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Laid Off From Your Job, Now What?

Laid OffAfter getting laid off last summer, I went through some soul-searching. I did much of this searching while spending time at our family’s place by the beach. The beach house is a great place to get away from everything – at least everything you want to get away from. It has all the amenities you could ask for including internet, so I can stay caught up, but it’s far enough away that I can clear my mind and think.

While I was on the beach with my family clearing my mind, I started working through things. The emotions, the questions, the self-doubt. But rather than fight these, I just let them come and go as they saw fit. Over the years, I have learned that you really can’t control your emotions. You get scared. You get angry. You feel joy. All these emotions are perfectly natural and attempting to control them or ignore them doesn’t work.

Instead of fighting my emotions, I embrace them. I accept them for what they are – simple feelings. So while I cannot control the emotions, I can control my reaction to the emotions. Just because I am angry, doesn’t mean I need to yell and scream. Just because I am sad, doesn’t mean I need to withdraw and sleep all day. Just because there is a voice in my head telling me this and that, doesn’t mean I need to listen to the voice.

Honestly, you may think that voice in your head is all-knowing, but it’s not. In fact, that voice in your head may not have any idea what it’s talking about. And if you don’t like what the voice is saying, ignore it just like you would ignore a friend who was giving you bad advice.


Get Back To the Beach

Once the voices in my head started quieting down, I had a chance to really start thinking about what I wanted to do professionally. Getting laid off is really not that bad. Take it from me, I have quit a job without another one lined up. That may feel better initially, but after a few months with no money coming in, you really start to second guess your decision. And when you tell people that you quit without a steady income, they look at you quizzically and you can guess what they’re thinking – are you crazy?

But when you get laid off, if you do it correctly, you can use the opportunity to change course. Hopefully, you get a severance package which can buy you time before needing to move on to the next venture. The more severance, the more time. Also, when you get laid off, you should be eligible for unemployment which again can buy you more time.

I had time to think last fall. We didn’t have any immediate financial concerns. I wasn’t ready to retire yet, but I also didn’t want to take another job just to keep working. I was looking for a change. An opportunity that would allow me to spend time with my young family, but would challenge me in new ways.


Why I Started a Blog

I found online resources that helped me. Specifically, I started reading personal finance blogs. I found people who were inspired to share their stories. People who proposed new ideas. And people who saw a future of financial independence and freedom. And these people were using their blogs to help them reach that freedom.

I decided to give it a try. I had never blogged before. I had only a basic understanding of even what a blog was. I had never written articles for other sites or publications. But after spending time reading many, many blogs, I saw an open niche in the personal finance blog space. I personally knew others just like myself who had worked for years and years for both big and small companies only to find themselves out of work. Maybe they had been laid off like me or maybe they were just stagnant, working in a brain-dead job hoping for more. Either way, they knew their life was slipping by and there had to be a better way.

I knew those people were out there and I started Financial Slacker to connect with them. And interestingly, while I have seen an outpouring of support from those “seasoned executives” who reach out, there’s also been support from other groups. Students just starting out see the future that I describe and they don’t want to wait 20 years to escape it. They want to jump into something better today. I also hear from people who have only been working for a few years and already they are looking for ways to retire early. They seek financial freedom.

It’s been great for me to get emails from people telling me they can relate. They are themselves Financial Slackers. And they are looking for ways to move forward, love their life, and achieve financial independence and freedom.


What To Do After You Get Laid Off

I previously wrote an article about how to find a job while the following suggestions are based on what worked for me and aimed at those who have been recently laid off:

  1. Negotiate a severance.  Technically, this happens before your layoff is finalized, and the more lead time you give yourself, the better severance you can negotiate. And obviously, the more severance you can negotiate, the better. There’s a great book, How to Engineer Your Layoff, written by the author of the Financial Samurai website. I recommend buying the book and using the knowledge gained to negotiate as attractive a severance package as possible. Again, the better your severance, the more time you have to make a change.
  2. Cut your expenses.  Even though you may have negotiated yourself a great severance, it will only provide cash flow for a limited period of time. As such, it’s important to quickly evaluate your financial situation. How much do you have in savings? What is your monthly spend? Can you cut expenses anywhere? To be honest, while I was employed, I had gotten a little lazy when it came to watching my expenses. As such, when I got laid off, I needed to get a grasp and look for ways to save. I signed up for Personal Capital on the advice of a blog I had started reading. For those not familiar, Personal Capital is a free online financial tool that tracks all of your accounts in one place. This includes checking accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, loans, and mortgages. The software is quick to set up, easy to use, and completely free. It gives you a dashboard view of all your money and where it’s going. It even tracks your investments and how much you are spending in your investment accounts across all funds and advisors. High investment fees are one of the biggest impediments to achieving financial independence. At least know what you’re spending. If you don’t use Personal Capital, I highly recommend you start today.
  3. Start a business.  There are many reasons to start a business. And after you get laid off is really the perfect time. Assuming you have a decent severance and you have cut your expenses, you now have time to get a business up and running. You are not dependent on the business to pay your bills. So even while you are out looking for anther job, having a side business is a great way to stay motivated and engaged. I chose to start a personal finance blog and used 1&1 Hosting. I actually already had an account at 1&1 and have used them for other websites and personalized email for years. The price is hard to beat as you can start a personal site for as little as $0.99 per month.
  4. Join a networking group.  Whether you are looking to build a new business or find another job, networking is the key to making this happen. Every job I have ever had came about through a prior relationship. If you’re just sitting at home on the couch, not much good will come out of it. Instead, get involved. Join online networks, but more importantly join a local network that meets in person. Meet new people. Develop new relationships. Find out what is happening in your community and join in. I am a member of the Financial Executive Networking Group. It’s an organization of senior level finance types. After getting laid off, I assumed a more active role with the group which has led to consulting opportunities as well as many new friendships. Find a group that works for you.
  5. Find a hobby.  Lastly, life is too short to spend the entire time working. Sometimes we just need to get out of the office. I had played golf for years, but I was never any good at it. After getting laid off, I decided to make it a mission to really learn how to play. My handicap has dropped from too high to measure (I couldn’t keep the ball in the fairway and miss hit every other shot) to around 10. It has changed the game for me. Although it can still be a struggle, I can now actually enjoy playing a round of golf with my friends. Find a hobby or bring back an old one you may have neglected.


If you find yourself recently unemployed, don’t despair. It’s just one more opportunity to overcome adversity and achieve greatness. Think how wonderful it will feel when you are sitting on top of the world with a successful new business, plenty of money coming in, and a new hobby to impress your friends and family.


I would love to hear how others out there have overcome adversity. Please share in the comments.


In full disclosure, please note that if you decide to purchase or utilize one of the above products or services, this website may be compensated with a small commission or fee by the companies mentioned above. But that in no way diminishes the value that these companies provide. I was promoting these companies long before I became an affiliate.


Permanent link to this article: http://financialslacker.com/get-laid-off/


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  1. Route To Retire

    For some people, getting laid off can be extremely tough if you haven’t been saving. It’s good that you were in a position that put you in the exact opposite situation – not struggling financially and giving you a chance to take a breath and really reflect on where you wanted to be.

    I think I’m in a good position at my company where the chances of me getting laid off or fired are pretty slim, but you just never know and need to prepare ahead of time just in case.

    — Jim

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    1. Financial Slacker

      I am fortunate financially. Having a safety net and multiple income streams definitely helps cushion the impact.

      And to be honest, getting laid off was not a surprise. The company had been struggling in a few areas and I was a remote employee – flew in every week or so. Often those that are not at corporate are the first to go.

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  2. Allan Liwanag

    Getting laid off is not for the faint of heart. I’ve been in that situation before. I did take it well because a year before I got laid off, I was already planning on going back to school for my MBA, which I did. It wasn’t also that hard because I knew I had savings stashed away for emergency purposes of which job loss was part of.

    Now, getting laid off is close to impossible because my company is secured.

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    1. Financial Slacker

      Glad to hear your role is secure. I always worried about getting laid off even when it was a remote possibility. I think because I tended to work for high-growth, private-equity backed companies that operated with a feeling of desperation – either grow or die. And if you couldn’t grow top-line, you had to cut expenses to make up for it.

      That’s probably one of the reasons, I am so concerned about having not just a few months of living expenses, but multiple years of living in savings. It’s not great for my overall rate of return, but it helps me sleep better at night.

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  3. Thias @It Pays Dividends

    I think you story also re-enforces how important an emergency fund is. If you have a well funded emergency fund, then it takes a lot of the worry of being laid off away. If you need to rely on that bi-weekly paycheck to survive, then being laid off will be a lot harder on you. Unfortunately, with the 9-5 life, even if you company is doing well, people can be let go at any point. You always need to keep yourself prepared in case it happens to you.

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    1. Financial Slacker

      Completely agree. I just don’t think there is job security any longer. Things change quickly, whether it’s something new in the industry causing a shift or your company getting acquired.

      When I was running mergers & acquisitions for a large healthcare company, we would typically see about 80% turnover after we bought a business. Most of the time, it wasn’t layoffs, but a change in culture led the acquired employees to seek out something new.

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  4. Stefan - The Millennial Budget

    Having a plan for every situation is key. The importance of an emergency fund and understanding your expenses is crucial to times like these. Severance package is also an important topic that you bring up. Hopefully this advice can help people!

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    1. Financial Slacker

      I hope the advice does help people. I get emails almost everyday from someone who has been recently laid off. It’s been especially difficult in the energy sector impacting cities like Houston.

      I really do think launching a side business is a great way to stay engaged while you’re looking for a new venture. And maybe that side business will grow into something significant.

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  5. Dividendsdownunder

    Hey FS, thanks for sharing your story. There are many options out there, being laid off does not need to mean the end of the world 🙂 I’m glad it’s worked out for you.

    Hopefully with time, our blog can turn into a money-making blog that may pay enough for us to work from home.


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    1. Financial Slacker

      That’s exactly right. While I don’t want to minimize the impact, getting laid off is not the end.

      Making money blogging would be quite the feat. It’s definitely harder to make money as a freelancer than it was working a real job. But I did have 20 years of experience working real jobs and just a few months as a blogger/freelancer.

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