Chapter 6: Career changes
We had our son Sam and then 2 1/2 years later we had our Daughter Isabel. When Sam was 4 and Isabel 1 1/2 , we bought our first house. In those 4 years a lot happen. Including some of the toughest parts of our marriage to date.
We moved to Stamford when Sam was a few months old. He was such a cute little pork chop. He 9 now, but he is still my baby boy. When we moved we were so happy. We had a really nice condo apartment in a nice area of Stamford. Our landlord was getting married so he was moving out of his condo and in with his new Wife cause she had a house in Norwalk.
She was the one who met us to show us the apartment. She was so nice and happy and cooing over Sam and The fact that we had a pit bull was no problem. Up until that point we had found many places we liked but if you mention a Pit Bull they say no way. Nacho is a part of our family, there is no way we were leaving him behind.
We found this place in Stamford. For the first two years we are so happy. I find out I am expecting right around the time that my landlord finds out that she is expecting too. She tells us about this great new job she has selling insurance. She’s making so much money. She’s selling it to all the other doctors that work with her husband so it’s so easy and if Ray came to work with her then they could be a team and they could both make all this money. She came to our apartment and sat at our table while I made dinner and convinced Ray to take all the tests to be able to sell insurance. He was working at a hospital in New York and he was not happy so this would give him a chance to be closer to home and work whatever hours he wants. He’s intrigued. I say no. I am not a sales person. You tell me you don’t need something and I will tell you you are probably right. By the time our landlord leaves Ray has decided he is going to look into this.
Meanwhile my job at the Chiropractors office is going terrible. They are terrible people and they are terribly mean to me. I have anxiety attacks thinking about going to work. We have this client Angela. She really likes me and she said that she is an office manager at a OBGYN in Stamford and she wants to hire me to do side work, like if someone calls out, I can come fill in. I am pregnant and she doesn’t care. she hires me and I work there when I am not working at the Chiropractors office. This helps because sometimes I don’t get paid on time from the Chiropractors. Whoops they say, I thought I called Paychex.
Then everything happens at once. I have Isabel on December 9th. I don’t have maternity leave but they give me 10 hours pay a week out of the kindness of their hearts. I usually worked around 28 hours. After 2 weeks home with Isabel I start going back to work with her when the office is closed so that I can process their billing and post the payments. I bring Bel with me and breast feed her while I work. They pay me for the 10 hours I work. At the end of December Ray’s job at the hospital lets him go. They no longer need that job anymore. Ray calls our landlord and tells them that he was let go of his job. Oh don’t worry they say, take your time and pay us what you can. Ray tells the woman landlord that he has finished all his tests and he’s ready to sell insurance. She says okay, she’ll be there to help him. She has her baby. Ray has no one to help him.
The thing with Insurance sales is you have this “warm” market which consists of your friends and family. Initially you can make money selling insurance to these people. But when your warm market goes cold, you have to really be a good sales person to keep going. Ray tried, he really did. And he made a little bit. What followed those few months were terrible. My job was awful. The bosses just got worse and worse and were treating me terrible. They didn’t pay on time. We had no income from Ray’s side. We pulled the kids from daycare to stay with Ray and when I wasn’t working he would go out to network and stand at the train stations and call up every doctor he ever met at his old job to see if they needed anything. We did events and I would call everyone who showed interest. But usually they weren’t interested anymore.
The landlords were wondering when we would be paying the back rent that we owed. It was a bad situation. The lady landlord that promised to help Ray disappeared and let her husband command the rent. I thought for months that we were always on the verge of being kicked out. It was terrible.
I had panic attacks about how I was going to buy groceries with $100.00 a week for 4 people. We had $30.00 each a week for gas. I was so stressed my breast milk dried up and I couldn’t breast feed anymore so I had to supplement with formula. I’m telling you, I would never ever wish that on anyone. We didn’t qualify for any help from the state. I made to much money they said.
In May I decided that I could not take the Chiropractors anymore and I called my part time job and begged for anything full time. I loved the billing part of my job and it turned out that they just had a billing position open at Norwalk hospital. There were so many people who wanted it but Angela pushed my resume in their hands and said that I was already on the payroll and she recommended me and that they should at least “try me out” for a couple weeks and then make a decision. They said yes, they would try me out. I quit my job at the chiropractors that day with 2 weeks notice.
If I thought I was treated badly before I was really wrong. It got so much worse after that. The husband Chiropractor wouldn’t even talk or look to me anymore. And the Wife would yell at me when she talked to me. Finally that Friday after I gave notice when I didn’t get paid I waited in the dark. When she got there, I said I wasn’t going to work until I got paid. She said “what are you going to do, sue me? I should sue you for destroying my practice!” I said”I can call the labor department and tell them you are not paying your employees.” She told me to get out or she would call the cops.
Man, it felt good to walk out of there. I did finally end up getting paid the following week. I did open an investigation on them, but since they paid me there was nothing to be done.
To be honest, I knew that they were running the practice into the ground. I told them we needed new clients and the deals they made with people were just wrong. They spent all the money on all their hobbies and then there was no money left to pay the employees. Then I would get yelled at to make money appear. I knew every file in that place without even looking at it, what the persons insurance was and how much they covered for each visit. I can honestly say that I walked away with a clear conscious.
I heard after I left they talked very badly about me. They hired their old receptionist back. The one who left before me and they were so happy. A year later their amazing receptionist was charged with forging prescriptions to herself and they fired her.
The following week I started at the hospital and 2 weeks later I accepted a full time position as a Medical Biller. Pay was a little less but I had more hours and no stress.
At some point Ray was like fuck insurance. He gave it a go, but it wasn’t going to happen. He started to focus on his computer skills. He changed his resume to highlight that and started sending it out. In August he accepted a full time position as help desk IT at a place in Greenwich. The starting pay was enough to bring us current with everything.
We caught up on rent in September. I remember giving the husband landlord the final back rent check and he said “my wife stopped selling insurance too.” I closed the door before I could yell at him. Even though we were always on time with rent after that day it was never the same.
We were able to buy our first house a few years after this. but I will always remember how tough it was and how my husband and I worked through it together.
As for me the Hospital Position was great and gave me a great opportunity to learn so many things. Then there was a merge and all of our positions were being moved up to Danbury which is a 45 minute drive each way. Our positions didn’t exist anymore and most of us weren’t qualified for a lateral move. That job also became very stressful because I was promoted to a supervisor position which I think was just because everyone in those positions were leaving. My boss was fired and a new person who was contracted came in to prepare us for the merge. We were given job descriptions of jobs that we could apply for and nothing was guaranteed. It’s terrible going to work and not feeling like it’s secure. I also was upset because my children were young (5 and 2 1/2) and in school in Norwalk. Ray was working in Greenwich and with traffic, that’s an hour drive each way as well. Someone had to be close to them. I started reapply for new jobs in Norwalk and luckily I found one in Norwalk at a great non-profit doing billing and I am close to my kids.
I intend to go back to school and I am still figuring that all out. Ray has moved jobs from Greenwich to Norwalk into a more senior position and it’s really nice to finally all be in the same town.
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