Many years ago, when my husband and I were still newlyweds, we moved far, far away from family and friends.
Those who follow me know we went from the Chicago area, to Florida, but I never shared why.
You see, it was becoming more and more difficult to afford the cost of living in Chicago. My husband was a blue collar worker where he was either forced to join a union, or work for petty wages outside of a union. Neither choice was good, and here is why.
Working outside of a union gave my husband minimum wage … but wait … it’s not what you think. In his business, during busy times, booking hours could mean much more than minimum wage. The problem with this scenario was that there were slow times as well. Even with me working full time, we had difficulty paying one car payment and a mortgage on a small condo.
Working inside the union paid well, despite slow or busy times. Sounds fantastic, right? Not really. You see, my husband was excellent at his job. But, during those slow times, they had to lay people off, because they couldn’t afford to pay everyone those higher salaries. In a union, no matter who is terrible at their job, they can’t lose it. When times get slow, it’s the people with the least seniority who get laid off.
In the mean time, prices of homes were skyrocketing. Property taxes were shooting up and interest rates were at 11 to 15%.
After the third time my husband got laid off from a union job due to lack of seniority, he went to work for a nonunion shop. Busy times kept us afloat, slow times almost broke us. We talked about borrowing from our parents, but that certainly wouldn’t improve our long-term situation. That’s when we came up with an idea.
Could there be a place where my husband could get paid union wages without being in a union?
The possibilities seemed endless, but we didn’t know where to look. In those days, there was no internet to search for information. But, my husband’s brother had just moved to Florida just a few weeks earlier. Why not stay with him to check out the cost of living and the wages for work there?
So, that’s how it happened. We learned that my husband wouldn’t need to join a union and still get a good salary. During slow times in Florida, my husband’s expertise saved his job. The hacks and/or those who didn’t work as hard were the ones laid off, because there was no union. My husband also found it easier to move up the ladder in job positions there.
House prices were half of those in Chicago, and so were the property taxes. There was no state income tax either. I didn’t need to work, and we could start a family.
Well, some of you know that a family never happened for us, so I did eventually go to work … stopped working, went to work, and stopped working again to write.
It may sound as if this move was a simple decision to make. Of course, financially, it made sense. Mentally and emotionally, it didn’t fit as well. Since I surpassed my 500-word post limit, I shared the rest of the story in this post.
Aside from marriage and having children, have you ever had to make a decision that changed your life?