Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

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HEDGEFUNDIE
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Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:33 pm

https://www.wsj.com/articles/even-a-boo ... 95?mod=mhp

Reading this article about the challenges of finding a new job when you are 55+ got me thinking. How many people are involuntarily retired long before 65? I’m asking about those who have made a career in typical business function roles at MegaCorps, not those in professional fields like law, medicine, etc...

What have you seen, and what strategies can those of us who are in our 30s take to avoid that fate?

KlangFool
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by KlangFool » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:46 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:33 pm
https://www.wsj.com/articles/even-a-boo ... 95?mod=mhp

Reading this article about the challenges of finding a new job when you are 55+ got me thinking. How many people are involuntarily retired long before 65? I’m asking about those who have made a career in typical business function roles at MegaCorps, not those in professional fields like law, medicine, etc...

What have you seen, and what strategies can those of us who are in our 30s take to avoid that fate?
HEDGEFUNDIE,

If you save 1 year of expense every year, you will be FI soon enough that this is not a problem. Both my older brother and older sister early retired at 49 years old. I could early retire at 49 years old too if I did not gamble on the Telecom stocks.

Make hay while the sun shines. Save enough hays that when it started to rain, it won't affect you anymore.

KlangFool

il0kin
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by il0kin » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:51 pm

I’m nowhere close to 55, but I think the general answer would be to never stop learning, don’t become complacent, provide more value to the company than you cost (and show it to superiors), become seen as a mentor and teacher of others and maintain a broad network of professional contacts and friends.

Saving a years expenses isn’t always realistic but it would be wise to be have a plan ready to hit eject by 50 if you had to. That’s my plan.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:42 pm

il0kin wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:51 pm
I’m nowhere close to 55, but I think the general answer would be to never stop learning, don’t become complacent, provide more value to the company than you cost (and show it to superiors), become seen as a mentor and teacher of others and maintain a broad network of professional contacts and friends.

Saving a years expenses isn’t always realistic but it would be wise to be have a plan ready to hit eject by 50 if you had to. That’s my plan.
This.

I worked in an industry for 35+ years where mass layoffs and companies going out of business were sometimes literally yearly events.

Those wanting a valuable and productive career need to put in the hard work required to become and stay valuable and productive. Requirements include becoming a life long learner, genuinely caring and being helpful to colleagues and your team, always operating with 100% honesty and integrity, and never stop striving to be better. Do this and most likely your success and career will take care of itself regardless of layoffs or company going broke.

And be smart with your money, pay your future first by investing a significant part of your earnings on a monthly basis so that at some point you will work because you want to work and not because you have no other choice.

MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:51 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:42 pm
il0kin wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:51 pm
I’m nowhere close to 55, but I think the general answer would be to never stop learning, don’t become complacent, provide more value to the company than you cost (and show it to superiors), become seen as a mentor and teacher of others and maintain a broad network of professional contacts and friends.

Saving a years expenses isn’t always realistic but it would be wise to be have a plan ready to hit eject by 50 if you had to. That’s my plan.
This.

I worked in an industry for 35+ years where mass layoffs and companies going out of business were sometimes literally yearly events.

Those wanting a valuable and productive career need to put in the hard work required to become and stay valuable and productive. Requirements include becoming a life long learner, genuinely caring and being helpful to colleagues and your team, always operating with 100% honesty and integrity, and never stop striving to be better. Do this and most likely your success and career will take care of itself regardless of layoffs or company going broke.

And be smart with your money, pay your future first by investing a significant part of your earnings on a monthly basis so that at some point you will work because you want to work and not because you have no other choice.
+1 Yes, you need both. Keep learning and staying valuable is offense, and saving is defense. Lacking the former, you will waste your life. Lacking the latter, you will be reckless. In this age of computers, it does not take long before becoming obsolete.

il0kin
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by il0kin » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:15 am

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:51 pm
jabberwockOG wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:42 pm
il0kin wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:51 pm
I’m nowhere close to 55, but I think the general answer would be to never stop learning, don’t become complacent, provide more value to the company than you cost (and show it to superiors), become seen as a mentor and teacher of others and maintain a broad network of professional contacts and friends.

Saving a years expenses isn’t always realistic but it would be wise to be have a plan ready to hit eject by 50 if you had to. That’s my plan.
This.

I worked in an industry for 35+ years where mass layoffs and companies going out of business were sometimes literally yearly events.

Those wanting a valuable and productive career need to put in the hard work required to become and stay valuable and productive. Requirements include becoming a life long learner, genuinely caring and being helpful to colleagues and your team, always operating with 100% honesty and integrity, and never stop striving to be better. Do this and most likely your success and career will take care of itself regardless of layoffs or company going broke.

And be smart with your money, pay your future first by investing a significant part of your earnings on a monthly basis so that at some point you will work because you want to work and not because you have no other choice.
+1 Yes, you need both. Keep learning and staying valuable is offense, and saving is defense. Lacking the former, you will waste your life. Lacking the latter, you will be reckless. In this age of computers, it does not take long before becoming obsolete.
I love the offense and defense analogy, I first read that in Millionaire Next Door, I think. A good coach (ourselves) always focuses on both.

We are truly our own most valuable asset. I always volunteer for new training/certifications and have leaned in to the programming world as a young person (I’m 29) because it is obviously the future. Many doors have opened for me just because I said “I’m not sure, but I’ll find a way figure it out!”

mouses
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by mouses » Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:26 am

I got laid off in my fifties. It's all well and good to talk about staying current, but in general in my field you won't even get an interview after a certain age. Save a bunch if money, and find something useful to do with the rest of your life, whether you get paid for it or not. Finding something intellectually challenging is difficult.

GmanJeff
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by GmanJeff » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:47 pm

The best scenario is arguably to be financially independent as early as possible (as distinct from actually retiring at that point). If employment goes away sooner than desired or anticipated, and another job is not desired or fails to materialize, retirement is not a catastrophe but instead is just a matter of changing gears earlier. While having a bigger portfolio is never a bad thing, once you achieve financial independence, continuing to work becomes elective rather than required, even if the election is made by someone else.

smitcat
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by smitcat » Sat Dec 22, 2018 8:56 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:33 pm
https://www.wsj.com/articles/even-a-boo ... 95?mod=mhp

Reading this article about the challenges of finding a new job when you are 55+ got me thinking. How many people are involuntarily retired long before 65? I’m asking about those who have made a career in typical business function roles at MegaCorps, not those in professional fields like law, medicine, etc...

What have you seen, and what strategies can those of us who are in our 30s take to avoid that fate?
We were both downsized twice in 3 different industries - after the first time we began a plan to start our own business.
At no time did we feel comfortable with a defensive approach so we went on offense.

Elysium
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by Elysium » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:14 am

Get self employed. Work for a non-profit. Do charity and volunteer work. Everyone has something to offer to others, and there will be some money to be made. You never know how successful it could become until you try it.

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corn18
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by corn18 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 9:26 am

il0kin wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:51 pm
maintain a broad network of professional contacts and friends.
If you don't have this, you may find it difficult to find a job later in your career. If you do, you get emails out of the blue asking if you are interested in this way cool job. The best time to look for a job is when you have one.

But, I have an opportunity to engineer my layoff next year at age 53. Very tempting. Change in control at the executive level is a watershed event and without any golden handcuffs, maybe it's time to start phase III of my life. Or take that way cool dream job I was offered through my network.
Don't do something, just stand there!

RollTide31457
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by RollTide31457 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 10:42 am

Goal should be to accumulate 10 years of living expenses in cash reserves.

OldBallCoach
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by OldBallCoach » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:38 am

I my line of work you have either been fired or getting ready to be fired..college football coaching has taught me one thing...ALWAYS have a bank of cash on hand to cushion the landing. Now having said that I do not think its reasonable in this day and age for anyone to get a job and expect to keep it for 30-40 years..maybe there are some but..so save while you can and do put that dry hay in the barn. And yes even learn about the Run Pass Option and communism..( inside joke)

nguy44
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by nguy44 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:42 am

I survived almost annual Megacorp layoffs in my 50s, and voluntary retired on my own terms, including a severance package, at 60. A few of my personal observations for those in their 30s", understanding that you mileage mar vary:

- Do not assume, despite the nice Megacorp words, that they have your personal best interests at heart. They are not looking out for you, only their bottom line. The instant they do not think you are contributing to that bottom line, or that your expense is best spend elsewhere, you will be gone.

- Take ownership of your financial fate, and assume that no one else is looking out for it. Leverage what you can from anything Megacorp offers financially.

- Set a goal to be financially independent by age 60. This does not mean you need to have Zuckerberg/Gates/Buffet money, but look at what you need to feel comfortable. That is going to take 2 steps: (a) maximize your income, and (b) minimize your expenses. The former may require spending more voluntary time at work to build foundations/relationships that can help advance your salary. The latter WILL require you to LBYM, to stop looking at what your peers have, and to be content with less, for a season. There is no "guarantee" you will achieve it. But even trying will put you in a better state.

- Always continually try to learn something that will improve your career - technical knowledge, business knowledge, etc., even at your own expense. I saw many in Megacorp not bother to learn something because "I only want to learn it on Megacorp's dime" - and were surprised to find out how far they had fallen behind.

- Build your network not just by making contacts, but by treat with respect everyone you work with. That includes those you do not see eye to eye on. Sometimes the one factor that might keep you from getting laid off is the perception that you can work with and get along with others, regardless of the situation.

- No matter how "bad you think you have been treated, never burn bridges. You never know if that "idiot" you decided to give a piece of your mind to will ne dup in a position in the future, at the same or a different Megacorp, that can influence whether or not you keep or can get a job.

- Everyone you work with, look at them as someone you can learn from. Even those you know or perceive do not have as much experience as you.

- Every six months, evaluate the work that you have done, and ask yourself why should Megacorp keep you employed. Base this on your RESULTS, not your EFFORTS. If you do not like the answer, figure out what you need to do to get better results.

- Make a effort to understand the Megacorp business and how you are (or can) contribute to it. The best analogy I can give is two bricklayers working side by side. One sees their job as laying bricks. The other sees their job as helping to build a magnificent structure.

- Get a mentor, someone at Megacorp or in the industry who (a) is older and more experienced, and (b) is not cynical, but carries an air of optimism about the future. If the mentor spends more time lamenting about how the "good old days" at Megacorp are gone, than focusing on the future, run and find another one.

- If you are married, or intend to get married, make sure you work on having a good marriage. The less stress you have from home, the better worker you will be.

- Stay fit! Or, if you are not, get fit! Your physical appearance in your 50s can make a difference. A friend of mine went on a job interview at 55 at a company with a lot of youth. On the way to the interview, he walked up 4 floors with his initial interviewer. When they reached the 4th floor, he was fine but the interviewer, at least 30 years younger than him, was out of breath. That made a huge impression and influenced him getting a job offer.

None of these are "guarantees", but can push the odds in your favor.

p14175
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by p14175 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:38 pm

I was forced to retire because of health problems when I was 52. I am 59 now. I fumbled around for a few years and then decided to re-invent myself. The local library was offering business classes for startups and entrepreneurs. That got me interested in starting my own business. With my background I decided to take up software development. I took computer classes at the local CC in programming, machine automation and computer graphics. I I started development 3 years ago. Then my health took a turn for the worse and I had to sign up for Obamacare for 2019. That pretty much put my business aspirations on hold. I can keep developing, but selling my product would raise our income to the point where I would lose my subsidy. We are that close to not getting any subsidy. Right now I need the health insurance more than I need to make money.

So, the lesson is is to keep your income as small as possible just in case you have to use government sponsored health insurance. I have 6 more years before I can get a Medicare discounted policy. There is a SS increase in 2019, 2.8%. That alone might put us over the limit.

stan1
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by stan1 » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:45 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:33 pm
What have you seen, and what strategies can those of us who are in our 30s take to avoid that fate?
- Keep your skills up to date. This can often easily be done by shifting jobs within the same company rather than becoming content to be the expert in one area.
- Manage your value proposition. If you are doing the same thing as someone who makes $50K less than you proactively look for a new job.
- Have a positive attitude that's visible to your boss and higher management
- Be willing to help others (earn their respect)
- Don't upset your boss with complaining or whining
- Do your best to look and act younger than you are. Agree with other poster, when the interviewer asks "stairs or elevator" say stairs!
Last edited by stan1 on Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 2751
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:48 pm

nguy44 wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:42 am
I survived almost annual Megacorp layoffs in my 50s, and voluntary retired on my own terms, including a severance package, at 60. A few of my personal observations for those in their 30s", understanding that you mileage mar vary:

- Do not assume, despite the nice Megacorp words, that they have your personal best interests at heart. They are not looking out for you, only their bottom line. The instant they do not think you are contributing to that bottom line, or that your expense is best spend elsewhere, you will be gone.

- Take ownership of your financial fate, and assume that no one else is looking out for it. Leverage what you can from anything Megacorp offers financially.

- Set a goal to be financially independent by age 60. This does not mean you need to have Zuckerberg/Gates/Buffet money, but look at what you need to feel comfortable. That is going to take 2 steps: (a) maximize your income, and (b) minimize your expenses. The former may require spending more voluntary time at work to build foundations/relationships that can help advance your salary. The latter WILL require you to LBYM, to stop looking at what your peers have, and to be content with less, for a season. There is no "guarantee" you will achieve it. But even trying will put you in a better state.

- Always continually try to learn something that will improve your career - technical knowledge, business knowledge, etc., even at your own expense. I saw many in Megacorp not bother to learn something because "I only want to learn it on Megacorp's dime" - and were surprised to find out how far they had fallen behind.

- Build your network not just by making contacts, but by treat with respect everyone you work with. That includes those you do not see eye to eye on. Sometimes the one factor that might keep you from getting laid off is the perception that you can work with and get along with others, regardless of the situation.

- No matter how "bad you think you have been treated, never burn bridges. You never know if that "idiot" you decided to give a piece of your mind to will ne dup in a position in the future, at the same or a different Megacorp, that can influence whether or not you keep or can get a job.

- Everyone you work with, look at them as someone you can learn from. Even those you know or perceive do not have as much experience as you.

- Every six months, evaluate the work that you have done, and ask yourself why should Megacorp keep you employed. Base this on your RESULTS, not your EFFORTS. If you do not like the answer, figure out what you need to do to get better results.

- Make a effort to understand the Megacorp business and how you are (or can) contribute to it. The best analogy I can give is two bricklayers working side by side. One sees their job as laying bricks. The other sees their job as helping to build a magnificent structure.

- Get a mentor, someone at Megacorp or in the industry who (a) is older and more experienced, and (b) is not cynical, but carries an air of optimism about the future. If the mentor spends more time lamenting about how the "good old days" at Megacorp are gone, than focusing on the future, run and find another one.

- If you are married, or intend to get married, make sure you work on having a good marriage. The less stress you have from home, the better worker you will be.

- Stay fit! Or, if you are not, get fit! Your physical appearance in your 50s can make a difference. A friend of mine went on a job interview at 55 at a company with a lot of youth. On the way to the interview, he walked up 4 floors with his initial interviewer. When they reached the 4th floor, he was fine but the interviewer, at least 30 years younger than him, was out of breath. That made a huge impression and influenced him getting a job offer.

None of these are "guarantees", but can push the odds in your favor.
Awesome list. Thanks nguy!

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:17 am

My husband found work at age 53, again at age 58. You need to be able to adapt to new position. Honestly since I married him, his skill was pretty outdated. Maybe it’s started with an outdated PhD too, stuff he learned was irrelevant, maybe that’s why they offered it to him. We were laughing about it recently. But key thing is he’s always looking very young, has full head of hair, and yes he wears sunscreen everyday, it’s called Oil of Olay. He exercises regularly, is very slim and fit. That’s about it and he consumes an enormous amount of vegetables every day, but not really a vegetarian.
Looking youthful certainly helped him finding job, regardless of his skills.

MJW
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by MJW » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:07 am

I'm in my mid-thirties and already concerned enough about being pigeon-holed in my field that I am looking to shift gears.

Financially, I can't get far enough away from zero fast enough.

rgs92
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by rgs92 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:16 am

Note: the comment section under the WSJ story is great. Very intelligent writers in there.

gotester2000
Posts: 618
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by gotester2000 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:47 am

Very few manage to survive a lifetime in MegaCorp. It is easy to say but highly difficult to keep yourself updated after a certain age as you have dual responsibility of family and work; whereas you could be easily replaced by young people who will work at half or one third of your salary. Two points are important:
1. Your survival is a greater factor of how easily you are approachable - are you a team person or an island in yourself. It matters more than technical skills later on. It is no surprise that people with networks in the company survive more layoffs. Go to point 2 if you cannot be the person in point 1, everybody cannot be.
2. Strive to be FI in 15 years time as layoffs will come sooner or later - no matter how hardworking or honest you are - remember connections matter more. You can work whatever you like later on.

Valuethinker
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:11 am

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:17 am
My husband found work at age 53, again at age 58. You need to be able to adapt to new position. Honestly since I married him, his skill was pretty outdated. Maybe it’s started with an outdated PhD too, stuff he learned was irrelevant, maybe that’s why they offered it to him. We were laughing about it recently. But key thing is he’s always looking very young, has full head of hair, and yes he wears sunscreen everyday, it’s called Oil of Olay. He exercises regularly, is very slim and fit. That’s about it and he consumes an enormous amount of vegetables every day, but not really a vegetarian.
Looking youthful certainly helped him finding job, regardless of his skills.
How you live your life has little impact on how you age in appearance terms. Other than staying out of the sun*.

Correction: it's fairly easy to screw up your genetic endowment. Become overweight, get type II diabetes (the reason for explosion of same is not fully understood-- it's not as simple as just what we eat), smoke, drink more than moderately.

Living in a sunny climate is also not good for the skin - look how weather-beaten your average 50+ year old Australian looks (or your average ruddy faced Brit in Spain).

However it's almost impossible to hold back the appearance of aging if your genes say you will look that way.

There's some evidence regular fasting will prolong your life - I would say that's the only serious scientific evidence I have seen in the last 30 years about successful ways to extend your lifespan (as opposed to all the ways that shorten them - particulate pollution from vehicle exhaust and coal fired power plants is the new frontier on this, particularly PM 2.5 micro (on nano) particles).

That, probably, and a vegan diet. Consumption of meat (especially red) & milk is associated with inflammation which is associated with aging.

* it's not as simple as we are Vitamin D deficient because of northern latitudes and indoor lifestyles (Scotland is all north of the Continental USA ex Alaska). The Scots have done a lot of research on this (for good reason) and it appears there is some "x" about direct sunlight. Which makes sense, because we evolved near the equator and our migration north and south is relatively recent in genetic terms. Also we are only c. 12k years out of the last Ice Age. So protecting your skin makes sense from a skin cancer and aging of skin perspective but not from an auto immune disease perspective.

Valuethinker
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:14 am

gotester2000 wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:47 am
Very few manage to survive a lifetime in MegaCorp. It is easy to say but highly difficult to keep yourself updated after a certain age as you have dual responsibility of family and work; whereas you could be easily replaced by young people who will work at half or one third of your salary. Two points are important:
1. Your survival is a greater factor of how easily you are approachable - are you a team person or an island in yourself. It matters more than technical skills later on. It is no surprise that people with networks in the company survive more layoffs. Go to point 2 if you cannot be the person in point 1, everybody cannot be.
This is incredibly true. When it comes time to chuck people off the deck, management protects its friends (until management itself gets chopped). It's not competence, or even how vital your role is (in most organizations, I suspect management has little idea who actually does the work, who are actually the vital cogs). It's whether you are (literally) on side or not.

2. Strive to be FI in 15 years time as layoffs will come sooner or later - no matter how hardworking or honest you are - remember connections matter more. You can work whatever you like later on.
That's true of every organization in every industry. Nothing is safe, now. The pace of technological and (the resulting) market change is too great. And "artificial intelligence" (machine learning etc.) has not even begun to really bite- yet.

Most of my career has been connected to financial services companies and I have seen that. But it is also true in "dull" slow-moving industries like utilities & higher education.

Valuethinker
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:18 am

nguy44 wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:42 am
I survived almost annual Megacorp layoffs in my 50s, and voluntary retired on my own terms, including a severance package, at 60. A few of my personal observations for those in their 30s", understanding that you mileage mar vary:

- Do not assume, despite the nice Megacorp words, that they have your personal best interests at heart. They are not looking out for you, only their bottom line. The instant they do not think you are contributing to that bottom line, or that your expense is best spend elsewhere, you will be gone.
I would add to this that the successful people in Megacorp are also looking out for number one. Management will not necessarily do what is best for Megacorp's stockholders, they will do what is best for them, personally. Not being short of ego they will convince themselves that their interests = Megacorp's interests, but that won't cause them to change their interests ;-).
- Take ownership of your financial fate, and assume that no one else is looking out for it. Leverage what you can from anything Megacorp offers financially.

- Set a goal to be financially independent by age 60. This does not mean you need to have Zuckerberg/Gates/Buffet money, but look at what you need to feel comfortable. That is going to take 2 steps: (a) maximize your income, and (b) minimize your expenses. The former may require spending more voluntary time at work to build foundations/relationships that can help advance your salary. The latter WILL require you to LBYM, to stop looking at what your peers have, and to be content with less, for a season. There is no "guarantee" you will achieve it. But even trying will put you in a better state.

- Always continually try to learn something that will improve your career - technical knowledge, business knowledge, etc., even at your own expense. I saw many in Megacorp not bother to learn something because "I only want to learn it on Megacorp's dime" - and were surprised to find out how far they had fallen behind.

- Build your network not just by making contacts, but by treat with respect everyone you work with. That includes those you do not see eye to eye on. Sometimes the one factor that might keep you from getting laid off is the perception that you can work with and get along with others, regardless of the situation.

- No matter how "bad you think you have been treated, never burn bridges. You never know if that "idiot" you decided to give a piece of your mind to will ne dup in a position in the future, at the same or a different Megacorp, that can influence whether or not you keep or can get a job.


- Everyone you work with, look at them as someone you can learn from. Even those you know or perceive do not have as much experience as you.

- Every six months, evaluate the work that you have done, and ask yourself why should Megacorp keep you employed. Base this on your RESULTS, not your EFFORTS. If you do not like the answer, figure out what you need to do to get better results.

- Make a effort to understand the Megacorp business and how you are (or can) contribute to it. The best analogy I can give is two bricklayers working side by side. One sees their job as laying bricks. The other sees their job as helping to build a magnificent structure.

- Get a mentor, someone at Megacorp or in the industry who (a) is older and more experienced, and (b) is not cynical, but carries an air of optimism about the future. If the mentor spends more time lamenting about how the "good old days" at Megacorp are gone, than focusing on the future, run and find another one.

- If you are married, or intend to get married, make sure you work on having a good marriage. The less stress you have from home, the better worker you will be.

- Stay fit! Or, if you are not, get fit! Your physical appearance in your 50s can make a difference. A friend of mine went on a job interview at 55 at a company with a lot of youth. On the way to the interview, he walked up 4 floors with his initial interviewer. When they reached the 4th floor, he was fine but the interviewer, at least 30 years younger than him, was out of breath. That made a huge impression and influenced him getting a job offer.

None of these are "guarantees", but can push the odds in your favor.
I think this is a pretty solid list. Highlighted a few bits that really rung true.

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Watty
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:45 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:33 pm
How many people are involuntarily retired long before 65? I’m asking about those who have made a career in typical business function roles at MegaCorps, not those in professional fields like law, medicine, etc...
I voluntarily retired out of a fairly large corporate IT department that had about 150 people. The company had gone through multiple mergers but has been around in one form or the other for well over 50 years.

I was 58 when I retired. The odd thing was that I was the first person to voluntarily retire out of the IT department so when I gave my notice they had to scramble to figure out what sort of going away lunch to have when someone retired.

Prior to my leaving there were periodic layoff and reorganizations which always impacted the older employees before they could retire. Some of the older employees did involuntarily retire after getting a severance package in a layoff.

In fairness part of why no one had retired out of that IT department is that prior to the 1970s or 1980s there were not really all that many people who worked with computers. When the hiring of computer staff increased most of the people were just out of college. The people that graduated from college in the 1970s and 1980's are just now reaching retirement age. This is part of how the youth culture of the computer field started to develop since before about 1990s there were few middle aged or older people who worked in technical jobs in IT.

Since I retired about 3.5 years ago at least two other people have voluntarly retired so time are changing.

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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:36 am

mouses wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 8:26 am
I got laid off in my fifties. It's all well and good to talk about staying current, but in general in my field you won't even get an interview after a certain age. Save a bunch if money, and find something useful to do with the rest of your life, whether you get paid for it or not. Finding something intellectually challenging is difficult.
Something I do know about IBM, and Mother Jones had a series about it in the US case-- but I do have confirming examples from UK & Canada.

A lot of my friends went to work for IBM in the early-mid 80s. Like Nortel/ BNR, it was a job for life, and it was technically first rate in terms of what you worked on (compiler design, for example).

They have all been good performers, or they would have been cut long ago-- all in the top 25% of performance appraisals at their level.

What MJ says, and this cross checks, is that IBM appeared to decide that to work with its clients, many of them "young" tech companies, they needed a younger workforce. Thus, systematically, people over 50 have been cut from the workforce. It's become a place with very few people over 50.

Once you are no longer the same age or younger than senior management, but 5-10 years older (or even older than that) then you are vulnerable in any company. They have succeeded young, they like to hire in their own image. Younger people are generally cheaper and viewed as more malleable into the corporate culture, and more biddable. Older people are seen as more cynical and resistant to change (this is not necessarily true nor fair).

Financial services my general experience was very few people survive over 50 for long. Look around, if you don't see many (or any) people older than yourself, then you are in a danger zone.

Technology of course, and FS, the odds are your company will be taken over or merged several times in your career. It may not even be around as a business 15 years from now (ask anyone who made their career in newspapers).

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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:14 am

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance).
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by THY4373 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:39 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Dec 22, 2018 3:48 pm

Awesome list. Thanks nguy!
+1 I agree with them all especially the one about staying fit which is a good thing to do for any number of reasons.

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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by BigoteGato » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:10 pm

When I look at people’s “value” as they age in my industry I notice almost a bimodal distribution. Many begin to lose value as they age and others (fewer) keep increasing their value to the organization. Looking closer, I see the former focusing on tech prowess, which is a tough game to play in ever changing fields with competition from new graduates. The others have expanded their focus to affect others, both internally by becoming effective managers or externally by bonding with clients. If your personality and skills allow it, aim to be the second type of employee. No guarantees but increased likelihood of longer career.

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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:59 pm

Your reputation is your most valuable asset for long-term employment. Do whatever it takes to protect that - always tell the truth, do your best, and help others. In some situations, that can take courage.

If you disagree with someone, do it respectfully - regardless of cost or schedule concerns. Management may not like what they hear, but you will always have their respect for sticking to your guns. Been there, done that. It works.

When my former MegaEmployer decided to close my plant, I transferred to another division within commuting distance. That didn't work out and I was looking for another job.

My old group had previously split into a new mid-sized company. I had established a very good reputation and they knew me well. When they heard I was looking to change employers, my old group basically told the manager "hire her" with no hesitation whatsoever. I'm now back at my old job and like what I do. (I also negotiated a pay raise...)
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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:09 pm

My sister has been involuntary retired many times in the last few years. She somehow managed to find many jobs in the last few years even at the ripe old age of 64. She doesn’t look young in particular but she did downsizing her position from director to just an ordinary senior accountant at about 30% less in pay. Plus she refuses to commute long distance so that limits her job situation. I think it has to do with location too. She lives in an area of perpetual low unemployment.

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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by bhsince87 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:40 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:59 pm
Your reputation is your most valuable asset for long-term employment. Do whatever it takes to protect that - always tell the truth, do your best, and help others.
This is critical. And it's actually one benefit older workers can have over younger ones.

I voluntarily retired/took a severance package just last week, at age 53.

I haven't even announced it outside of the company yet, and I've already had two job offers!
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams

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Re: Involuntary retirement - stories and strategies?

Post by mrmass » Sun Dec 23, 2018 3:15 pm

learn to golf and be good enough to play with the mucky mucks...

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