Laid off ...next steps

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kd2008
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Laid off ...next steps

Post by kd2008 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:18 am

I got laid off on Tuesday. Our small satellite office of 4 people got shut down and everyone was let go. I am 36 and this is my first time experience with this event.

Financially I am ok. I have money in high yield savings accounts that amounts to 1 year worth of expenses. My retirement pile is about 25x current expenses - not accounting for healthcare premiums and expenses.

I am offered 18 weeks pay plus 2 weeks pto paid out. Also cobra will be paid for 6 months.

I still have 45 days to review sign and return the agreement.

I applied for unemployment.

My expenses were minimal (under 24K/yr). Without vacation and stuff, I would imagine it will be lower. I do anticipate about 5K in immigration related expenses. These will be new and an one time expense.

I have started applying for jobs. I have not tapped into my network yet. I have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I am anticipating that if I get a new job, it will not pay as before. I am anticipating a 8 to 10 month search.

Please advice on things I need to consider and plan for.

Thank you.

stan1
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by stan1 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:24 am

Sorry to hear the news. I think your network is the best source especially with an advanced degree. I would prepare several resumes to start: one that emphasizes your specialty and one that emphasizes more of your general skills supported by your specialty. Idea would be to have a resume that gives you a little more flexibility to move into a different or related area of specialization. It will also help if you can be geographically mobile. If you are not a U.S. citizen I'm not sure what advice to offer about that. Also, I'd come up with ways to use any of the free time you might find yourself with: exercise, family events, volunteering. Keep busy and keep a positive attitude as best you can.

gotester2000
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by gotester2000 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:39 am

Take a small vacation...relax, find a new job and start again - be flexible on role and compensation - you dont need to be in some kind of race to match or get X% raise.
Keep an overall practical approach.

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Watty
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by Watty » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:16 am

kd2008 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:18 am
Also cobra will be paid for 6 months.
I used COBRA when I retired and it was run by a seperate company that managed that.

You really need to stay on top of what paperwork you need to fill out and have that done on time and also make sure that the premiums are also paid of time. If something happens like an automatic credit card payment fails and you miss a deadline then the COBRA may end and you may not be able to get it restarted.

This is not a big deal but you do need to be proactive in following up with it and you need to carefully read any paperwork they send you and ask questions about anything you do not understand.

People choosing to stay on COBRA typically have higher than average costs so at least in my case it was pretty clear that the company managing it was doing the minimum that the law required to support it and would prefer that you drop out of COBRA. They "accidentally" canceled my coverage twice even though I paid my premium weeks before they were due. I was able to get it reactivated but at least once I was at a pharmacy trying to pick up a prescription only to be told that my coverage was not valid.

mouses
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by mouses » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:27 am

I'm sorry that this has happened. You probably know that many very highly qualified, hard working people get laid off nowadays, so this is no reflection on your worth as an employee.

You sound well prepared financially, so congratulations on that. Do continue with the unemployment payments process even if someone in the company says you do not qualify for that. I was laid off several times and rehired as the MegaCorp I worked for was going down the tubes, and the state always granted us unemployment payments even though we got severance pay.

I would definitely start networking now. You have time to look for a good new job and not just leap at the first thing offered.

LawyersGunsAndMoney
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by LawyersGunsAndMoney » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:30 am

Sorry to hear that. On the one hand, 20 weeks severance plus 6 months company-paid COBRA is a pretty decent package compared to what the average joe would get. On the other hand with a PhD in Mech E you're clearly not the average joe and are likely correct that a job search for a relatively high-level position usually takes more time.

A few things that come to mind based on my wife's recent experience:

1. If you want to take a break or travel for a week or something - do it immediately.
2. Activate your professional and personal network, take lunches, get back in touch with people you know in your field, take the time to write an interesting or topical article and publish it via LinkedIn pulse etc...all of this will help tremendously in the job search
3. Just as valuable as networking with peers - get in touch with a bevy of professional recruiters. If you don't know any get recommendations from peers or colleagues who have been placed through them
4. Re: company paid COBRA: Keep in mind that involuntary loss of coverage is a qualifying event to enroll off-cycle on the state exchange OR on a spouses' private plan WITHIN 60 days. Accepting 6 months of COBRA will override the qualifying event and after 6 months (when it comes time for you to pay your COBRA premiums) electing to drop COBRA coverage doesn't count as qualifying - so you will likely have to bridge the gap between the end of the 6 month time period and the next ACA open enrollment - which in your case would probably be 3 months or so. I bring this up because when my wife was laid off her company offered to pay for 3 months of COBRA, and had we accepted all of that that she wouldn't have been eligible to be added to my insurance as a qualifying event bc 60 days would have passed.

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Strayshot
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by Strayshot » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:31 am

Plan to spend about a week being depressed about the situation, then a week getting introspective about what you want to do with your life, then a week or two taking a nice vacation somewhere, then back to reality and diving in to the job search.

If you have a year saved even without unemployment (which based on your savings and presumed salary will be maxed out) there are no fiscal stressors.

Take the package (which sounds great), line up your references at the company so they know people will be calling as you look for jobs, trade personal contact email and phone with colleagues, and head out!

Get your LinkedIn profile cleaned up and once you are back from vacation start applying. Not sure what school you are an alum of, but if it is one of the big engineering schools (Georgia tech, Texas a&m, etc) you can always use alumni networking to look for opportunities.

MildlyEccentric
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by MildlyEccentric » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:32 am

If you are still looking for a job after your current employer stops their contribution to COBRA, look into switching over to a healthcare.gov plan. Loss of the employer contribution begins a special enrollment period and would allow you to enroll in an ACA plan outside of the normal signup window.

runner3081
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by runner3081 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:52 am

This happened to me at 32 and was a first for me.

Honestly, as others have said, take a couple of weeks off and don't think about applying for jobs (other than the min for unemployment).

Then, polish up the resume and go for it.

It will work out... 4 years later and I am making 22K more then when I was laid off. Ended up only being unemployed for 2-months and wished it had been longer, haha.

tedgeorge
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by tedgeorge » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:29 am

Sorry to hear about this. It can be unnerving to go completely unplugged and the only emails you get are spam. Definitely do a vacation or something early if you desire.

When this happened to me, I found it useful to add some structure back into the day. If you are going to workout, set a time and do it. If you are going to search for jobs, block that off on the calendar too.

Pay attention to those job descriptions and note any certifications or buzzwords that you don't know. If you've been putting off any sort of certification or other that may be useful, now is the time to study for that. Many online courses are dirt cheap.

kd2008
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by kd2008 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:37 pm

Thank you for all the encouraging words.

It is hard for me to enjoy my time "off" right now.

I am definitely trying to structure my day. It has been a helpful technique.

TheAncientOne
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by TheAncientOne » Fri Feb 16, 2018 4:01 pm

Given that you have specialized skills, it may take you longer than the average person to get a new job. At least you have a good explanation, from a hiring company's perspective, as to why you lost your job.

First, I'd see if they will give you more COBRA than six months. Twelve or nine months? You can point out that you will be conducting an active search, and if successful quickly will not cost them anything.

Second, I'd take no more than one week off before you go into job hunt mode. Once you start looking, treat it as your full time job. The longer you're out of work, the less appealing you'll appear to other companies. Spend 40 hours a week reaching out to friends and former colleagues, touching up your LInked In profile, and applying for jobs.

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AtlasShrugged?
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by AtlasShrugged? » Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:22 pm

I got laid off on Tuesday. Our small satellite office of 4 people got shut down and everyone was let go. I am 36 and this is my first time experience with this event.
kd2008....First, you are going to get through this experience, and be better for it. I can assure you, you'll be fine. You know how Bogleheads talk about how you can reasonably expect a few market crashes in your investing career? The same is true with private sector employment. Getting laid off is the employment equivalent of a market crash. You'll bounce back.

Second, the best advice....give yourself one week to depressurize, and mourne. You now have a new full-time job: Getting your next job. Spend no less than 40 hours weekly. You were laid off Tuesday. Today is Friday. Your week is up.

Third, your mindset needs to change. You do not have 6 months of unemployment benefits; you have 180 DAYS of unemployment benefits. There is a real psychological difference when you phrase it that way. That matters.

Fourth, cut out any unnecessary expense. And do it right now. Not next month. Not next week. Right now.

Fifth, although not required to step down in salary to retain UI benefits, consider taking a position that pays a little less if there is more upside potential in time, if you have not gotten any nibbles after 120 days (notice how I said 120 days and not 4 months?) of your concentrated efforts.

Stay focused, be disciplined, have structure, and maintain a positive attitude. These things will enable you to overcome any challenge. I am looking forward to your future post asking the Bogleheads for their advice when you receive your next job offer letter -- sometime in the next 180 days.
“If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.”

marcopolo
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by marcopolo » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:17 am

LawyersGunsAndMoney wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:30 am

4. Re: company paid COBRA: Keep in mind that involuntary loss of coverage is a qualifying event to enroll off-cycle on the state exchange OR on a spouses' private plan WITHIN 60 days. Accepting 6 months of COBRA will override the qualifying event and after 6 months (when it comes time for you to pay your COBRA premiums) electing to drop COBRA coverage doesn't count as qualifying - so you will likely have to bridge the gap between the end of the 6 month time period and the next ACA open enrollment - which in your case would probably be 3 months or so. I bring this up because when my wife was laid off her company offered to pay for 3 months of COBRA, and had we accepted all of that that she wouldn't have been eligible to be added to my insurance as a qualifying event bc 60 days would have passed.
I am not sure this is true. Take a look at the far right column in this table: https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/cobra-coverage/

The way i read that, the change in cost to the individual when the employer stops paying for it would be a qualifying event.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

kd2008
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by kd2008 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:58 am

marcopolo wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:17 am
LawyersGunsAndMoney wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:30 am

4. Re: company paid COBRA: Keep in mind that involuntary loss of coverage is a qualifying event to enroll off-cycle on the state exchange OR on a spouses' private plan WITHIN 60 days. Accepting 6 months of COBRA will override the qualifying event and after 6 months (when it comes time for you to pay your COBRA premiums) electing to drop COBRA coverage doesn't count as qualifying - so you will likely have to bridge the gap between the end of the 6 month time period and the next ACA open enrollment - which in your case would probably be 3 months or so. I bring this up because when my wife was laid off her company offered to pay for 3 months of COBRA, and had we accepted all of that that she wouldn't have been eligible to be added to my insurance as a qualifying event bc 60 days would have passed.
I am not sure this is true. Take a look at the far right column in this table: https://www.healthcare.gov/unemployed/cobra-coverage/

The way i read that, the change in cost to the individual when the employer stops paying for it would be a qualifying event.
Thank you for that link. Very useful.

PopArt
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by PopArt » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:22 am

You have prepared yourself well from a financial perspective to navigate this unfortunate situation. A couple of suggestions:

- Check with your employer if they are providing any outplacement services;
- Ask your Manager, his or her peers and their leaders to be references (the more that they are directly familiar with your experience, capabilities and skills, the better);
- Set up a LinkedIn account if you don't have one and tweak it on a regular basis so that it stays active for recruiters;
- Take time to think about what you want out of your next role, work environment, culture...research companies and industries that fit what you are looking for and that are growing;
- If there is a transition period where you are still working prior to your departure, stay as engaged and positive as you can given the circumstances and take the high road, I've seen too many times, colleagues completely torch their credibility, brand and contributions (that were built / established over a long period), over their last remaining weeks / months on the job;
- Take some time to decompress, clear your head, recharge your batteries. Most important, stay positive, believe in yourself and what you can bring to your next role.

Over the course of my career, I have had 2 "unplanned sabatticals"...one was my choice, the other was not. In both instances, I ended up in a much better place in terms of my career. I am a firm believer that "things happen for a reason"...it may take time for the reason to reveal itself, but know that it will and you will be fine.

Hoping that your next role exceeds your expectations and provides you with the challenge and growth that you are seeking!

Cheers,
PopArt
"Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” | Keith Haring

Lonestarz
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by Lonestarz » Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:49 pm

Financially you’re in a great spot. If you want to get back to work make that your full time job. The economy is good right now so find a spot before it isn’t.

If you fully invest your time into finding a new job, you will have less time to think about the emotional struggle. Tell yourself you can deal with the emotion once you have a job. Once you have a job you will have a little bit of thoughts but the stressful part will be over.

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rob
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by rob » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:10 pm

On the unemployment requirements; check what hoops you have to jump through. I had to register and attend some job search session.... otherwise they would cut you off at some point. For a professional it was old hat stuff but you just had to attend.
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

juliewongferra
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by juliewongferra » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:26 pm

kd2008 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:18 am
I got laid off on Tuesday. Our small satellite office of 4 people got shut down and everyone was let go. I am 36 and this is my first time experience with this event.

Financially I am ok. I have money in high yield savings accounts that amounts to 1 year worth of expenses. My retirement pile is about 25x current expenses - not accounting for healthcare premiums and expenses.

I am offered 18 weeks pay plus 2 weeks pto paid out. Also cobra will be paid for 6 months.

I still have 45 days to review sign and return the agreement.

I applied for unemployment.

My expenses were minimal (under 24K/yr). Without vacation and stuff, I would imagine it will be lower. I do anticipate about 5K in immigration related expenses. These will be new and an one time expense.

I have started applying for jobs. I have not tapped into my network yet. I have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I am anticipating that if I get a new job, it will not pay as before. I am anticipating a 8 to 10 month search.

Please advice on things I need to consider and plan for.

Thank you.
I am sorry to hear this, Just remember that you once were good enough to get this job...and now you are even BETTER, because you have the same credentials and also now the real expereince of doing this job! You will be fine, but that is not to say that there won't be struggles and worries and insecurity along the way. Be strong! I know you are.

cheers,
jwf

Anon64
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by Anon64 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:41 pm

Sorry to hear this news. I actually got laid off about 3 weeks ago. It stung but more experienced professionals recognize that lay offs are related to cost and not performance. Typically, the more expensive employees at each level get cut first. It also signals your company is in bad shape so it will be good for you to get out while they can still provide a package. A lot of good advice has been provided by other posters. I would agree that the most likely way to get your next job is through tapping into your network of friends/colleagues (friends from school, people you've met inside and outside of your company). I was really happy with how helpful so many people were for me (people I really didn't keep in touch with) and within 3 weeks, I had 2 higher paying job offers in the same general location. This is tough to do, but the most important thing I found is to be really positive about the layoff experience when talking to potential employers and let them know you see this as a great opportunity to try something new and exciting etc. (that shows maturity and that you will be a great future colleague to work with). Good luck!
Last edited by Anon64 on Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jalbert
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by jalbert » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:55 pm

Sorry to hear your news. I agree with others-- take a week vacation and go somewhere out of town. It does not need to be an expensive vacation, just go somewhere with some activities that occupy your mind and soul with something other than work and career.

With respect to COBRA, keep in mind that changing from one insurance plan to another resets the deductible and out of pocket max. This won't matter if your health care expenses are minimal to zero over the next 6 months, but it is not always a win to switch to a cheaper plan late in the year, and you won't know untlil 6 months from now. It is thus counterproductive to spend time on that decision now. You may have another job by then anyway. You certainly have the option to use COBRA until year end and switch to an ACA plan at regular open enrollment. In 5 months or so you can re-evaluate if a different option is preferred.

Good luck with your job search.
Last edited by jalbert on Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

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mrspock
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by mrspock » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:06 pm

kd2008 wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:18 am
I got laid off on Tuesday. Our small satellite office of 4 people got shut down and everyone was let go. I am 36 and this is my first time experience with this event.

Financially I am ok. I have money in high yield savings accounts that amounts to 1 year worth of expenses. My retirement pile is about 25x current expenses - not accounting for healthcare premiums and expenses.

I am offered 18 weeks pay plus 2 weeks pto paid out. Also cobra will be paid for 6 months.

I still have 45 days to review sign and return the agreement.

I applied for unemployment.

My expenses were minimal (under 24K/yr). Without vacation and stuff, I would imagine it will be lower. I do anticipate about 5K in immigration related expenses. These will be new and an one time expense.

I have started applying for jobs. I have not tapped into my network yet. I have a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. I am anticipating that if I get a new job, it will not pay as before. I am anticipating a 8 to 10 month search.

Please advice on things I need to consider and plan for.

Thank you.
Sorry to hear about your job, but as others have said, it’s also an exciting opportunity. Consider an exciting pivot to a company like SpaceX or Tesla (I don’t work for them, but I follow them), the money might be less, but you are in a position to make that trade off for a truely fulfilling job.

And don’t worry if you don’t have ever single thing they are looking for, the economy is hot, and these are fast growing companies who will take a chance on you, if you take a chance on them (e.g. relocation, stock comp w/ lower base etc).

FrankTheFlower
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by FrankTheFlower » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:45 pm

Bunch of great suggestions here, hope I'm not duplicating. (1) This is a good time to consider the difference between what you _want_ to do and what you have been or are trained to do. Never too late to pick up more education, and maybe this is a good time. (2) Depending where you live, there could be government sponsored career guidance available, and I have come across one that was really good. If so, get plugged in. (3) Depending on your life circumstance, family situation etc, it could be helpful to engage in some volunteer activity to find some fulfilment and not have all your emotional eggs in one basket (i.e. next interview). I know, these thoughts are very person-specific, apologies if they are not suitable for you. And good luck!

Y.A.Tittle
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by Y.A.Tittle » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:32 pm

They offered you a good severance package- enjoy it. You might compare your open market health insurance options before committing to COBRA.

Invest time in creating a great LinkedIn profile. Align your profile to your resume. LinkedIn is a widely used tool so flip the switch that says you are interested in being contacted by recruiters. Lots of job websites are useless, but Glassdoor and LinkedIn have the most credible openings.

I advise against taking an expensive vacation now. When you get an offer, tell them you need a couple weeks because you’re committed to a trip and take the vacation then.

kd2008
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by kd2008 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:14 am

Thank you for all the great advice and for sharing your experiences.

After the shock, I am just starting to access my emotions. They are raw. Surprisingly, I am not looking back and wondering if I could have done anything differently.

I do tense up about future "lack" of opportunities. I am trying to get used to the uncertainty.

Question: One of my past managers tried to hire me 4 years ago. It didn't go through as they didn't want to pay my ask of current salary plus 15%. He works in town. He knows there are 4 of us looking now. He did post job opening Friday. He has been in touch with my boss (who was laid off too) and tried to get her but she does not want the job as it would be a step down. Another laid off colleague contacted this past manager. This colleague has some immigration related difficulties that may delay his hiring or make it uncertain. I didn't jump in yet because of past experience. But have applied for the job. Could you guys help frame me the discussion when I call this past manager this coming week? This manager is known to say "you are hired if you can say yes for this salary of xxxx in an hour." So I want to prepared if I call him. Mostly likely, he may pass on hiring me. But still better to be prepared.

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welderwannabe
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by welderwannabe » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:19 am

This situation sucks, but you should be pleased with yourself that you were financially prepared for it. Having a year of expenses in savings was a smart play on your part and should reduce the stress on you once the emotions from being laid off fade.

Good luck!
I am not an investment professional, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

SC1959
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by SC1959 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:37 am

I'm sorry this happened to you. I can assure you that you are not alone. My one piece of advice is to make 30 phone calls a day. Reconnect with your network and you'll be surprised how productive it will be. And exercise too! You can do it!

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Top99%
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by Top99% » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:34 am

I offer condolences and congratulations at the same time for being laid off and for attaining your financial situation respectively. I think your finances will instill a lot of self-confidence when you start the interview process for your next job and that will serve you well. Given your financial situation I suggest rewarding yourself with a job that you will really enjoy Vs just settling for any job that will pay you what you want. Good luck, good hunting and let us know how things turn out.
Adapt or perish

kd2008
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by kd2008 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:36 am

Hello everyone,

I am glad to announce that I have been offered a job at a year old start up in the same city I live in. I have decided to accept it.

The pay cut will be about 25% (33% with the loss of 401k matching and equity payouts). But I will get the opportunity to be a part of dynamic team and learn a lot of new things. If I can take the PTO listed in the offer, that would be 1.5x what I had at the megacorp. Though with a start up I believe it will be unlikely.

I think with assets at 25x my expenses, it was universe's way of telling me to get off my butt.

Hopefully the severance will be paid out next week. Time to decide what to do with it.

Also any advice on surviving start up initial phase would be welcome.

Thank you for all your help and support.

gotester2000
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by gotester2000 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:03 am

Congratulations!!!

You have 2 options:-

1. Look for another high paying job.

2. Take a small vacation. Remove the anchoring bias - dont be stuck to your previous salary mentally - if current offer is reasonable for your profile, accept with an open mind. Enjoy your work and do what you are doing - save as much as you can without compromising on needs.

Invest the severance for long term.

kd2008
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by kd2008 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:48 am

You right about anchoring bias. I need to work on addressing it.

Higher paying job will most likely be outside my state. So it will come at cost.

Right now I am ok with the pay-PTO balance this job offers.

I am giving it a shot and seeing how it all works out.

michaeljc70
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Re: Laid off ...next steps

Post by michaeljc70 » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:59 am

You're in very good shape financially. If you are not a workaholic type A personality, I'd suggest taking some time off and enjoying it. You can be looking for work during this time. I just took 18 months off and will be starting a new job in 2 weeks. Not everyone appreciates the time off (some might even go crazy), but I really enjoyed it. You have no reason to stress given your financial situation. The only thing I would add is that if you are off too long (varies by field, employer), employers do start to question it.

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