Last week Jason quit his job.
A job that he loves.
A job that pays relatively well (as far as what teachers earn).
A job that has fabulous health/vision/dental insurance for his whole family.
A job in an environment that is professional and supportive.
A job that is 70 miles away from where we're living now.
We stressed and stressed over this decision, of him not going back to work at his school next year. But the truth of it is, the commute--through Portland's rush hour traffic twice a day--would have been really hard, and we just decided that he couldn't stay there even though it's such a great job. So, he wrote his letter of resignation and gave it to the district office.
He'll get a paycheck through August, insurance benefits through September.
After that...it's a great mystery.
I suspect that Jason is one of maybe 4 people in the country who are quitting stable jobs they loved.
There's no turning back now.
Today he went to a job fair for one of the local school districts. The news was not good. Even though Washington's education budget is in better shape than Oregon's education budget (Salem-Keizer has to cut at least $30 million from next year's budget; by comparison, schools around here have to cut a fraction of that), schools are unsure what kind of hiring possibilities they'll have for next year. Not only that, this particular district needs fewer social studies teachers because of a new program they implemented. Not only that, but Jason can't teach middle school in this district because all their middle school social studies teachers also teach English (a common middle school arrangement that I think is really stupid).
I'm getting nervous.
We knew it was a gamble to start building the house without Jason having a job lined up for the fall, but I never imagined him not getting a job. I have full confidence in his abilities--if he gets interviewed, he'll get a job because he's an awesome teacher--but my confidence in the interviews materializing is diminishing. I'm not usually one to play the "What if?" game--because I'm a cockeyed optimist and can't bear to think of bitter scenarios--but I'm not ignorant to the reality of our situation.
Right now, we're in fine shape. We still have all that money from the sale of our house. Our monthly expenses are ridiculously low. But once we start building...we'll have a mortgage to pay in approximately 7-8 months.
The conversations we have are miserable:
Jason: Maybe we should wait to start building until I get a job.
Me: What if you get a job in August and then we've lost the whole summer for building because we didn't have faith you'd get a job?
J: Maybe putting us back a few months will be no big deal.
Me: Except losing our construction loan financing and the possibility of getting a crappy interest rate.
J: What if we finish the house in December and we have no money?
Me: That won't happen.
J: What if we lose the house because we don't have any money?
Me: That won't happen.
J: It could.
Me: It won't.
J: It might.
Me: We'll win the lottery.
J: Sounds risky.
I can hardly think about it. I can't, actually. I've refused to. For months I've told Jason it's not an option to wait until he gets a job (because my sanity cannot handle it). I've reassured him that he will have a job, and if he doesn't then I'll go get a job. But this week of state budget woes has put a damper on my faith.
And so, at this exact moment in time we don't have a start date. We don't even have a builder now because we couldn't in good faith keep stalling him. It was really sad news to deliver because we've been working with him for more than a year now, and he's a friend of ours.
Mostly, I just wish I could see into the future. I wish I knew what to do.