By Celina Wu
Senior Hannah Lencheck said she can still remember the day last November when she found out the news that her father had to relocate for his job. She said she was the last one to return home and her whole family was already gathered around the kitchen table.
“When I saw my whole family there, including all three of my older sisters who were home from college, I knew we were going to have a serious family meeting,” Lencheck said. “It was one of those times when you know something upsetting was going to happen. It was unbelievable at first, and then everyone started reacting and sort of freaked out.”
That day, Lencheck’s father announced to the family that the company he works for, Behr Paint, was requiring him to move to California. Lencheck said the reason for the company necessitating her dad’s move was due mainly to the recession. Lencheck and her family are among the numerous families nationwide who have been directly affected by job situations because of the recession.
“For the most part, the decision for my dad to move was made for us by the company. There was no question of my dad moving out there. Move it or lose it. Initially too, my mom ad I were obligated to go out there; they didn’t want my dad being distracted by travelling back and forth,” Lencheck said. “I thought I was moving for sure at the end of junior year. We’re talking boxes packed, house a month away from being put on the market, Dad already living out there as of January; it was crazy. Later though, the company decided that my mom and I didn’t need to move out there.”
Lencheck said after the company decided she and her mother could stay behind, her family still had a hard time making a decision about the moving arrangements. She said, “Anything that splits up a family is going to be a tough decision. As far as alternatives go, my dad looked into a few other companies, but staying with Behr was the best option.”
Lencheck said her dad’s move to California mostly changed the family dynamic. “I still talk to him on the phone, and he comes home about once a month, give or take, depending on when it is convenient for everybody’s schedules,” she said.
Social worker Jane Wildman said she has seen situations similar to that of Lencheck and her family several times over. According to her, a family that is split up because of job relocation sees changes in communication from face-to-face to over the phone or electronic communication.
Wildman also said the parent who stays with the child in this situation has to take on a physical role similar to that of a single parent. In Lencheck’s case, “The mother will have to take all the responsibility for running the household. Also, while the father will help with the decision-making, the mom will be making most all the day-to-day decisions. Overall, the parents will have to adapt their roles to the situation they are in.”
Lencheck said her parents’ roles are pretty similar to how they were before. “My parents consult over the phone about most decisions, and they come to a conclusion together.”
Lencheck said, “At first, it was really difficult to deal with, but now we’ve all pretty much adjusted. Even though the situation is definitely not the most pleasant, I know it was the best decision that could have been made.”