Author Topic: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?  (Read 4473 times)

Kiwi Mustache

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I'm 27 and have been working full time for 7 years since finishing university.

I've been fortunate to never come across redundancies in companies I've worked for (me or co-workers) but realise this is part of reality so want to hear people's stories and how best to prepare for it. My partner and I would look to have children within the next couple of years, and we would like her to be a stay at home mother if she chooses to/likes it. A redundancy on top of this seems rather stressful so wanting to know how you prepare for it?

We own two rental properties that are just about cash neutral at the moment. Net worth around 400k, debt around 900k. I earn 65k and she earns 75k.


joeypants

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2016, 03:57:51 PM »
It's happened to me before, and to friends I have. It's an inevitability in the industry I work in, unfortunately, and it won't be the last time I or friends of mine will  go through it. By far the best thing I'd done to prepare was having a respectable emergency fund that took some of the financial pressure off of myself.

Thankfully, I found an even better job less than week after being laid off, and before I actually had to stop coming in to the job I had just lost, but it was a really scary few days! I can't imagine being in that situation and working in an industry that doesn't hire as much as mine does... It's amazing the things getting laid off can do to a person's self esteem!
« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 04:19:15 PM by joeypants »

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2016, 05:17:11 PM »
In the US, we call it being "laid off".  The concept is the same - typically a reduction in staff, and you're sent packing.   

This has happened to me a couple of times.  The first time was YEARS ago. I had just turned away a recruiter who wanted me to interview for this 'great company' because the company I was with was 'so awesome'.  The day after the layoff the same recruiter called, and said the job was still available... would I be interested... (Wood Eye!!)  I was employed (MS) within a month, and spent the
'between time' travelling cross-country.

The next 'layoff' was from a company that lays off the bottom 10% of performers every year.  [the Sandy Weill / Goldman Sachs model].  A charged 'office politics' environment to say the least.  I never imagined I could be considered in the bottom 10%, but in the midst of divorce, my manager saw an opportunity, knife-in-the-back-insertion = success.  I had the choice of going on a Performance Improvement Plan, or take an offer to 'resign' with 2 months pay-with-benefits, and leave immediately.  Having been on BOTH sides of the manager desk, I know a PIP is a management 'tool' for getting rid of someone - the 'plan' puts the employee through hell, and no matter how well they do, the manager always finds flaws.  So I took the resignation offer.  It took 3 months to find a new gig because I had put out no feelers, did not have my resume up to date, and was dealing with the divorce proceedings.  But in the end, I ended up in a better company environment (making less $$, and lowered spousal maintenance costs), and lower stress due to less back-stabbing office politics.

Things you can do to manage redundancy impact:
* Keep your resume up-to-date
* Network with co-workers via LinkedIn, Meetup groups,(and/or similar social networking websites)
* When redundancy happens, don't be embarrassed - put out the word RIGHT AWAY via your network(s): 
     "Great worker newly available. Know of any good gigs?"

oneday

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2016, 10:19:42 PM »
Mother Fussbudget covers the preparation pretty well.  I would add for people in the US and maybe other parts of the world: apply for unemployment right away.  The waiting period before benefits kick in starts the day you apply, not the day employment ends.  Or so I have been told.

Also, make a financial plan ahead of time (besides emergency fund, plan to liquidate investments, cut expenses, etc). 

Below is my tale.  I think the warning sign was that under the new ownership, the client list was not intentionally grown.  It was allowed to stagnate; there's always someone terminating services for some reason and without anyone actively bringing in new clients, the business eventually becomes revenue negative.

I had been working for a very small company.  The owner had 5 employees when I started (including me) and was down to 4 by the time I had been there four years.  The owner was past retirement age; early to mid 70's.  But he loved working & the rumor was his father had died at his desk & he planned to as well. 

His plans changed, I guess, or the rumor was never true.  He sold the firm to a larger firm (100 or so employees).  We four continued to operate as as a satellite office, taking care of existing clients, while the former owner worked as a contract salesman to provide "continuity" to the clients (he had been the face of the business to these clients in some cases 25+ years).

One year later, I guess our revenues dwindled too low & they came in one Friday for the normal team meeting, but instead of making an action plan, laid us all off and turned our clients over to case managers in the main office.

Faraday

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2016, 11:07:21 PM »
... would I be interested... (Wood Eye!!) 

Mother Fussbudget, you just made my "List of Top 10 Hotties On MMM". :-)

Things you can do to manage redundancy impact:
* Keep your resume up-to-date
* Network with co-workers via LinkedIn, Meetup groups,(and/or similar social networking websites)
* When redundancy happens, don't be embarrassed - put out the word RIGHT AWAY via your network(s): 
     "Great worker newly available. Know of any good gigs?"

May I add a few more to this?
- Keeping your resume up-to-date includes knowing how to write a resume and what type works best for you:
http://www.americasjobexchange.com/career-advice/types-of-resume-formats

- "Networking" includes both online and live-in-person. It's important to do both and not rely only on one or the other.

- When networking, don't make your unemployment the topic of discussion, make it your objective to find out about a company and what's going on there, and see if you can solve any of their problems with your skills.

- When using LinkedIn, don't put "Searching for new opportunities" in place of your Occupation. You don't stop being who you are if you lose your job.

- If your occupation includes/ requires certifications, keep your certs up-to-date.

- It's very important to target the companies you want to work for, and you target a company when you find out if they need your skills or not.

- Even better is to have good friends who are inside at your target companies. You want them to be able to "vouch" for you. Some people use the term "recommend", but a recommendation can take many forms and it doesn't have to be something that obligates the recommender. Sometimes it's just "Yeah, he plays well with others and can do the job".

- Live, eat, breathe the mustachian lifestyle. You really don't want to HAVE to sell anything to make it from one job to the next job. Frugality will take you through times of unemployment Like-A-Boss.

- Don't sit inside all day long on the interwebz looking for work. Intersperse internet sessions with real human contact.

- Read whatever business journals you can get your hands on. It helps to know "Company A" didn't get back to you about their fantastic new job opening because their CFO quit and all hiring is on hold until new CFO comes onboard.

- Know what companies and jobs NOT to take. You don't really want to land in a Really Crappy Place just for a paycheck. You want to try to make that new job your Next Great Thing because you need to be making a great name for yourself, not just holding onto a buoy in a storm.

- When your manager asks you "How can I help", be ready to ask for all the office supplies you can carry out. Be bold and shameless. Ask them to give you the damn laptop if you want to.

- Don't be afraid to pay down your mortgage principal as early as possible, it gives you some really nice options if you are laid off and you are way ahead on your payments.

- Most importantly, Don't Panic! (Thanks Doug Adams) You must cultivate confidence, authority and capability. You'll need those positive attributes in spaces to ace your interviews.

What gives me cred? I've experienced layoffs over 16 times and been affected personally by 4. Was laid off when wife was pregnant with each of our two sons and once after we had bought a new car.  I've been in IT most of my career and worked for many firms that failed and closed their doors. NAFTA was the "clean shot" that killed several former employers.  The last time I was laid off was positively joyous, a temporary version of FIRE. After 2.5 months of freedom I went on to my Next Great Thing. That position  fit my work history and interests even better than the prior job did.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2016, 11:15:57 PM by Faraday »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2016, 11:23:07 PM »
Just happened to my husband a few months ago. We're fine with it as it just meant that he got a few extra months lead time for his retirement as he was planning on turning in his notice in July. If they'd just waited a few more months, he was quitting and they wouldn't have had to pay for unemployment. :D

He suspected that layoffs were coming due to the mad rush of them demanding everyone get crazy far ahead on their projects. They were usually just a few weeks ahead of each cycle of due dates, but they spent the last quarter of 2015 and the first of this year pushing to get months ahead of the work. They shut down any overtime, started telling everyone that money was tight and to not expect any wage increases or raises, and for the first time in the near decade that husband had been working there, they were not actively interviewing for new hires and not replacing any that left; just shoving their work on other current team members. So he definitely called it months ago.

He didn't really expect the layoffs to include him (he's a long-timer, dependable and fast worker with awards and even was named employee of the month twice in the last couple of years), but I told him that answering the questions on his review paperwork with really cheeky stuff like "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" with "retired" was bound to put him on their shit list and he shouldn't have been surprised when they called him on this stuff... ~eyeroll~

But he never would have been that silly about his reviews if he hadn't already been perfectly capable of leaving at that point. ;)

You might see changes happening to your job that indicates the company is going through money troubles and plan to work as much as you can and cut expenses to the bone while also looking for better opportunities. But mostly, there is no warning, and in that case it really is simple - live well below your means, save and invest wisely and keep an eye on what else is out there for you to jump to if necessary, and keep your skills sharp and your performance stellar.

Rezdent

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2016, 07:04:14 AM »
All great advice here.
I just want to add that it's happened to me a few times over the years.

I always went through a roller-coaster of emotions over the few days afterwards.
Fear
anger
regret (did I not work hard enough?)
unworthiness (you mean they really didn't like me?)
loss

Mentally, it's difficult for me to interview well in that state.  I usually just took it easy for a few days to get over it before I start looking for the next job.


Laserjet3051

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2016, 08:31:53 AM »
I'm constantly asking the question as to what I can do right now to hlep me prepare for the next time I am made redundant, and make no mistake, it is not a matter of IF it will come, but rather, WHEN it will happen. Having been through this too many times, my best advice to prepare is to eliminate/reduce ALL debt as is possible and build up an emergency fund that matches your expected monthly expenses x expected months to secure new employment. Regarding debts, mortgages and student loans have special considerations.  Estimating # of months between jobs can be difficult to impossible.  Abandon your hubris and plan for the worst (extended unemployment), if you line up a new gig quickly, then great.  If not, then at least you will have EF $ to support basic survival.

And of course, one should always be networking and keeping their ear to the ground regarding jobs, companies, where friends are working etc. You never know when you will need to tap that info/network. After my 2nd layoff, I now am ALWAYS looking for a new job, though I will only pull the trigger, if needed (termination).


skekses

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2016, 09:39:29 AM »
I lost my job in 2008. We had always been told that if we could find a way to align our career interests with the firm's needs, then they would work with us to make that happen. I approached them in 2007 saying that I wanted to stay with the firm, but I was burned out on audit and wanted to switch to outsourcing. They agreed and we decided the transition would happen in six months. Six long months later the world was burning and they didn't have any work for me in the new position. They said I had a choice, I could either be laid off or I could go work in a different audit department that they were trying to build up. Since I was even more burned out than when I first approached them, I did not have the energy for anything in audit much less a transitioning department. I accepted the layoff and walked out of the door. It was like letting go of all sense of control, grasping for the parachute that says "believe in yourself", and falling into the abyss.

It was scary. Who willingly leaves their job during a time like that? I did for a few reasons:
1. I was pretty sure one of my former clients was going to hire me and if not them, then surely someone would need an accountant
2. I had some savings that would allow me to pay my required bills for several months and I was capable of shutting down all unnecessary spending
3. If things got really bad, I had family that I was confident would catch me before I fell entirely into destitution

It all worked out. My client did hire me and I ended up with two months off to rest and take care of some things. In hindsight, thanks for the layoff, old firm! You cut a cord that I couldn't.

Axecleaver

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2016, 10:11:03 AM »
Great thread! Some great basic advice here already. Mother Fussbudget, Faraday and FG in particular.

I have been on both sides of layoffs. As bad as it was being the employee waiting for the axe to fall, the mental anguish you go through as a manager was worse. A piece of advice I give to managers is to keep an ordered list of all of your people in all departments, organized top to bottom based on quality/performance/who you can afford to least lose, and maintain it at least quarterly. Because when a layoff comes, it's easy to let go of the worst performer, but the cuts always reach deep into your team's competent middle. You had better be prepared for this.

The key to understanding layoffs is that it can happen to anyone. It has nothing to do with your performance, little with how well you're liked by your peers, managers, or the VP.

The best prep is
1. Maintaining your good job skills. Keep your certs current, your resume up to date, and your most marketable job skills sharp.
2. Have an emergency fund. At least three months, but even this is not perfect. I spent a year unemployed.
3. An aggressive plan with your SO for austerity.
4. Active Networking prior to the layoff. Once the blood starts flowing, jobs in your market will be extremely competitive. When we knew a competitor was planning a layoff, we had action plans for snapping up the top 20% in the weeks before the layoff, once the news actually hits, most of the jobs are already gone.

I got top performance marks in almost every professional job I've had in my lifetime. I'm in the top 1-5% of performers, consistently. But even this doesn't save you when the layoffs arrive. I was laid off from full time jobs three times in my life. I'm not even going to mention the work I did as an independent contractor, that stuff can end with no notice at all. I think I've lost about 5-6 of these with little to no notice.

First time as a consultant in a small consulting firm. Two partners owned the company, decided they hated each other, and shut it down unexpectedly. I got about two days notice. The next day, with help from the partner I liked, I incorporated my first LLC and started work with him on one of his contracts.

Second time  was working for a .com during the Internet boom, we had known for months this was coming. At one point valued over a billion dollars, the company laid off over 50% of us. I would spend over a year unemployed, and we were one payment away from going into foreclosure on our house when I got my next job (a major step down in terms of pay and responsibility). I was a little full of myself and learned a lot of humility from this experience.

Layoffs also led to some really great times. The best summer of my life was after an unexpected layoff as an independent. I'd lost a contract unexpectedly a few months earlier, and learned my lesson. We had money in the bank, so I spent every summer morning trout fishing, drinking beer and eating what I caught at sunset, and spending no more than an hour a day looking for work. We spent almost nothing, and I found another gig in late August as summer drew to a close.

Slee_stack

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2016, 10:30:24 AM »
There's already good advice listed herein.

A simple way to eliminate the chance you will get laid off is to ensure you are more valuable to hold onto than get rid of.

Of course there really isn't a 100% surefire way to avoid layoff since politics or ineptitude up the food chain may result in your severance anyway.  If you are truly a producer though, someone will want you in fairly short order.

It is foreign to me that anyone could become 'redundant' by their own volition.  If you serve a function that other people (or technology) do better, what have you personally done to improve your skills/value in the interim?

If the answer to that question is 'nothing', I presume you would have expected to be let go for quite some time.

I've been laid off in the past.  I worked for a company location that had 1200 people when the first lay off hit, halving the employees.  Eventually I walked out the door two years later when there were 34 people left.  Why did I 'last' so long?  I provided skills/ideas/views that most others didn't have or weren't interested in practicing.  I began another job shortly afterward.

Too many people don't want to be bothered beyond their immediate task/role.  They want to put their head down and just do their day in - day out.  This is fine enough....for awhile, but it is also very risky as chances are, that person has become stagnant.

Always learn new skills and/or think outside your direct role.  Be an 'idea' person and find interest in other areas within your business.  Always grow.  If you work for a business that suppresses this, start job hunting now...you are in a dead end.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 10:34:14 AM by Slee_stack »

Faraday

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2016, 11:01:35 AM »
I want to amplify and comment on what Axecleaver offered....he's got some real nuggets of wisdom here....

....
I have been on both sides of layoffs. As bad as it was being the employee waiting for the axe to fall, the mental anguish you go through as a manager was worse. A piece of advice I give to managers is to keep an ordered list of all of your people in all departments, organized top to bottom based on quality/performance/who you can afford to least lose, and maintain it at least quarterly. Because when a layoff comes, it's easy to let go of the worst performer, but the cuts always reach deep into your team's competent middle. You had better be prepared for this.

I really DON'T like what you wrote here Axecleaver, but truth is truth and this is probably the only tool a manager has for coping with layoff. The reason I really DON'T like it is because it perpetuates the myth that people get laid off "for cause". In my own experience that's been bullshit because all my experience with layoff (whether I was affected or not) were management or sales problems. It all boils down to cash flow. If a company is using layoff to "get rid of the dead wood" then the management is demonstrating that they are chickenshit and don't know how to fire someone without risking a lawsuit. Man (or woman) up and get a clue.

The key to understanding layoffs is that it can happen to anyone. It has nothing to do with your performance, little with how well you're liked by your peers, managers, or the VP.

+1 True, a thousand times true. It all comes down to cash flow.

Layoffs also led to some really great times. The best summer of my life was after an unexpected layoff as an independent. I'd lost a contract unexpectedly a few months earlier, and learned my lesson. We had money in the bank, so I spent every summer morning trout fishing, drinking beer and eating what I caught at sunset, and spending no more than an hour a day looking for work. We spent almost nothing, and I found another gig in late August as summer drew to a close.

I can't say enough that this is exactly the attitude anyone SHOULD have going into a layoff. A minimum of 2 years of mustachian prep can give you this kind of layoff experience. Even more years and you can simulate temporary FIRE. For some, the layoff (or early retirement) package can be so good that it can put them over the edge and into FIRE.

If you find yourself laid off and in a panic because you are about to lose your house/car/boat/whatever, then you are doing it wrong. :-) :-) :-) (to paraphrase MMM's blog post)


I DON'T want to hijack this thread, but I would like to ask a question of those who are reading it, and of the OP:

The topic of layoffs is important to me because labor and business issues are important to me. So much that I've considered writing a thread here about it.  What's your opinion? Would you be interested in such a thread?
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 11:04:37 AM by Faraday »

Axecleaver

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2016, 11:46:26 AM »
Quote
Quote from: Axecleaver on Today at 10:11:03 AM
...keep an ordered list of all of your people in all departments, organized top to bottom based on quality/performance/who you can afford to least lose, and maintain it at least quarterly.

The reason I really DON'T like it is because it perpetuates the myth that people get laid off "for cause". In my own experience that's been bullshit because all my experience with layoff (whether I was affected or not) were management or sales problems.
Couldn't agree with you more. Most layoff situations involve getting rid of people who are competent and good at their jobs. Weak managers will use some arbitrary rule like seniority to avoid responsibility for who gets cut. In management, most of your job is cleaning up messes that someone else made. Layoffs are no different. I'm advocating being prepared for making hard choices.

I agree with you 100% that being good at your job, providing value, managing relationships at work, etc still doesn't mean you're not going to get caught up in a layoff.

PS: Would definitely participate in threads about labor/business issues. I try to scan AAM for career advice and small business threads.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2016, 10:48:02 PM »
As someone dealing with her husband being laid off recently, this is all heartening to hear. So far no stories about being laid off and having one's career be completely derailed. Thank you for sharing your stories!

mozar

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2016, 06:15:48 PM »
Quote
As someone dealing with her husband being laid off recently, this is all heartening to hear. So far no stories about being laid off and having one's career be completely derailed. Thank you for sharing your stories!

That's a really good point. Everything turns out fine if you keep trying.

Faraday

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2016, 09:39:10 PM »
As someone dealing with her husband being laid off recently, this is all heartening to hear. So far no stories about being laid off and having one's career be completely derailed. Thank you for sharing your stories!

Hi Lanthiriel - please, let me share some thoughts with you about that:

1) There is absolutely no reason layoff should derail his career. He still is the fellow he was the day before the layoff, still has the skills. He must still "call himself" by that trade or skill or title.

2) Don't make a linkedin profile saying "searching for opportunities" where the job title should be. Your LinkedIn profile must describe what you do so people can find you to send you job opportunities. If he has already done that, change it so that his title or desired job is in the heading, not words for "I'm unemployed". That's not actionable information.

3) While you likely can't keep a layoff a secret, don't discuss it freely and don't share it if you don't have to. You are under  NO OBLIGATION to share information that specific, and in the US, if someone calls a prior employer to verify employment, they will give a start and end date, but that's all. No one "verifies" that anyone has been laid off. The HOW/WHY of it is a personnel matter that is NOT PUBLIC INFORMATION.

4) In an interview situation, it's important to handle the question of "were you laid off" with finesse. In the US, that question is actually out of bounds. But if you feel comfortable that it's someone who won't take advantage of you, then it might be OK. My overall advice is not to share that information in an interview if at all possible. NOTE: if your husband is still within his NOTIFICATION PERIOD, then at this time, he is in fact NOT laid off. He will only be laid of when his termination date has come-and-gone.

5) Don't try to jump from one field to a new field unless you have special advantages that make such a jump feasible. You are abandoning all your prior experience and skills and the labor pool is so glutted that employers rarely have to consider a candidate who is switching what they do - they can always find someone more experienced.

That's all I can come up with on the top of my head....if you have any questions, shoot 'em to the thread...
« Last Edit: June 02, 2016, 09:42:02 PM by Faraday »

pdxvandal

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Re: Tell me about the time you got made redundant/lost your job?
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2016, 10:33:32 PM »
I got laid off in 2014 after six years with a global company. Kind of blind-sided me, but lots of turmoil in my entire tenure there, so not shocking at the same time. Agree with previous poster that sometimes politics/bad leadership play into these decisions. I always had good reviews, just think the new big boss wanted to shake it up and save costs by hiring a younger person for less.

My severance was like for 4 months, and I found another gig about 7 weeks into unemployment, so I was double-dipping a bit ... and with a lot less stress with the new employer.

I found another gig about a year ago and it's going fine. I think I even mentioned the layoff in the interview, and it didn't seem to affect my candidacy.

So, 7 weeks of unemployment in 20 years of work. Let your resume speak for itself.