don’t make much money as a civil servant, at least you have job security!” 

Well, that’s definitely not the case. The organization that I work for laid off nearly a third of its workforce after budget cuts in the mid-nineties. And now, its budget has been cut again and they’re anticipating laying off around 500 employees. And since I am one of the most recent hires there I’m expecting to be one of the first to go.  (I started just over a year ago. Right after I was hired, they instituted a hiring freeze anticipating big budget cuts),

A few things. A) Although it’s cause for some apprehension and worry, I’m happy that they’re being so up-front about it. I couldn’t imagine going into work one day and unexpectedly told that I was being laid off. So, I know that it could definitely be coming. B) It allows me to get some things up-to-date, like my resume and network contacts.

If this were any other “normal” time in my life, I would also dramatically cut back on my expenses.

But, saving money and cutting back expenses is really, really difficult when planning a wedding.  In fact, last month, I was $1347 cash flow negative. Meaning that I spent $1347 more than I earned. Based on my projections, I expect this month to be about the same. That money comes out of my savings account. Money that I may definitely need to tap into if it takes me longer than I expect to find a new job. Many federal agencies are having huge budget cuts, so there may be a lot of folks looking for new jobs in the next few months.

I guess all I can do is take it in stride. The organization expects to make a decision in about two weeks. Employees will have 60 days notice of their layoff, which means that, if I am affected, I’d still have a steady paycheck until at least Christmas, which is more than a month after the wedding. I’d also have some time to start looking for a job.

I’m hoping for the best, but here’s what I’m doing to prepare for a worst case scenario.

  • Since cutting back on big expenses is not really an option right now, I’m going to take steps to eliminate our smaller ones and maybe start clipping coupons again. I used to do that all the time, but stopped about a year ago. I also go through books like candy, so maybe I’ll take a break from buying books and get caught up on that HUGE stack of magazines I have.
  • Research unemployment benefits in my state. This gets a little complicated because I live in Virginia, but work in DC, so I know that requires some added steps.
  • Research the process for deferring my student loans. Luckily I’m not saddled with huge student loans, but with that said, I would still defer mine to avoid payments while out of a job.
  • With open enrollment season on the horizon, determine the best insurance options now that we’ll be a 1+spouse!  If we decide to choose my insurance, make sure that we’d be able to easily join my fiance’s insurance policies at his employer if I lost my job (we have since found out that my job loss would be considered a “life event” and that we’d be able to join his insurance mid-season)
  • Updating my LinkedIn profile, my personal website (not this blog), and my resume.
  • Reach out to former colleagues for lunch, coffee or drinks to kind of “activate my network.” Also, perhaps attend some events that I typically wouldn’t that would encourage networking, like alumni events.

Well, that’s it. I’m not too worried about it. Although each job I’ve had in my professional life has taken more than 60 days to get (between searching for jobs, applying, getting callbacks, going for interviews and second interviews, and then two-weeks notice – which obviously wouldn’t apply here – and then actually coming on board), things are closer to the 4-5 months range, so I anticipate that I could be without a job or paycheck for 2-3 months despite having 60 days notice. And who knows, maybe this will be the push I need to finally monetize this blog. Have any fellow readers dealt with a job loss, whether while planning a wedding or not? What else should I do to prepare?

Update 11/2/11. I’m not losing my job! Whew! They were able to make enough budget cuts to not lay off any employees!