So when impending homelessness loomed, I'd called my real-estate agent, and told him I thought it might be time to try to sell my place. He came to my house a few days later, with statistics on local home sales. He watched silently while I looked at them.
"There is no way I'm going to be able to sell this place," I said.
"No," he replied.
He then proposed several solutions, which included me renting the place out for less than my monthly mortgage payment (to bring it in line with market rents), combined with renting a room in one of the houses he and his wife owned nearby, at a ridiculously low rent, which would make it possible for me to earn the difference on my place with a low-paying job. The cats and rabbits would be accommodated.
Again, the kindness of people amazes me.
We agreed I'd put together a plan within the week.
And then, when things looked darkest..
A fellow condo board member saw a job posting in his office, forwarded my resume to HR, and I got a call from a dubious-sounding HR rep.
"You're resume doesn't list Access. You have to know Access."
"I've used Access very little, but I did have some training in it along time ago, and I test well in it. It's not a very hard program, from what I've seen."
Now, anyone who's dealt with HR departments knows that they are frequently the least technologically savvy people in the company, and because of this, they assume that every software application is mind-bogglingly hard.
So it seemed clear by this woman's demeanor that she was talking to me as a courtesy to my friend, and after a very terse conversation, I was sent an online test module. Word, Excel, Access. So I took them.
Long story short: I aced the tests, I did well on my telephone interview, and passed my two in-person interviews with flying colors. And I start my job on March 1. I'll be making about 10K less than my old job, but 25K more than unemployment, so I'm happy to have it.
I am now making it my mission to find jobs for people I know who are still looking. There are lots of great people out there, and it's become clear to me that the best way to get a job is to have a little help from your friends.
(I'd also discovered that my unemployment was extended regardless, so my situation wasn't as dire as I'd thought. But it never hurts to have a plan.)
And I'm glad to stay in my place, at least for now. She's old and she's creaky, but she's a gorgeous tiny old thing, and I do love her. And my neighbors have been amazing. In fact, so many people have been amazing, and generous, and thoughtful. Friends who hired me for "jobs" they needed help with: packing their apartments for a move, bringing their laptops in to tech support, freelance proofreading. It's kept me afloat, and I feel a strong sense of not only obligation, but desire, to pay it forward.