Author Topic: Laid off. Now what?  (Read 9134 times)

LostAndFound34

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Laid off. Now what?
« on: April 05, 2016, 07:54:19 PM »
Hi, everyone, I'm a regular commenter here but have created this username because I'm feeling pretty ashamed about this, even though it's really not my fault.  Anyway...

Today I found out that I'm being laid off from my law firm where I've worked for around 10 years.  Among other matters, I had been heavily entrenched in a very large case that we resolved a few months ago just on the eve of multi-month trial.  Since I had more than full-time hours on that one case alone, and it was planned for me to be devoted to the trial, I have had extremely low hours since then, despite my better efforts to drum up business and get new work.  While I got some work here and there from various sources, I guess it was just not enough.  In addition, this comes on a backdrop where several partners (and others) left my group in the last year (but we've added no one new), and I have been very unhappy with the direction of the group, lack of support for the associates in my group, and how this has contributed to somewhat stagnating my career, in my opinion.  It's been no secret here that our group has been on a downward trajectory both in terms of new work and employee morale for at least a year.  In any event, like I said, I was laid off today.

I've never been in a situation like this and I just feel incredibly lost as to what I should be doing.  I had already been in the process of updating my resume and reaching out to recruiters before this because of my concerns about my group and my wanting a change anyway, so that's already in the works.  I'm comfortable financially for awhile, but not financially independent, and I had not wanted to semi-retire quite this early.  Perhaps a sabbatical, though, may be in the cards?  (I guess there have been some relatives around the country I've wanted to visit, plus travel for a more meaningful sake.)  I don't know how to do any of the healthcare-on-the-open-market thing, so I guess I should figure that out before my benefits go away.

Fortunately, I have been offered two months of garden leave/severance, so pay and benefits will continue during that time.  I have to review the "separation agreement" that they proposed to me today and talk with my boss about it tomorrow.  I've heard from people outside my firm that these things can be negotiated somewhat, but I don't know how open this employer would actually be.  Today they said my last date in the office is flexible, but the end date is not.  Do you think it would be unreasonable to try to negotiate a longer garden leave time, particularly when they already said the end date would not change?  Or perhaps I can ask if I can keep the firm laptop that I've been using?  (Yes, I am a dodo who does not actually have my own personal computer, and I have been relying on this one from work.)  I'm supposed to talk to my boss tomorrow about what "messaging" I want made to the group surrounding my departure -- they'll spin it however I want (within reason, you know, no defamation or such!).  Should I have them just say the truth that I was let go for lack of work and lack of foreseeable work for someone at my level?  (Yes, our group really has dwindled enough that I'm the only one left at my "level.")  Should I say it was a mutual decision, as I've also been feeling like I needed a change in direction?  They'll even let me say that it was my decision to leave if I want, but I think that's somewhat implausible given some specific conversations I've had with others in the last couple days about new upcoming work.  Ugh...

Okay, to summarize my ramblings, I'm putting this out there for your thoughts on:
(1)  Should I try to negotiate some of the terms of this separation agreement, such as length of garden leave and the laptop?
(2)  What messaging makes me look least idiotic to my group?  I should mention here that I have sacrificed much of "life" in favor of "work," and, as such, my best friends are people that I work with.  I'm scared about being very lonely after this ends and how little I will see my friends or how awkward it will be when we do see each other.
(3)  Any other words of wisdom or face punches?

Thank you, all.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 07:59:51 PM by LostAndFound34 »

tobitonic

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2016, 08:02:38 PM »
Hugs, first of all. You have absolutely no need to feel ashamed of this. You are a person, and worth so much more than this or any job. Never forget that.

1. Yes; the worst they can say to any individual thing is no.

2. In your shoes, I'd say you're burnt out and looking for time to find yourself, and want a new career path afterward.
You can still stay in touch with friends outside of work; anyone who wouldn't isn't someone you need in your life.

3. Keep your head up, file unemployment, and start looking for a new job. You'll be just fine.

Thinkum

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2016, 08:06:43 PM »
On the practical side of things, I will say, try to be optimistic. A very good friend of mine was in a similar situation as you, different industry, but laid off, first time ever sort of thing. He felt like shit, but was re-employed in less than 2 months.

Why not treat this as a time to refocus and gain some relaxation in your life?

I'm guessing your 34? If that is the case, why worry? 10 years at one place is enough.

Oh and YES, file for unemployment.

sonjak

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2016, 08:09:40 PM »
1) Absolutely!  No downside to asking and if you don't ask, it definitely won't happen.

2) I would pick the story you would feel most comfortable with reinforcing regularly until you leave and for the foreseeable future.  Because it's going to come up over and over for awhile, what story do you want to tell?  What story will give you the most energy to share and not leave a bad taste in your mouth?  Personally, I would go with the "mutual decision" one because I would want that to be true and I would want to focus on this being a good thing for me too but you need to pick what feels best for you.  (Obviously you can be more honest with your friends 1:1.)

3) I see no reason for a face punch or shame.  This is simultaneously a crappy situation and also a wonderful blessing.  It was going downhill, you didn't enjoy being there anymore and because you were let go for lack of work, you will qualify for unemployment without a hassle.  That means you'll have a cushion as you look for a better opportunity (Definitely take some time to relax and visit family before jumping into the next job.  You'll be refreshed and won't mind so much the long hours as you learn the job and lack of vacation as you are earning it.) without digging into your stash.  So, without guilt or shame, apply for unemployment as soon as you hit your last day.

In my experience, some of your friendships will survive leaving the job and some won't.  You'll feel lonely and weird and you'll miss them.  You'll dream about work and feel sad and wish you could go back even though there are so many things you're so glad you don't have to deal with anymore.  But someday you'll have a better job, the friends you kept will still be there (probably telling you how lucky you are to get out when you did) and you'll look back on those days with humor and appreciation for what you gained.

Finally, again NO need to feel any shame for any of this.  Seriously!

forummm

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2016, 08:11:52 PM »
It sucks to lose your job. But why are you ashamed about it? It sounds like they just don't have enough work for you.

During one job I had my boss got fired. He was really shell-shocked and kind of lost. But the truth is he was running pretty ragged and was unhappy before he got fired. The job wasn't a good fit for him. Etc. Anyway, I saw him a few weeks later and I'd never seen him look so happy.

I don't know how your finances look. But you could look on this as a mini retirement while you are looking for new work. I know it feels bad, but there can be a bright side to it too. Good luck! I'm sure you'll be alright.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2016, 08:21:15 PM »
Sorry for the layoff! There's nothing to be ashamed of. I would reach out to not just recruiters, but any other contacts you have. For ACA health insurance, you may want to reach out to Axecleaver. He's somewhat of an expert.

1) Yes, negotiate whatever you can.
2) The truth doesn't make you look idiotic. Since the org is being flexible on this, I would go with mutual decision/lack of work.
3) Not sure why you think you'll get flak for getting laid off. Take your time finding a new position that is right for you, and relax. You may end up in a better position because of this forced change.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2016, 08:33:59 PM »
You absolutely should not be embarrassed. But I know exactly how you're feeling as I've been there, and my husband was just laid off on Friday (yes, April Fool's Day). ;)

First things first, sit down write out things you would like - to keep the laptop, 3 months garden leave, etc... then if you think what you're asking isn't unreasonable, go back to them and ask for those things. The worst that they can say is no.

Do not take them up on the offer of saying you quit; you can't get unemployment in that case - only if you were laid off or otherwise left involuntarily. There's nothing wrong with saying you got laid off.

Finally, this really sucks, and it is a great blow to the ego and there is shame and embarrassment in being told you are not necessary or wanted any more - and it's hard not to take that personally. But this is strictly business and it isn't personal, so keep telling yourself that and throw that being embarrassed idea out the window.

You are not defined by what you do. You are probably a good person with many stellar qualities, and just because the place that employed you ran out of things for you to do doesn't change that. It's on them not you. Let this be a lesson to you to open up your mind to being happy and content with who you are, without trying to find your only meaning and purpose in a career or job functions. Choose to see that this is a bump in the road, not a crash or dead-end. And go develop some outside interests! :D

So ask and hopefully negotiate some extras for your severance, keep in touch with your former coworkers, and take a deep breath and maybe sleep in a few days or a week... and then get back on the horse. You've got time to be a little choosy and hopefully you're going to find something really awesome.


« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 08:36:50 PM by Frankies Girl »

bacchi

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 08:46:12 PM »
Yes, definitely ask for the laptop. They probably took the 179 deduction and it's not like they'll use it again. "I'll need it for my job search."


Zamboni

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2016, 08:51:17 PM »
This is a bummer, and I'm sorry to read your news.

Quote
Do not take them up on the offer of saying you quit; you can't get unemployment in that case - only if you were laid off or otherwise left involuntarily. There's nothing wrong with saying you got laid off.

I agree with this. Let the unemployment checks (a benefit that you have been paying for all along) take some of the sting out of this while you visit family and fix up your home base with the extra time you'll have for bit.

Go to Best Buy or somewhere similar and buy a big external hard drive or two and back up all of your files before you mention anything about the laptop to them. I would make a back up of the back up. Then, if they decide to take the laptop back from you, you'll still have the files you need (things like your resume at the very least.)

Eurotexan

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2016, 09:19:17 PM »
We have all been there, it sucks, it's a shock but everything will be just fine. Better than fine, you'll never look back.

Agree that the company needs to let you go so that you can file for unemployment, you have earnt it and it's a nice extra cushion.

I am sure they'll give you the laptop, sounds like they're being reasonable, given the circumstances. Doesn't hurt to ask, make sure you back up as much as possible, especially your contacts.

Good luck and chin up!

Villanelle

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2016, 09:46:11 PM »
I see it has already been somewhat covered, but I'd be worried about a mutual decision message somehow affecting my UI eligibility.  If it's in writing that way, then my concern would be them claiming that I kind of quit.  Probably paranoid, but I tend that way.  :lol  I'd probably go with "lack of work for the group after the XX case settlement" or something along those lines. 

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2016, 09:59:09 PM »
Posting to follow.  Lots of good advice already, I'm repeatedly amazed by the MMM community (regulars and also the low-posters!).  I'm in Oil and imagine there will be more layoffs coming to Houston in the coming weeks and months...   
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 11:03:36 PM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2016, 10:32:26 PM »
Aw, I'm so sorry to hear this news.  You have no reason to be embarrassed.  As someone said above, this is just a business decision, not a personal decision, so please don't let it hurt your heart.  You've received lots of good advice already.  I'd especially echo the ones that remind you to look at this optimistically and as an opportunity to take a break and find a job that you can enjoy more than this one.  Definitely go ahead with attempting to negotiate for bits and pieces of things you want from your firm.  If I were you, I would probably frame this to your colleagues as a mutual decision, especially since it sounds like it will come as no shock to them that you've been slow on work and that your group dynamic has been changing in recent times.  Based on the information you provided, I personally think it would make sense to hear that you found this to be a good time to part ways with the firm.  Just make sure that regardless of the message you and your boss share with others, the written separation agreement is perfectly clear that this is a layoff making you eligible for unemployment.

One of my favorite sources for employment-related advice is Ask A Manager.  Alison wrote an article about what to do if you're getting laid off that you can find here:  http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2013/06/26/what-to-do-if-youre-getting-laid-off

Wishing you all the best as you move through the process and explore your next moves!

little_brown_dog

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2016, 06:44:37 AM »
Yes try to negotiate…if possible, find out what the standard severance package would be for someone in law with your years of experience at a firm. If that is 3 months, flat out ask for it, don’t just accept whatever they offer unless it feels extremely generous to you.

I would go with the mutual decision discussion – it was mutual, you admit you have been unhappy and were already prepping to leave. Sure they pulled the trigger first, but you had your finger on the trigger already. You say that some of your closest friends are through work. You can fill them in on the details of your thinking ("I had started to become unhappy with the available work for a bit, so I started thinking about leaving, and then they were looking to downsize...so it made sense for both of us"). This is true and it doesn't make you look like a loser at all.


Giro

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #14 on: April 06, 2016, 07:04:56 AM »
Because of your career field, be careful using "lack of work" as the justification.  In my area, many firms expect the attorney's to bring in work and this could potentially negatively affect your job offers.  I've been on the hiring end, and we like to see attorneys that have built up business, it's one of our major criteria when we interview. 

I prefer to see things like 'not a great fit with the firm and left on good terms with letters of recommendation'. 

just my opinion tho.


lthenderson

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #15 on: April 06, 2016, 07:25:35 AM »
Congratulations! You are now free to pursue better and more meaningful employment. I've been laid off a handful of times over my lifetime, the nature of my profession these days, and everytime, I always ended up someplace better. I think being laid off is like looking for a new house. You know what you disliked at your old house/job and now know what to look for in the next house/job.

As others have said, everything is negotiable and the worst they can say is no because they have already laid you off.

I would not expound upon the reasons you are leaving in a letter to your coworkers. I would simply say you were laid off and your last day will be... Everything you say in that letter could come back to bite you in the ass. If you say it was mutual or your decision, it could be used if your employer chooses to contest your unemployment claim and all employers are given the chance to do that before your benefits start. Also, if you say things like it wasn't the right fit, or there was a lack of work, etc. that stuff could bite you when your new potential employer hears those reasons when calling your old employer to check references.

Some words of wisdom, while things are still fresh in your mind, compile a list of significant accomplishments you have done while employed at this employer. It comes in handy when interviewing for the next job. Also, ask trusted people you work with to write you a reference letter before you leave. I did that with several of my bosses after being let go and it did two things, it let my new employer know that my boss at the time thought highly of me even if the company didn't and I didn't have to wonder what might be said since I already knew.

I've been laid off and had a hard time finding work and other times found work fairly easily. Because of that, I tend to like finding a job right away and once it has been lined up, negotiate a date well out as a start date. This allows me to take advantage of severance packages, gives me time to have a sabbatical, and it makes changing locations much easier since I have plenty of time to find a place to live and get things set up. That way when I start my new job, I can devote myself fully to making a good first impression.

plog

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2016, 07:39:03 AM »
1. Yes, but what leverage do you really have? As for the computer, if they do let you have it, you won't want it.  Both the lawyers and IT will require it wiped clean, so in the end all you will have is an older model computer with nothing on it.  I'd start moving personal files from the hard drive to a thumb drive or something like Google Drive.   

2. The truth, maybe.  I'd say this is why people don't like lawyers and MBA's--always plotting and trying to sell and spin and position themselves.  Then again, your audience is a bunch of lawyers so maybe they expect that.  I know the wound is fresh and you feel like this reflects on you personally, but just accept it.  You did nothing illegal, you did nothing morally wrong, you didn't even do anything professionally wrong, you weren't fired for cause.  You were simply laid off. 

3. Yes, start living your life and being responsible for your own happiness. More than once I've heard divorced people say how the last X number of years they were married were just plain horrible...blah blah blah...every night...blah blah blah...the things he/she would always do...blah blah blah.  Those people think they are illiciting my pity, but all I have for them is disdain. At some point, when you accept an unhappy life you are solely responsible for having that unhappy life, even if its another person (or job) that is the horrible element in your life. 

Yes, you just had a big change in your life that you didn't initiate, but it was a change away from something you didn't really enjoy. So instead of 'So sorry', I say 'Congratulations'.       

asiljoy

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2016, 08:02:59 AM »
I was a high performer laid off in the name of 'transformation' about a year ago. Everyone was expecting the layoffs, but it was still a punch in the face. Whenever anyone says, "It's not personal", well, it wasn't personal for you, but it was incredibly personal to me and I went from angry to depressed to numb in fairly short order.

1) Yes, negotiate, at least for the laptop. They aren't going to use it.

2) 10 years is an enormous amount of time to be at 1 place. If co-workers follow lthenderson's advice and just say you were laid off. Anyone who works with you is already going to be well aware of the environment/etc. If you feel close, invite them out for a happy hour on your last day and keep in touch; always good to network. For future employers, just gloss over it with a generic answer along the lines of, "yeah, it was just time for a change."; the risk in interviews comes with putting your foot in your mouth by sharing too much detail.

3) Take a week to decompress, cry, punch things, eat a pint of ice cream while watching bad movies, and then start looking. You'll be better able to focus with all that out of your system. You say you're going to get a decent amount of severance and already have savings. Don't take a crap job because you're scared nothing else is going to come. This will set your career back more than the extra month unemployed ever could.

bobechs

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2016, 08:18:12 AM »
1. Yes, but what leverage do you really have? As for the computer, if they do let you have it, you won't want it.  Both the lawyers and IT will require it wiped clean, so in the end all you will have is an older model computer with nothing on it.  I'd start moving personal files from the hard drive to a thumb drive or something like Google Drive.   

2. The truth, maybe.  I'd say this is why people don't like lawyers and MBA's--always plotting and trying to sell and spin and position themselves.  Then again, your audience is a bunch of lawyers so maybe they expect that.  I know the wound is fresh and you feel like this reflects on you personally, but just accept it.  You did nothing illegal, you did nothing morally wrong, you didn't even do anything professionally wrong, you weren't fired for cause.  You were simply laid off. 

3. Yes, start living your life and being responsible for your own happiness. More than once I've heard divorced people say how the last X number of years they were married were just plain horrible...blah blah blah...every night...blah blah blah...the things he/she would always do...blah blah blah.  Those people think they are illiciting my pity, but all I have for them is disdain. At some point, when you accept an unhappy life you are solely responsible for having that unhappy life, even if its another person (or job) that is the horrible element in your life. 

Yes, you just had a big change in your life that you didn't initiate, but it was a change away from something you didn't really enjoy. So instead of 'So sorry', I say 'Congratulations'.     

I think this is good straight from the shoulder advice.

The whole resume-tweaking, right magic words in interviewing type of advice that bounces around the internet does not correspond to the reality of seeking and finding work.  Your career has just sustained a blow that created a hole below the waterline.  Things are not just fine and not just getting better all the time.  You can get through this anyway; millions do. 

Don't dwell upon trivia like hanging on to a used laptop.  You can re-laptop tomorrow for a couple of hundred dollars.  Don't dwell upon trivia like the exact wording of a statement that no one with a healthy sense of the deep bullshiting of self and world such words represent cannot see right through.

Noodle

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2016, 08:20:35 AM »
First of all, I'm so sorry. No matter how strong your financial foundation, having your life changed dramatically without your consent is no fun at all.

I've been in your shoes, and there are two things I'm glad I did, and one thing I wish I had.

First of all, I was in a similar situation with a pretty generous employer who was willing to work with me a bit on the process of departure (unlike those companies where they march you out with a box and change all your passwords while you're in with HR). One of the best things I did was to ask the key people, who then spread it to others, to treat my departure as if I were going on to something new and exciting and wonderful. Which I was, I just didn't know what it would be yet. There was no fudging as to it being a mutual decision (as others have pointed out, you need to have clear terms for your unemployment) but that gave people cues as how to act, and I had a going-away lunch, etc that made me feel much less as if I were sneaking out of the building, humiliated. Since most of your friends are work friends, that also makes them more comfortable maintaining contact without feeling torn between the entity that writes their paycheck, and your friendship.

Second, it just so happened that I was pretty sure I was going to need to move to find a new job, and the terms of my month-to-month lease were written so that notice could only be handed in on the first of the month. The layoff happened in the first week of the month, so I had a good 3.5 weeks left before I had to make a definitive decision. So I decided that my decision was to make a decision as of June 1, and to spend time until then researching various options, talking to people whose opinion I valued, etc. By the end of the month, I had a decision I was really comfortable with, and the fact that I had a deadline and a reason for it made people like my parents feel secure that I was making progress (instead of just procrastinating.) Of course, definitely get that unemployment claim in right away (it may have to wait until after your garden leave), but I recommend determining a "thinking" period for yourself instead of feeling pressured to "fix it" right away.

The thing that I wish I had done was to take more advantage of the sabbatical from work to travel, do some projects, etc. The combination of worrying about money, and not knowing when I might be going back to work, held me back but looking back I wish I had at least done some short road trips or spent more time visiting friends.

Other advice--use your leave time to get all your routine medical (dentist, dermatologist, physical) done while you are still guaranteed to be with your current drs., don't feel ashamed to let your network (online or IRL) know about your situation, when people say "what can I do?" ask for specifics...like coffee once a week. In my experience, people were really generous with their time and help but didn't always know what to offer.

Dee18

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2016, 09:35:19 AM »
Another lawyer here. So sorry to hear your news as I've been there too.

 I would not use language such as "not a great fit."  That's vague and could be read as you didn't get along with someone.  (That's what my current employer uses that language for.) In this era of law firm layoffs, saying you were laid off is not the negative it once was.  Be honest with yourself as you plan for your next job.  You were with the firm 10 years but it sounds like you were not generating business.  Would you be happier working where you don't have to? (I sure am!)  If so, consider government jobs.  There are openings for experienced attorneys in the Justice dept and other agencies.   

+1 with lining up your references.  Actually talk with the people you are considering to find out what they will say. You can remind them of your strengths.  Going ahead and getting some letters can help you know what they do think are your strengths (and who bothers to write a great letter).

As you negotiate, think about what matters...maybe you can get one more month than the initial offer.  Or maybe 4 months of part time work, if you would prefer that to keep benefits longer.  As for the computer...it's not worth much financially in the negotiation, so I'd work out the big stuff before mentioning it.I might long for that bit of familiarity, but as others have suggested you can save your docs and buy the same computer. 

Axecleaver

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2016, 10:20:26 AM »
The shame you're feeling is very common, especially where your identity is tightly coupled to your job. I lived through a layoff that lasted a year, and I sympathize. I felt exactly the same way.

So first things first, take care of you. Your new job is looking for work. Keep a routine. Make an effort to get out of the house daily. Some folks like to go to a library or coffee shop to stay close to the habit of going to work. Exercise every day. Make an effort to look for work, every day. If you need a week to decompress first, take it, but have a date in mind where you come back. Keep the same sleep schedule - don't sleep in until noon, get up at 7am like you always did.

Quote
I don't know how to do any of the healthcare-on-the-open-market thing, so I guess I should figure that out before my benefits go away.
Health insurance is so much easier to get for the unemployed and self-employed today. If you have no income, you are eligible for free healthcare under Medicaid. Your choice whether you want to use that, or pay out of pocket for a private plan through the exchange. You will not be eligible for a subsidized plan because you have no income. Do this as soon as you have your termination letter, it can take several months for Medicaid eligibility determinations. COBRA is generally a really bad deal for people who are laid off, it's usually more expensive and worse benefits than plans available on the Exchanges. Compare it, because your situation could be different, but don't take the lazy way out and just pay for COBRA.

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they'll spin it however I want...  Should I have them just say the truth that I was let go for lack of work and lack of foreseeable work for someone at my level?
I'm a big fan of the truth in these scenarios. As others have commented, be careful that you do not suggest that this was a mutual decision, which could affect your eligibility for unemployment. Make sure you get new contact info into the announcement - personal email, phone. It helps if others get lines on gigs to share with you and will assist your pre-termination networking efforts.

Negotiate:
* Last day in the office. This should be as soon as possible, leave yourself a week to get letters of recommendation from senior partners, network with anyone you can, and make sure everyone has your new contact info.
* Severance. Typical in my industry is one week per year of service. Could be different in yours. They're a couple of weeks short. This will be money well spent in their eyes. You will be signing something promising not to sue for improper termination in exchange.
* Try to modify the garden leave to terminate you sooner (as soon as you wrap up loose ends at work), but pay you the full, lump sum for severance. You can collect unemployment right away under this scenario. If you're not billing hours, it won't make a difference to them.

I wouldn't bother with the work laptop. You can replace it with a refurb off newegg for $200. Burn all your files to a CD or upload them to google docs or one of the cloud filesharing services. Good luck!

lthenderson

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2016, 01:51:00 PM »
* Try to modify the garden leave to terminate you sooner (as soon as you wrap up loose ends at work), but pay you the full, lump sum for severance. You can collect unemployment right away under this scenario.

In my experience, this isn't the case unless your employer lies to the unemployment office. I have been given three lump sums over the years but unemployment doesn't start until your severance period is over. Most states make you file for unemployment for a week or two before you are eligible to collect so make sure you find out the rules in your state. You can start filing before your severance period is over so you qualify for a check the first week after your severance period.

nobody123

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2016, 07:18:49 AM »
Okay, to summarize my ramblings, I'm putting this out there for your thoughts on:
(1)  Should I try to negotiate some of the terms of this separation agreement, such as length of garden leave and the laptop?
(2)  What messaging makes me look least idiotic to my group?  I should mention here that I have sacrificed much of "life" in favor of "work," and, as such, my best friends are people that I work with.  I'm scared about being very lonely after this ends and how little I will see my friends or how awkward it will be when we do see each other.
(3)  Any other words of wisdom or face punches?

1.  They want you out, why negotiate to stay longer and prolong your misery.  See if they'll give you a lump sum to go away today so you can begin your job search without any sense of obligation to your old firm.  The laptop is a silly request as others have said -- the IT folks will most likely have to wipe it because they own the licenses to whatever software is installed on it, don't want you to take client info, etc.  If they are directly paying for your cell phone, I would request that they allow you to keep your number (have it transferred to a personal account you set up).

2.  The only messaging you should care about is what the firm will tell the unemployment office / future employers.  Your colleagues will know that you were laid off regardless of whatever memo your boss puts out, either because they aren't idiots and know what is going on at work, or you will tell them because they are your friends.

3.  Sh*t happens and folks get let go all of time for reasons out of their control, don't let it get you down.  I would ask your boss what skills you should improve upon while you transition to your next job, and ask if they'd be willing to write a letter of recommendation / be a reference going forward.

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2016, 07:55:36 AM »
Dust off your optimism gun and blow this one away!

Here's a real opportunity to push the reset button on your life.
You have the severance/EI benefits as a cushion, you already have the education and experience that you need, you have MMM ideals, you're young, healthy, on and on...

Once you get over the shock; you'll be fine.   Better than fine.

AZDude

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2016, 08:58:16 AM »
Look at this positively! You just got a two month paid vacation!

If you have the funds, then I would say take a month off to travel at the very least, and then come back refreshed and look for something better. Sounds like you were probably headed out anyway, so this way they just gave you the kick in the pants you needed to actually do it.

Good luck!

trashmanz

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2016, 02:36:41 PM »
Well, I dont' think the laptop is a silly request, I know at least one person that has left a firm position and was able to take their laptop.  If it is a good laptop and you need it, why not ask?  Typically it is not a huge expense for the firm.

In any case, seems like a good chance to re-evaluate life and see what matters.  Definitely a good chance to expand your friend network to people outside of firm life. 

Gizsuat2

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2016, 10:50:10 PM »
Something similar happened to me early in my legal career, and if I could go back I would (1) give myself a hug, (2) tell myself this had very little to do with me as a person, and (3) go buy a bottle of champagne, because even though it felt like my life was ending, it was just getting started.  Getting fired was the best possible thing that could have happened to me, no joke. 

You might seriously consider looking at the Live Your Legend blog.  He has a lot of information there about the getting laid off scenario, and suggests that you do absolutely nothing the first weeks, months, year if you can.

One last thought: In my current line of work, I see that people pretty regularly do awful things to their lives or have awful things happen in their lives.  And to my unending surprise, most of those people get up, carry on, and make a better life for themselves. 

Hugs to you.

chesebert

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2016, 03:20:56 PM »
Good luck!

However, very slight face punch from me for not being FIREd at the 10yr mark. You should have generated no less than $2.5 million in total earnings in the 10 years you have been practicing. By any modest calculation you should be FIREd (or very close).

Also, I would tell it like it is, no reason to hide the facts.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 03:22:59 PM by chesebert »

MrsTuxedocat

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2016, 10:26:08 PM »
First off, keep your chin up! It is nothing to be embarrassed about. Life happens. I think you should just tell your colleagues truth like you were busy with case x and didn't drum up enough business.

I think you should negotiate your severance package. Two months paid work when you worked there for 10 years? Nope, don't think so. From my (limited) understanding that it's usually one month severance per year. It is negotiable. You really have nothing to lose. You are worth it.


Beardog

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Re: Laid off. Now what?
« Reply #30 on: April 10, 2016, 03:58:18 PM »
I was laid off in my first tech job after making a mid-life career switch.  I could tell the manager who broke the news to me felt really badly about it and I spontaneously gave her a hug to let her know there were no bad feelings on my part.  Not only did she provide me with stellar recommendations going forward (although she was new and didn't really know me) but she also managed to give me a contract position that paid me a relatively large amount of money and served as a severance of sorts. 

But the real reason I write is to suggest that you might offer to help your employer after you leave with any part time work that might come up that they need assistance with.  Even though you might not feel that great about the organization, from a practical point of view you might end up picking up some cash that will help in the coming months.  I've always felt that the fact that I could list a consulting job on my resume with the same organization that laid me off was strong evidence to my next employer that my being laid off was not because I was a bad employee.

And no matter how much you didn't like what the direction your group was taking or may not feel good about your employer, I think it is wise to stay as positive as you can in your interactions with them, especially if you are not FI and may need a reference.

Lastly, you say you do not have your own computer and you were in the process of updating your resume and reaching out to recruiters, presumably using your employer provided lap top.  It is risky to do anything like that on an employer's computer.  You never know what your employer may be looking at if your laptop is connected to an internal network.

I wish you the best of luck and hope that many exciting new opportunities come your way as you begin this new journey.