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The Ax

The Ax

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and

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  1. Maia

    I went through most of 2010 unemployed. It was one of the hardest years of my life. I went through a deep depression and it was finally kicking myself in the butt and getting in shape that got me out of it, into a better head space that, I believe, led to me getting a job. Then that job led to my dream job. So, I concur with your belief that everything happens for a reason.

    Hopefully Michael won’t be unemployed for as long as I was, but the main thing to do is to stay busy. Volunteer, do stuff out of the house that doesn’t require money, etc. Also, apply for jobs constantly. Even if he ends up interviewing and going for jobs he doesn’t want, or has no shot of getting, he’s practicing the art of interviewing. It is indeed an art. Maybe practice with him?

    Also, have a kick ass cover letter.

    That’s just my advice. Best of luck and I pray he doesn’t stay unemployed for long!!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thanks Maia! I’ve never been unemployed as an adult so it’s hard for me to imagine just how he’s feeling. I am trying to be understanding and supportive but I don’t really know what to do.

      Michael said he was unemployed for a year about 10 years ago and he regrets not having anything to show for his time. We’ve known this was coming for a few months so he’s planned for it. He has a list a mile long of self-improvement and house chores he wants to accomplish so that will keep him busy while he looks for a job. I hope this proves to be a good thing in the end.

  2. Laurel

    Oh wow, unemployment is tough. I was unemployed after graduating college in 2007 and again in 2010, and all I can say to help with supportiveness is make him feel useful! My biggest struggle was not necessarily the job loss, it was feeling useless. I’d clean, workout, read, and still have so. much. time. I felt lazy and ineffective, and being in the house all day, except for a workout, was misery for me. So whatever you can to help him feel useful- run errands, meet you for lunch (but not eating in a restaurant), whatever works for you two.

    Best of luck with the situation!
    Laurel recently posted..Hardest thing I’ve ever done

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I thought that might help him, too but then I don’t want to make Michael my slave!! I don’t want him to feel less than because I ask him to run my errands for me. 🙁 I’m sure we’ll find what works. We get through things and I think it will be ok. It’s just all up in the air right now.

  3. Candace

    Hi Lisa – I’ve been through this with my boyfriend as well. A little background, we’ve been together 14 years and moved up here about 6 years ago, bought a house, he had a good job that he really enjoyed. In 2009 they decided to restructure and his was one of many jobs that were eliminated.

    It was a hard blow because he had no warning, so maybe Michael is a little lucky that it didn’t come totally out of the blue. My bf was crushed, scared, worried; he had never been let go from a job before. He was in shock for a good week. I assured him we’d be ok, because we would. I didn’t want him to feel like he had the world on his shoulders so I did my best to act like it didn’t worry me, even when it did.

    Thankfully there is unemployment and even though it’s not as much as he was making, it is far better than nothing. We tightened our belts a little didn’t buy things that weren’t necessary. You become very creative and resourceful!!

    He was off from Feb. until Dec. of the same year – he got a job right before Christmas 2010. He actually ended up really enjoying him time off, he got a ton of work done outside and I got the bonus of someone who could clean the house, run little errands for me during the day like grocery shopping etc. I almost was sad he had to go back to work, it was really nice!!!

    The only thing I really worried about was if he had to go to the doctor/hospital not having insurance so I was constantly nagging him to be extra careful.

    Keep your heads up and stay positive, he’ll find a job. Tell him to enjoy his time off while it lasts!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Candace. It sounds like your story definitely has a happy ending and that gives me hope!

      Michael has a list of things he wants to accomplish during this time off. It’s a list of books to read, hobbies to perfect, self-improvement and diet stuff, in addition to all of the small house things that we NEVER have time to do. I think our kitchen will FINALLY be finished and the yard and garden will be great this year. He’s really motivated to do all that stuff and I’m glad he has a list.

      I worry about the health insurance issue big time. He can get COBRA here in Oregon. I don’t know much about it, other than it’s expensive but it’s better than being completely uninsured.

      1. Candace

        I forgot to mention – I found to be pretty good. The website scans actual company job listings – not just the ones posted on monster, or some other useless job websites.

        If you’re not familiar with it, you set up the search criteria and you get daily emails for jobs fitting the criteria. I had it set up to come to my email and I actually found my BF the job he has now (he wasn’t the best at searching online himself).

        It’s worth a shot and it doesn’t require much more than opening an email!

        1. Lisa Eirene

          I will pass on that info to Michael. I’m not too worried about his job search. He’s pretty smart and a computer guy so I think he’ll have that part covered.

  4. Beth @ Beth's Journey

    Oh Lisa I am sorry you are dealing with that right now. I can’t imagine how stressful it is to go from two incomes down to one. Michael is lucky to have you to be by his side while you navigate through this stressful time together!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thank you Beth! I hope that I do a good job supporting him. What REALLY sucks is that I do not make enough money for us to survive on just my income. Thank goodness for savings and unemployment benefits. SIGH

  5. Becky


    I am so sorry to hear about Michael’s job. That is terrible news. I think the plan that both you and he have laid out will help it pass more bearably. It’s important that he stays busy and that he feels productive. I will send good vibes your way–hopefully something better comes your way soon! All of my friends that have been laid off ended up finding jobs even better than the ones they lost, with usually higher pay!
    Becky recently posted..Well, I did it…

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Good vibes are good! And he does have some jobs he can apply to that would be good (one would be a great job and working from home). Time will tell.

  6. Carbzilla

    OMG – I’m so so sorry. As you know, I have a bit of experience with unemployment (and this is actually the second Portland lay-off I’ve heard off in the last week. Ugh).

    My advice would be to structure job seeking time. My problem is that I got little else done because just as I was to leave to go … to the gym, clean the house, meet a friend … I would get one promising sounding email, and I was too stressed to not answer it RIGHT AWAY. I wish I had done that part differently.

    No matter how a lay-off happens, it’s a whammy. I have a Portland jobs list to send you, other than that I have to say that networking (in person) and Linked In are big helps!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I know you can relate. I hope that Michael gets a new job soon but I think he has enough on his plate to keep him busy while he looks. I’d love to see the Portland jobs list.

  7. TigressSky

    You and Michael are in my thoughts hun. *hugs*


    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thanks Ember. It’s appreciated.

  8. Lori

    So sorry to hear about Michael’s job. My SIL’s SO lost her job and it took her 2 years to find a new one. They tightened their belts and did okay on unemployment and 1 salary. Just take time to find the right fit and not just into a job because it comes along.

    I got laid off from one of my jobs last year and couldn’t get unemployment because I had another part-time job. That was really annoying. It was very stressful. Things worked out for the best, though.

    You just do what you have to do and not dwell on it negatively because that doesn’t change things. It helps to make up a schedule to plan the day and stick to it (like a job). That schedule can consist of working on cover letters and resumes, actual job applications, enrichment-type studies to make yourself marketable, and getting in exercise. My advice is to have no TV on during the day, just as you wouldn’t if you were working.
    Lori recently posted..Snow and waiting…

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Luckily he can get unemployment. That will help. I do like your idea of no tv during the day just like work. I’ll pass that on.

  9. Jennifer

    Ah Lisa, my boyfriend lost his job yesterday too. He had casually broached the fact that he may be losing his job, but apparently I was so unresponsive he didn’t push it. Talk about denial! We too are down to one income, and it’s scary and frustrating. The thing that scares me most is the no health insurance! I made him promise me he wouldn’t do any heavy lifting, and wear a helmet any time he leaves the house 🙂
    Sending good thoughts to both you and he!

    And in respsonse to your last post…gummy bears get me every time. They are fat free so I pretend they are calorie free too, then I get all down on myself. I know as part as an overall healthy and active lifestyle, one binge on gummy bears isn’t going to make all that big of a difference, but I know the bad self talk after the binge will!! Stay strong. (sorry I’m writing a novel here…) I recently went scale free! I’ll weight in once a month at work (im an RN), but it feels good not to see the scale taunting/haunting me at home 🙂

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thanks for the comment, Jennifer. I like hearing from my quieter readers (even if it is about a sad topic like this). I am so sorry about your boyfriend. It just sucks, doesn’t it? The only positives I can tell myself are that at least it happened when the economy is supposedly on the upturn. And at least it didn’t happen BEFORE Christmas. That’s all I got in terms of positivity….

      Good luck to you guys too!

  10. Deb

    Sorry he lost his job. It sucks. I hope he can find something soon, losing an income can be devastating.

    I’ve been out of work and on disability for a few years now- I get about $850 a month which pays my bills, puts a little gas in my car, buys my share of the dog food, and buys us groceries. Anything extra I have goes to paying outstanding deb. Bf works full time but has way too many bills as a result of a few years worth of bad decisions. I don’t chip in towards the mortgage, but I do buy all the food, except for juice and cereal (he’s the only one to use these). I splurge and spend $26.80 on a box of fresh, organic, locally grown produce each week, and then I have $40 to spend on other things. I don’t buy anything the last half week of each month.

    I’m really hoping the meal planning I am trying for our dinners will help with my shopping as well. We’ll see!
    Deb recently posted..Day 89

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation but it sounds like you guys are working at it. I think the one positive about this for us is that we definitely need to tighten the belt. I think being forced to will help in the long run.

      I hope meal planning does help you guys! Let me know. 🙂

      1. Deb

        I’ll definitely have something to say about it after we try it for a few weeks. I went a little over budget today when I went shopping, but not by a lot.

        One really good thing that helps me since we’re on a limited budget for groceries is it means we almost never have junk food in the house. Bf like tootsie rolls, so we usually have some of those around, and maybe a can of pringles (which I also rarely eat) but no real temptations and it means our money is going towards more nutritious things instead of junk.

        My biggest hope with the meal planning is to cut down the consumption of pre-packaged one skillet type meals- hamburger helper, rice-a-roni with meat added. Ideally I’d like to see those disappear from our diet completely, and have lots of from scratch meals, but for now, once a week is pretty good. 🙂
        Deb recently posted..Rutabaga Hash

        1. Lisa Eirene

          I agree, Deb! The one-skillet, meal from a box is awful and we cut that out of our diet too. I think eating the fresher, more natural foods without the box ingredients is so much better.

  11. Jennifer

    I was laid off in 2010 and it was really rough. I was scared and sad and angry. Everything worked out OK, but I was really active in trying to find something new. I met with people in my industry and asked for advice. I got a ton of “I think I know someone who’s hiring, let me give them a call.” I went to all kinds of free industry-related events, like tweet-ups or media assoc. meetings (I’m in magazine publishing/communications/PR). I also took any and all freelance jobs, just to get myself out there and earn a little income in the meantime. It worked and 3 mo. later I landed a permanent position with health benefits, etc.

    All while this was going on, I won’t say it was easy. I had my super-depressed moments and cried on the phone with worry to my parents. But I tried to do positive things to counteract the negative — like training for my first 5k! I was also working to lose weight, and seeing success, so that made me feel good. Getting out of bed each day and having a plan is a huge, huge thing. I’ve known people who grew into a funk and wasted time watching too much TV and eating too much. It’s OK to do that a little … losing a job is emotionally draining … but don’t let it be the norm!

    I’m sure everything will be OK and you and Michael will come out of this just fine! I’d say, be supportive and encouraging. Offer to proofread cover letters and resumes. Don’t push too hard…but don’t let him get too complacent either. Yours and his future are intertwined, so it’s gotta be a team effort!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’m glad you found a way to be productive with your time off. If it were me, I’d have a list a mile long of self improvement stuff, classes I’d take, volunteering, etc. I think staying busy is the KEY! It’s sooo easy to get sucked into hours of tv and or the internet and then all of a sudden you’ve wasted the entire day. I can’t tell you how many times I intended to “just watch two episodes” on Netflix and ended up watching 8 hours. 😛

      And yes, we are a team effort!

  12. Lisa

    Although I haven’t experienced this personally, I have a family member who is going through the 3rd lay-off in 5 years and has been out of work for quite a while this time. He seems to be keeping busy doing the things suggested by others – doing stuff around home to save money like preparing meals, volunteering, filling out applications and sending out tons of resumes, going on every interview he’s offered, and doing extensive networking.

    As Jennifer said before me, I’m sure everything will be ok in the end. I’ll be hoping that Michael enjoys his break from work and is productive during his time off but finds a job soon!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I hope your family member finds something soon. 🙁

  13. Jill

    Oh Lisa- I am so sorry that Michael lost his job. I have no magic words of wisdom. Just be there for each other. Be understanding of his emotions- whatever they are. Extra hugs and lots of encouragement that he can and will find a job again. Let him know you are in it together so he does not feel the burden alone. I don’t know if these things will help him- they are just things that came to my mind that I would try and do if I was in your situation. With that said- you need support too. It might be hard to get that from Michael. You might not want to show him your stress as you don’t want to think you blame him for the situation. Don’t forget that you have TONS of support from your friends in your blogging community. Lean on us if you need to! Extra hugs are coming your way!!!
    Jill recently posted..Stubborn 10 Update

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thanks Jill. I have been keeping a lot of my stress to myself for the last few months (hence the stress eating and general crabbiness) because Michael didn’t need to be burdened by my feelings when he was the one going through it at work. It sucks. I hope that it gets better soon. Thank you for the comment, Jill!!

  14. Eleah

    So sorry to hear about the job loss. :/ My boyfriend had a 6 month paid internship after he finished his graduate class work. We knew the whole time that it would be ending soon but there wasn’t much to do other for him to look. He’s been unemployed for about a month now.. there’s just nothing out there. He’s looked in his field (transportation engineering) all over the country with nothing. Eventually he had to move onto computer science and he can’t find anything there b/c he doesn’t have a CS degree. Everything is a catch 22, it seems.. and a total employers market. 🙁 So we’re a no-income, total-loan family right now! Keep your chin up, lady… it; has to get better eventually. And just think about the positives, too. We have tons of people coming around our neighborhood taking our cans and bottles off our curbs every week. So glad we’re not in that position!
    And also… you aren’t married so I’d suggest he applies for food stamps. No shame… you do what you have to! We were able to get them starting the month after he had no income.
    Eleah recently posted..Portland Brew Bus

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I am sorry to hear you guys are in the same boat!! 🙁 And no, there is no shame in food stamps. I hadn’t even thought of that. I told Michael and he’s going to check it out. Thank you for the tip!!

  15. Carbzilla

    I agree that Indeed is awesome. Have him check Mac’s list. If I can forward him the next one, I will. Seems like a lot of creative jobs though some nonprofit (ie not high paying).

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Not high paying is frustrating. You do good work (nonprofit) and help people but it’s very little in livable wages. Which is sad.

  16. Roz@weightingfor50

    Hi Lisa. I’m so sorry to hear about Michael’s job. I completely understand your stress and anxiety and also it being hard of Michael. My husband was one of MANY folks in his organization that they had to let go last spring in order to keep the company afloat – and still isn’t working. For the first few months, he sunk into a pretty deep depression and his self esteem was non existent. Fortunately he’s “come back” and is now in the right headspace to find himself a great new job. He’s getting some great feedback, so we know it’s just a matter of time. Michael is VERY lucky to have you beside him as you both go through this difficult time. However, I assure you, it just makes your relationship stronger, and before you know it, this will all be a distant memory. In the meantime, take care of yourself while you take care of him!!! If you ever need to “chat”, please feel free to drop me an email. Sending a hug down the coast to you!!!!
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..Friday the 13th!

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I think Michael will be okay. He knew this was coming and he was somewhat prepared for it, so I think the blow is less damaging. He also has so many things he wants to get accomplished during this time. He will be too busy to get depressed I think. But I told him I think it’s important to no sleep til noon, to shower every day and leave the house. Even if it’s just to run errands. It’s too easy to become a recluse and get depressed if you have no reason to go outside.

      Thanks Roz, I’ll keep your offer in mind if I need to talk!

  17. Cheryle

    Oh Lisa, I am so sorry to read this. We had a small layoff at my company earlier this week, too, which was a shock to me as I thought things were looking up.

    I’m not sure what Michael does exactly, but two things come to mind:

    1) Have him check out PDX Mind Share. They have monthly networking events and a jobs board, I see jobs here that I don’t see in other places:

    2) Make sure his LinkedIN profile is completely up to date and optimized for searches. Even though I’m not job-hunting, I probably get contacted once a month about an opportunity in my field. They always come through LinkedIN.

    I know from experience that unemployment can be rough, I had my days. But there was always something better on the other side, thought you may not realize it at the time.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Thanks for sending me that site! I will check it out and send it to him. As for the other technology stuff, that’s Michael’s field so I think he has it covered. Now it’s just “apply and wait and see” mode…

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