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Following up on “rage plumbing” and other acts of mightiness from last week, let’s talk about that Gain A Life thing. Fact is, it takes money to leave a cheater. It’s hard to Gain A Life without gaining a job. Maybe you have a job, or a fat settlement and today’s post doesn’t apply to you. I hope you’ll share this post anyway and get this information out there. The saddest letters I get are from people who feel too financially fucked to leave their cheaters. Fortunately, Chump Nation is one hell of a networking site. Kibble Free Mighty Me is guest blogging today on tech training. Do you need a Fuck Off Fund for your own personal liberation campaign? Have you stay-at-home-parented yourself into dependence and obsolescence? Are you sick of your dead-end job? Are you getting jack shit for child support? RETRAIN and be mighty. KFMM is going to tell you how. — Tracy

Dear Chump Nation:

Tracy will intermittently ask us Chumps to tell how we’re being mighty since having our worlds blow up. I mentioned in a post some time ago, I try to stay mighty by transferring my blocked love to teen mothers — a group that holds a special place in my heart. I know their struggles and fears, as I’m a grown teen mother. Today I work in technical education doing marketing and public relations, and have for almost 20 years. Tracy asked if I’d share some of what I tell these teen mothers as a way to assist any Chumps also looking for ways to earn financial independence.

As a teen parent, help can come in many forms when you feel alone, scared, and unemployable for the type of job you want. Sound familiar, Chumps? Like how we felt on D-Day? Sure, I can connect with these girls, but my teen mom story doesn’t actually help unless I can provide options for them to jumpstart their futures. The information I share with them also applies to Chumps, and especially for those who have yet to attend school, or complete their education.

I did the hard work after becoming a teen mom, but didn’t know until recently that I completed a tested formula for success. A research study published in 2008 by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy states that teen pregnancy could benefit families and society if:

1)    The mother and the baby are both healthy

2)    The child is prepared for school

3)    The mother is educated and cares for her child

4)    The mother becomes financially independent

Although I earned all the items in the list, it has only been because I fulfilled item number three, that the fourth item continues to play itself out in my life, and that alone is what saved me when I filed eight months after D-Day. Regardless of whether the ex sent monthly child support or not, I’ve been empowered through my education to take care of myself and my child, help with my little grandchild, and keep my home, car and sanity, all because I made the first investment in my education as a teen mom. In fact, I continued with an online master’s program 12 years after college while working full-time. Why? Because of the financial blessings I have experienced over the years just by doing item number three above. My education was also a non-negotiable during the divorce process; can’t divide that up! And, Chumps – it’s NEVER too late to go back to school.

One thing the teen moms and CN won’t hear me say is the word “easy.” It’s not. But neither was all that investment you did for — literally — nothing with those douchey cheaters, so it’s not as if you don’t already know what hard work is like. Only this time, your education or training investment can never be cheated away from you. Before we start, a small disclaimer. After 18 years in school PR and marketing, I know enough to provide info and recruit, but always call financial aid professionals at your local tech schools, colleges and universities for the most accurate info concerning funds, tech programs, and degrees.

College

Assuming that a high school education is in place, let’s start with college. Many of you may have finished, but for those who still have courses to complete, start by finding out what is needed to complete your degree. Learn what course numbers transfer (if attending a different college than where you began), what is tuition and misc fees, and learn about different ways you can pay. Many colleges and universities also have online courses now that could make your degree a reality, so first check with the college from where you have a transcript started. Some even let you custom build your degree to finish.

If finances are holding you back from finishing, simple online searches like “college scholarships single mother” brings up a wealth of options. Also know that the Federal Pell Grant typically asks for a last year’s tax return, so if you’ve had a recent divorce or separation, it’s a great time to search out all the scholarships now, and then get prepared financially and psychologically to finish your degree a year down the road. If you’ve been divorced for a while, then you already know your financial outlook, and it’s one hurdle down. If you personally served in the military and never took advantage of your VA benefits, call your local Veterans Administration office to find out how you can use it to start or finish college. Here are a few links to sites that come up on a simple “single-mom scholarship” search, but there are many, many more: 

Additionally, employers may have an education enhancement program where they pay for a portion of your college degree program’s tuition and fees. Just ask! Mine paid 64 percent of my master’s.

Career & Technology Education (Tech School)

One of the biggest lies perpetuated within elementary and secondary education in the U.S. is that you have to go to college to be successful. Please don’t tell that to your kids! It’s too much pressure to get into college, and it’s not the truth. By 2025, 53 percent of all jobs in my state will only require an associate degree or an industry certification. Nineteen percent will require a bachelor’s degree, and five percent master’s or higher. Why? Because of the Skills Gap happening around the U.S. due to Baby Boomers retiring in huge numbers, without qualified workers to fill their jobs. Look here for the job outlook through 2030 in your state and wage information by jobs or industry: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/

Encourage your kids to explore free options for tech school while they’re in high school if it’s available in your state. Don’t get me wrong. I completed a lot of college, and it was necessary to work in my industry; however, what many don’t realize is that there is a huge and growing percentage of college grads who can’t find work and they are in massive debt with a degree that wasn’t their “golden ticket.” After many rejections, they find themselves at a tech school getting a completely different or complimentary skill-set to their degree, and industry certifications for in-demand jobs. Only then are they employable making more than minimum wage. I’ve seen it over-and-over again during my 18 years in technical education.

If you haven’t considered a technical education as a fast-track to employment and financial independence for you and your kids, you should, and here’s why:

  • The tuition is often free for high school students, and for adults is a fraction of the expense of a four-year degree.
  • Programs may be completed quickly for adults, like in 10 months. Example: my tech school has an 18-month Diagnostic Medical Sonography program for less than $4k. The Big 10 university in our backyard offers a four-year sonography degree program for $80,000ish (not kidding), but our students are at the same clinical sites with theirs, and they all earn the DMS credential and get jobs starting between $55-65k…Ermm…
  • The training and the equipment and software taught is for in-demand jobs, leading to a recognized industry certification(s).
  • Instructors usually have a big network of current industry advisors for their programs, which is how most students get their internships, and often leads to full-time employment after graduation.
  • Tech schools measure positive placement rates of grads working in the industry for which they trained. You simply cannot ask a college to tell you how many of their music or sociology grads are employed IN their industry. (No shade to those degree holders! Just examples, but colleges don’t often help grads land jobs.)
  • Some programs like LPN have agreements with local colleges or universities to fast-track LPN grads through an RN degree program so they finish in a few semesters.
  • Combine tech school certifications with a college degree, and be even more employable.

Every corner of Oklahoma is covered by one of 29 tech schools in our CareerTech system. We offer traditional trades programs like welding, auto service, carpentry, diesel mechanic, and cosmetology, but also programs like LPN, legal office, medical coding/assistant, programming and software development, aviation mechanic, app development, prosthetics technician, graphic design and more. None of these jobs train for minimum wage positions, and most programs are covered by Pell Grant, and many by VA Benefits.

I’m not just talking the talk. My daughter has a 4.3 GPA, takes AP classes, is in band and is an athlete. She also takes computer aided design and drafting for her last two years of high school, free at our local tech school. The starting wage for a certified drafting technician in our state is $16 to $37 per hour. No college. Her internship starts soon. She wants to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering in college, but doesn’t want to work fast food while she’s doing it. And, just in-case scholarships don’t pay all $80K of the degree she wants, she’ll be financially independent before, during, and after college. This includes if she ever has her own D-Day, which I pray she never does, but if yes? She’ll financially be able to immediately break free. That’s empowerment, and it’s pretty badass.

Do online searches for “technical education” or “career and technology education” in your state. Not all states are set-up like Oklahoma, but please do your homework. Example: my school’s LPN program costs less than $4k because we’re 88 percent funded by taxpayer dollars (non-profit). A for-profit technical school up the road from us charges $18k for a similar LPN program. Same clinical sites, same LPN certification at the end. You’ll know if they’re for-profit if they constantly run TV ads (that’s expensive!), and students pay for it.

Do your homework until you find the right education option for YOU. Then keep doing your homework until you’re done with school. It’s totally worth it, and every Chump in CN has already done one of the hardest things on this planet: lived through D-Day(s) and have come out, or are still emerging, in a mighty way.

For all of our beloved international Chumps, PLEASE share what you know about the technical education programs in your countries to help other Chumps move into action. Education — regardless of our country of origin — is the key to financial independence for us and our children. My father was in the U.S. military and I grew up in Germany for a while, back when it was West Germany. Their technical education program is amazing, but I don’t know any of the ins-and-outs of how it works. Let’s info-share how it all works, friends!

Thanks for letting me share, Tracy! (((Hugs))) to every Chump – you’ve got this! <3

KibbleFree_MightyMe

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • In Australia, the Single Parenting payment from Centrelink (social security/pension/jobseeker allowance) is increased if you are in full-time study. There is also an annual bonus payment for single parents that are studying. All you have to do is apply. You need to do a lot of research and questioning, however, because it’s not exactly advertised/well known. Well, I didn’t know. It’s helped me finish my teaching degree. My last exam is this Wednesday, followed by a final practicum. Then, voila!…I will have my teaching qualification. Grad day will be a big F**K YOU moment to the cheater I left at the airport exactly 1 year and 3 weeks ago ?? Good Luck everybody!! Get out there, dig for info, and get trained up for the job you want! (((Big Hugs))) and high 5s ??

    • PS – imo, the starting teaching salary in Australia is pretty decent. I’ve heard it’s not so great in the US. Am I right?

      • It depends where in the USA. For example, in my geographical region (NYC Metro — northern NJ, Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk County, NY) the public school teachers have very powerful unions and new teachers would literally set their hair in fire to get a job in one of the public schools! Who wouldn’t — two guaranteed raises a year, comprehensive and mostly taxpayer funded benefits, taxpayer funded State pensions … not to mention all the time off compared to other types of workplaces!

      • I do know it’s not great in the US very good in Canada but not enough positions for graduates..

    • Absolutely! One thing that I should have mentioned is that education is for life, and even if we have kiddos and get some child support from those douchebags, that all stops at some point. Mine stops in 10 months, but I’m not fretting about it.

      Most of us will have to work into our 60s (if we’re lucky), so HOW do we want to work? Education is the investment up-front that pays off long-term, and might be one of the only investments that won’t let us down.

  • I went back to school.i had my son at 21.at 24 and doing my postgraduate diploma.when i finally finish it together with my podtgraduate diploma ill be very competative.and im paying the tuition fee on my own.i save every penny.i also raise my son on my own.its not easy but ill remember to always do my homework.at the end of the day ill be financially independent which means not tolerating the ex torture monthly as he frustrates me through all kinds of abuses&flaunting his new found family&happy life before sending hardly enough childsupport.(im in a thirdworld country.lawyer fees are luxury for the rich.i cant afford it.)

  • As a chump who had children ar a young age with no college education I too know the struggles associated with gaining independence.

    Another less costly way of gaining skills is to research non credit courses offered at universities to build skills in a specific areas. Aim high as many top high priced private and state universities have certificate programs.

    Libraries also offer training in computer skills and ESL training.

    If you have a degree check into what courses are needed to attain another in a marketable career.

    Check into sattelite colleges. Often times there are programs offered on weekends for both bachelor and advanced degrees.

    Stare up your own business. I worked my way through 7 years of college getting grants and started a house cleaning business. I did this for seven years with three children at home.

    Don’t worry about student loans. There are loan forgiveness programs for many fields.

    There is nothing like taking a class and getting your final grade. It is by far the greatest motivation to validate your worthiness.

    Great post CL/KFMM.

    • If DoingMe walked into my college with 7 years of running her own business, she could get up to a full year of credits by doing a “credit for life experience” portfolio showing how her experience matches up with (say) business management, marketing, accounting , human resource administration, etc. There are also ways for veterans to get credit for skills learned in the military.

  • Thanks for this. Last year I was admitted to my local technical college’s medical coding program, but was denied any financial aid and wasn’t able to attend. After everything, I just couldn’t deal with one more disappointment and dropped the dream. You’ve inspired me to call the financial aid office to see if I can get clarification about why I was denied and what i might be able to do about it. This school has a history of terrible customer service, so I’m not gonna hold my breath for a call back, but at least I’ve reached out…

    • ddame23 – even if it’s just one class at a time (how I did my master’s), and even if it takes longer than we might want, you’re still on the road to financial independence. It was easier for me to come up with a few hundred dollars each semester after my employer’s portion kicked-in, than trying to blaze through it and find a few thousand each semester.

      You’ll find that right balance, too. And make sure to search out all the grant money & scholarships that you can. Also, if your local tech school has poor customer service, think of available online options available through other schools for the coding program, as well. Maybe some competitive tuition rates? You’ve got this! =D

      • Thanks for the reply! That was what I was hoping to do, except that there are over $1600 in mandatory fees per semester. If I just had to pay the $90 per credit hour for a class, it might be feasible with out any aid, but the mandatory fees- charged even if one is taking online classes add a huge burden over time if one can only take a class at a time, suddenly a $300 class becomes a $1900 class and to do that twice a year or more is just overwhelming. Then there is the cost of child care if I were to try to take on site evening classes. I know people do this everyday, but I just don’t grasp how to do it without any financial aid.

    • ddame23:

      I have a tip for a reputable online school for medical coding called The Andrews School.

      Awhile back I was interested in medical transcription (“MT”) and lost money on an online school that didn’t give me a suitable education and didn’t have placement connections to help me get a job.

      I then looked into a local college which was offering a certificate program and went to their career fair and the head of the MT program said she had no placement options. At that time big agencies were cornering the market on what used to be a good at home women’s business opportunity, and in the USA they were hiring EXPERIENCED MT’s, not newcomers. (India was where the big medical transcription agencies who took over the market were giving FREE training to anyone with a pulse.)

      The Andrews School stood out head and shoulders above the many others I researched, especially as it was the only online training school I could find that had employment connections for new MTs based in the USA.

      I didn’t end up becoming an MT, but I had a long talk with the founder, Linda Andrews, and she impressed me as The Real Deal.

      I revisited the school’s website today when I read your post, and she now offers courses in Medical Coding. She will talk to you too about her courses like she did me. She has her phone number on the school’s website and encourages prospective students to call. The pricing seems competitive and is listed on the webpage for each course.

      Another thing on the website that is of interest to our military spouse chumps, is her school’s participation in the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account program (MyCAA).

      https://
      www. andrewsschool. com/
      coding/
      MyCAA.php

      (Hopefully, the new Federal government Administration does not have this program in the crosshairs for slashing and/or elimination.)

      To find more info on MyCAA and general info for education for military spouses (including an article about trade school), see:

      http://
      militaryspouse. com/
      militaryspouse/
      career/
      education/

      Back to the Andrews School itself, I would recommend them as one of the LEGIT online schools, and encourage you to have a look, if only for all the general information on medical coding, including information on the organizations that sponsor medical coding credentialing exams.

      Interestingly enough, The Andrews School is in Oklahoma like KibbleFree_MightyMe.

      KFMM, since you wrote this post and included Oklahoma resources as your examples, you might be interested in learning more about The Andrews School too.

      Note: Although it may look like it, I am not part of The Andrews School! I just read ddame23’s post and it popped into my mind. I also noted her frustration as to whether or not she would even get an answer from her local school and wanted to share an option where I hope she would at least get answers and communication.

  • Thank you for this! I have a bachelor’s degree and 3 small kids (4, 3 & 1). I’m struggling to find anything in my field of study. I had to decided on the goal of getting into a career training program by August. Also… Stbxh took a MASSIVE pay cut then lied under oath so the judge in our support trial granted him a very large reduction in support payments. Childcare is going to be so expensive but I’m applying for state assistance for that as well. Time to be mighty!

  • KibbleFree_MightyMe,

    What an inspirational post. As an education insider (college professor), I’d like to point out a few more things.

    1) One of the great strengths of the American higher education system is that you can always go back. This May, at our commencement, a 72 year old African-American gentleman received his undergraduate degree. Age is never a barrier.

    2) I can’t emphasize enough the importance of personal connections. If you want to get into a school, for a particular program, go there and try to meet with some of the professors or instructors in the program you are interested in. Applications are stacks of paper, and application evaluators read hundreds of them. A personal connection and a word from an insider can put you at the top of the stack. This continues throughout your training – good letters of recommendation are also worth their weight in platinum.

    3) Where you go can open doors for you at first, but over the long haul, what you do and did is more important. Going to a lesser known school doesn’t give you that extra leg up vs. an Ivy League or big research-one school, but the work you do can. At least in STEM, research with a professor, and published papers, make grad school applications much stronger. Potential employers may not be as impressed with a paper, but showing them you mastered critical skills strengthens your application. A slacker from Yale is still a slacker, while a hard worker from U of X state is still a hard worker.

    4) Not everyone needs college. (Heresy, I know, from a college prof.) It’s more important to have the training for what you want to do. That training might not require college. Medical tech, IT, and many other fields allow you to get some training to get a foot in the door, and you can work while you attend school part time to get more credentials/degrees (yes, this is an even harder road if you’re a de facto single parent, so look for help from family when you can).

    5) Beware of predatory schools. When I was getting my feet wet with a lot of adjunct teaching, I worked at a few schools that tried to game the system by getting ex-military students to take out government backed loans, get them seemingly useful degrees, and graduate them with debt, while paying the faculty peanuts. Some are now out of business. Make sure you’re getting an accredited, useful degree or credential without accumulating a heavy debt burden. Figure out how soon you can pay off the debt with the promised employment, factoring in life expenses, time to find a job, etc. If you’re paying for it for twenty years, maybe there’s a better career path or better school to attend.

    And if any of you chumps need math or physics help, shoot me an e-mail. Tempest can probably hook you up with me (not sure how to do all of that, but will work to make it happen.)

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

      • Aeronaut! LovedAJackass! Tempest! also a former ASSISTANT PROF! Alas, I published but perished. 7 days into retirement and I am in heaven!

        • Looking forward to that day, HEA, but a long while from now. Still loving research. And if I wasn’t good at math, I’d have gone for a Ph.D. in Shakespeare, and tried to get an academic job with that.

          Peace,
          aeronaut

        • And full professor in psychology here. Will be working way past normal retirement age, but that’s okay.

  • Great post!! I am finally leaving my stbx with only 1/3 the debt we had at DDay (100k+). It was crushing debt that held me in a bad situation with 2 kids. I was surprised that I hadn’t been able to stop the run up of debt (a lot of smoke and mirrors and denial from stbx) and and surprised at how TRAPPED this debt made me feel – at DDay I couldn’t even afford to “charge” a divorce – all of our credit limits were maxed out. I was worried about how to leave and still make my kids feel secure.
    The weird part is that we both are educated and made decent money. (I think many cheaters run up debt to make you stay, ensure their “cake”.) So, I think this can happen to ANYONE. And I will vouch for KF_MM, my education is what enabled me and fueled my fire to get out of the mess and start on my own. I added a part-time job to the part-time job I had and started paying off the debt faster. I didn’t rely on my stbx who ignored finances, even when he could have helped with his inheritance and spending habits – he just left it to me to figure out and I did. Not out of debt yet, but I put my divorce on a very low interest credit card, worked on my credit rating, and slowly paying it all off for the future that looks very bright right now – because, she’s right, your education is yours – can’t be split in the divorce, can’t be taken away from you!

    • It crossed my mind too that “cheaters run up debt to make you stay”. I even said it to my ex. He ignored it. He was mighty sure he had me financially stuck and 100% devoted to his satisfaction in every way. Boy, was he floored when that wasn’t true.

      • Yes, they do try to keep you ‘stuck’ thru finances / $$ / ‘stuff’. Happened to me, though at a MUCH milder level than many here endured. It was due to being in business together rather than me working a job or having income independent of him.

        I have always been simple in my life, so I did not acquire much anyway. However, once I decided escaping was the only option, l refused to sign my name to any more of cheaterpant’s purchases & did what I could to pay off & further simplify so my escape was less encumbered.

        He, fortunately, was not in a position to open & run up lots of debt, but what he did do, I refused to be a part of. Thankfully he was not as cunning & sick as some of the ones who have opened credit in innocent spouse’s names & so on, as happened with SHRYLKL—Y’Ouch!

        We can do this, because us Chumps are the best of the best!

    • “cheaters run up debt to make you stay” “your education is yours – can’t be split in the divorce, can’t be taken away from you!”
      +1000
      If you’re stuck in NZ with no qualifications at all, try the care giving jobs which are just about to get an almighty pay rise, a proper pay scale and part financed qualifications through ITOs (industry training organisations). You can slowly progress to a career in social services. Worth a try if you left school with nothing. Plenty of young single mums where I work. It was a deadend survival job for a long time, but it’s changed thanks to the historic pay settlement the union got.
      Or try getting a forklift licence, doesn’t cost much ( about $250) and opens doors in distribution with progression if you’ve got some number sense and organisational skills (what mother doesn’t?).
      Don’t get stuck in hospitality, unless the election changes the playing field (reduced numbers of migrant workers) and forces them to start paying people better.

  • I am one of those MFA peeps who went back to get an associates degree in something that I can actually make a living at doing;)
    I was lucky because I did it before I met my cheater when I decided I needed to find something I could do to be a mom that didn’t involve a lot of travel. I have a great job that I love and am good at. The associates degree was expensive and very hard being as I was a grown up and had to work full time and go to school full time BUT it was two years and then almost immediately I was making a great salary compared to the “fancy job” I had before;) It would be even harder with kids but definaotely doable.
    I prepared for being a mom and it saved me when he walked out having left me with a mortgage he hadn’t been paying and two maxed out credit cards that he always used but never tried to help pay off. Now all that is being handled and I am getting such validation from the handling of it.
    I highly recommend trade schools as long as you think it is something you will enjoy and there is a need for the work. Thank you so much for this post!

  • While I do get spousal and child support, it’s only for 5 years, 6 months have already passed. I struggled with what to study. There are so many things I’d be good at, but where was my passion? It’s horticulture. In April I attended a few presentations at my local garden center, and I knew: I can’t do anything else. I found that the nearest bachelor degree is nearly 2 hours drive away. But, my local community college is offering associates degrees. Guess where I’m headed in the fall? I am SO FREAKING EXCITED! I’m hoping to get a part time job too once I’m settled in college, to help supplement the support payments. I already have one company who wants to have me in for an interview, but due to circumstances this summer, I can’t work. Maybe they’ll be my part time job over the year? The world is my oyster. Now, I’ll go look for scholarships and grants. I’ve already applied for the Pell grant.

      • The single most beloved figure at our college is the horticulturalist. He changed everything.

        • Lucy, the janitor at my university building, left her high-stress job working on the NYSE and began a rewarding career bringing beauty to stressed-out people. Her passion was her garden, and we benefited from the lovely bouquets of flowers she placed in the restrooms, the windowsills at the ends of hallways, and the lobby of our building. Thirty years later, and I remember Lucy frequently and fondly. A job is what you make of it, and if welding pipes is your passion (that’s for you, Chump Lady), then go for it, and make it work for you.

      • I wish. I don’t think my ex would approve of me taking the kids out if state, though. The irony is that his job at one point was shipped to Kennett Square in PA, and I remember looking at homes there.

        • One of my sort-a-SILs lost her job a few years ago in a plant nursery, started her own business from home selling bouquets and plants, and upcycled pre-loved clothing. She’s got great colourful style and an adventurous personality. She’s doing great, and it’s a much more social job than her previous one, because she has direct contact with all her customers. She makes great use of FB, so her marketing and other overheads are very small. Clever chick!

          • I’m actually planning to start something similar for the spring next year. This year I’m experimenting​ with growing annuals in pots, fertilizers and stuff, so I have an idea what I’ll sell next year. I’ve been researching comparable prices at local greenhouses and garden centers. I’m also looking at importing some cheaper pots from China to get me started. ?

            • You could also find some extra income helping people like me transform gardens. “landscape gardeners” are prohibitively expensive, but I would love to pay someone to consult with and teach me.

      • Love to read when the rich pay it forward and provide opportunities for the regular folks !

  • This is amazing! I’ve started working on an MBA when I first filed for divorce from Uncle Dad–mostly because my undergrad was in General Studies (though I graduated with a 3.6 gpa) simply because I changed my major like 7 times, and finally, the parents were like graduate or the money train ends, kiddo. I visited my advisor that week–it was in March of 2005–and he told me I could graduate that May.

    I was the only kid in the general studies section with honors tassels. My parents were so proud… ?

    Then, about 3 years into my career, I really started to show a love and talent for the nonprofit world, so I got a masters of science in nonprofit administration. I graduated 5 years later with my MS in NPA, but the MBA always intimidated me.

    I could rock out in an English or History class. With Law, HR, Sociology, marketing, or even a management class I could knock it out of the park.

    But I had to take (and drop) Accounting for my first MS twice before I could take it and pass it with a C. And my mother, whack job though she is, is a CPA, and I worked for her part time during my undergrad years. I understand accounting in a practical setting. But academic accounting is my kryptonite.

    They have a lot of that stuff in MBAs. But, that was my Everest after my divorce. I want an MBA to prove to myself that I can do it.

    Plus, like, you know, for my job and stuff.

    I just remember all of those smug business students at LSU who snickered at me buying my tomes of Milton and Chaucer and Shakespeare’s Early and Late works (it was a two parter) at the bookstore.

    Now I know that they are no better’n me! And I read their abysmal emails, mourn the untimely death of The Oxford Comma, and die a little inside at the use of the word “party” as a verb.

    I digress…

    I’ve taken the non-accounting stuff. Raising two daughters by myself got in the way. When I was awarded sole custody, I took a break.

    Now, my youngest starts kindergarten this year, and other than writing her teacher an apology note every week (Dear Teacher, I’m sorry my child is the reason you drink. Here’s some wine on me. Cheers! ?) , I’ll have much more time available for my own school work.

    I will be checking into these single mom grants today! If I come across any additional ones I will be sure to share. As I have found with federal grants, Pell grants and other federal grants are only available for first time bachelor degree students. I don’t qualify, but I might for some of these! Hooray!

    • You can do this. But you may need to do some sleuthing to figure out which of the professors has a talent for teaching Accounting. We have several excellent professors, but one has the magic touch with people who struggle with learning in that course. Ask around. Lots of success in areas where we struggle is a function of having a good connection between student and teacher.

      • I’m in violent agreement with LaJ here (as usual). A good professor makes all the difference. If you’re struggling with a subject, ask other students who they learned the most from. He or she may not be the nicest prof, or give the highest grades, but usually they are dedicated and fair professors who take their work seriously, and can make the task of learning the material much easier for you.

        Peace.
        aeronaut

    • Honestly, I used to teach Accounting. The key thing is to lose your fear of it. If you can do the day to day stuff, you can do the academic stuff. It’s simply a case of reframing how you explain what you do. If you can do it, then other than your fear of it, there’s no reason you can’t pass it.

      • Not an accountant, but an MBA. Agree with everything above. Align with a prof that can teach the principles and is available for help. The hardest part for me was following GAAP to the letter of the law. Stats and Finance were a lot of fun. I wasn’t a numbers person going in, but coming out and my early training helped in analysis and planning. You CAN do it! I’m in Marketing, btw. I love love love the strategic planning part, PR not so much.

      • I’m not afraid, per se. It’s like it’s a completely different language in a classroom setting.

        I’ve kept books for small companies on the side for years, and I’ve done taxes for my friends who couldn’t afford to pay $500 to a tax service or a lot more to a CPA.

        I get the practical stuff. I can read/prepare balance sheets and financial statements. I do my own taxes. But, when I get in the classroom, everything I thought I knew turns into wiggle-woms and ziggle-zorps.

        My liberal arts brain starts laughing and says, what in the hell did you get us into now?! We were doing just fine with our way…

    • I’m struggling with Accounting too, trying to do a good MOOC. I’m good with numbers, but not with this dry way of thinking. Still have to stick at it. Don’t think I’ll ever make an accountant, but I want to get good at understanding financial statements and management, which is the next step.
      However, did you other Kiwis see that thing on TV which said there will only be 19 accountants in NZ in a couple of years, because of technology and AI?

      • Yeah I saw that! Not sure whether I believe it though ? If they really think that, why are they still offering accounting degrees? The whole program was a bit too airy fairy for me – I only watched the first one…

  • I worked at a Staffing Agency prior to having kids and would like to point out that many staffing companies, Manpower and Kelly Services often offer free training to applicants to help the improve their skill sets. Many of their classes are on line and you can learn advanced skills in programs such as: Excel, Access, Project Planning etc. If you are unemployed, working temporary jobs in a great way to increase your skills and network. Staffing agencies off both skilled and unskilled work. I’d also recommend the government website O*Net which allows you to search positions and dial down to your state, region and local training. You can get a good idea of what the job growth outlook is, how much it would cost to train for positions.

    • Yes, OutWest! Chumps, also make sure to check with your state’s Workforce Office, or it might be associated with the *Your State* Employment Security Commission office. You can find info for career training, job seekers, unemployment benefits, and workforce services. Typically, they offer state-funded career training and job assistance at multiple sites around your state. They are sometimes associated with the Dept. of Rehabilitation Services, or Dept. of Commerce. There may also be a Job Corps group in your state that offers resources to train or re-train for work if you’ve been out of the workforce for a time. =)

  • Thank you for sharing this information. It will be very helpful for many of the chumps on here who took on the job of SAHM and then got screwed by their cheaters who didn’t appreciate their efforts.

    Part of my problem is that I already have a life outside of STBX. Perhaps that is why STBX left as he wasn’t the center of my universe. Schmoopie was a SAHM so has no choice but to make him the center of her universe now that she has blown up her own marriage (I doubt she has the strength of character to be mighty like the women who come here).

    You would think already having a life would make all of this easier but it doesn’t because I actually did love my husband even if he didn’t recognize it. I need to fill the void he left behind. I could put more time into my job, but I am really pretty content with where I am there. I like being the worker bee who actually gets the work done and have no interest in management. To some extent I guess the kids are filling that void as they need me more now that STBX is not around as much, and I need them too. I have also been taking dancing lessons and might try to come up with another hobby or two. I try to look at it as one less demand on my attention, but it is still difficult as he was such a big part of my life for so long even if he didn’t recognize how much of my attention he got. I feel like I was juggling too many balls and one got away.

    • You make a very important point, Chumpinrecovery. And we are all grateful for the worker bees that make everything work. It takes a while to get to the point where what you want is to love someone capable of loving back.

    • Yes, but the one that got away was the ugly, spiky one that hurts you sometimes. Trust that they suck – if he was a genuine person, he would have recognized and appreciated all that you did for him. Now, go find other things that you love to do, and fix your picker so you end up in a more balanced relationship.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.
      aeronaut

      • Thanks Aeronaut. I just hope that if that ever happens I will recognize it for what it is and not be afraid that it is all an illusion as it turned out to be with STBX. He put on a good show for quite a long time. I am afraid to trust again.

    • I had a job when I met the traitor, went farming and kept the home fires burning, literally, while the big man pranced on the ATV. Made him and his kids the centre of my world. Trust me, having your own life is not what made him leave. Lack of character and appreciation did it.

  • Don’t forget apprenticeships. I was far too “busy” to sit behind a desk all day and would much prefer to be outside and moving. I became a Heavy and Highway Constrution Surveyor and it payed my way through university-the parts that didn’t get covered by scholarships (like living in a dump off campus.) As long as you don’t mind getting dirty, eating a lot of dust, sinking in mud and sliding down mini-mountains of shot rock it’s interesting and satisfying. You won’t have any trouble sleeping at night after all that exercise. The downside of anything in the Heavy and Highway construction industry is it’s intimate ties to the economy. If the Bull so much as farts, the ensuing stink shuts down everything.
    I wouldn’t recommend a four degree or a Masters/Ph.D at this time either. Like Aeronaut, BTDT P/T for a community college teaching night courses at a local prison. Get a two yr. Tech degree. Let an employer pay for your continuing education if you wish to purse it.

    I look back at my 23 yr. old self who was sure I had irrevocably screwed up my entire life; I starved, froze, was essentially homeless-and there was still more to come-and really believed there was no hope for me. If I could go back and talk to her I’d tell her no new adventure starts until another one is over.

    So much of life is not especially knowing so much what we want to do, but what we don’t want to do-a process of limitation. You can do the thing, believe it!

  • Yes, KFMM, you are so right! The Cheater can take all his/her toys and run away, but he/she can’t run off with your education. I treasure my degree, it gives me self esteem, and a paycheck! I don’t think he wanted me to complete it- he started his last big affair when I was in my final semester, so mean!
    I LOVE community college, best bargain out there. One of my loans was a Perkins, so it was forgiven over 5 years, as long as I worked full time in direct patient care, awesome!
    Good luck to all. I was 55 when I graduated, age didn’t stop me, because I’m a mighty Chump ?

    • I think we’re kindred spirits! My cheater also started his affair in my last semester of my degree – but he didn’t stop there! He’d guilt me over studying and pick fights immediately before exams and huge papers were due. All after I supported him through an MSc… but then he’d also blame me for not being able to find a job in his field (did I mention he was unemployed when he started cheating?). What a winner.

      We’re all better off. 🙂

  • If there’s a bit of advice I would give to anyone, it’s get technical training. Forget the traditional 4 year degree. Learn how to do something. As a business owner I will tell you college degrees are a dime a dozen. People that know how to do something are at a premium. I just hied a young man with CAD training at our local Jr College, 19 years old $20/hour to start. Once I train him in MicroVellum he will be at $35/hour !! And I pay for the training too!!!

    Get into some kind of technical training. It’s fast and fairly inexpensive and in demand and pays well. The jobs are out there. I look employees everyday. Skilled carpenters, people with electrical training, good computer skills etc. they are not easy to find. I get a tin of sociology degrees and history degrees and music degrees and political science degrees all useless to me and my industry. Good people but have no clue how to do anything.

    • Yes! Woo!! That’s exactly what I have my daughter enrolled in at my tech school: CADD. THAT is what we’re looking ahead to – her being able to work her way through a degree program IF that’s what she wants. And if not? $19+/hr is great money for anyone, let alone an 18-year old.

      Can’t wait! Love it! =D

      • It’s a great skill to have. Tell her to do YouTubes for MicroVellum. It’s becoming industry standard. The movie industry hires MicroVellum trained people for set design building. And all the furniture making and building industry and metal working industry uses it. The softwares is what sends the programs to CNC machines. Also Rhinocam and Alphacam. She will write her own ticket with this software knowledge.

        • Anon – thanks a million for the tips! I just sent your advice to my girl, and being the little egghead that she is, I bet she’s already looking up the info! I’ll also share with our CADD instructor so he might look into working a component of it into his curriculum. Awesome! =D

          • KibbleFree–That is so great!! The young man I hired is very bright and he has learned a lot just by watching the YouTubes on the software. But I am also bringing MicroVellum training into my plant to more training. The little smarty pants now goes to finish his Associates and his professor is letting him tutor his classmates in the MicroVellum software!! Everyone wins is the way I see it. By the way I didn’t tell you I am paying for the rest of his degree too!!! I love hiring people that go to technical schools.

            I’d love to keep up and find out how your little “egghead” does. Tell her to stay in the industry but keep up with her skill set and the software.

    • And once someone is established in a career path, it’s easier to decide on what to study for that bachelor’s degree. While I agree that music, lit and history majors do not have the kind of utility value that you seek, people with great skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking are very valuable folks. Many of the literature and writing majors from my own school have great jobs because they are smart and literate. But combine that kind of smart with technical smart and that’s a highly marketable skill set. So don’t despair over that dusty B.A. in history. That’s your base in critical skills. Now update that with technical expertise or field-specific study or an apprenticeship. Many, many technical fields require the skill to read manual, etc. And someone has to write those tech manuals.

      • My (almost) Daughter-in-law studied English Literature, and then got a Social Work degree. It’s her ability to write that has really gotten her ahead! She got promoted to a grant writer at her job, because she can get them the money they need to run the shelter. Reading comprehension and writing are important skills in any field!

    • I would also reply that people with technical training that can’t write or think their way out of a wet paper bag are also a dime a dozen. What is rare and valuable is people with a broad range of skills that they can apply effectively. There’s lots of paths to get there. Tech training, associates degrees, or a standard four year degree with or without additional work. All are good. Which is best – the one you want to be on and can finish.

      Peace.
      aeronaut

    • I would also add, related to IT: libraries and your local SBA offer free classes on SEO. SEO has been around a while, but it is relevant in business, along with creating effective business social media. I’m registering for an HTML class this summer. Having knowledge of java and website development may not be my career but it could make me more attractive as I begin to look for better opportunities.

  • I want to emphasize the point that for-profit schools are often traps, even worse, well-baited traps. So while Kibble_Free says above that her local community college has bad customer service making it hard to get information, a for-profit school will be well-staffed on the admissions end. Don’t let the pitch fool you.

    Part of doing your homework is going to the community college (or whatever institution you are exploring) and talking to the overworked admissions people and financial aid people along with professors and students.

    Many 4-year colleges do have strong job placement centers or student professional development centers. And if you graduated from a college you may still be eligible to use their services–including alumni networks, post-graduate fellowship opportunities, job listings, resume evaluation services, practice interviews, etc. Some of these things you need to use in person, but many are available electronically if you have updated logon credentials. So, if you have a 4-year degree, whether you want to work in a field that seems directly tied to your major or not, call (or visit) your college and figure out what benefits you can make those old tuition dollars pay for.

    Last tip–it is fine to apply for a few things you don’t really want. If you’ve been out of a job for awhile or never held one, get some experience presenting yourself and doing interviews for jobs you are not that thrilled about. Make your mistakes when it doesn’t matter. Then, when you are applying for something you really do want, you’ll have a little experience under your belt. I frequently hear the young people I work with say they won’t apply for a job they aren’t excited about because they are afraid they’ll get an offer. That’s silly. If you get an offer, weigh it, negotiate, and take it if the employer can meet your needs. People change jobs all the time. Even more importantly, it is really hard to tell how much you’ll love a job from an ad. A great ad might lead to a terrible boss. An ad for tedious work might be with a business full of great people. And at this point, we all know the costs of surrounding ourselves with jackasses–it just is not worth it.

  • This is a wonderful post. I teach many adults who are returning to college. And I recommended to my stepson to start with a technical 2-year degree. So preach, sister.

    1. There are several kinds of technical schools. One provides certification and an immediate career path in often under a year. Another provides an associate’s degree and up to 2 years of credits to transfer for a 4-year degree. Some of those options are pretty career-specific, so take a look at what you actually need to get started in your own field. But a community college or a tech school that offers 2 years of college credits can be a stepping stone to the 4-year degree in some fields that need one. Do your research up front–find out how many of your school’s credits will transfer to a 4-year college before you sign up, if that is a long term goal for you. My own 4-year college takes essentially 60 credits in transfer toward a degree from our local community colleges and tech schools that are certified under our own accrediting body. Ask questions. Talk not only to the tech school recruiters but to recruiters for local 4-year institutions. A little up-front research may save thousands.
    2. Tech schools are often great for people who have been out of school for a while. The school my stepson attended had a pre-planned first year. No head-scratching over what courses to take, no maze of offices to visit. All he had to do was pick up his books–already paid for–and report to class. For a bright kid who had failed out of a big university, overwhelmed, it was a great confidence booster. Now he has an MBA. Baby steps.
    3. Our local community college has classes in pluming, electrical, auto mechanics, etc. Even taking a few of these classes can open doors to a starter job in the field or–even better–to an apprenticeship with the union that covers your field. Again, ask questions. Network.
    4. And while people scorn those fast-food jobs, some places offer help for post-HS education.
    5. A final thought. There has been much written about the fierce competition in the US for HS students to get into the big, pricy famous universities. So kids take more and more AP classes and rack up lots of activities to stand out. Encourage your kids, instead, to learn some life skills, even if they go to summer school to do it. Actual skills lead to better summer jobs in college. And small colleges are often better for young people who are unsure of what they want (pretty much everyone at 18). For those who want a 4-year degree, eventually, college can be the beginning of a life-long network. Almost every person on my large FB friends list is someone I taught somewhere. Small colleges are often better at helping kids get into internships or packaging “life experiences” into college credits (yes, that is possible; talk to your admissions staff).
    6. If your college degree is dated, a tech school offers a way to re-start your career. Let’s stay you have a BA in Business Management but haven’t worked in 10 years. Then you go and get certified as a Veterinarian’s Tech. You can market those old business skills plus your animal training and be an asset to any small vet practice.

    Even if a chump postpones finalizing a divorce for a year, the very act of going back to school and refocusing life energy on his or her own life, rather than the cheater’s needs, is a step in leaving a cheater. It will change the dynamic. Nothing discourages a narcissist faster than not being central.

    • Arrggghhh. *plumbing, not pluming. Autocorrect fail. Again.

      One more point: if you know a chump in this situation or a kid whose life has stalled, step up and help this person do the research. I had a head start on this as I have friends and former students teaching in all sorts of environments so I could tap my network for information. So when I sat down with Junior to talk about school, I already knew what would work for him. We went on a school visit and the rest is history. Sometimes people who are overwhelmed need support. Help with the research. Go along on a school visit.

      • I liked pluming better. I was imagining courses in how to use color and volume when creating feathered decorations. Few things tickle my funny bone more than a typo that actually means something different and amusing. I’m wired weirdly that way, I know, ….

        Peace.
        aeronaut

  • Sometimes college is not an option. Several small children, two jobs, living paycheck to paycheck, zero extra time. Seeking a degree may not be a viable choice.

    So where do you go for more income? Sales. Real estate, appliance, carpet, water, furniture, clothing, automotive, garden supplies, tractors, trailers, jewelry, etc. Open your eyes and look around. Everything you own has been sold by someone. The harder you work at commissioned sales the more money you will make to care for your family and most of these jobs do not require a degree.

    Think outside the box.

    • I said this to someone on the forum the other day. A 50+ year old woman who needs a job? I’m looking at real estate. And many big agencies hire assistants for their big producing agents. That’s a way to get your foot in the door and learn on the job. Women can also sell cars just as well as men can. Just sayin’.

      • LAJ – Teaming up with the top producer is the best way to learn the skills of the profession. Great point.

        I also want to add, becoming a paralegal. You can get an online certificate from local colleges and in many instances a higher degree is not as important as experience.

        Once you are financially stable, go after that degree if you desire.

        Cold hard cash is king when trying to survive.

        • And the overriding message here is simply “Achieve your own financial independence, preferably doing something you enjoy, with good co-workers.”

          Peace.
          aeronaut

  • Great post KibbleFree! Someday CL should do a whole separate post about how important it is for women to maintain a foot in the work force at all times and to never become completely dependent on someone else.

    I stayed home for 10 years with my children which is definitely a great and noble cause but I finished my bachelor’s degree and worked per diem for almost that entire time. It wasn’t much but it enabled me to put something on my resume for when I was ready to go back to work full time. For the first couple of years, I moved around a lot trying to find a good fit and eventually I did.

    After another 9 years of full time work, I was able to rebuild my career to a respectable level and I knew if anything happened to my ex, I’d be able to take care of myself. Something he resented for the entirety of our marriage from that point on. It’s a good thing because when he had his affair I didn’t worry about the money aspect of things. I still stupidly stayed in wreck conciliation for 3 years but during that time I switched gears in my career path to learn something new. This turned out to be a pretty good plan too.

    After I left, I bit the bullet and took out a student loan to get my MS. That loan will be paid off this summer- a mere 10 years earlier than the maturation date. It has helped as I earned a promotion and a very decent raise last year and my advanced degree was used as a justification for that promotion.

    Anything can empower chumps to leave a cheater and gain a life is an awesome investment!

    • Oh, Cheatersuck, you’re singing my song. I don’t think anyone should ever be a SAHP for more than a year or two without being enrolled in school for more training or keeping credentialing up to date. It’s not just insurance against being betrayed and trapped; it’s your bulwark against a collapse in a sector of the economy or against a partner who dies or becomes disabled. Even rich people can end up homeless.

      We all should keep up our network. Look for talks or conferences that come to your area. Every convention needs volunteers. Contact the local host and offer your time. You’ll get into the conference for free–there’s time after things get up and running to catch key presentations. Keep up professional organization dues. Talk to people about how various fields are changing.

      • Couldn’t agree more LAJ! It doesn’t have to be infidelity/divorce either. Shit happens- death, illness or even someone losing a job. All of those things are so much easier to tackle if all the family eggs aren’t in one financial basket.

      • I remember hearing a family lawyer on the radio years ago saying just that, NO woman (or man!) should be 100% Stay At Home, because you never do know what will happen! Even if (after mat leave) you work very part time or keep volunteering in something connected to your field, that maintains your skills and your networks, and can be back on your feet fast, if need be.

        At the time I remember thinking ‘oh, for sure there are couples this wouldn’t apply to! It can be so nice and work so well to have one parent at home!’ Yeah, it can work really well – until it doesn’t. And it’s not the partner who was working full-time who gets screwed in that case. And even the kids end up paying the price …. Blerh!

        I think that before any parent or partner stays home or even drops to part-time or turns down career opportunities to accommodate their partner’s career and their family’s goals, should have a signed agreement about how they will be compensated in case of later divorce. And an EXCELLENT life insurance and disability insurance for the working partner, with the SAH partner as beneficiary.

    • STBX wanted me to be a SAHM after our oldest was born. I was floored at the time as I had always been career oriented and he knew it. I refused because I knew I would hate it and end up resenting my kids and him if I did. It was one of the few times he didn’t get his way and he always resented that. I did compromise and go down to a 30 hour work week and always put his career and the kids needs first, but I was able to keep my foot in the door, keep up with changes in the industry, and gain experience. Still I didn’t advance much because I had other priorities and my time was divided. Then when he quit his job because it didn’t make him happy, he was disappointed in me for not being farther ahead in my career after all those years. At the same time he still resented that I had a career because it took time away from my adoration of him. After hearing so many stories from the SAHMs on here I am so glad I refused to quit my job all those years ago. STBX would still have done what he did and I would be in a worse fix than I already am. Thank god I knew myself well enough to know that SAHM was not the right choice for me.

      • Just goes to show that with a cheater, all that matters is what benefits him or her in the moment.

      • Thank you ChumpinRecovery – your story is very much like mine – nothing made him happy after kids – parttime, back to fulltime, etc and I finally realized that NOTHING was ever going to make him happy (probably not even the whores or his two ex wives before me – yes, I thought I was a unicorn.). We ARE all better off.

  • Another option for those who cannot get out to retrain is MOOCs online free courses often from name organisations, edX coursera etc. coding, you name it all online, and Flexi delivery.

    • By Flexi delivery I mean you can study the material anywhere anytime that suits and work it around your other commitments.

  • Great info.

    I had to retrain to get out. My original degree was useless for the area I live in and right about the time I started getting savvy as to my ex’s true character and seriously consider leaving him, I was slapped in the face with the amount of financial fraud he’d committed which I too was responsible for as his wife. I discovered this via marriage police tactics – abusers never come clean.

    I had three kids, a minimal paying job, a federal lien on my house that was half-way remodeled (couldn’t sell) and $1000s in credit card he’d taken out under my name.

    (George Simon writes about this common scenario which was eye opening for me. This is an abuser’s playbook.)

    I couldn’t leave him right away and knew my ticket out was financial independence.

    So I went to nursing school- won two scholarships that off set the price… but it was still expensive and risky. What if I didn’t get. Job after spending all this money??!. Completed degree in 5 semesters. Got the job.

    Then the hospital I worked at offered to pay for my masters. (There is a national shortage of nurses and many hospitals have programs where they will pay for education in exchange for a time comittment after graduation.) I knew it’d kill me with three kids, working full time and a looming divorce…but did it anyway. Most of the coursework was online and I used vacation to complete clinical hours. It was a terrible, nearly-lost-my-marbles time.

    A semester before graduating with my Masters, I told me ex I no longer wished to be his wife. It took me 5 years to get to this point.

    Three years out, I’m in better financial shape then I was married.

    I’m now in management. I tell my employees, when going to school and working full time we must “embrace the suck”. There’s no easy way around it. But it’s a finite suck and leads to brighter days.

    For me the struggle was worthwhile. I go after him legally (i have a superb attorney I can now afford) if he screws up, am in dependent of his income whatsoever and live a great home and have a nice life. I also now have a great life partner.

      • SOooOOooOOooooo true! “Embrace the suck!” It’s fighting the suck that drives us crazy. Embracing the suck propelled me to an excellent career in the securities industry.

        New cartoon CL!

        • CalamityJane: What kind of career in the securities industry? I want to be in the securities industry! (I already have a BS (econ/quant) and MBA.)

          • God bless you and your degree in Econ/quant. I am a portfolio manager. I manage investments Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger style. It is a hell of a career and I started in my twenties as a cashier back in the 70’s taking in stock certificates and typing receipts. It was an entry level job and I learned everything I could about the industry.

            After getting my various securities licenses, and many years in management as well as compliance, I partnered with an established broker who later retired. I inherited his book of business and the clients all stayed. I was honored.

            Your educational background without experience should open a door for you. Check out your local regional firms using internet job listing sites. Tempest has my e-mail address if you want more information in your search. I will be happy to assist.

            For all you people my age, I met Myra Breckinridge and Jerry Quarry while a cashier. Interesting job from the beginning.

            • Shoot, I meant Christine Jorgensen. The MOVIE “Myra Breckinridge” was loosely, VERY loosley, based on her life.

  • Excellent point, but one that so many people in love are unwilling to hear. A lot of young women who choose to leave their jobs (or never take one) in order to stay-at-home and support their husband in one way or another, believe that keeping an option open for themselves shows a lack of faith in their marriage. I fear some men feel this way too. They’ll buy health insurance and wouldn’t dream of a car without airbags, but heaven forbid they should cast doubt on the Disney myth of “happily ever after.” Even when I point out that lots of things could leave them with a loving spouse and a need to be employed themselves (downsizing, disability, natural disaster), they seem to feel that investing in themselves is somehow betting against their marriage.

    We need to change this narrative as a culture. I could rant on and on about this, but the expectation that one person in a marriage should be dependent on the other (by choice) is the modern equivalent of Chinese foot-binding. We should encourage everyone to be intellectually, professionally, and physically self-sustaining with the ability to work as a teamvia marriage to be all those things in a different and collaborative way if they choose, but no one should be encouraged to give become dependent as a way to show love. This is not an attack on SAHMs (I was one for 5 years), but an argument that the most effective stay at home parent is one who has the resources to do things besides SAH if he or she chooses to or needs to.

    • As a man, if I ever found that the wife I loved was a SAHM with no employment prospects if something happened to me, I’d encourage her to have a plan B in case I was run over by a bus. That’s another way to take care of someone you love, even if it means letting her go to night classes and being with the kids alone some nights. Not really a complicated narrative to sell, yet so few men buy it.

      Peace.
      aeronaut

      • This is spot-on. I wanted to be a SAHM while the little ones were under five years of age — and then I decided to go back to school and work part-time when they started school. It was tough working around their schedules and STBX had to help some, but I largely figured it out on my own — and accepted the fact that it took me 7 years to get a 4-year degree.

        Aeronaut’s version of how he would view a SAHM and his encouragement of a backup plan is (in my view) inordinately healthy for a relationship. Regretfully, my STBX took a very different (unhealthy) tact:
        1. Agreed to me being a SAHM – but internally resented that I didn’t contribute financially at first. (One of his go-to excuses for infidelity.)
        2. When I contributed part-time work – he resented having to help with the kids and was simultaneously upset I didn’t make more money. (Again, go-to excuse for infidelity and general abusiveness.)
        3. He despised my degree — belittled me for my major (it didn’t make enough money), for the time my education required of me, and because I graduated with honors. (Yep, more excuses for his infantile behavior.)

        While I am in a horrible place financially (financial infidelity is REAL) — it could be far worse. I’m so glad I pushed myself through school in spite of his incessant guilt-tripping.

        • Oh yeah, this must be in that damned handbook! My ex was resentful of any moment when my work impinged on HIS preferences. He was resentful of my not bringing in more money, even though it would have meant working even more and impinging even more, or, horror of horrors, him doing more actual parenting and household tasks, of which he did very little. He was contemptuous of my entire field, and of both the very different jobs it led me to.

          But my field and my weird hours got us through the MANY periods when he was unemployed, got us through the kids pre-school years with never more than 15 hs a week of kids at pre-school, got us through their elementary school years with barely any after-school programming, and got us through all the courses, certifications and then an extra degree he got.

          Of course, aside from when I was working only part-time when the kids were really little, I actually made more money than him. Ever. Single. Year. At that career he was so contemptuous of. I didn’t even realize that, until I was looking at the tax returns later, because ‘on paper’ he often made more than me. But every year there was some unemployed time that brought the totals down, or a crap contract. Still, his career and his ambitions were always far far more important than mine.

          The first year he made more than me? Oh, yeah, that was the year of Affair #2 and his happily leaving when I kicked him out.

          He was initially financially generous to the kids, but now that they want so little to do with him, he’s paying the minimum he can possibly get away with. So that career he was so contemptuous of? It’s supporting his children.

          • Yes – definitely a part of the playbook.

            When I think about it in my more logical moments, I’m pretty sure it all boils down to the entitlement. I think for my STBX — if he were really honest (hahahahaah!) — his idea of marriage boiled down to …

            – Chump should not be better than me in any way. Career, education, etc.
            – Chump should, however, make a bunch of money to make my life easier.
            – Chump should make this money and dedicate it fully to the family while “my” money should be used for whatever I want, when I want.
            – Chump should make this money while maintaining all domestic functions.
            – Chump should make this money and maintain all domestic functions while servicing me sexually whenever I want.

            – To summarize:
            Chump is a machine I bought and paid for with a ring; Chump is not a human. When Chump acts like a human and rebels against being a machine, I have a “right” to act out, cheat, and be abusive in general. Because entitlement.

            Ah, man. I can’t believe I stuck around for that shit for so long. *facepalm

  • Tracy! Awesome to have KibbleFree do this column today! And so great to hear from the ladies who are in trades and fields that are too often occupied primarily by the guys. (You Rock, TW!)

    Like Tundra Woman says, hard physical work makes it easy to sleep at night. And as was mentioned by KFMM, we Chumps (both guys & gals) know how to WORK HARD.

    We (son & I) have a residential painting business and it is hard to find skilled workers. However, the demand for workers in the construction trades is enormous!

    Industry-wide, in both commercial and residential construction trades, there is a shortage of skilled labor. So, how do we get all the homes & buildings built, all the reno’s done and so on? Gotta have skilled people!

    Even though we would like to pay more, we currently pay from $15.00 to $23.00 per hour for skilled craftspeople, depending on skill set and leadership skills. (In my area, that is a decent, living wage)

    Even an unskilled worker (which we always need) is paid well above the minimum. Where I live, you can learn ‘on the job’, so no tuition expense….. Some States do require painters to be licensed, like an electrician or plumber is, so in those areas some schooling / training may be required.

    So, that is another area I would encourage Chumps, especially the ladies, to explore. It is hard physical labor at times, but many of the skills needed are not as physical but are more of the ‘attention to detail’ type.

    One of our current subcontractors is a woman. She has owned her own painting company for many years. We have had several women work with us through the years and they are sometimes more willing to do some of the more detailed work. In the early days of my business, when I worked daily on the job-site, the ‘touch-ups’ and details were often left to me, as I often had more patience for those tasks than ‘the guys’ did……

    Anyway……ALL of my fellow Chumps are just the best!

    Love to all as we ForgeOn!

    • Well thanks, ForgeOn! We just don’t realize how many skills we really do have without any real formal training or those that require a minimum of experience to get started. Females have better fine motor skills than males so what about learning through an apprenticeship or a technical program how to run a dozer? A front end loader? A grader? And lemme tell ya, running a crane is not a job for dummies at all-that’s great fun and really interesting. How ’bout running some of the heavy equipment used on surface mines? There’s women working there as well. And repairing this equipment is incredibly important. Your equipment breaks down, you’re screwed and you need to get it back out there ASAP.

      One evening I was sitting and just visiting with a guy friend in his 50s who had been chumped big time. He was lamenting his difficulty finding another job-it never rains, it pours right? I told him, “Look around you. Here’s your new profession right in front of you. Look at your beautiful landscaping-you designed and implemented every last bit of this. Wadda ya mean you have no skills? And every other place you lived you landscaped beautifully there as well.” You don’t need a degree to be a landscape architect. You cut the grass? Guess what-lots of places need someone to cut grass-and you also can maintain other places, residential or commercial. Get a leaf blower and in the Fall, that’s what ya do when summer stuff has been put to bed for the winter. Then in the winter when it’s too cold, learn how to plow: All’s it takes is someone with a truck and a plow to teach you-and that would be me. And in the bed of the truck, you put a snowblower to do their walkways. Get a DBA, set up a LLC and be professional.

      I love research and have a couple other research geek friends as well. One had a couple of little kids and she was flat ass broke. You don’t need a degree to learn to write grants, just an inquiring mind and a willingness to do research. Who doesn’t love free money? You kidding me? Every individual (ex: homeowners) and municipal entity in your wide spot in the road or village/city/school district/ arts loves and NEEDS free money! You work from home and start bidding on contracts. Start small and look for niches that didn’t even KNOW they were eligible for grants until you turn up with a proposal. Blows them away. Bonus: You give something back to your community and this world.

      People respect others who are competent, have a never say die work ethic and are unfailingly professional. They don’t care if you’re male/female/Martian etc. as long as you are honest, dependable and provide a service they need at a reasonable price.
      Crime scene cleaning services if you can deal with “challenging” messes-whatever-but think outside the box: You have already acquired more skills, abilities and know how than you can begin to imagine. You don’t need to become a kizillionare, just keep the roof over your head, the utilities and taxes paid, food, clothing and stuff for the kids and there you go. Is this something you could have imagined yourself doing? NO. But you never thought you’d be chumped either.

      And my housekeeper “Mighty Mouth” has just arrived. Another independent business owner. And her DH who has a FT professional position sells, cleans and repairs blinds in their spare time/weekends.
      You’re putting one foot in front of the other when simply getting out of bed in the morning is an epic achievement?
      Believe in yourself. I do.

    • I have to admit that one of the reasons I like being an engineer is because women are still under represented in the field so I get more notice and attention (kibbles for me). At the same time, I am pleased to see more women in engineering among the younger generations. 🙂

    • I can confirm that enormous labor shortage in the construction industry. This is the biggest problem facing my construction company today.

  • wgu.edu is a regionally accredited (more prestigious than national) online school founded by the governors of western states to provide alternatives to brick and mortar schools.

    They offer nursing, computer science, teacher training for around $2000 a year, a FRACTION of places like National University. There is federal financial aid if you fill out FAFSA.

    Also, check out scholly.com for mountains and mountains of scholarship opportunities.

    Be mighty, people. YOU GOT THIS.

  • I think this is very interesting, thank you. The thought of retraining crossed my mind several times. A technical career seems like a safe, steady option and the thought of becoming financially independent is very appealing. However, and this is not something I want to ignore, I have never in my life had the slightest bit of interest nor showed any talent for anything technical. And having done a study in a subject that I wasn’t the littlest bit interested in, and having regretted that a lot, I am very careful of engaging into a subject that I have no natural inclination towards. Being a single, working mom I know how vital it is to do work that you like, since that will give energy instead of drain you from it. Also what you are interested in, comes more naturally to you and it is hard to imagine that I will ever be good at a technical career. I probably will have to work very hard to reach even a simple level, compated to people who gave this natural inclination and talent. Still, this is good food for thought (and I realize many don’t have a choice in the work they have to do).

    • You know what’s draining? Being financially dependent.

      I would rather captain my own ship doing a shit job than be beholden to a cheater.

      When my D-Day hit, I had just moved for my cheater’s career and I had a freelance gig. I eventually found work at a farm newspaper that paid me less than I’d made 20 years earlier. It was my ticket out.

      Do I know anything about farming? NO. I grew up in the burbs of Detroit. I didn’t know a dairy cow from a cover crop. But I can write.

      I wound up loving the job. But what I loved more was freedom and supporting myself on my crappy little paycheck.

      Every job (even the CL job) has suckitude. No job is perfect. But every job is a stepping stone to a job you may really love and excel at. Don’t throw out the good waiting for the perfect.

    • I have a liberal arts background, hate blood and poop and became a nurse. I discovered a secret once in – most nurses do because we’re human.

      My decision was pure grit based. If I waited until I developed a career I enjoyed, I’d still be with him. Wringing my hands. Penniless.

      Truthfully, some days are difficult but the net gain from knowing I’m secure and able to call my own shots is pure lovely.

    • Yeah that’s great way to loose friends. If Amazon is here, it’s everywhere already. And someone was selling these looloomon leggings and I live in the things. So I was asking my dentist where she got hers and she told me one of her office staff was having a looloomon (that’s what I called him) party and I’m all kinds of sign me up! Then I came home and googled the the things.

      Years ago I spent a couple weeks on Mustique and in those days Looloomon was the house guy and WTF?! He came included! Those leggiñg things had a price tag on them that was ridiculous. And what sick fukker would want to wear “kittens on my legs?!” Thanks for caller ID. No thanks for leggings that cost more than my grocery bill.

      And Oooo, spell check hates me today-“payed?” “”Scoencsses” or what ever the hell imangled up there? But I done do have a lotta edu-macation! Hard to believe, I know. Who’d a thought aeuronaut and I are fellow geeks under the skin?! But I bet he never had to have a lab partner “assigned” to him!

  • I’ve got to say that today’s topic and ensuing discussion speaks directly to me, considering how I spent the last 12 hours. With the aid of YouTube videos, I’m slowly learning to do my own home repairs, and with each turn of a screw or wrench, I wish I really knew what the heck I was doing.

    For various reasons, I’m probably never going to be a certified plumber or electrician, but if I can figure out how to shut off the electric supply to my well, turn some stopcocks on the pipes, examine the leaking kitchen faucet, and restore the water and electricity, I’m way ahead of the game. However, now that I’m still (12 hours later) without water after mopping up the huge flood in my kitchen and there is no electricity in that part of the house, I can shrug my shoulders, say “Hey, at least I tried!”, and call a professional.

    My point is that there is always a need for people to fix the things we can’t manage to figure out, and I know that the repair people in my area are booked solid. The person lying on his back under my kitchen sink has the ideal job, in my estimation, with the immediate satisfaction of tangible results and a job that doesn’t follow you home, so your free time is truly your own.

    • Yes! When we look at trades positions, you have to think: As long as (some) people have hair and nails, there will be a job or I can open up shop. As long as people drive vehicles and enjoy heat & air conditioning, there’s a need for certified techs. As long as there are people at all stages of life, licensed nurses are needed. The list goes on-and-on. And it doesn’t mean that’s what someone has to do forever. Dream big, Chumps!

      • Eventually we all die. Mortuary Scienceis a two yr. degree here. Read “Stiffs,” laugh your butt off and sign up to learn “How do they DO that?” Any die-hard wanna be make-up artists, Kevin Acouin woulda been proud of ya! And dead people don’t bitch about the color, cost or consistency of your products.
        Beats Mary Kay or Avon where people start running as soon as you’re having another “home sales party.”

        • Yes Tundra Woman ! A definite no multi-level marketing-some would call them scams or pyramid schemes. “No I’m not interested in going to your new friend’s house this weekend to listen to the sales pitch of baskets over tea and cookies. Love to meet her at the soup kitchen and then we can go out for drinks afterwards.”

    • Met a plumber who owns his own business and makes $300K/year. He was laying under my sink on a Sunday night and I mentioned I liked his Mercedes van.

      He was chatty and he 1. Makes his own hours 2. Trains others to be independent and 3. Has a nice summer home.

      Trades need women (and men!). Many have great benefit packages,

      I sometimes wish I’d gotten my CDL as opposed to my BA!

  • I currently work for a two year state community college, and have worked for both public and private 4 year colleges in my past. I have a MA in Business Communication and 30 plus hours in education administration classes, my BA was English. My parents were first generation college graduates. Education literally changed their lives, and therefore, my life. I believe education should prepare you for both a practical world and a world of appreciation for the arts and sciences. But like another heretic here said earlier, I do not believe a college education is for everyone.

    We have to be very careful when we express this opinion — because some people take it in a negative way, that we have something that we want to deny to others. I have run across many people with a negative belief system about college graduates — that we somehow think we are “better than” others, that we are “educated fools”. Maybe some of us do, and some of us are just that. However, the reality is that many people have a tremendous amount of common sense and practical work experience, and they are often denied promotion due to a lack of formal education. It is a way to keep these people working the positions where they are producing a lot for their employers — and often a way to keep them from questioning their value. I hate it when I come across these situations. People do need to know this — educational institutions and governments don’t always appreciate their educated workers, either. They may “prefer” that you have a Masters or a Ph.D for a position — but they don’t like to grant the salary and benefits that go along with that recognition. Tenure is rapidly disappearing. A good education has never guaranteed me a good job, in my lifetime. My parents were able to become teachers, and remain in that field their entire working career if they so desired. Many teachers in this day and age have been the victims of work force reduction. Larger class sizes are common, administrative duties have been added, and the campus has become a dangerous place. I see what other people earn often in my particular position — and I can tell you I am not a “well paid” employee. Education does not solve all social problems, it is not a panacea.

    All that being said, education was the right choice for me, and I believe for my children. They are very frustrated that they may never use their degree’s in their fields of interest. But they are lucky that they graduated, with good grades, and very little debt. They are both working, and they are able to understand a lot about the world they live in. But I told them before they started college that it was the icing on their cake, and not necessary for them to be employed, and was no guarantee of a good job. This is the reality — a good technical education or certificate of training in certain industrial jobs may well earn more of a return, dollar per dollar, to a future worker. Even more heartbreaking — a high school education does not mean much these days. It is necessary for most employment — but it does not guarantee the employer a candidate who can read, write, or do simple math.

    The shame in our early education system is that we have allowed a system to develop that equates attendance with learning. We “graduate” students from high school who do not have even basic skills. If these students are sent to a two year college, even if they are placed into developmental programs, they will often flunk out and often will owe money back to the government/college, that they would not have owed if they had attended and passed the classes. Education takes effort and determination to succeed. If a student has used 12 years of public education to attend and plan the next party till you puke social agenda, they have not developed any of the life skills needed to become a good worker, or even to be able to live independently. They have few options to improve their lives, because they either can not or will not put forth the effort to learn ANYTHING. This is a loss that may not ever be redeemed if these folks don’t somehow learn to value themselves enough to refuse to let poverty and deprivation define them.

    So, I heartily endorse the advice I have read here today. Part of the Chump System is to learn to love and take care of yourself. It works the same way the old air line oxygen mask instruction does — if you do not save yourself, how can you save your children, or your elderly parents, or anyone else? Use any and all educational opportunities to improve your skill set, employment is empowerment, and often provides other benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, at this moment in time anyway. Don’t let another diminish you or define who you are — make choices that will help you to gain a life. Don’t be discouraged if you check out one source of financial aid, and are denied. There will probably be another way. For instance, some academic scholarships for adults require you to complete an academic year of study with good grades before you can apply for the assistance. This is to “save” those funds (often provided by private donors) for those who have earned the reward. Many 4 year schools will consider general education requirements satisfied by a two year transfer degree program, and offer incentive scholarships for those with the degree and good grades. Don’t look at the cost of all 4 years and discourage yourself with the aid you qualify for the first year. If you thrive academically, it often gets easier as you become more proficient in your area. Like any journey, education begins a step at a time. Good Luck !

    • And here’s another thought: Many colleges and universities provide free tuition to their employees (and their minor children). So if the janitorial service has not been outsourced, a janitor or maintenance worker can earn a degree without paying tuition. And if you do great work, you many move up into management even without a degree. My own school hires both young people right out of school and older people returning to the work force. And many of them go on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

  • Reading the thread, I saw a comment about health insurance. That is often another scary proposition for many of us. While my children are still covered by my x, I did not want to pay the COBRA costs. I went to an insurance agent for help and she turned me on to two alternative concepts: 1. Direct care physicians, you pay a direct fee to the doctor each month and can have has many visits per year/month as you need. My doctor also does their own blood draws and pass prescription except for controlled substances through at a lower cost. For example, a Zpak costs me under $5.00. I went to a stand alone clinic for a mammogram cost $150.00 and got my results in 2 days. I couple my direct care physician with my Health Share plan. 2. Health Share plans. These are not typical health insurance and you have to meet some requirements. The plan I use won’t cover some costs such as abortion or drug and alcohol counseling. I am at an age where I can’t have children and as a mental health professional I don’t want drug and alcohol counseling attached to my record. I pay $199 per month for that. The first time I used my health share I was nervous, I needed PT. I had to pay my out of pocket cost, which is $500.00 and then the share plan covered 100% of my remaining PT. It was really great. Just some thoughts.

    • WOW! ALL of this insurance info is new to me! Thank you so much, OutWest! I will be forwarding this to my son, as need for affordable health insurance / health care is a top concern for him & his family at this time. I will also be forwarding to some friends who are struggling with outrageous ‘dis-ease’ care costs

      Once again, the strength of this amazing Nation shines thru.

      Wow….Just wow to all of you who have pointed out all the resources available! I am flabbergasted at what a treasure trove has been uncovered here today! Yeppers…..All you are ‘the best of the best of the best….Sir!’ (quote from ‘Men in Black’)

  • I have a university degree in Music Performance. I admit that were I to go back to school today, it would very likely be in something different because my degree has not served me well within that particular field. However, like most creative degrees (meaning Arts and Performing Arts) I’ve learned that you have to be creative to be successful. I work as an Administrative Assistant at a University now (within the Art Department) and am going to be pursuing a Master’s in Arts Administration this Fall since there is a career ladder for me this field. This is something to consider if say, you have a degree in something similar, like Painting. Sometimes it’s more about the creative application of these degrees than it is the degree itself.

    Also, for what it’s worth, getting hired on at a University or Technical College/School can sometime get you free/reduced tuition. That is what I’ll be going back to school on this Fall. While I do have to work full-time, the Master’s degree I’m pursuing is all online and is something that I’ll be able to pursue while working full-time. I’ve had to move back in with my parents to pay off debt and get a nest egg going, but it’s crazy how great this has turned out to be. No, I didn’t want to move back in with my parents, but I’m in crisis mode and that means that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get away from my X as that was just the crazy train to insanity.

    This is a great post! Education can really mean a lot when you’re trying to come up with a creative solution after DDay. Sometimes it takes a long time and no, it ain’t easy, but keep your options open and wheels turning and something good comes along that you didn’t expect.

  • Kibblefree, thanks so much for this post. I will save it to pass on to someone at a later date. My mother, God rest her soul, taught me from an early age to get my education and be able to support myself so “No man can make style on me”. For those who need an interpretation, it’s an old West Indian term for…if he cheats on you, etc…, you can show him the door. On DDay, I hugged and kissed my Mom through the tears and thanked her for her most valuable advice. Having my degree allowed me to get out of marriage much faster than I would have if I were a stay at home mom. I was able to keep the marital home as well..and have enough space for my kids. Of course I will be giving my own daughter (and son) the same sage advice. It worries me when I see the younger girls bragging about being stay-at-home moms and acting like their life is made. I’m a career woman, so I could never just be home, but being in that position leaves you too vulnerable….just sayin…

  • I get it now. This is what Schmoopie failed to do. She was stuck with a cheater but instead of being mighty, reeducating and getting a job to so she could afford to leave, her solution was to latch onto somebody else’s husband. She probably saw him as a good provider for his family and thought she could get a piece of that. How sad. Won’t she be disappointed when she discovers he is too busy paying for his kids to have anything left to help support her.

    • The definition of insanity applies here–doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.

  • A CDL. Commercial’s Driver’s License.

    Want to see the country? Freedom on the road? Make good money? CDL.

    If you have small children, this would not be an option. But, I have a female friend that her husband left her. She went to Roadmasters, it was less than $6000, and she was finished in 3 months. She had 12 jobs offers. She checks out audio books from the library, she takes photos with her iPhone, she is going to start a blog about truck stop food! The back of her truck is cozy and clean. She takes her little dogs with her.

    Trucking does have a lot of paperwork now, but after being chumped…that’s small potatoes. Employers value female drivers because they are more responsible and punctual. You can find a CDL book on eBay for $10. You don’t have to take the class to get the CDL, but you need to have access to a rig to identify the parts.

    And for someone like me who hates sitting behind a desk- it appeals.

  • // , Single mother families are becoming an increasingly normal and accepted part of our society.

    Indeed, a high percentage of families in the U.S. are single mother families.

    “According to U.S. Census Bureau,3 out of about 12 million single parent families in 2016, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father4 and almost half 40% live below the poverty line.”

    It looks like we have to adapt one way or another.

  • In Georgia (the state, not the country), there are a variety of FREE programs available at the STATE technical schools.

    https://tcsg.edu/financial_aid.php

    And it seems, every year, a few more programs are added.

    If you are a GA resident, you probably know that the movie/tv production industry is burgeoning here. The GA film academy is reasonably priced. The first graduating class just finished and I believe all had employment.

    http://georgiafilmacademy.org/

    (A caveat — it is relatively easy to find opportunities to be an extra for filmings. Before committing to a career in the film/tv production business, be an extra a couple of times. Spending the day on the set a few times provides great insight into the business.)

  • One other point, if you earned a teaching degree, but left to raise kids, etc. and are having a hard time figuring out getting a job, figure out what the high need areas are in you community. In mine, and most others I suspect, it is math and science, of course. But also, special ed and English as a second language. For as few as 12 hours (4 courses), you may be able to pick up an endorsement for your certificate which will make you much more marketable.

    • Great advice. And don’t scorn private or parochial schools. I didn’t make as much money but I had a lot more freedom in the classroom.

  • Think we’ve all got this but just to add to let our daughters know to get good jobs. my advice to my daughter has been to make sure you have a good job so you can always support yourself. Retraining is well worth it. Study and work is busy but mighty. The satisfaction of supporting yourself is priceless. My circumstances may be reduced but I have self respect and am getting ever more free from a disrespectful abusive cheater and.that.makes.it.all.worthwhile.

  • I went and got a job at the Post Office. So grateful for the opening after 19 years of Stay-at-home-mommying, just 6 miles from home, and no degree needed. Pays well, but is only part time right now, so furthering my education (even at 48!) is my next step, to prepare for when that child support ends 🙂 So this was a post with PERFECT timing!!

  • Please don’t make this the mommy wars. While there were lots of good posts,I found a few of these posts seem to indicate that chumps were in a bad spot because of their choices to stay home with children rather than continue in the workforce. Based on this blog and my personal experiences, I know that chumps come from all walks of life both Rich and Poor, educated and uneducated, employed and unemployed. The issue here is the bad character of the cheater not the life choices of the chump. We all make the best choices we can based on the information we have at the time.

    I have a feeling no matter how much we try to control things, there will always be chumps in a bad spot because there will always be cheaters.

    Kudos to all those who have given good suggestions to chumps who are in need of a change of employment or other new start.

    • This isn’t Mommy wars. This may be a very unpopular comment, but one thing that has absolutely radicalized me since starting this blog is the vulnerability of SAH parenting. During the “mommy wars” of the 1990s, I stayed on the fence. I did a combo plate of both SAH (for his first 3 months), and self-employment, and then when my son went to kindergarten, full-time work. I didn’t judge.

      NOW, in total truth, I think it is far too great a risk. I wouldn’t do it without some sort of legal agreement in case of divorce, to compensate you for your time. I would keep one foot in school or the workplace. I would never, ever be financially dependent on a spouse — because it’s not just infidelity. No one would underwrite your insurance — if divorce is 50% odds, what’s illness or untimely death? Now factor in infidelity?

      And child support enforcement? Do not even START me — in the US there is a $117 BILLION (with a B) arrearage of unpaid child support. Good luck collecting. Do not count on someone to keep their end of the CS bargain — get self supporting ASAP.

      This isn’t about respecting personal choices — it’s about risk management. If you read my mail over 5 years, and all the super sad, I’m financially fucked after SAHM and I got abandoned letters, you’d feel like I do.

      I’ve hesitated to write on the topic, for the “mommy wars” comments. But as we’re on the subject — I think the risk is too huge to do full-time SAH parenting. Keep your skills current. Volunteer. Go back to school. Work part-time. Work full-time. But do not, IMO, EVER make yourself financially dependent on another person if you can help it. (Disability and illness is another situation all together.)

      • And what happens when the nest empties, and the parent who has spent 18-25 years at home with kids is suddenly without that life purpose? There is no doubt that raising children requires mad skill and can be a source of delight, joy and growth. But the very nature of the job requires you to make yourself obsolete, as the goal is for kids to separate into adult life. That’s a kind of risk, too, to be (let’s say) 48 years old and wonder what to do for the next 40 years. It’s smart to be able to take care of ourselves financially and to have purpose in life that is not dependent on a social role like wife, mother, daughter.

        Even those dealing with disabled children and parents have to think about this issue because nothing stresses a marriage like care taking.

      • I concur ! I tell young women “Always make and have your own money.”

        My mother was chumped in the late seventies and promptly went to trade school (secretarial) to find gainful employment with health insurance. She was very grateful for her education (world travel as a navy brat,boarding school and one of the Seven Sisters colleges) and passed on the importance of lifetime learning and curiosity to me. Her undergraduate degree in art history,part-time retail work and volunteering with the Junior League didn’t mean diddly-squat when she had to keep up the mortgage and pay the bills. She couldn’t even get a charge card in her own name until she established a credit history.

        I watched this and learned “Don’t ever be financially dependent on a man.”

      • To be fair, I have read many stories on this blog of working women who have been financially fucked by cheaters. I love this site because the focus is on the unimaginable pain and suffering caused by infidelity and that it is not the victim’s fault. I feel like some people’s comments were adding insult to injury by implying chumps were were weak or stupid for their financial dependence on their husbands. I find that to be a downer when I am looking for encouragement to move on.

        Maybe I am too sensitive but I am a chump afterall

      • You may want to take it out a cheater’s own mouth. It IS about risk management.

        I had a neighbor, a young girl, who loved to spend time at my house. She confided in me that she had changed her major from pre-dentistry to special education (great) and then to considering dropping out all together due to an engagement to a young man who was in medical school.

        I was talking about this with the Putrid and he said spontaneously: “She has to get the degree. So when she finds out her husband had his secretary spread eagle on his desk, she has something to fall back on.”

        (Yep. I should have busted a cap in him right there).

        Unless you are a woman of independent means, and have a large trust, a Room of Your Own, so to speak- your well being and your children’s CANNOT depend on the continued kindness and character and largess of another human being.

        How many times have chumps written: I thought he was having a psychotic break, having a stroke. You wake up one morning next to a vicious stranger. You could not predict this person would morph into someone you do not recognize as an empathetic human being.

        It is not judgment, or mommy wars, it is not being stupid or ignorant- it is a brutal financial reality. The Courts do not have your back, a Cheater will not have your back- you have to make your own way in this cruel world.

        Is it a downer? Is gravity a downer? It is just life. It will be ok. When we know better, we do better.

  • Yay for higher education! I was in my final 6 months of a graduate counseling psychology program (majoring ironically in Marriage and Family Therapy) when DD happened…I got my ducks in a row (graduated, got a job) then kicked him to the curb.

    4 years later, I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, still in my stable job and about to open a small private practice on the side…
    Hmm…think I might specialize in Infidelity, Betrayal, Co-Parenting and Divorce for women 🙂
    Turning those lemons into lemonade

  • I really like this topic but thought I’d add a caveat– right now the suggestions, while wonderful and well-meaning, leave me feeling further anxiety. After 25 years of covert narcissist abuse followed by outright DV after DDay 2.5 years ago I am frequently totally and completely overwhelmed and confused about what to do about my career. I earned my BA in English as a single teenaged mom, divorced my first cheater/abusive addict X when I was 21 and baby was 3. Went to law school, married another student and worked very successfully as a lawyer 7 years, had 3 more kids, took 9 years off of law firm life and raised kids, wrote books, bought and flipped a couple houses. Went back to firm work 6 years ago- part time when recession hit and X was falling apart mentally and needed extra security from a second income (he makes 7X what I do). After DDay 1-10…. and false wreconciliation and being DV’d for 5 months and pick me dancing for a year, abandonment for young gold digging whore, kids’ suicide attempts, kids’ arrests, moving to small home and selling dream home to pick me dance, I finally filed for D. Tried to ramp up my career, took bar exam in another state and started working with a female colleague there with a lot of work in a new area. Telecommuting and frequent travel all while solo parenting 24/7. Finished D with week long trial where I won on every issue, refinanced, reduced expenses, got all post D finances in order, transferred to new firm with colleague and got a title promotion (D and new job in past 3 months). Now the hard work and crisis is over and I can barely function most days. Everything feels overwhelming. My job feels too hard. The pressure and responsibility is trememdous. Because I telecommute (which is excellent for my teens because I am home all the time) I never see any colleagues and am an extrovert and feel so lonely and disconnected from work, team, new firm. I started working with a recruiter but because of my age and the lack of business I do not have the ability apparently to get any interest locally. Even if I did it would require showing up at a job physically at least 10 to 12 hours most days of the week. I can’t do that to my fragile children and I can’t mentally or physically do it right now.

    Anyhow, I’m sure I will feel different as things settle down, but right now the idea of trying to find more satisfying or better paying or more stable work just feels like another overwhelming hurdle.

    Maybe other chumps Reading all these terrific suggestions feel the same way?

    • MotherChumper99,
      I am sure you re read your post before you sent it.
      I read it 3 times. Your mightiness astounds me.
      MC99, it is all about you putting yourself out for other people, your ex, your children, for everyone but yourself.
      Dear sweet lady you have been on overload for far too many years.
      This is not a criticism of you, you are amazing. An amazing and unselfish Mother.
      Your body and your mind are exhausted and are screaming at you.
      Dear Mother Chumper 99 is there any way at all you can get a chance to have a breather, relax, individual therapy, just get out and talk to someone, unload some of your burden. You desperately need a break.
      You have so much talent, are so qualified in your profession, but your heart, mind and body have been on overload for too long.
      ( ask me how I know, at One point I lost over 50 pounds and had to leave my career for a short time to breath, to survive. I was told I would never be able to return to my medical profession. I loved my work, needed my job and in time was able to return to my work. I had to change some of my ways, look out for myself more.
      I feel so badly for you. I can tell you are a very wonderful, caring and strong person, MC99.
      If anyone is mighty it is you. I send you mega hugs and I hope somehow your future will become brighter and happier for you. YOU matter not just the people you are caring for so diligently.
      Xxxx

      • MC99,
        I hope my post was not too harsh.
        The slogan”Nurses Care”, sometimes it just gets me going.
        ((((Hugs again))))

        • Peacekeeper, you are very perceptive! And not at all too harsh for me. I do need a break to heal without the tremendous pressure of the new area of law and employer. But….. I need also to support myself and it feels like a Hobson’s choice. I keep thinking that my capacity to work more and without such internal struggle will start to improve now that I’m divorced. 12 weeks have passed since the divorce, 2 months at my new job. It’s up and down. I’m trying extreme self care on the margins of working and meditation, sleep, exercise, excellent nutrition, daily 12th step meetings. In 2 months I will take a full week of vacation. I’m praying for the right course of action. If I quit my job I will have to sell assets to fund it– that feels foolish.

          Thank you again for your kindness.

          • MC99

            Are there shared office spaces where you are? Can you afford to do this at least once a week? Or, if you can justify the expense, look into renting an office (just one room) in a professionals’ office. A lawyer friend just did this. She was losing her mind working at home and found someone with extra space. She pays very little cause she doesn’t use receptionist, etc.

            Or if you can make room in your day for a quick exercise class that might help too. Working from home full time isn’t easy. Hugs

            • Great idea! I get out everyday at noon for either YMCA class or 12th step meeting. An office-share is an intriguing idea. THank you!

    • That is because being a lawyer is miserable. When someone said student debt does not matter- I thought: ever seen law school debt? And remember- there are caps to financial aid. It is not an endless stream of loans.

      A lawyer needs other lawyers to bounce ideas off of and to blow off steam. Practicing law alone IS scary. I understand being overwhelmed.

      Here is an idea- Have you looked into working for Westlaw, Lexus or Rocket Lawyer? You answer research questions. Low stress, from home and full benefits. Type in a google search- tired of practicing law.

      Also- you can do appeals from home. Get your name in the prisons and start a course self study in post conviction relief.

      I know it is scary. But you are killing it.

      • Thank you for the validation: this!
        “A lawyer needs other lawyers to bounce ideas off of and to blow off steam. Practicing law alone IS scary. I understand being overwhelmed.”

        This is probably a huge part of the problem. I don’t have this at all. But I just don’t have much bandwidth to make another change right now.

        Thank you for responding.

  • In my job as a marriage and family therapist, not to mention in my life, I second CL’s platform of not being financially dependent on anyone. It is an enormous risk and infidelity aside, it puts strain on marriages, resentment builds from both sides, and if there’s one thing I could sky-write if I could to women especially, it’s to make sure you always earn your own money. Even if it’s part-time, even if it’s freelance, don’t assume that the SAH stuff will keep going. Life isn’t fair, and having contingency plans and income streams just seems like good sense to me. I’ve seen so many people, but especially women, so horribly stranded because they gave up their economic power. Lives change, hearts change, shit happens…be prepared. And it costs $$ to fix mistakes and trauma. I am still living with family after the economic fallout of my cheater’s many effects on my life, and I had a full-time job the entire time.

    And fyi, when I was in grad school, I’d estimate that about half my classmates were over 50. So yeah, you really can always go back. And just sayin, there are a dearth of mental health professionals out there, especially ones who have a good handle on infidelity…

  • There are also options like being a “virtual assistant”. These are women and men who set up at home – all you need of internet, a computer, phone and maybe a printer. Many private companies and employers are using “virtual” assistants and admin because it’s cheaper for them to pay only for the work done than for the on costs associated with employing someone full time (sick pay,holiday pay, insurances etc).

    There are a lot of websites where you can post your own skills up but also respond to the ads posted. Jobs posted are anything really from data entry, designing data bases, letter template writing, Resume writing, grant applications writing, illustrating, graphic design, ghost writing. Lots of things.

    It’s not necessarily a long term solution but certainly something for topping up finances while going through school, can get you references, skill you up for the future. Guru.com is a good place to look at as an example – it’s a global workplace. There would be US based ones I’m sure if you googled.

    There are also organisations that are like virtual recruitment agencies for virtual assistants. Australia has a few set up by women who then have a “pool” of virtual assistants they recommend to positions. These sites often offer additional prof. development on how to be a virtual assistant and things to focus on to get opportunities.

    Good thing about both is you can work from home and at any time of the day so definitely an option for mums with very young kids.

    Another thing, and call me crazy but a couple of young students who volunteer where I work are subsidising their way through college by being registered UBER drivers. Both are girls and both say they find it safe, they choose when they work as well – unlike taxi drivers on shift.

    Women’s Centres if you have them are also good places to check out because they often provide advice and suggestions for getting on the career ladder and because they are usually set up to respond to women in crisis they understand issues like being single mum’s, divorced and abused women, and they operate within a network that can assist in lots of ways. Some also run short educational courses on how to navigate systems when you’ve been away from the workplace for a while.

    Public hospitals and health networks in Australia have usually got a casual pool of staff to cover all sorts from admin work to nursing. Making some enquiries so you can meet the person in charge of the casual employment pool is a good idea. Also many health services have volunteer services. This is what I call “strategic volunteering”. You can become known within a big organisation and possibly get some job leads from here. At the very least you learn the goings on of a hospital and this is all useful knowledge and information for future job applications that require “experience”. In Australia there is also a growing movement of “health participation” where previous patients, carers and interested community members can get involved in health activities (committees, working groups, research, governance) and are usually reimbursed a small fee for their efforts. Again it is a good rung on the ladder, gives you skills, may make you aware of job opportunities and also provides you with skills and experience.

    None of these are necessarily permanent fixes but are options for subsidising income while getting education or if you simply can’t afford education are some ways to get some money coming in. In the health department I work in, we often hear of scholarships available for different training courses and education opportunities. We forward this information to volunteers and health participants. These people would not know of these opportunities if they were not engaged with us in this voluntary/participation capacity.

    They are also all ways to develop networks and meet people who might introduce you to other people and so on. We have all heard the saying “it’s not what you know but WHO you know.”

  • Don’t know if this has been mentioned, but, if you like to drive – and the prospect of driving a large vehicle sounds cool – you can get a Commercial Driver’s License and drive a truck, transit bus, or school bus. The pay isn’t bad, and many companies (or municipalities/school districts) have very good benefits. There is a big shortage of qualified CDL drivers these days, and the only age issue (well, OK you shouldn’t be in your late 70’s to start) is that you have to be 21 to obtain a CDL.

  • I love mothers in the home. Truly, I wish I could have pushed a mop instead of papers. Fortunately, I was in a job where the hours were 7 to 3

    • I meant to add more…I did stay at home with my kids until they were potty trained then went back to work. I was lucky enough to be able to do that. I know many households cannot afford one income.

      I am a proponent of SAHM until kids are of school age. After that, it is imperative in this day and age to have the means to support oneself. You are foolish to think otherwise.

      You will be way behind in experience and salary if you wait too long. Believe me, catching up to where your breadwinner is (successful breadwinner that is), if you divorce, is almost next to impossible. Tempest will tell you a story there just about moving jobs.

  • I have to add law enforcement to the list. Police, prison, jailers, dispatchers, etc. Most not only pay for your training, but also provide a salary with exceptional benefits the minute you begin school or training. Btw…..you think your cheater is going to keep fucking with you once they see that badge on your chest???

  • This is a fantastic post. I rarely comment (despite reading every single post since my October 2014 D-Day), but thought I’d add my two cents.

    If you currently have a job and want to increase your earning potential, see whether there are any side projects at your current job that you can take on that would allow you to learn additional computer skills. When I was working in a low paying job as an accounting clerk, my company didn’t have a purchase and requisition system. During slow periods, I decided to try to develop one, so I taught myself how to build a Microsoft Access database. This was back when there wasn’t as much training material online – these days it would be even easier to learn (there are soooo many high quality and free tutorials now that the sky is limitless). After building the ordering database, I saw other pain points in the company and built several other databases to meet address those needs. I also taught myself advanced Excel skills.

    When my Ex left, I was a stay at home mom and 4 months prior had spent $200K (my life savings) to pay off a chunk of his educational debt. I was terrified about how I’d be able to support my daughter because my prior salary wouldn’t have been enough. I revised my resume to highlight my strong computer skills and included a summary in my cover letter of the skills I’d self taught and the projects I’d taken on. I also networked heavily. In an amazing stroke of good luck, an IT consultant who did work for my prior company put me in touch with a construction company (a completely new industry for me) and I somehow ended up being hired as their Technology Manager, despite no formal IT training or management experience. I’m 1.5 years in and still can’t have to occasionally pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Granted, I could never work as a Technology Manager for a large company, but there are lots of small and medium sized businesses who have technology needs.

    I know this is a long post, but I have one last piece of advice: while I wholeheartedly agree that building your skills is critical (to increase your earning potential and/or make you more marketable), the other side of the coin is reducing your expenses. The lower your expenses are, the more freedom you have. I live in coastal Southern California (with an exorbitant cost of living) and I earn significantly less than six figures …but I am saving 50% of my income, which eliminates worry over money and will potentially allow me to be financially independent (to do passion projects where I don’t care about income) within 10 years. If you were to ask me the two blogs that have most influenced my life, hands down, they would be Chump Lady and this finance blog: https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/06/meet-mr-money-mustache/

    Good luck everyone!!!

      • Newlife~ This is a great post! I love your term “pain points.” I also felt a homicidal rage that you paid off his education loans. This helps me swallow my own shit sandwich.

        I love to save money. A mortgage is a type of indentured servitude. And most people are simply servicing debt, never attacking the principal.

        Here are some tips I have used to great success:

        Cut out trash service and go to the sanitation center myself
        Share internet service with a neighbor
        Got rid of the cable services and have a free digital antenna…I get 12 channels!
        = these painless steps alone save me $400 per month
        Mow my yard myself
        Ditched landline, Use a prepaid cell phone $45 a month unlimited talk, text, data.
        Sell on eBay frequently
        Only eat out once a month
        Buy vegetables from a co-op group
        Group together errands to save gas.
        Put up heavy solar blocking curtains- this lowered my power bill by $40-50
        Always pay myself 10% of any money, no matter how acquired, for my retirement fund
        No more senseless shopping.
        Cut down on processed, convenience food, shop the perimeter of the store
        Make my own dog food
        Keep track of every expenditure on Excel to see where the money is going.

  • In Europe it is a little more difficult to reinvent yourself, depending on age and education. And it depends on the country as well.

    In general, when in school, at the age of 11 you take an exam that determines whether you go the university route or trade route. After that, you either go through high school and then to university or at the age of 16 start a three year apprenticeship in a trade.

    The challenge for women who drop out of the workforce to raise children is that once they are going back into the workforce, it is difficult to get a re certification in a new trade. Depending on the country you can try university.

    The country where I live in, you need a federal certificate to do most work, including selling jewellery at a department store. This requires a 3 year internship with pittance pay, and this is impossible as the pay is around 500 a month while childcare per child is around 2500 a month. That is if you can get childcare, as the waiting list is usually around 1 to 2 years. There was a case of a woman who left an abusive situation and re-educated herself, yet she had to stay on social welfare for another 2 years as the waiting list for her children to go into daycare was 2 years. And if you want to go back to school, who will watch the children? At a cost of 2500 a month per child, who can afford to go back and retrain themselves?

    It is difficult as most judges order women to go to work part time after divorce, however there are not many part time jobs available (which is needed as the child care is too expensive, most women work part time to reduce childcare costs, and this is the married women). So most women are stuck at home until the child is older. And then what do they do? The can apply for a federal certificate using the work they have done in the house (organization, cleaning, scheduling) yet the bigger issue is that women for the most part are discriminated against in hiring situations if they have children. Schools are closed from 1200 to 1400 so that the children go home for a hot lunch. All schools are closed on Wednesdays. Grade 1 and 2, the children go to school only for three mornings a week! Basically where I live, as a woman, having a job with children is considered a luxury.

    The system here is designed to keep women at home (between expensive childcare, ridiculous short school days, hardly any part time jobs). Technically a woman can stay home full time and is not required to work until the child is age 10. Then between the age of 10 and 16 the woman is required to work 50%. Yet with divorce at 50%, and women leaving terrible relationships, it has put women in a hard place as the country’s processes and design do not support how the modern society is or needs.

    Best bet is to start your own business. And for expat women, it is even more difficult as usually they are highly educated and their competencies are not exportable into our country’s work force. I myself went and got a coaching certification after 4 years of looking for work, over 400 job applications and finding nothing (I looked across EU and positions in Asia!!). I was told at several last round interviews they were not going forward with me as they were concerned how I would manage childcare and working (funny, my retort was that my STBX does not get the same response when he is interviewing). Most women I know who are in business for themselves are expats. And a lot of us are the ‘typical’ former high career and educated who had kids late in life, toddlers in our 40’s, (or trailing spouses who quit their jobs to follow the husband to raise the kids) so from an employment perspective where we live having a corporate/normal job is not an option.

    Larger countries in EU it is easier to reinvent yourself career wise as the markets are larger. Nordic regions are naturally family oriented and support families with government provided childcare, reasonable hours and workforce training. So it is possible in those countries it is easier.

    If there are any EU based chumps here, and you are struggling to get back into the workforce, let’s connect offline. Maybe we can find solutions for each other and support each other,

  • Education saved me. 20 years ago, my life was eclipsed by the twin realizations that my marriage was a sham and that I was pregnant. Like in the same day.

    I knew in that moment that I had to get more education. My current salary was about at the cap of what the local market would bear and single parenthood was in my future.

    I had 12 credit hours towards an MPH (Masters of Public Health – in epidemiology/statistics) by the time my beautiful daughter arrived and finished by the time she was three.

    We are DESPERATE for statisticians in this country!

    I encourage all who can to consider studying any kind of statistics they can. Even if you don’t understand what it all means at first (there are some pretty arcane sounding terms in the field).
    It may be hard, it may totally intimidate you, or it may just sound really boring (but it really isn’t), but it will make you very employable in a lot of areas and places.

    An MPH is very employable as well…

  • Also check out: Wellesley College, Davis Scholars program and Smith College, Ada Comstock program. Both for non-traditional students. Tons of support (I mean TONS). You can do STEM if you want (Smith has the only Women’s engineering program in the US, and if you graduate with a high enough GPA, you get a full ride to Carnegie-Mellon for an MS in engineering.) They support women, and single moms with kids in ways that are beyond imagining. I got out of my first abusive marriage via the Wellesley program, and it literally saved my life.

    No, you do not need to be a pearls and cashmere type, nuh-uh, not one bit.

  • This article really hits home. I too was a teen pregnancy. My ex could not support us, so I went into an Allied Health field. It was a one year program. Upon acceptance into the program, my ex says, “Congratulations, but you can’t do it. You need to be home with the baby.” I disregarded that and thank goodness! 20 years later I have a way to support myself, post discard. He brought that up, during the discard. I was always “too damn logical,” he said. Excuse me for making sound choices, in the best interest of our family. I also kept the house too clean and was too responsible. Go figure. He wants a free spirit, ride her motorcycle to the arctic kind of chick…yah, good luck idiot!

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