View Full Version : Layoff = Opportunity?? I hope...

3-8-11, 2:34pm
Hi everyone - I've come out of Lurkdom to pick your brains. I was given verbal notice last Friday that I will be laid off. Official notice will come sometime this week. From that point I'll have two months, which puts my final day sometime in early May.

I've been looking for a new job for about three years now (long story there, believe me!), but no luck. Definitely not in my field, and not any other jobs that actually appeal to me. I've applied for some, gotten interviews, but never called back. Sigh.

I've got a good amount in savings, plus I'll get unemployment benefits, so I should be okay financially for a year, at least.

My concern is... I really don't want to get back into the rat race. I really don't. I'm nowhere near Financial Independence, so I need some sort of income. I'm hoping all you incredibly creative and resourceful people can inspire me to head off in a new direction.

So have at it. And thanks in advance!


3-8-11, 4:24pm
Ha, if I had that answer, how to live without working and without wealth, haha, I'd be doing it for sure :).

I guess the common sense stuff is: you can try to see if there are any part time jobs you could somehow support yourself on. You can figure how long you will last without income. How much does unemployment pay, what will CORBA cost you if you choose to use it, etc. and just generally know when the unemployment situation will reach a critical point for you. If the part time stuff isn't promising you could use the time to go back to school IF you have any idea of a more promising career path (haha, how badly do you want to leverage this escape? Do you have enough savings to last you 6 months of schooling, 2 years of schooling, willing to go into debt (I don't recommend it, but in some situations I suppose it works)?). I guess you could also look into starting your own business (haha and how much are you willing to leverage on that, willing to put your savings into start up costs, etc.?)). I mean unless you are just being too picky do you really have any choice but a change of career if you can't find any jobs in your career?!? I suppose there are more radical solutions, up and leave the country or something, if you have enough to retire in some 3rd world country (this isn't for most but ....) I am very interested in what others have to say here.

3-8-11, 6:35pm
I dropped out of the rat race at 23, almost a decade ago. I worked part-time at Starbucks for health insurance before and briefly after I met and married my husband, who has carried our insurance since about 2005. My husband has been home at least half the year since 2006 working in a seasonal union job. He is now back in school. We have an odd living situation in that we have combined households with my father in the house I grew up in. He is paying the taxes and utilities for the two years it takes DH to finish school and then we will take over and dad will retire. The house would have been willed to me eventually, so essentially we're getting it now instead of later and dad gets to live bill free and have people around to cook and clean when he is old.

I know another poster here (and friend of mine) madgeylou dropped out of the rat race after being laid off about a year ago and now owns her own business making fabulous dresses out of vintage fabrics.

My dad has friends who work for peanuts doing volunteer type work. A group of them live together in a rented house owned by a priest friend of theirs, kind of monastic style. It's not for everyone, but it works for them.

Another couple I know both went to part-time. Between them they make one full-time income, but have time to pursue other things they want to do.

I'm interested to see others solutions to this too. I know there are a lot of people who have pulled the plug here.

3-8-11, 8:01pm
You know last night I was checking out various companies I once worked for on glassdoor.com, a place where you can post anonomously (sp?) good and bad things about your employer. I once worked for a national upscale pizza chain restaurant and back then it was not a bad place to work though rather high burnout. Decent benefits for the business though and very good tips. From what I am reading this has all changed to the point where people are getting fired for not selling enough wine, and if you don't meet some dessert sales goal you get written up and given a bad section so you can't make any money. No thank is what I say to that! My point here is that I am thinking the way things are these days, there is no job security and the stress of working for someone else for many is just intolerable. Under these conditions, this layoff may turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you!!!!! Take it slow and small perhaps, you don't have to have all the answers right now, and there is much advice you can peruse on the Internet right now free of charge. You could read some advice on how to start a business and see what feels right for you in your gut and what just does not sound like it will work for you.....That sounds like a good start, dontcha think? For what it's worth, I see myself doing one more season at the North Rim and then taking a certificate course in web design and maybe doing that part time and whatever other odd jobs I can come up with to get the bills paid and save something. I want more and more as I get older to pull the plug on the rat race, it just is not what I signed up for LOL. Rob

3-8-11, 8:25pm
Hopefully, like you say, it will turn out to be an opportunity.

I am reading the book Making a Living Without a Job by Barbara Winter. She was recommended here on the boards. I have no firsthand experience with this but hope you can find this tidbit useful.

I think the biggest challenge would be health insurance.

3-8-11, 11:09pm
What do you like to do? If you have a free year, what would you want to do with it? What if you had enough money to be FI3 doing something you chose to do...what would that be? What do you like about your current career and what do you dislike. What makes you most uncomfortable? What about taking some of the money and visiting a career counselor? What about asking your soon-to-be-former coworkers what you do well and not as well? These answers can point you in a direction but you'll have to see how it pans out. Maybe to start you can try volunteering or working part time at your favorite store/place of business. Might give you skills you don't currently have, contacts you don't currently know, and enjoyment of some of your time. Plus a schedule for when you are unemployed.

3-9-11, 1:45pm
Thanks for the input, everyone.

ApatheticNoMore - I'm already ahead of you on a lot of this stuff. :) No, school really isn't an option for me, simply because I can't stomach the thought of it. Barf. :) Being too picky? I don't know. Maybe. I am trying to keep an open mind though.

Stella - How cool that you know so many people who have tried alternative solutions! That's sort of what I'm looking for here. Not necessarily the perfect solution for me, but stuff that can fuel my own creativity, I guess.

Rob - You're absolutely right about the lack of job security. It's a mess out there. Your idea about doing a couple of different things sort of interests me. How would you handle health insurance? Or is that a concern for you? Most part time jobs don't offer benefits, at least in my area.

Kellie - Thanks a lot for the book reference! I've written it down.

Rosie - goodness, all the questions :) I've asked a lot of them myself, but clearly need to revisit them. As for seeing a counselor - no, I can't risk that expense. But it is something I'll keep in mind, along with your other suggestions. I do like the volunteering idea!

Keep 'em coming, y'all. I appreciate it.


3-10-11, 12:05am
Hi SRP! To answer your questions, I would hope to freelance/work for myself, and if I can't get enough business going to support myself on that, find other side jobs to do, perhaps working for someone else again - but with the goal of eventually working fully for myself. As to health care, I can qualify for sliding scale services at Maricopa Intergrated Health Systems, (www.mihs.org), whereby it costs $25 to see a doctor and the fees for any services are heavily discounted. Though I will say that with the Medicaid cuts looming this fall in Arizona, I may be waiting a bit for an appointment and the fees may increase.....Right now I am going to the free clinic at St. Vincent de Paul in South Phoenix to get scrips for my anti-gout and anti-high BP pills, and they are a lifesaver! An absolute lifesaver! So maybe it is not health insurance per se, but I am not entirely without my ways around things. Also I hold a passport and would consider seeing a doctor in Mexico if necc - Mexicali and Los Algodones are still safe from what I understand. One of the WONDERFUL things about hanging around there and getting real about my spending is that over time I have reduced my bills to where I can subsist on about $850 a month. This is bare bones no fun survival with my current debts but it would keep me fed, housed, and the bills current. This gives me more options than many I think, and also opens me up to be willing to take some risks and start my own venture.....Rob PS This summer's goal is to get two debts paid off thereby lowering the survival number to $790.....

3-10-11, 8:16am
Re: School. The thought kinda makes me barf, too, but I need to keep my skills up to date and am shifting the focus of my business a bit, so I looked around. I settled on taking an adult ed class (three on-site days, 8 weeks of homework with feedback from a tutor) and some webinars. What I mean is that school doesn't have to mean a full degree program.

I also hope to attend more conferences in my field in the coming years - both for the educational value and the networking value. Don't forget to network with people who are involved in the fields you are interested in. Good luck!

PS DIY career counselor - There are many books out there, and one that people regard highly is What Color Is Your Parachute. I think some posters here have recommended it in the past. My DH used it when going through this process as well.

3-16-11, 12:44am
Is there a possibility of renting out part of your living space for extra income? I've rented out 2 of the 3 bedrooms in my home, and the rental income is almost enough to pay my mortgage. I still have to work part time to cover the utilities, food and other expenses. But, I no longer have to work full time.

3-16-11, 9:01am
I dropped out of the rat race last year at 27. I should probably make it clear that my DH does work full-time. However, we wanted kids, and it was important for me to be able to stay home.

What worked for me was evaluating my skills/strengths and brainstorming how I could generate income from them (without being part of corporate American--ick!). My real (and only) superpower is book nerdery. I have college degrees in a couple of different areas and decided to try teaching college. I love it! I can teach a class here or there on nearby campuses, or I can work excusively from home online. They pay is good, the hours are flexible, and I choose how much I work. If I ever get sick of doing that, I can be a freelance writer or a professional tutor.

What are your skills and talents? How can you put them to work for you?

3-16-11, 9:32am
My real (and only) superpower is book nerdery.

:) I love this!

One of my retail daydreams is to one day own a bookstore that caters to people who like to over-think fiction. :P

3-18-11, 3:09pm
Bastelmutti - You know, I read "Parachute." Went through the entire thing, did the flower exercise, everything. I learned a lot of interesting stuff about myself. But so far I haven't been able to transform it into that dream job. It is a cool book though, for sure.

Diane - Nope, I can't do that. I have a one-bedroom, rather small house. And neither my dog nor I like a lot of company. :~)

Kat -

evaluating my skills/strengths and brainstorming how I could generate income from them (without being part of corporate American--ick!).

EXACTLY! That's what I need to do. How on earth did you do it? One thing I don't want to wind up doing is turning a beloved hobby into a necessity and then burning out on it. Does that make sense?

3-18-11, 4:38pm
@ SRP--that makes perfect sense! That was something I was worried about, too--ruining something I enjoy by making it work. For me, I think the key is limiting how much work I take on. Too much becomes stressful, and then there is no enjoyment in it.

Brainstorming my skills/strengths wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I'm the type of person who is okay at a lot of things, but not really exceptional at a lot. I tried to think about where those areas of exceptionality were.

Questions I asked myself were:

1.) What do I enjoy doing? (reading, writing, cooking)
2.) What comes naturally to me? (writing, being organized)
3.) What were my strong areas in school? (I was strong in most areas. Hated math, though.).
4.) What types of things do people compliment me on? (people have said that I am good cook and a good writer)
5.) Are there any things that people ask me to do for them over and over again (research, resume writing, proofreading, tutoring)

I also asked a couple of trusted friends/family members what they thought my strengths were. That was really helpful, too. They said I was smart, a good writer, and a strong teacher.

That's kind of how I narrowed my focus down to teaching. I didn't have that many options, to be honest. My nerdiness was my strongest asset--it always has been. :-) Sure, I *wish* I was more creative, that I could sew or paint or decorate houses. But I'm not good at those things, so no matter how much I would like to earn a living doing them, it just isn't realistic. Stick with what works! :-) Your talents may seem boring or unimportant to you, but other people are probably in awe of them.

I bet you exel in a lot of areas. Tell us a little but about yourself! Maybe we can help you brainstorm!

3-18-11, 11:32pm
I think I'm right there with you with the layoff as opportunity now. If so the main thing I want is just not to work for awhile (please no work for awhile, I know I'm an f up for getting so burned out I can't even deal with the thought of work .. but I just can't .... not yet).

In the longer run I'd like to work with people or nature. I'm good at being analytical, detail orientated - all stuff that leads itself to a lot of jobs I may be good at that but are really soul destroying for me. I'd be a good fit for a job with both an artistic/creative and a logical/factual side (especially if it works with people or nature). Hey if I can't get them I'm used to taking jobs I hate but :)

3-19-11, 1:45am
I got laid off my job-before-last but jumped into a new job in an unrelated field within a week or so. Entertained the thought of going on unemployment but just felt like I should be working instead. It's been about 2-1/2 years now and things are going swimmingly!
My point is, it might not take a whole year to find that opportunity --- it may present itself quicker than you think.