The recession has hit many households, but few people have felt its impact as severely as I have: I’ve been laid off three times in the last four years. Sound improbable, crazy or just plain pitiful? Yep, that sums it up. I was initially laid off in late 2006 and during that time I was engaged to my husband. It was my first experience losing a job and I went through a myriad of emotions. Luckily, my man was there for me in every way possible, emotionally, physically and financially, which affirmed that he was the one. When I found a new position, we tied the knot. I spent the lion’s share of my savings on the wedding of my dreams. It was a beautiful day. I had the man of my heart. I had a great new job at one of the world’s largest financial institutions. Life was perfect… until I was laid off six months later. This time, my husband was very different. We had a discussion about my goals, our goals, and I shared that I really wanted to put more effort into pursuing my own business. For the past several years I was slowly building my brand as a make-up artist. I did weddings, photo shoots and set work, but my 9 to 5 relegated my personal business hours to the weekends. I felt my second layoff was an opportunity — even a sign — that it was time to focus on my passion. My husband said he supported my goal but his behavior indicated otherwise. He was a lot tighter about my spending habits. I won’t lie; I’m not the best with money — but he knew I was no Suze Orman before we said “I do.” Moreover, I was improving. I’d increased my credit score and did my best to track my dollars and cents. In addition, I made sure I used my unemployment compensation to pay all of my household responsibilities. Despite my desire to pursue make-up artistry full-time, I acquiesced and took a job in the business field after a few months. I wanted to maximize my savings and alleviate the tension between my husband and me. Did I love my gig? No. Surprisingly, having a steady paycheck only eased the drama in my household — it didn’t cure it. That’s when I realized that we had a bigger issue: We have different values, and relationships, with money. To me it is important to value people, things, and then money. My spouse believes finances equal security and should always be placed first. Our pre-marital counseling never explored this dynamic; instead it focused mostly on our relationship with God. In hindsight, that was a disservice. No amount of prayer, sister circles or Sunday morning services can remedy such core differences without true exploration into their causes. Sadly, after about a year of working for the last company it was acquired in a merger and I was let go. That was in January. This time around I decided to completely commit to my goal of being a make-up artist. My husband says he’s behind me — but is fixated on me bringing in an income. I find it insulting and demeaning. We are not struggling but I know that we need money to live. I am committed to making our family work — every check I earn is doled out with that priority in mind. I get that being a married woman means sacrificing some personal wants for what we need, but our family needs a matriarch who is happy and fulfilled; pursuing my passion will ensure that. It is a challenge and I am scared. After years of aiming for a six-figure salaried 9 to 5, the notion of no sick days, health care, and 401K and secured check riddle me with angst. I also wonder whether I’m “good enough” to really make it in the industry and whether business school prepped me to be a competent business owner. Still, all of my apprehension pales in comparison to the thought of being too fearful to try. So I am going for it. I pray my husband understands — and we’re in counseling to make sure his heart and head get the same message.
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