Concerned about getting laid off

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TLL24
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Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am

I’ve been with my company for about 12 years and for the past couple it has laid off a significant amount of people. I used to think I was safe because I frequently get good feedback, never had any negative reviews, have gotten many generous raises, and get asked to help with much more than my peers. However, with how they’ve been approaching the lay offs I’m now really concerned that my compensation might work against me and I could be next. They have laid off others that I would have considered as safe or safer than me, at least I thought so.

It’s a really big concern of mine because my wife and I have only had our current level of compensation (about $250K, of which $190K is mine) for about four years now and losing my job within the next couple of years vs five years or more down the road when we can save more is a huge difference. Our retirement savings is decent at about $300K combined and cash savings is about $50K. We have mortgage debt of $350K and auto of $19K. No other debt.

I’ve begun looking at other available jobs and even interviewed for one over about two months including taking time off to travel to their headquarters. The problem is I don’t that kind of time to commit to that lengthy if an interview process multiple times per year, but I know for the type of job I want that will likely be required.

I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions and am more so looking for advice from others than have been laid off or successfully searched for a new job while still employed. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.

tibbitts
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by tibbitts » Wed May 15, 2019 7:25 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
I’ve been with my company for about 12 years and for the past couple it has laid off a significant amount of people. I used to think I was safe because I frequently get good feedback, never had any negative reviews, have gotten many generous raises, and get asked to help with much more than my peers. However, with how they’ve been approaching the lay offs I’m now really concerned that my compensation might work against me and I could be next. They have laid off others that I would have considered as safe or safer than me, at least I thought so.

It’s a really big concern of mine because my wife and I have only had our current level of compensation (about $250K, of which $190K is mine) for about four years now and losing my job within the next couple of years vs five years or more down the road when we can save more is a huge difference. Our retirement savings is decent at about $300K combined and cash savings is about $50K. We have mortgage debt of $350K and auto of $19K. No other debt.

I’ve begun looking at other available jobs and even interviewed for one over about two months including taking time off to travel to their headquarters. The problem is I don’t that kind of time to commit to that lengthy if an interview process multiple times per year, but I know for the type of job I want that will likely be required.

I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions and am more so looking for advice from others than have been laid off or successfully searched for a new job while still employed. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
That does seem to be a problem: employers usually want you to be employed while you're looking for a job, but also want you available for interviews. It's almost as if they want their job to be the only one you'll consider and it's a test to see how much you'll sacrifice to get it.

Is your salary typical for your job? Except on Bogleheads, that's an extraordinarily high salary - it's higher than the highest salary in my organization.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed May 15, 2019 7:25 am

You have little way to impact if you get laid off or not. Applying logic to the process would work in some companies, not in others. Sometimes it's the big dollar people, sometimes it's the least tenure people, sometimes it's random. I've had lists handed to me with names and no ability to influence who to lay off.

If you live in fear of being laid off, then you're in the wrong job. Do whatever it takes to find new employment. Living in fear is no way to live.

I had a job once with a husband and wife as owners of a company doing a billion a year in sales. They were not only unpredictable, but ill-mannered, unprofessional, etc. I did great work and had the best division in the company. People lived in fear of getting on their wrong side and getting fired. I basically didn't care - if they wanted to fire me, it was their loss. In the meantime, I made a good living for myself and them.

After 4 years they let the president go, and I was next. I considered it a great success that I was identified with the president, who had run the company to maximize the bottom line and customer experience, not the goals of the owners. When I got let go, they said "you can leave now or stay the week, whatever you wish". Is stayed the week, thanked my employees, shredded my papers, and then spent a few months making them live up to my severance agreement.
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TLL24
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am

tibbitts wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:25 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
I’ve been with my company for about 12 years and for the past couple it has laid off a significant amount of people. I used to think I was safe because I frequently get good feedback, never had any negative reviews, have gotten many generous raises, and get asked to help with much more than my peers. However, with how they’ve been approaching the lay offs I’m now really concerned that my compensation might work against me and I could be next. They have laid off others that I would have considered as safe or safer than me, at least I thought so.

It’s a really big concern of mine because my wife and I have only had our current level of compensation (about $250K, of which $190K is mine) for about four years now and losing my job within the next couple of years vs five years or more down the road when we can save more is a huge difference. Our retirement savings is decent at about $300K combined and cash savings is about $50K. We have mortgage debt of $350K and auto of $19K. No other debt.

I’ve begun looking at other available jobs and even interviewed for one over about two months including taking time off to travel to their headquarters. The problem is I don’t that kind of time to commit to that lengthy if an interview process multiple times per year, but I know for the type of job I want that will likely be required.

I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions and am more so looking for advice from others than have been laid off or successfully searched for a new job while still employed. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.
That does seem to be a problem: employers usually want you to be employed while you're looking for a job, but also want you available for interviews. It's almost as if they want their job to be the only one you'll consider and it's a test to see how much you'll sacrifice to get it.

Is your salary typical for your job? Except on Bogleheads, that's an extraordinarily high salary - it's higher than the highest salary in my organization.
My salary is likely about $30K to $40K higher than most pay for a similar role. I do quite a bit more outside of the job description for my current employer so that’s part of the reason why.

Carl53
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Carl53 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am

I would suggest that you tighten your belt and boost your savings. I survived several decades of major layoffs, so it is not a foregone conclusion that you will lose your position. During one of the first layoff rounds I did some interviewing including one cross country visit. I got an offer minimally higher than what I made. Glad I turned it down. I just tried to make myself indispensable. It worked out well, although sometimes I wished I was closer to retirement when they came out with some of those generous severance packages and none was available when I retired.

JoeRetire
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by JoeRetire » Wed May 15, 2019 7:43 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
I’ve begun looking at other available jobs and even interviewed for one over about two months including taking time off to travel to their headquarters. The problem is I don’t that kind of time to commit to that lengthy if an interview process multiple times per year, but I know for the type of job I want that will likely be required.
We all need to make the time for important things. You need to decide how important this is for you.

I never found it hard to make the time. I always kept my resume up to date. And I was always able to shift things around to make the time for interviews as necessary. I was always able to convince potential employers to conduct both phone and in-person interviews either early in the morning, or after work hours, or during lunch. I only occasionally needed to "call in sick" to work for an interview.

While I always tried hard to keep an eye on the job situation, and was mostly able to avoid being laid off, I did get caught twice.

The first time, I had been actively interviewing anyway. I accepted a new job 2 weeks after being laid off and pocketed a lot of severance pay.

The second time I wasn't quite so lucky. I thought I was safe, but got caught in the 6th round of layoffs at my startup company employer. It took me 10 full weeks to find my next job - right at the end of my severance pay period.

If you get laid off, file for unemployment benefits immediately. Network like crazy. Don't be afraid to tell everyone that you are looking for a job. Make finding your next job your new full-time job - spend at least 6 hours per day on it every day.

But if you feel strongly that a layoff is coming, and it's important to you, then find the time to commit now.

Chadnudj
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Chadnudj » Wed May 15, 2019 7:55 am

Carl53 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am
I would suggest that you tighten your belt and boost your savings. I survived several decades of major layoffs, so it is not a foregone conclusion that you will lose your position. During one of the first layoff rounds I did some interviewing including one cross country visit. I got an offer minimally higher than what I made. Glad I turned it down. I just tried to make myself indispensable. It worked out well, although sometimes I wished I was closer to retirement when they came out with some of those generous severance packages and none was available when I retired.
This is pretty good advice. I'd also consider:
- Lock in a home equity line of credit now, and/or consider refinancing your mortgage to reduce your monthly cost (particularly if this would also reduce your mortgage interest rate)
- Start networking
- Consider cutting your/your wife's retirement savings and use the extra to boost your emergency/cash savings up to a higher level (one year of expenses, maybe more)
- I wouldn't pay off the car loan since that would cut down your emergency cash savings, but figure out ways to get your monthly cash flow "nut" down as much as possible starting with your biggest monthly expenses (cut cable, find a cheaper phone plan, adjust the thermostat, etc.)

Topic Author
TLL24
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 8:02 am

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:55 am
Carl53 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:33 am
I would suggest that you tighten your belt and boost your savings. I survived several decades of major layoffs, so it is not a foregone conclusion that you will lose your position. During one of the first layoff rounds I did some interviewing including one cross country visit. I got an offer minimally higher than what I made. Glad I turned it down. I just tried to make myself indispensable. It worked out well, although sometimes I wished I was closer to retirement when they came out with some of those generous severance packages and none was available when I retired.
This is pretty good advice. I'd also consider:
- Lock in a home equity line of credit now, and/or consider refinancing your mortgage to reduce your monthly cost (particularly if this would also reduce your mortgage interest rate)
- Start networking
- Consider cutting your/your wife's retirement savings and use the extra to boost your emergency/cash savings up to a higher level (one year of expenses, maybe more)
- I wouldn't pay off the car loan since that would cut down your emergency cash savings, but figure out ways to get your monthly cash flow "nut" down as much as possible starting with your biggest monthly expenses (cut cable, find a cheaper phone plan, adjust the thermostat, etc.)

Adjusting retirement contributions is an interesting idea. I’ll take a look at that. I don’t think it would change our tax burden too much based on our brackets now.

As for the mortgage, we’re only 2 years into a 30 year fixed at 3.75%.

Thank you all for the responses so far. This has been really helpful!

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FlyAF
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by FlyAF » Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am

Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.

Topic Author
TLL24
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 8:31 am

FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am
Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.
I’m not following this comment. If I’m reading this correctly, anyone that buys a house or takes on any debt should have the value of the debt saved in cash already?

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FlyAF
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by FlyAF » Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:31 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am
Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.
I’m not following this comment. If I’m reading this correctly, anyone that buys a house or takes on any debt should have the value of the debt saved in cash already?
More a comment that OP makes 250k and has only managed to save 300k. Not a good combo when your job is shaky IMO. I'm betting there is a lot of fat to trim and I'd be all over that ASAP, like others have alluded to.

Chadnudj
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Chadnudj » Wed May 15, 2019 8:52 am

FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:31 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am
Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.
I’m not following this comment. If I’m reading this correctly, anyone that buys a house or takes on any debt should have the value of the debt saved in cash already?
More a comment that OP makes 250k and has only managed to save 300k.
You don't know that.

First, OP and his wife have saved $331k ($300k plus $50k in cash emergency savings, minus $19k car loan).

Second, OP has not accounted for his house equity (and, arguably, the value of his car). Assuming he put down 20% on a house with a remaining $350k mortgage, that means their house was $437.5k, meaning they saved up an additional $87.5k -- so roughly $420k in terms of net worth. Having nearly double your current annual income in net worth in your mid/early 30s (assuming that's the age of OP, who has been working 12 years) is pretty damn good.

Third, OP and his wife likely did not make $250k that whole time. So saving up that much is also more impressive if their income was significantly less than that for most of the past 12 years.

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FlyAF
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by FlyAF » Wed May 15, 2019 8:56 am

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:52 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:31 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am
Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.
I’m not following this comment. If I’m reading this correctly, anyone that buys a house or takes on any debt should have the value of the debt saved in cash already?
More a comment that OP makes 250k and has only managed to save 300k.
You don't know that.

First, OP and his wife have saved $331k ($300k plus $50k in cash emergency savings, minus $19k car loan).

Second, OP has not accounted for his house equity (and, arguably, the value of his car). Assuming he put down 20% on a house with a remaining $350k mortgage, that means their house was $437.5k, meaning they saved up an additional $87.5k -- so roughly $420k in terms of net worth. Having nearly double your current annual income in net worth in your mid/early 30s (assuming that's the age of OP, who has been working 12 years) is pretty damn good.

Third, OP and his wife likely did not make $250k that whole time. So saving up that much is also more impressive if their income was significantly less than that for most of the past 12 years.
Cool. A layoff should be no problem then.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Sandtrap » Wed May 15, 2019 9:04 am

A story.

As an aside: In my earlier working years, I decided to take the stress of worrying about being laid off (or fired) out of my life. Instead of empowering a company or personnel department to decide whether I had a paycheck, I empowered myself. How? By starting my own company (s). I figured if anyone was going to lay me off or fire me, it would be myself. From that point until I retired, I have resisted firing myself many times, and have never been laid off. :shock:

A thought.
Another path.
Another option.
j :happy

HomeStretch
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by HomeStretch » Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 am

Good job on updating your resume, testing the job market and freshening your interview skills.

Good advice from other posters. Really tighten your belt and reduce retirement savings if necessary to get your emergency fund up to 1 year then payoff the car loan. In case of unexpected lay-off, having a financial cushion and low expenses is a huge financial and psychological advantage.

Be prepared for a lay-off by doing the best job you can, getting your finances in order and testing the job market. But don’t let the possibility of lay-off overly stress you.

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lthenderson
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 15, 2019 9:14 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
looking for advice from others than have been laid off or successfully searched for a new job while still employed.
I've been laid off twice (once was a complete surprise, the other expected) and found other jobs while gainfully employed once. First, my philosophy has always been to keep my options open which means I always keep my resume up to date and I keep my eye open for that dream job that might appear. Like another posted above, there often times isn't any rational to how people get laid off from a job. If you feel like it could be a possibility, increase your emergency fund. After the first layoff which was expected since it was the sixth round of layoffs in about four years (tech bubble), I learned how fast money can go out when nothing is coming in and I have always kept a years worth of expenses in my emergency fund.

The time I was laid off and it was a complete surprise to me, I felt like what you described above. I was valued in the company, always had stellar reviews and got generous pay raises. But a new president came in, decided to shake things up and reorganize and I found myself carrying a box to the car. Other than the initial shock, it was pretty painless because I had a hefty emergency fund, an updated resume and a low unemployment rate at the time. I had people offering me jobs in less than a week.

When searching for a new job while gainfully employed, I did a lot of phone interviews too. When a visit was required, I tried to schedule them on Fridays which I could explain off as a long weekend versus suddenly in the middle of the week. The key part is explaining to the potential employer why you are looking to switch jobs. You don't want to say you are unhappy or worried about getting laid off, etc. I usually try to come up with a positive like wanting to be closer to family, looking for a more challenging position, etc.

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TLL24
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 9:21 am

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:52 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:31 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am
Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.
I’m not following this comment. If I’m reading this correctly, anyone that buys a house or takes on any debt should have the value of the debt saved in cash already?
More a comment that OP makes 250k and has only managed to save 300k.
You don't know that.

First, OP and his wife have saved $331k ($300k plus $50k in cash emergency savings, minus $19k car loan).

Second, OP has not accounted for his house equity (and, arguably, the value of his car). Assuming he put down 20% on a house with a remaining $350k mortgage, that means their house was $437.5k, meaning they saved up an additional $87.5k -- so roughly $420k in terms of net worth. Having nearly double your current annual income in net worth in your mid/early 30s (assuming that's the age of OP, who has been working 12 years) is pretty damn good.

Third, OP and his wife likely did not make $250k that whole time. So saving up that much is also more impressive if their income was significantly less than that for most of the past 12 years.

You’re both correct.

Trimming fat is a priority, there is some.

We’re both 33. I also have about $70K of vested stock and $100K unvested, a third vesting each year. Forgot to mention that.

I’m proud of where we are. The lay off concern is more concerning due to the timing. Maybe even three years from now I wouldn’t be as worried.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 15, 2019 9:23 am

Get a HELOC.
Shore up your emergency fund to at least 1 year's worth of spending.
If you are laid off, go immediately to the unemployment office and file.
If you're given 2 weeks, use that time ONLY to look for a job, collect your stuff and files. This is not the time to be a loyal servant and finish up projects or generate reports. If they really need projects finished or reports generated, they can reconsider and keep you on for another 6 months......or pay you a bonus to complete the work.

Can your wife find a better job? If she can, and you become unemployed, that gives you more of a cushion.
Last edited by Jack FFR1846 on Wed May 15, 2019 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

tampaite
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by tampaite » Wed May 15, 2019 9:23 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
current level of compensation (about $250K, of which $190K is mine)

Our retirement savings is decent at about $300K combined and cash savings is about $50K. We have mortgage debt of $350K and auto of $19K. No other debt.

I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions
No specific questions but still concerned?

How much of the $250k are you saving after expesnes and returement contribution?

Prioritize paying down home and auto ASAP and if that's taken care off and given,you have no debt atleast you'll manage to survive on spouse's 60k salary.

Good luck.

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FlyAF
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by FlyAF » Wed May 15, 2019 9:27 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:21 am
Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:52 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:35 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:31 am
FlyAF wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 8:15 am
Your debts are more than you have saved and you make a TON of money. I'd be worried about that no matter how stable my job was.
I’m not following this comment. If I’m reading this correctly, anyone that buys a house or takes on any debt should have the value of the debt saved in cash already?
More a comment that OP makes 250k and has only managed to save 300k.
You don't know that.

First, OP and his wife have saved $331k ($300k plus $50k in cash emergency savings, minus $19k car loan).

Second, OP has not accounted for his house equity (and, arguably, the value of his car). Assuming he put down 20% on a house with a remaining $350k mortgage, that means their house was $437.5k, meaning they saved up an additional $87.5k -- so roughly $420k in terms of net worth. Having nearly double your current annual income in net worth in your mid/early 30s (assuming that's the age of OP, who has been working 12 years) is pretty damn good.

Third, OP and his wife likely did not make $250k that whole time. So saving up that much is also more impressive if their income was significantly less than that for most of the past 12 years.

You’re both correct.

Trimming fat is a priority, there is some.

We’re both 33. I also have about $70K of vested stock and $100K unvested, a third vesting each year. Forgot to mention that.

I’m proud of where we are. The lay off concern is more concerning due to the timing. Maybe even three years from now I wouldn’t be as worried.
It's never a good time to get laid off, but it's always a great time to trim fat and streamline your finances. Doing so puts you in a much better position when/if it happens, even if you survive this round.

I got pinched during the great recession. Fortunately I saw it coming about a year out and used that time to really get my house in order. When it came around to it, it wasn't even a big deal to weather the storm at all.

I feel like it's going to happen to me again, but this time I'd welcome it.

HomeStretch
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by HomeStretch » Wed May 15, 2019 9:51 am

You mentioned vested stock... might be a good time to reduce risk by selling employer stock and moving proceeds into a total stock market fund.

Do a benefits review. Get your doctor and dental appts done. If you have only employer life insurance policies, consider obtaining your/spouse term life policies if you don’t have them already. Etc.

Chadnudj
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Chadnudj » Wed May 15, 2019 10:52 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:23 am
If you're given 2 weeks, use that time ONLY to look for a job, collect your stuff and files. This is not the time to be a loyal servant and finish up projects or generate reports. If they really need projects finished or reports generated, they can reconsider and keep you on for another 6 months......or pay you a bonus to complete the work.
This brings up another good point -- to the extent this applies to your career, start retaining copies of relevant examples of your written work/documenting all your accomplishments (i.e. know how much sales have gone up under your tenure to the most recently completed quarter, etc.). As a lawyer, it helps me to have a collection of writing samples that I worked on -- easier to collect those when you have access to your work's file systems.

(Note: I'm not saying collect confidential/proprietary/privileged materials....I'm saying collect samples that you could share or otherwise put in a shareable and non-proprietary format to potential employers)

Chadnudj
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Chadnudj » Wed May 15, 2019 10:54 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:51 am
You mentioned vested stock... might be a good time to reduce risk by selling employer stock and moving proceeds into a total stock market fund.

Do a benefits review. Get your doctor and dental appts done. If you have only employer life insurance policies, consider obtaining your/spouse term life policies if you don’t have them already. Etc.
This is also key -- understand how your wife's paycheck would change if you had to go on her employer's health plan for a time (or, if she's been on yours, how her take home pay would change if you both had to shift to hers for a time).

The more you can forecast/understand what would happen to take home pay, etc. in the event of a layoff, the better prepared you'll be.

Topic Author
TLL24
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Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 10:55 am

HomeStretch wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:51 am
You mentioned vested stock... might be a good time to reduce risk by selling employer stock and moving proceeds into a total stock market fund.

Do a benefits review. Get your doctor and dental appts done. If you have only employer life insurance policies, consider obtaining your/spouse term life policies if you don’t have them already. Etc.

I’ve thought about the stock piece quite a bit. I think you’re right, that is likely one of our next moves. I’d be more confident a market fund will outperform.

Topic Author
TLL24
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Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 10:59 am

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 10:54 am
HomeStretch wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:51 am
You mentioned vested stock... might be a good time to reduce risk by selling employer stock and moving proceeds into a total stock market fund.

Do a benefits review. Get your doctor and dental appts done. If you have only employer life insurance policies, consider obtaining your/spouse term life policies if you don’t have them already. Etc.
This is also key -- understand how your wife's paycheck would change if you had to go on her employer's health plan for a time (or, if she's been on yours, how her take home pay would change if you both had to shift to hers for a time).

The more you can forecast/understand what would happen to take home pay, etc. in the event of a layoff, the better prepared you'll be.
Good point. We have an annual budget, but some cash flow forecasting of just her income and our expenses would be smart to have. Good thing I enjoy that sort of task.

Topic Author
TLL24
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am

tampaite wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:23 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
current level of compensation (about $250K, of which $190K is mine)

Our retirement savings is decent at about $300K combined and cash savings is about $50K. We have mortgage debt of $350K and auto of $19K. No other debt.

I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions
No specific questions but still concerned?

How much of the $250k are you saving after expesnes and returement contribution?

Prioritize paying down home and auto ASAP and if that's taken care off and given,you have no debt atleast you'll manage to survive on spouse's 60k salary.

Good luck.

If I pay down debt faster that cuts into cash though and I feel like it would put us in a worse position if I get laid off.

We mostly max out retirement saving, HSA, and have a high deductible health plan.

Net income is about $150K.

About $40K goes to the house (mortgage, PT, HOI and whatever else maintenance wise)

$16K to auto (loan, maintenance, fuel, etc)

$10K to all utilities/subscriptions. If we cut “extra” like cable and lawn services this could be about $6K.

We spend $2,000 to $3,000 per month on everything else. Food and travel being the largest expenses (wife’s family lives in another state).

We target saving $50K to $60K cash per year. We had successfully saved about $45K to $50K the last few years, using about 2/3’s of it on a down payment and keeping the rest for cash.

Chadnudj
Posts: 766
Joined: Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:22 am

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Chadnudj » Wed May 15, 2019 11:33 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am
If I pay down debt faster that cuts into cash though and I feel like it would put us in a worse position if I get laid off.

We mostly max out retirement saving, HSA, and have a high deductible health plan.

Net income is about $150K.

About $40K goes to the house (mortgage, PT, HOI and whatever else maintenance wise)

$16K to auto (loan, maintenance, fuel, etc)

$10K to all utilities/subscriptions. If we cut “extra” like cable and lawn services this could be about $6K.

We spend $2,000 to $3,000 per month on everything else. Food and travel being the largest expenses (wife’s family lives in another state).

We target saving $50K to $60K cash per year. We had successfully saved about $45K to $50K the last few years, using about 2/3’s of it on a down payment and keeping the rest for cash.
This looks pretty good, but obviously chop what you can to prepare for a potential lay off/until you have a 1 year emergency fund.

Looking there, I'd consider reducing the HSA contributions (many here use HSAs as an additional savings vehicle for retirement savings/to cover retirement healthcare, but they're a luxury) and maybe retirement contributions (make sure you're still getting full match though) to help get up the emergency fund, in addition to other cuts (subscriptions, etc. is one, and the travel is another).

And I agree -- don't pay down the car debt with your cash savings (you need the emergency fund more in your scenario). Get the emergency fund up to a full year expenses, and THEN eliminate the car debt, and THEN go back to maxing out your retirement/HSAs, etc.

tampaite
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by tampaite » Wed May 15, 2019 12:02 pm

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am

If I pay down debt faster that cuts into cash though and I feel like it would put us in a worse position if I get laid off.

About $40K goes to the house
$16K to auto
$10K to all utilities/subscriptions. If we cut “extra” like cable and lawn services this could be about $6K.
Keep the $50K cash that you have saved but paydown everything else since you have a job so the 40k, 16k and 6k would be eliminated sooner than later.

bayview
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Location: WNC

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by bayview » Wed May 15, 2019 12:49 pm

^^^ Agreed on your first point. Unless you can pay off a mortgage with little impact on your savings, this would be a terrible time to pay extra. Pay off: yes; pay down but not off; no.

Hoard your savings.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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djpeteski
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by djpeteski » Wed May 15, 2019 12:50 pm

The good news is that you seem to be a valuable worker. That is going to carry the day. You will be able to find work quickly.

What do the layoffs look like? Are people getting severance?

The bad is you carry consumer debt. With your income having a 19k car loan is silly. If you felt secure in your job, this should be eliminated ASAP.

With the economy humming, as it is now, the company is in trouble. Yes you are in danger of losing your job because most healthy companies are doing very well right now. So your fear is founded.

If i was in your situation I would tighten the belt and get on a strict written budget. My goal would be to save 5k per month at your income level. If, after about 6 months, you still have your job I would then pay off the car. I would then reevaluate to see the company prognosis. Do you still feel unsafe? Keep saving until I have a year worth of expenses built up.

Topic Author
TLL24
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 1:08 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 12:50 pm
The good news is that you seem to be a valuable worker. That is going to carry the day. You will be able to find work quickly.

What do the layoffs look like? Are people getting severance?

The bad is you carry consumer debt. With your income having a 19k car loan is silly. If you felt secure in your job, this should be eliminated ASAP.

With the economy humming, as it is now, the company is in trouble. Yes you are in danger of losing your job because most healthy companies are doing very well right now. So your fear is founded.

If i was in your situation I would tighten the belt and get on a strict written budget. My goal would be to save 5k per month at your income level. If, after about 6 months, you still have your job I would then pay off the car. I would then reevaluate to see the company prognosis. Do you still feel unsafe? Keep saving until I have a year worth of expenses built up.

The layoffs are at all levels and the severance is really bad (4 to 12 weeks). I think I would be at the 12 week end due to my tenure.

I’m curious why you think paying off the car loan is important? It’s a very low interest rate and over the life of the loan interest is only costing about $2,300.

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djpeteski
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by djpeteski » Wed May 15, 2019 1:43 pm

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:08 pm
The layoffs are at all levels and the severance is really bad (4 to 12 weeks). I think I would be at the 12 week end due to my tenure.

I’m curious why you think paying off the car loan is important? It’s a very low interest rate and over the life of the loan interest is only costing about $2,300.
For just this situation. You do not know what your income is tomorrow. You are playing the arbitrage game for just a couple of hundred dollars (or less) assuming the car loan rate is less than your savings account rate. You would have much more peace of mind, in this situation, if you had no consumer debt.

You are far better off freezing your credit and not having any debt or borrowing again.

Chadnudj
Posts: 766
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Chadnudj » Wed May 15, 2019 2:43 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:43 pm
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:08 pm
The layoffs are at all levels and the severance is really bad (4 to 12 weeks). I think I would be at the 12 week end due to my tenure.

I’m curious why you think paying off the car loan is important? It’s a very low interest rate and over the life of the loan interest is only costing about $2,300.
For just this situation. You do not know what your income is tomorrow. You are playing the arbitrage game for just a couple of hundred dollars (or less) assuming the car loan rate is less than your savings account rate. You would have much more peace of mind, in this situation, if you had no consumer debt.

You are far better off freezing your credit and not having any debt or borrowing again.
I completely disagree. The past is past, and in the present the OP's best strategy is to maximize the number of months' expenses he/his spouse have saved in cash as a primary matter (by cutting discretionary spending and/or diverting current savings priorities such as HSA/retirement towards emergency savings), and then (and only then) seek to drastically reduce his cash flow obligations by paying down debt (like the car loan).

Paying off the car loan now will cost him $19k of his emergency savings. By OP's rough numbers, his monthly expenses (including that car payment) are $8500 a month ($102k a year). That $19k represents a little more than 2 months of total expenses.

Sure, assuming the car payment is $500 a month, that would reduce his monthly expenses to $8k. But now he has $31k in his emergency fund -- roughly just less than 4 months of their current expenses. $50k, on the other hand, pays for almost 6 months of expenses at $8500 a month.

If I'm facing a layoff period where I'll need to find a job, I want as long a runway (in terms of months expenses saved) as possible to float me while I look for a new job/the right new job.

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FlyAF
Posts: 346
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by FlyAF » Wed May 15, 2019 3:08 pm

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 2:43 pm
djpeteski wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:43 pm
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:08 pm
The layoffs are at all levels and the severance is really bad (4 to 12 weeks). I think I would be at the 12 week end due to my tenure.

I’m curious why you think paying off the car loan is important? It’s a very low interest rate and over the life of the loan interest is only costing about $2,300.
For just this situation. You do not know what your income is tomorrow. You are playing the arbitrage game for just a couple of hundred dollars (or less) assuming the car loan rate is less than your savings account rate. You would have much more peace of mind, in this situation, if you had no consumer debt.

You are far better off freezing your credit and not having any debt or borrowing again.
I completely disagree. The past is past, and in the present the OP's best strategy is to maximize the number of months' expenses he/his spouse have saved in cash as a primary matter (by cutting discretionary spending and/or diverting current savings priorities such as HSA/retirement towards emergency savings), and then (and only then) seek to drastically reduce his cash flow obligations by paying down debt (like the car loan).

Paying off the car loan now will cost him $19k of his emergency savings. By OP's rough numbers, his monthly expenses (including that car payment) are $8500 a month ($102k a year). That $19k represents a little more than 2 months of total expenses.

Sure, assuming the car payment is $500 a month, that would reduce his monthly expenses to $8k. But now he has $31k in his emergency fund -- roughly just less than 4 months of their current expenses. $50k, on the other hand, pays for almost 6 months of expenses at $8500 a month.

If I'm facing a layoff period where I'll need to find a job, I want as long a runway (in terms of months expenses saved) as possible to float me while I look for a new job/the right new job.
Same. Last thing I'd do is early pay a car loan at a low rate. Stash every cent that you can and with the wife's income, you can make it quite a while. Worry about the car after you have a job lined up.

Topic Author
TLL24
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 6:53 pm

Chadnudj wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 2:43 pm
djpeteski wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:43 pm
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 1:08 pm
The layoffs are at all levels and the severance is really bad (4 to 12 weeks). I think I would be at the 12 week end due to my tenure.

I’m curious why you think paying off the car loan is important? It’s a very low interest rate and over the life of the loan interest is only costing about $2,300.
For just this situation. You do not know what your income is tomorrow. You are playing the arbitrage game for just a couple of hundred dollars (or less) assuming the car loan rate is less than your savings account rate. You would have much more peace of mind, in this situation, if you had no consumer debt.

You are far better off freezing your credit and not having any debt or borrowing again.
I completely disagree. The past is past, and in the present the OP's best strategy is to maximize the number of months' expenses he/his spouse have saved in cash as a primary matter (by cutting discretionary spending and/or diverting current savings priorities such as HSA/retirement towards emergency savings), and then (and only then) seek to drastically reduce his cash flow obligations by paying down debt (like the car loan).

Paying off the car loan now will cost him $19k of his emergency savings. By OP's rough numbers, his monthly expenses (including that car payment) are $8500 a month ($102k a year). That $19k represents a little more than 2 months of total expenses.

Sure, assuming the car payment is $500 a month, that would reduce his monthly expenses to $8k. But now he has $31k in his emergency fund -- roughly just less than 4 months of their current expenses. $50k, on the other hand, pays for almost 6 months of expenses at $8500 a month.

If I'm facing a layoff period where I'll need to find a job, I want as long a runway (in terms of months expenses saved) as possible to float me while I look for a new job/the right new job.
Agree 100%.

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Will do good
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Will do good » Wed May 15, 2019 7:00 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:04 am
A story.

As an aside: In my earlier working years, I decided to take the stress of worrying about being laid off (or fired) out of my life. Instead of empowering a company or personnel department to decide whether I had a paycheck, I empowered myself. How? By starting my own company (s). I figured if anyone was going to lay me off or fire me, it would be myself. From that point until I retired, I have resisted firing myself many times, and have never been laid off. :shock:

A thought.
Another path.
Another option.
j :happy
+1
I did the same and managed not to fire myself the whole time.

Topic Author
TLL24
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Wed May 15, 2019 7:00 pm

Thank you all for the replies. It’s truly appreciated and was helpful for me to move from the worried stage to taking some steps to be better prepared.

- review spending and cut some of the fat
- reduce retirement contributions for now to save more in the emergency fund
- get the emergency fund closer to one years worth of expenses
- keep the resume and list of accomplishments updated
- dedicate time towards looking at job openings and networking
- open a HELOC

Worst case, I get laid off but am prepared. Best case I don’t get laid off and we have a lot more peace of mind.

:sharebeer :sharebeer

Grt2bOutdoors
Posts: 20461
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Location: New York

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed May 15, 2019 7:04 pm

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 11:15 am
tampaite wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:23 am
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
current level of compensation (about $250K, of which $190K is mine)

Our retirement savings is decent at about $300K combined and cash savings is about $50K. We have mortgage debt of $350K and auto of $19K. No other debt.

I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions
No specific questions but still concerned?

How much of the $250k are you saving after expesnes and returement contribution?

Prioritize paying down home and auto ASAP and if that's taken care off and given,you have no debt atleast you'll manage to survive on spouse's 60k salary.

Good luck.

If I pay down debt faster that cuts into cash though and I feel like it would put us in a worse position if I get laid off.

We mostly max out retirement saving, HSA, and have a high deductible health plan.

Net income is about $150K.

About $40K goes to the house (mortgage, PT, HOI and whatever else maintenance wise)

$16K to auto (loan, maintenance, fuel, etc)

$10K to all utilities/subscriptions. If we cut “extra” like cable and lawn services this could be about $6K.

We spend $2,000 to $3,000 per month on everything else. Food and travel being the largest expenses (wife’s family lives in another state).

We target saving $50K to $60K cash per year. We had successfully saved about $45K to $50K the last few years, using about 2/3’s of it on a down payment and keeping the rest for cash.
If that's the case, sell your $70K of vested stock and place it in a highly liquid savings account or money market fund. Now is not the time to be placing your emergency fund in the stock market. Unless, you think you can find another job paying close to, at, or above the current $190K you are making now. You are currently spending $100K a year now, you should have $100K in an e-fund, the $70K vested stock gets you there and gives you a little bit of breathing room.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

madmartigan
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by madmartigan » Wed May 15, 2019 10:47 pm

Are you in a position to work from home occasionally? That may allow you some flexibility in supporting interviews. Any opportunity you can start a routine which has you out of the office at a regular cadence allows for flexibiliy in scheduling interviews. For example, you could ask you boss to take every other Friday off for a few months to have a few regular three day weekends, and then schedule interviews as they come up.

I'd also recommend leveraging LinkedIn as much as you can if you're in Tech or anything related to it. Building up a good profile takes time but I do think it adds value to your ability to find jobs. Something to consider is also figuring out who your references are. In my last interview round I was asked for a manager, peer, and someone I managed to vet my capabilities at all levels. Identify and organize your advocates early, especially before they're laid off!

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Watty
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Watty » Wed May 15, 2019 11:08 pm

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
I guess I don’t necessarily have any specific questions and am more so looking for advice from others than have been laid off or successfully searched for a new job while still employed.
I was only laid off once but I can't count the times I was at a company where there were significant layoffs.

It sounds like the layoff are more than the normal periodic house cleaning so you may be in a no-win situation because it could work out two ways;

1) You get laid off which is never fun.

2) You don't get laid off but other people do. When I have been through that the people that were left behind were expected to do additional work to fill in for the laid off people and there was often additional turnover too as other people left and were not replaced.

It sounds like it is time to put your job search into high gear. If you find a really good job that is great, but if you don't you can try to ride out all the changes.

bayview
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Location: WNC

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by bayview » Wed May 15, 2019 11:30 pm

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:00 pm
Thank you all for the replies. It’s truly appreciated and was helpful for me to move from the worried stage to taking some steps to be better prepared.

- review spending and cut some of the fat
- reduce retirement contributions for now to save more in the emergency fund
- get the emergency fund closer to one years worth of expenses
- keep the resume and list of accomplishments updated
- dedicate time towards looking at job openings and networking
- open a HELOC

Worst case, I get laid off but am prepared. Best case I don’t get laid off and we have a lot more peace of mind.

:sharebeer :sharebeer
Re your first point (bolded by me):

Cut all of your fat. :D Nearly all, anyway. It won’t kill you for six months.

Consider this a useful opportunity for you and your wife to take a pause and review your wishes, wants, and needs. I think you’ve done great in the last four years, but it’s awfully easy to start living up to your paycheck, or at least to what your peers do.

Failing the death of an unknown uncle or a lottery win, most people (even those with good incomes) build wealth by significant savings levels and living below their means. It’s not deprivation if you can separate from the gotta have it messages of our culture.

My stepdaughter was talking about a vacation she has planned to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday, and commented that this was how they dealt with the hassles and pressures of work. (And it sounded like fun.) I commented that I dealt with work stress by looking at my spreadsheet and gloating over progress. Mmm-bwah-hah-hah. (And we are by no means archetypal BH penny-pinchers, far from it. I just don’t feel like enriching others at my expense.)

Good luck with whatever happens!
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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Watty
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Watty » Wed May 15, 2019 11:43 pm

One more thought. There is an old saying, "It is an ill wind that blows nobody good."

I have also seen reorganizations with layoffs where people that were not laid off have gotten new positions that worked out very well for them.

SoAnyway
Posts: 359
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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by SoAnyway » Thu May 16, 2019 1:10 am

Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 11:08 pm
It sounds like it is time to put your job search into high gear. If you find a really good job that is great, but if you don't you can try to ride out all the changes.
This, OP. There's great wisdom in Watty's entire post should you choose to embrace it.

Quick story: Back in the late '90s or early '00s (in my early 30s), on a trans-Pacific business class flight paid for by my then-employer, I struck up a conversation with the dude next to me during the boarding/seating process. After all, we were going to spend the next 14 hours seated next to each other; might as well try to make it pleasant. As it turned out, he was the founder/entrepreneur/CEO of a Fortune 50 company, pulling down a 7 maybe 8-figure salary and who-knows-what in equity (whaaaa????); meanwhile, I was earning a good salary/bonus/equity from my employer, but nowhere near THAT.

After making sure the flight attendants kept his preferred beverages coming, I spent as much time as I could (without being a jerk) interrogating my seatmate on the best career advice he could offer. BTW, he was as humble as he could be, and didn't lead with the above info - I had dragged it out of him. More to the point, he had NO idea way-back-when that his little idea would grow into what it became; indeed, we spent much time discussing his greatest worry: that he had to figure out a way to make sure his beloved children (he showed me pictures) didn't end up completely screwed up because their Dad had stupidly become a multi-billionnaire....

SoAnyway, among the many pearls of wisdom he passed on, he said that sadly, the social contract in corporate America had been irretrievably broken. Employers no longer have the luxury of being loyal to the employees who've been so loyal to them; the demands of investors and Wall Street to produce a constant "up-and-to-the-right" investment return in the VERY short-term make that return-loyalty impossible.

He said, "SoAnyway, my advice to you: No matter where you are in your career over the coming decades, you owe it to yourself every 5 years or so to conduct a serious job search. By 'serious', I mean 'Pretend you have no job, no income, and have a family to support and bills to pay.' Whether you're happy where you are or not; whether you think you know everything you need to know in your company and field or not; whether you take an offered job or not; whether you think in your arrogance that you're 'safe' (because you're not); isn't the point. Just do it.

Things change, in ways you can't predict ahead of time. Get comfortable with that, and strategize accordingly. If you do THAT, you'll know your market value; you'll know what you need to brush up on; you'll know how the employment world is doing things in that particular time (LinkedIn didn't exist when EITHER of us started, right?? he said with a laugh), you'll be in a position to prepare yourself for a bunch of things that could happen that we can't predict and are completely outside your control and have NOTHING to do with your skills, talents, performance.
"

Well those words were worth well more than the price of the flight - that I'd have happily paid for but my employer had already done it! (Win-win for me! :sharebeer ) The only caveat I'd add to my seatmate's advice from that flight: "Every 5 years or so" was the right advice at the time we were speaking. Fast-forward about ~20 years to present day, I'd say - and he'd likely agree - "Every 2 years or so." Like he said, "Things change, in ways you can't predict ahead of time. Get comfortable with that, and strategize accordingly."
Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice. | Consult your attorney or physician to verify if/how anything stated might or might not be applicable to your specific situation.

Topic Author
TLL24
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Thu May 16, 2019 6:37 am

bayview wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 11:30 pm
TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:00 pm
Thank you all for the replies. It’s truly appreciated and was helpful for me to move from the worried stage to taking some steps to be better prepared.

- review spending and cut some of the fat
- reduce retirement contributions for now to save more in the emergency fund
- get the emergency fund closer to one years worth of expenses
- keep the resume and list of accomplishments updated
- dedicate time towards looking at job openings and networking
- open a HELOC

Worst case, I get laid off but am prepared. Best case I don’t get laid off and we have a lot more peace of mind.

:sharebeer :sharebeer
Re your first point (bolded by me):

Cut all of your fat. :D Nearly all, anyway. It won’t kill you for six months.

Consider this a useful opportunity for you and your wife to take a pause and review your wishes, wants, and needs. I think you’ve done great in the last four years, but it’s awfully easy to start living up to your paycheck, or at least to what your peers do.

Failing the death of an unknown uncle or a lottery win, most people (even those with good incomes) build wealth by significant savings levels and living below their means. It’s not deprivation if you can separate from the gotta have it messages of our culture.

My stepdaughter was talking about a vacation she has planned to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday, and commented that this was how they dealt with the hassles and pressures of work. (And it sounded like fun.) I commented that I dealt with work stress by looking at my spreadsheet and gloating over progress. Mmm-bwah-hah-hah. (And we are by no means archetypal BH penny-pinchers, far from it. I just don’t feel like enriching others at my expense.)

Good luck with whatever happens!

Ah yes, thank you. Replacing “some” with “all” or “nearly all”. :D

Topic Author
TLL24
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by TLL24 » Thu May 16, 2019 6:39 am

SoAnyway wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 1:10 am
Watty wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 11:08 pm
It sounds like it is time to put your job search into high gear. If you find a really good job that is great, but if you don't you can try to ride out all the changes.
This, OP. There's great wisdom in Watty's entire post should you choose to embrace it.

Quick story: Back in the late '90s or early '00s (in my early 30s), on a trans-Pacific business class flight paid for by my then-employer, I struck up a conversation with the dude next to me during the boarding/seating process. After all, we were going to spend the next 14 hours seated next to each other; might as well try to make it pleasant. As it turned out, he was the founder/entrepreneur/CEO of a Fortune 50 company, pulling down a 7 maybe 8-figure salary and who-knows-what in equity (whaaaa????); meanwhile, I was earning a good salary/bonus/equity from my employer, but nowhere near THAT.

After making sure the flight attendants kept his preferred beverages coming, I spent as much time as I could (without being a jerk) interrogating my seatmate on the best career advice he could offer. BTW, he was as humble as he could be, and didn't lead with the above info - I had dragged it out of him. More to the point, he had NO idea way-back-when that his little idea would grow into what it became; indeed, we spent much time discussing his greatest worry: that he had to figure out a way to make sure his beloved children (he showed me pictures) didn't end up completely screwed up because their Dad had stupidly become a multi-billionnaire....

SoAnyway, among the many pearls of wisdom he passed on, he said that sadly, the social contract in corporate America had been irretrievably broken. Employers no longer have the luxury of being loyal to the employees who've been so loyal to them; the demands of investors and Wall Street to produce a constant "up-and-to-the-right" investment return in the VERY short-term make that return-loyalty impossible.

He said, "SoAnyway, my advice to you: No matter where you are in your career over the coming decades, you owe it to yourself every 5 years or so to conduct a serious job search. By 'serious', I mean 'Pretend you have no job, no income, and have a family to support and bills to pay.' Whether you're happy where you are or not; whether you think you know everything you need to know in your company and field or not; whether you take an offered job or not; whether you think in your arrogance that you're 'safe' (because you're not); isn't the point. Just do it.

Things change, in ways you can't predict ahead of time. Get comfortable with that, and strategize accordingly. If you do THAT, you'll know your market value; you'll know what you need to brush up on; you'll know how the employment world is doing things in that particular time (LinkedIn didn't exist when EITHER of us started, right?? he said with a laugh), you'll be in a position to prepare yourself for a bunch of things that could happen that we can't predict and are completely outside your control and have NOTHING to do with your skills, talents, performance.
"

Well those words were worth well more than the price of the flight - that I'd have happily paid for but my employer had already done it! (Win-win for me! :sharebeer ) The only caveat I'd add to my seatmate's advice from that flight: "Every 5 years or so" was the right advice at the time we were speaking. Fast-forward about ~20 years to present day, I'd say - and he'd likely agree - "Every 2 years or so." Like he said, "Things change, in ways you can't predict ahead of time. Get comfortable with that, and strategize accordingly."
Great story! Thank you for sharing. Adjusting from 5 to 2 years feels about right, kind of sad to think that, but seems right.

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Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Vanguard Fan 1367 » Sat May 18, 2019 5:36 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:04 am
A story.

As an aside: In my earlier working years, I decided to take the stress of worrying about being laid off (or fired) out of my life. Instead of empowering a company or personnel department to decide whether I had a paycheck, I empowered myself. How? By starting my own company (s). I figured if anyone was going to lay me off or fire me, it would be myself. From that point until I retired, I have resisted firing myself many times, and have never been laid off. :shock:

A thought.
Another path.
Another option.
j :happy
i was working for someone else. My best friend gave me great advice, since the economy was in a recession he suggested that I start working for myself since I couldn't fire myself due to a bad economy. I bought a business and started working for myself and am grateful for my friend's advice.

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by Sandtrap » Sat May 18, 2019 8:03 am

Vanguard Fan 1367 wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 5:36 am
Sandtrap wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 9:04 am
A story.

As an aside: In my earlier working years, I decided to take the stress of worrying about being laid off (or fired) out of my life. Instead of empowering a company or personnel department to decide whether I had a paycheck, I empowered myself. How? By starting my own company (s). I figured if anyone was going to lay me off or fire me, it would be myself. From that point until I retired, I have resisted firing myself many times, and have never been laid off. :shock:

A thought.
Another path.
Another option.
j :happy
i was working for someone else. My best friend gave me great advice, since the economy was in a recession he suggested that I start working for myself since I couldn't fire myself due to a bad economy. I bought a business and started working for myself and am grateful for my friend's advice.
:sharebeer

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BolderBoy
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Location: Colorado

Re: Concerned about getting laid off

Post by BolderBoy » Sat May 18, 2019 9:29 am

TLL24 wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:16 am
I’ve begun looking at other available jobs and even interviewed for one over about two months including taking time off to travel to their headquarters. The problem is I don’t that kind of time to commit to that lengthy if an interview process multiple times per year, but I know for the type of job I want that will likely be required.
If your emergency fund isn't sufficiently large NOW, beef it up substantially while you are still, currently employed. Then wait to see if you are laid off. If so, your emergency fund is there for you to use while you take the time to do the traveling interviewing necessary to get a new position.

I've been laid off once but quit-without-another-job more often. In each case having a goodly-sized emergency fund took the worry out of the finding-another-job search.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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