A lot has been going on with us in the last couple of months, most of which I have not mentioned here on my blog.
In April, Hubby got notice from the school here that they would not be renewing his contract. They've had budget cuts and decreased enrollment, and he's the new guy, so of course he got the pink slip. However someone else in the high school English department there was retiring, and there was a job opening at the local alternative high school, and one at the middle school, so we felt optimistic that he would be rehired here in town. We felt (and feel) that God brought us to this place for a purpose--not just to Alaska, but to this town in specific--and that He would make a way for us to stay here. However Hubby updated his resumes with other districts around the state and began checking each district's website daily for new listings, and applying for everything for which he is qualified.
Our oldest son, in particular, is a sensitive person who would become very concerned if he knew we were looking for work. If he overhears us discussing finances he bring us pennies he finds on the playground to help pay for groceries and things like that. He's had a number of struggles of his own this year (which is a whole other story, but one that will be remaining private), and we did not want to burden him with the stress of the layoff, so we did not tell him. Therefore, we did not tell very many other people either. However, after two months of interviews, and still no new contract, we have told Wolf the situation, so I feel that it's ok to tell it more openly to everyone else too.
We did actually have one offer: from a place that made Pelican look like an accessible metropolis. Well, ok, maybe not a metropolis...but accessible for sure. Arctic Village is of similar size to Pelican, but accessible by air only. Or maybe by dog team I suppose... it's 200ish miles northeast of Fairbanks. We took 48 hours to research, think, and pray about it before turning them down. We feel strongly that moving to such a remote place would be detrimental for our children on multiple counts (likely for us too), and we feel that something else will work out.
As for what that something else is, we don't know. Two of the three jobs here in town--including the one at the high school that we thought Hubby would be a shoo-in for--have filled without even interviewing him. The third is rumored to be interviewing this week, but Hubby has not been called, so we don't know what to think there. This district is currently in a hiring freeze due to their diminished budget, so we do not anticipate other jobs with them opening up this year. Hubby has interviewed for positions in the Anchorage area and we don't know yet what the answers will be from those. We are not looking at any listings in the lower 48 because the opportunities there are even poorer than here (Alaska is one of the rare states that is still treading water in this economy).
We still hope for a job. It's not too late, it's just frustrating to have been working so hard at it for two months and not yet have anything to show. With that said, we have settled upon a Plan B that we feel good about. If Hubby does not get hired for next year, we will stay here and he will return to school (online) and complete a masters program/new endorsement (we've checked and he can do it in one year if he works over the summer too). He would substitute teach as much as he could, and we would probably have to rely on student loans and other aid such as food stamps to make it through. The new endorsement should double the number of jobs he would be qualified for though, so it would greatly increase his hireability for next year.
We still get paid through the summer. Actually, we have pay that was going to be paid through the summer, but legally it is all due to us within three days of Hubby's final day of work since his employment has been terminated. He is currently working with the district and with his union to get them to comply with that law, because if we get all the money now (and pay our rent etc up front) then we will be unpaid during the summer, which would allow us to claim 2 months of unemployment benefits, which we could save up for this fall when things are likely to get really tight. Alternately, Hubby is also talking with someone who may hire him as a deckhand on a fishing boat for part of this summer, and if he does that then we'll be able to earn money to save for whatever lies ahead.
I will say that I don't relish the idea of needing to utilize government programs, but I do believe that they have a place and that we would be using the system appropriately. It's not as if we're trying to avoid work--our preference is most definitely to find a job!! But I am grateful that there are options available to us in case we can't.