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Ask HN: Laid off today for the first time, anything to be wary of? Advice?
112 points by layoffthrowaway on Jan 13, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 93 comments
Hello HN, posting under a throwaway since I've been around for quite a while.

Long story short, I got laid off this morning for the first time ever (without cause). The reason for the termination was cited as an internal re-org. Truth be told I was planning on quitting at 3pm during my bi-weekly one-on-one with the CTO, so I'm taking it in stride/happy.

I've worked here just under a year. The company is paying me 4 weeks salary as severance, with medical benefits ending 1 week after pay ends. This is contigent upon my signing a release which essentially ensures I maintain confidentiality and prevents me about the company publicly, due one week today.

Just posting to ask if there's anything I should be wary of, and if there's any advice from people who've been through a similar situation, thanks!

1. You must reframe the situation as quick as possible. Don't think, 'shit, why me, what happened, am I not good enough?' Such thoughts bring you a vicious cycle. You must treat this situation as the best thing ever happened, you must be happy about it. And I promise you, heck I bet $10,000 that you'll tell us in one year that this lay-off was the best thing ever happened and led you to x, y and z. So, basically it's not reframing or lying to yourself—no, what happened was really the BEST what could have happened (so, I just did the reframing for you). Change is always good and rarely gets triggered by oneself.

2. Reach out to as many people as possible, preferably people outside the company. Most people from the company won't help you and even if they did, they just remind you of the company again, what happened and this brings you again to a bad state and you need to start at zero and reframe again. Just let them go, all of them, really. So, look for prior peers, old friends. Further, write applications or just plain emails to many CEOs and tell them that you are out. You don't have to write that you look for a job. Just get into conversations with as many people as possible. It's more about staying connected and keeping a social context (after you lost the one of the company) than finding the next job.

3. Work on a pet project with a technology you always wanted to work with, get into flow and put it online. This will be the most fun and will give you tons of self-confidence in a very short time.

You should spend 30% of your day on 2 and 70% on 3 and 0% on thinking about the past.

Sounds good?

* Work on a pet project with a technology you always wanted to work with, get into flow and put it online. This will be the most fun and will give you tons of self-confidence in a very short time.*

In addition to the personal mental benefits, as a hiring manager, I would look favorably on this. It shows initiative. It shows that you aren't wasting your time between jobs. Should your unemployment extend to a few months or more, if you can show you were doing something useful, that's a huge plus.

This is great advice. I'd like to add emphasis to the importance of creating something that is tangible and complete. The extra effort it takes to actually host and launch a web application or to release an app to the app store will go a long way to greatly improve the weight and impact of your project to your next potential employer.

While that's certainly true, I wouldn't be put off if you just had the app side-loaded or webpage/DB hosted locally.

Having anything functional will put you ahead of the majority of candidates I see (DC area, enterprise software, so def. not the same market as SV/NorCal or start-ups in general).

I don't know about "reframing". I've been laid off twice, both due to company politics/direction issues that had nothing to do with me. It's not "reframing", it's recognizing the reality of the situation, rather than ascribing reality to how I felt about the situation. In my case, I permitted myself to cry and moan about it, for about 15 minutes. Then it was time to put that behind me.

You got four weeks pay? Then don't work 30% on 2 and 70% on 3. Work at least 30% on 2, and as much more than that as you can usefully do in any given day. Treat it like a job. Don't stop unless there's really nothing more you can do that day. Fill up the remaining time with 3 (don't do make-work on 2).

I can confirm your sentiment. I got laid off from a job. It turned out to be fantastic.

Good advice. I fell into a vicious cycle my first layoff and it wasn't fun. Turns out it was a great thing that happened.

> 1. You must reframe the situation as quick as possible. Don't think, 'shit, why me, what happened, am I not good enough?' Such thoughts bring you a vicious cycle. You must treat this situation as the best thing ever happened, you must be happy about it. And I promise you, heck I bet $10,000 that you'll tell us in one year that this lay-off was the best thing ever happened and led you to x, y and z.

Positivity that isn't based on logic is wrong, just like negativity that isn't based on logic is wrong.

It's better to be honest with yourself about any given situation. Accept what you could have done better at without feeling inadequate. Recognize what you did well at without feeling complacent. You grow in response to your failures, not your successes.

Recognize what was good about the job and what you'll miss, so you can factor it into your next search. And obviously avoid the bad parts. If making yourself believe the job was only bad in an effort to save face and stay positive leads you to seek out the opposite, that's likely counter-productive.

These situations are rarely black and white. Everyone has a combination of failures/micro-failures, successes/micro-successes at every job whether they get fired/laid off or not. So there's plenty of logic to refraining from beating yourself up. Seeing a situation clearly and learning lessons from it happens more easily in hindsight than when you're stuck in it. So there's a lot of value in thinking about the past, if it's for the right reasons.

Staying dispassionate is more important than staying positive.

Your message is basically 'learn from your mistakes' which would be usually a good advice. But in this special situation he just shouldn't.


- You don't have the time and the energy to do so; the risk of getting depressed or apathetic in such situations is quite high (once you are depressed you have another problem you don't want and can deal with); so discipline is the most important thing; to stay disciplined you MUST stay positive, 100%; thinking about 'micro-failures' doesn't help your mood; and btw, every situation can be seen positive or negative, you remember when people say the glass is half-full?

- Maybe the OP didn't do anything wrong, how do you want to know? Maybe it was the financial situation of the company, or they changed the product strategy over night or, or, or...; he might never find out the real reason, so any time spent on such thoughts is wasted time he could use for new endeavors

- Maybe in a year he can think back and learn from failures; but you know what, he doesn't have to sit down, think and learn from potential failures now: I am pretty sure that when he faces similar situations in future where he did mistakes in the past, he will remember and will act accordingly and automatically without the need to prepare himself

The glass half full metaphor doesn't apply, it's about deciding the overall balance of a situation. This is different, it's about recognizing both the good and bad aspects of a situation. They're equally important and it's not about deciding between them. Being honest about both, right now, not a year from now, tells me what I need to adjust in my life so I make the best decision about what to do next.

When things are difficult is the most important time to be starting to build and have access to robust coping skills. Otherwise, when would you?

It's rare in life to get honest and blunt feedback about mistakes and you can either take the opportunity or ignore it. Building up criticism or rejection as such scary things that they have to be faced with denial is just another way of giving them too much weight and letting them control you.

If clinical depression is involved, by all means get professional help and don't get it through HN.

Regarding 2, should these be CEOs OP knows directly already or just cold emails? Can you give an example of what one of these emails would look like?

It's of course always better if you know the CEOs in person or can get in touch via intro.

If you don't know them but there is some connection to them or to their company and if it's just that you like their product or brand, just write them. People say that cold mails are bad. I think they are only bad if you could have reached the person via intro. Otherwise they are better than doing nothing. And at the end, it's just a number game.

Re the emails and how they should look like: there is really no right and wrong. The best advice I can give: Just imagine if you were writing a good friend. Then your email will be balanced: not too needy or too formal. Keep it short, tell him who you are, why you write him and suggest a next step.

Since you were laid off and didn't quit or were fired, you should head down to the unemployment office so you can start collecting. You don't know how long it will be before you find a new job, and the bills will keep coming in. You may have savings, but there is no need to blow through it when you've been paying into the safety net.

I agree with this recommendation. It's easy to do, has simple ongoing requirements (that you are applying for jobs), and while it's not going to be a lot of money, it's fairly dependable money. Set up an alarm to submit your weekly reports, and that's it.

Honestly, this would be the first thing I would do, though, since you've been there less than a year, I'm not sure if you would get the 'max' or not. In CA, that's about $450/wk.

I would recommend checking the box to take the taxes out when submitting your forms. Or however they have it set up online now.

I second the other suggestions about letting it be known that you're available for hire. I assume that you might have already been putting out feelers since you were planning on quitting anyway.

I cannot recommend this enough. In the dot com bomb I didn't do so at first thinking I would surely get a job and that applying for unemployment would be a huge amount of red tape.

I was wrong. It is drop dead easy. Do it before all else, it is why you have been paying for that insurance.

I was laid off years ago and I didn't do this. I wish I had. I was young and no one told me I could.

I was only unemployed a month and a half but it still would have been nice to collect since I'd been paying into it.

This. More to the point, depending on your jurisdiction, you could lose benefits by not applying right away. In CA years ago, for example, you lost 25% for each quarter after the job loss -- take a year off and it was all gone.

If you are not hard up for money you should immediately look for a nice trip somewhere. Be flexible with location instead of time to get a good price. Take three weeks off. Nice places this time of year might be Cuba, Thailand, Costa Rica, Florida, or Big Sky.

Polish your resume on the plane.

Be careful. Especially if you have some money, it's really tempting to go "Wow, I have some time off for the first time in ages."

On the one hand, you may come back and land a job in two weeks and you might kick yourself for jumping right back in. However, just as possible--and it's easy to get a distorted view from sites like this--the process could take quite a few months. And, if that's the case, you might regret adding a month to the process, especially if events happen in the interim that make finding a job harder for whatever reason.

You absolutely can take some time off and work on projects, go hiking etc. For technical professionals, it's probably not that useful to make direct job hunting an 8 hr. per day task.However, there are advantages to making it a continuous process even if it's only part time. (Also, as someone else mentioned, there may be reasons to make it continuous because of unemployment benefits.)

If one is comfortable financially, I certainly wouldn't say you can't take off on a modest vacation. But it is a bit of a gamble.

I agree with this one. You are never so free as you are between jobs (for whatever reason). Even if you can't afford to take a far away trip, go see family for a week, drive somewhere new, or just goof off all week for a week.

...but yea, also file for unemployment immediately. Your former employer paid for that safety net.

I really agree with this as well. Jumping right into another job at another company can have its draw backs. If you can afford to, take a trip and change your perspective and reflect about what you want next for yourself.

When a potential employer inquires as to a gap in time on your CV just say you went and did some traveling and "recharged your batteries." It is completely respectable and envious thing. Also you will be glad when you are sitting at your desk at your next job working late that you went out and saw some of the world. Likewise you will also be glad when you are sitting on a beach in Southern Thailand somewhere :)

While I agree with the sentiment, be careful not to overdo it. The employment market can be fickle - you will probably find a job easily in this industry, but you might not.

So, enjoy the time off. But keep an eye on your financials. Don't wait to start collecting unemployment benefits. Don't wait to start planning - whether that means contacting recruiters or planning a pet project - start doing something soon.

>if there's anything I should be wary of

Don't cave to the temptation of making an ass of yourself. You never know when you might run into someone in a future job.

They'll likely make you sign some papers for the 1 month severance. Pay attention. Sometimes there are unsavory clauses, like non-competes, non-disclosure, etc. It would be helpful to know where you are located. If you're in California, for example, you can sign a non-compete without reservation, as they are largely unenforceable.

>any advice from people

Was it a really large layoff? Sometimes, there's opportunity there. Often, some of the key people already smell blood in the water, and are thinking of either jumping ship to a competitor, or even starting up their own competitor. If you know any of the key folks that might b e planning this sort of thing, invite them out to lunch a week or two after the layoff and probe around a bit...you might find a place to land.

Forgot to mention and it doesn't seem like I can edit my post anymore, but I'm located in Vancouver, B.C (Canada). The release includes the following sections:

* no admissions

* further claims (agree to not make claims against the Releasees)

* indemnity for taxes

* no denigration or defamation

* non-disclosure

* confidentiality

I don't believe it was a large layoff, in fact, I'm not sure if anyone else got hit. The reason was cited as an internal re-org, where the group of developers I belong to went under a different person within the company. I suspect it may have to do with the fact my options vest in about 2~3 weeks.

> I suspect it may have to do with the fact my options vest in about 2~3 weeks.

OK, that's a whole different kettle of fish. You may want to talk to a lawyer before signing, because if you sign, you most likely sign away your right to sue for the options. (On the other hand, you may not have any case for suing for the options anyway. And your expectation value of what you would get from the options, times the probability of winning them, may be lower than the cost of talking to a lawyer for an hour...)

I agree, a lawyer is a good idea. I've had this happen to me. Not pleasant.

How did that turn out for you?

I've seen developers turn down those severances because of the limitations of the agreement. One basically said you couldn't say anything negative about the company, ever.

That's something I would've asked a lawyer.

I was laid off from a firm that forced everyone to sign a non-disparagement of the CEO and company. For me, about $2000 was at stake. I was debating turning down the money but, after checking with lawyer friends, they also mentioned the lack of enforceability of those particular type of things (non-competes might be different). So I happily signed it and cashed the check.

I had a similar situation back in 2009. I gave my resignation to my boss on a Friday and he said I should hold off until Monday. Monday came around and they laid off most the the dev staff. Instead of having to work for 2 more weeks I got 6 weeks severance and got to leave that day. I already had a job lined up to start 2 weeks later so I booked a week in Cancun in the interim.

They make you sign a paper that says you resigned, so you can't claim unemployment, but the severance sounds better than unemployment since you were leaving anyway. Negotiate that severance, too...they offered me 4 weeks at first but I asked for 2 more and got it.

I have not heard of layoffs making you sign paperwork that you resigned. More common is they ask you to sign paperwork that you won't sue them, and give you more severance payment if you sign it. You can still claim unemployment as you were laid off. But check your paperwork.

In the US the rate a company has to pay for unemployment insurance is linked to the number of former employees that claim unemployment after being laid off from the company. Typical rates can range from as low as less than 1% to close to 8% and when calculating the rate a company pays they look at several years of history. The exact mechanics vary by state.

So it makes sense that a company might want to discourage people from claiming unemployment because it could effect their longer term costs where as a severance is a one time thing and giving a good reference to a potential new employer is free.


Not only have I never heard of this, it doesn't make any sense to me.

Unless you will be starting a new job in two weeks, why would you forgo 26 weeks of 50% of your income in exchange for 4-6 weeks of 100%. The math just doesn't work.

Unemployment maxes out in most states between $350-$450 a week.

Be careful negotiating severance if your company does not like you or has a poor culture.

Making a counter offer can be taken as a refusal of their offer of severance.

Companies can't just not offer you severance if they make a habit of it so they may take advantage of being able to deny you the option.

I am not a lawyer but I know people who have lost their option of a severance simply by trying to negotiate for a better offer.

In this case they were more afraid of their unemployment insurance rate going up if 20% of the company claimed unemployment. It was much cheaper to pay an extra 2 weeks. You're right you have to know the company, and in this case it was a great company with nice founders but the economy was tanking adyer the 2008 crash so they needed to cut costs.

Do something with your free time. Shut down Netflix, HBO, Reddit, Hacker News and all such distractions. It doesn't have to be profitable or even remotedly useful, just as long it's something that you know that you should be doing.

Examples: create things (write, program, compose); exercise; meditate; start learning something.

Sleep 8 hours every day. Or whatever is your optimum. But no more and no less.

https://www.amazon.com/War-Art-Through-Creative-Battles/dp/1... -- this book might resonate especially well now.

Your friends will want to take you drinking. Be careful.

Be sure to get lots of exercise and sunlight. I'm serious you have be very careful about slipping into depression.

Thank you, I am aware. I personally do not touch alcohol, and have gone through periods of quite severe depression. Luckily this lay off was quite ideal personally (despite being slightly unexpected), so I don't believe I'll sink back into depression (in fact, some things at the place were starting to make me depressed), but I'll be mindful.

That's the main thing. It's hard to underestimate how psychologically hard periods of unemployment can be. Take care of your self. If you ever want to talk fee free to hit me up on here.

In 2011, I was "laid off" from my job along with almost everyone else when the scraps of my company was acquired. It wasn't a surprise to anyone that this day was coming, management was completely open with us about the dire situation of the company and most of us stuck around until the bitter end hoping that our options might be worth something (they weren't) or that we would get a severance.

From looking at people's LinkedIn profile, everyone from developers, to managers, to the L1, and L2 tech support staff had better jobs within a month. Once recruiters got a whiff of the company being in trouble, they started contacting people. Don't ignore recruiters. I have 15 recruiting contacts from different companies in my contact list.

I put "laid off" in quotes above because immediately after I was laid off, I did contracting work for one of my company's clients (based on a written agreement they had with the acquiring company). After that contract was over, I spent a day contacting every recruiting company I knew. Three days later, I had a phone screen with a Fortune 10 company, one day after that I had an in person interview. By that evening I had an offer letter. At the time, I was a an experienced developer but a middling .Net developer trying to get into full stack development.

Moral of the story, aggressively reach out to people, recruiters aren't evil, study up on interview prep, and don't be afraid to take chances on going after jobs that you might feel that you are not 100% qualified for. I've conducted about a dozen interviews over the past four years. I don't care if you meet all of the bullet points. I care if you are "smart and gets stuff done." And if you are an aggressive learner.

As your being made redundant, there's nothing untoward about their reason.

1 month for each year served is fairly normal so again, nothing untoward.

Signing a release is also fairly standard. Under these circumstances I would always recommend showing the release to an employment lawyer. For me, peace of mind is worth a couple of hundred dollars but YMMV.

Also, in the UK at least, there are tax breaks on some of the redundancy package so it's worth looking into.

Otherwise, what you do next depends a lot on what your financial situation is. I was made redundant a number of years ago and it worked out great. I was married and had a child at the time but we had enough money for me not to work for a few months. I had a bit of a break, in hindsight I was quite burned out, then got a job at a startup, refreshed and raring to go.

Obviously, it's not always a positive experience but it's not always negative either.

Good luck. Hope things work out.

1 month for each year served? That is common?

I've heard 1 week per year is common.

I have been with my company for almost 10 years. You're not really suggesting they'd pay me almost a year if they laid me off.

In the UK that's (more or less) the minimum plus or minus caps. It's not uncommon to get offered higher, month per year for example, in return for signing a waver.

Edit. I'm not suggesting that you'll get paid for 10 months. I have no idea what your company policy is. However, I received a year's salary with the first 30k or so tax free. So it may not surprise you that I was happy to sign the waver.

Usually there is a cap, my first lay-off I'd been with the company for 17 years. The severance policy was 1 month per year served, capped at 6-months. With six-months pay coming I actually turned down the first offer I got, Still ended up accepting an offer at about the two month mark and ended up with near four months overlap.

You are not obliged to sign anything. So, it's always disadvantageous to sign these documents. Don't do it.

Depending on OP's country, the employer may not be obligated to pay any severance at all, and this document may be part of the agreement.

This is not good advice. Although it is true that you don't need to sign these docs, many countries have very low legal requirements for statutory redundancy pay. UK definitely, US too I believe.

If the company is offering more compensation and you are ok with the strictures of the paperwork, then it is entirely sensible to sign. However, as I said further up the chain, this is a legal document and it's worth getting a professional opinion.

Obviously, if the document has strictures that you don't want to or can't agree to, then absolutely don't sign. You are definitely not obliged to but the company is then only obliged to provide the legal minimum.

In the US, signing a non-disparagement agreement is often tied to receiving severance. Ideally, one should have 6+ months worth of expense money in savings, so you'd at least have the option of not signing. But unless the company were total tools/jerks, why not sign & take the money?

Looking for a job is a full time job in itself. Start looking immediately, get up early as if you were going to work and keep looking until it's time to "go home".

The release you've signed is pretty normal, nothing to really worry about (Unless they've done anything illegal, in which case you're not obliged to adhere to the release but I don't think that's the case).

Just get back on the horse. This happens to the best of us.

> Just get back on the horse.

But if you have some funds to tide you over I wouldn't recommend jumping onto the first horse you find. Go for some fun pony rides first.

Most people have a list of "minor aspirations" that are constantly deferred due to the pressures of work. Now's a good time to achieve those. Much better than going on vacation, which I believe is a bad idea after a lay-off as your mind constantly replays what has just happened and you come back to the real World having achieved nothing but self-criticism.

They don't have to be World-changing aspirations, just something to achieve on your own schedule. For example I kept reminding myself to schedule time to take photos of some derelict local buildings as I passed them every morning en route to work, but I never found the time and eventually they were demolished and rebuilt as anonymous apartment blocks. I wish I'd taken one morning off work to photograph them.

> going on vacation, which I believe is a bad idea after a lay-off as your mind constantly replays what has just happened

so true

> Looking for a job is a full time job in itself.

I agree, it can be a full time job and you should take the job search seriously. BUT it puts you also a very needy state if you are not careful. If you apply 24/7 30 days in a row, I am not sure if you will get that more job offers than if you just spend, let's say 2-4 hours every other day. It's more about being efficient and creating many job opportunities while spending little time on the actual job hunt.

Reason: If you are in a needy state everybody can feel, smell and see that you are needy. Actually, they don't need to see you in person, your voice and the chosen words on a phone call disclose your level of neediness already. If you spend 24/7 for job hunt, you MUST be needy or you will get needy at some point. And who wants to hire a needy guy (who just got fired)? Nobody.

Besides, the activity of applying (writing always the same emails, doing minor tweaks on your CV again and again, doing interviews with HR folks asking about your weaknesses, getting rejections or no responses) is not really fulfilling at all, therefore I suggest in the other answer to spend also some time on personal projects, they give you back your state and let you be perceived less needy.

If you are in the UK you may qualify for legal advice where you get a lawyer and your employer has to pay for it.

A couple of years back I resigned from a job in the UK and although I was on good terms with the people I worked with the HR department (inevitably) did their best to try and screw me and having a good lawyer on my side made the process fairly painless as they actually did the negotiation with my former employer and I got 3 months salary and various other benefits.

How did they try to screw you? If you resign you withdraw most of your termination rights surely, as you are the one terminating yourself.

It's a rather long story and I don't want to go into the details - but I had a employment contract with unusual terms in it so there was a degree of negotiation about how the whole thing would work out and their initial offer contained a lot of stuff (e.g. relating to tax) that could have screwed me quite badly had I not had a lawyer look at it.

I'm in the US but I've had employer's hold on to final paychecks out of spite and refuse to payout vacation time. My state department of labor took care of it after a few months.

Regarding accrued vacation time - when a firm offers "unlimited" vacation, that means they no longer have that on their books as a liability (since the employees aren't building up a balance). So you don't get it paid to you when you leave. If your firm converts to unlimited vacation and you have a balance at the time, talk to them about being paid for it. Either lump-sum right then, or offer to let them pay it to you over time. You earned it, you deserve to either take the time or get the money.

Also note that being paid out for earned PTO is as state-specific thing. A fair number of states do not require this.

First thing's first. Sign up for unemployment benefits.

I was laid off last April and my employer gave me a severance package in exchange for a similar confidentiality agreement.

It took me several months but I was able to secure a new job with better benefits but with a lower salary.

Update your profile on LinkedIn. Update your résumé.

Talk to lots of recruiters. If you have friends in the industry, ask them if their companies are hiring.

Just keep pounding away at it and you'll find the right spot.

Unemployment benefits - YES YES YES! Too many people view this as "welfare". It's not, at least not in the negative sense. You have been paying taxes into this system your entire career, for just this eventuality - in a sense, it's your money.

If you've been working and paying taxes for years when times were good, taking a little back in a time of need is not at all shameful.

I am not sure if it works the same way in every state but in mine, we pay for Supplemental Unemployment Insurance (SUI) with every paycheck. You'd file a claim if you had a car accident, so why not file a claim when you lose your job through no fault of your own?

>"Too many people view this as "welfare". "

Right, and it's anything but welfare. That is "your" money, you pay into that every week. There's no shame in claiming it when you need to. And the fact that they were laid off rather than quit(as they mentioned doing.) means that they should have no problems getting it.

A lot of good advice here. Whenever I was laid off, I tried to send out a minimum of ten new contact emails a day. (Longest layoff, two months. Shortest was 14 days.)

Make sure that you sign up for unemployment compensation immediately--sign up before you need it. If you're in the US, there's (often?) a waiting-week period you won't be compensated for; if you sign up immediately, you can get that out of the way first thing. Good luck!

It probably varies by state. You probably also won't get unemployment until after the severance pay and/or paid-off leave period ends but you should absolutely start the process.

If there is ever a problem with unemployment and you have to file appeals, keep applying every week. My wife won her appeal but didn't apply every week so she got nothing.

Hey hey. I was in the same boat last year. Loved the company but there just weren't enough contracts coming through the door to keep me fully employed.

One thing that really helps to keep me sane during tough times is to catalog every teeny tiny expense I've made over the past year. When you know exactly where your money is going, it will help alleviate lots of stress.

Before I did this, I felt a vague sense of panic. After I did it, I realized that I had already earned two times more than what I typically spend in a year. It gave me a sense of calm, knowing that I had plenty of "runway" before having to dip into my investments.

If you have any egregious expenses (I know I did), now is the time to systematically eliminate them. You might be money poor, but you are time rich now. If you treat your life like a business, now is the time to make some big cuts to ensure your longterm survival.

Just last month, I cut my phone bill in half, figured out how to cut food expenses by a few thousand a year, and reversed a bunch of b.s. charges for services I no longer use.

Make this your new job & you will thrive.

Shoot. I forgot one thing.

If you haven't done your taxes already, do them. It will give you a better picture of where you stand & what you can expect in terms of a refund (if you get one).

Admittedly this advice probably applies more to the self-employed folks as we have to pay quarterly estimated taxes. The worst thing that can happen is to lose a client and then discover that you owe the government a few grand in April.

But if you are getting a refund, it should make you feel more calm about your situation.

That sucks. Luckily in this environment you have a good chance of actually making "extra money" due to the layoff (severance + new job pay overlap) I echo the suggestion to take some time off and travel if your state's unemployment situation allows it (some states now require you to physically check in to receive unemployment benefits)

My advice is don't burn any bridges on your way out.

I got laid off a year ago. I got severance + unemployment, making more cash then I did at work. Within a month I found a new job making 40% more. This could be a blessing. Treat it as such, and enjoy the paid search for better employment.

Truth be told I was planning on quitting at 3pm during my bi-weekly one-on-one with the CTO, so I'm taking it in stride/happy.

Happy? You should be ecstatic. You just won the lottery!

What you would have received if you had quit at 3pm: nothing.

What you will receive because they beat you to it: 4 weeks pay, 5 weeks benefits, 26 weeks (potentially) unemployment. I dunno, something like $10,000 to $20,000.

Count you lucky stars and enjoy your lottery winnings. I wish I could figure out how to do that.

1. Incorporate - Create a name and make yourself a company. In the US, do your state incorporation papers (most are on-line) and get a TIN/EIN from the IRS, and open and fund a bank account in the company name. This allows you to do consulting work or even be called back by your former employer as a contractor, and it puts you in the right frame of mind for maintaining accounting and expenses while you are off work. 2. Meet people - Get out for networking events in your industry and visit a BNI chapter. Look for professional associations and groups in your area. Make networking your new job, even if you don't think you are good at it. Time to practice! The way to find better job opportunities is to be actively exploring the market. Sitting behind a screen mining the job boards is not a motivating exercise and does not make you visible. 3. Keep your schedule - There are work hours, and non-work hours, and don't let your typical work patterns fall out of sync. It's better for your brain and your emotional state. 4. Cut your expenses - Your revenues just went to 0, so time to get rid of subscriptions and habits that are costing you money. Cook at home and stop eating out, and make those rare times that you do eat out or grab a coffee be as an expense for your business. 5. Get fit - Join a gym, buy some running shoes, get out and restore your body. Fitness sharpens the mind, and a fit and trim individual finds work faster. Sad but true. 6. Keep a journal - Dump your thoughts. Capture your ideas. Get that stuff out of your head and make it real. You will find great catharsis in doing so, and some day you will re-read it from a very different perspective.

Welcome to the next chapter of your life, cheers!

I would recommend this article which is exactly about the situation you're in:


It was written by a fellow HNer a few years ago, but still relevant today, IMHO.

Edit: shortened overlong sentence.

Did the internal re-org involve only you getting terminated? If not it sounds like it's a time to celebrate. You were going to resign later the same day and now you get the same result along with a month of pay. Re-orgs happen and some good staff are let go (Sony even called the staff they let go yesterday 'high caliber' http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2017-01-12-guerrila-ca...).

That said, I like the question, I have never been laid off or terminated, I've resigned from all 4 jobs I've had (employed at the 5th) and so I'm reading other answers to see if there are real issues to be aware of should it happen to me.

Sounds a little more than coincidental that were you planning on quitting anyway. Can you explain further?

Well, a while back I was asked to help out with an emergency project on another team with a major client for a major contract. An arcane system that no one (not even I) knew how to work, that was incredibly frustrating and old.

Essentially they wanted a major new system built off of a very old, limiting, and opaque tool. I won't go into the details of the tools for confidentiality reasons. Anyways, this meant I had a huge task to do, no one to go to for help, and many top levels within both ours and the client company overseeing and getting stressed over it.

This project was originally scheduled for 2 months, but due to scope creep and a lack of push-back from the PM in charge of this project, they begged for me to continue to help another month, after which they asked me to continue till the end of November after which I would be on my 5 week vacation.

Anyways, the reason I was quitting was partially because of all the frustration, stagnation (no learning opportunity) of working on that system, and because of the main person I have to work with (our product team is ~9 people but this "side" of it is only 3, and 1 is a junior with less experience/know-how).

During my whole time there, this person I had to work with only trained me on the existing system only when he felt like it, but only ever scratching the surface. Any further questions about this unfamiliar domain (very niche service for extremely niche work) that I was unfamiliar with and unable to learn from anywhere else was met with "I'm busy.", occasionally followed by expletives and heavy sighing. Often times this person would also get incredibly passive aggressive. Long story short, it was very stressful working with this person and the general environment at the company is very heads-down, hard working, so virtually no other social interaction was ever had (or very rare).

Don't take it personally. Any energy you use being bitter and making yourself a victim is worse than wasted - it makes things worse.

It's great that you were thinking of leaving anyway. Rejoice that you get the benefits for slightly longer than you would anyway, and move on.

I'm seventy. It has happened to me three or four times. My own experience and the experience of those I know has been: I always find a substantially better job. It was good for me. I know it HURTS. Boy do I know it hurts! But it will be good for you.

Buck up!

Send an email to your peers explaining that although you might not agree with reasons, you understand management needs to do what they think makes sense. And that you enjoyed your time together, wish them success, etc.

File for unemployment, use the safety cushion to work on your own startup! When I was laid off years ago I believe you could get 99 weeks which is totally absurd!

Since you were planning on leaving anyway, what's the concern? Enjoy your severance, relax, and sign up for that government money (unemployment.)

Don't disparage your former employer - regardless of how the breakup went. I feel that in retrospect these things are for the better. You didn't want to be there anyway - they just made their move first.

Yea, I definitely have no intentions of doing so. Overall my PM and CTO were pretty great people, the general team overall also. I've been through much worse plights in my career, I'd say it's more a win-win for this particular situation.

Clear your mind of feelings of self doubt, clarify with yourself what you learnt from your role and the work you did. Find value in this and use it to move forward.

You have 4 paid weeks not to think about what to do next, but to think about where you want to be in the future, and plan your first steps for getting there.

Don't get down on yourself. It happens to the best of us (and probably more often to the best of us because we cost more)

I feel for you. I just recently went through a similar situation. I had never before been laid off. A re-org took place in my business unit, and a few people in my department were laid off including me; the company stated very clearly it was due to re-org and NOT for performance reasons. Further, it happened immediately before the holidays.

I was very lucky in that another division in the same company was having a different re-org. and a few jobs opened up, so I applied for, and got another job. Same company, different business unit. Less than ideal, but I count myself lucky. (Although jobs are posted out there, its extremely rare that companies hire or conduct interviews during the holidays!) But the feeling of having been laid off was quite devastating; again especially since I had never gone through something like that.

I think the advice that others have been offering seems pretty good. While my lay off period was extremely short, I myself woke up every morning - as if at any other regular job - and kept searching/applying for jobs. I think that "routine" helped me deal with the whole thing at least emotionally. I also like some advice throughout the comments here about working on a side project. That could help in several ways:

* Keep your mind off the challenges (physical, social, emotional, etc.) associated with finding new employment.

* Maybe it could turn into a little revenue on the side to supplement unemployment, etc.

* Possibly, it could turn into an opportunity to go into business for yourself. Even if it doesn't make you a millionaire, or is short-lived, its still work. Maybe it might pay bills, and you can feel good about putting it on your resume/linkedIn, etc. (In the state of NJ, you are allowed to collect unemployment and still have a part-time side business [1]...But there are caveats and of course I'll disclaimer that I am not a lawyer. So you'll want to seek out professional legal advice if you're considering this.)

* Even if the side project results in no new business, you will have picked up some new skills, or perhaps improved any existing skills. And, if it involves other people - like a meetup - maybe you can get some future business/opportunity contacts - i.e. networking!

The only other advice I can give you: stay positive, and keep yourself busy so as to avoid getting into a negative groove. Good luck!!!

[1] See "Part-Time Corporate Officer/Owner" section on http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/ui/aftrfile/corporate.html

It also depends on what the labor law in your country says. Are you in the US?

I'm in Vancouver, B.C (Canada)

Almost all the advice here is aimed at US employees. Does Canada have, and it should, stronger laws about your rights under termination? If you are the only person affected you may have basically been fired under their law and they are using redundancy as a way to get around the law. I don't know but a local employment lawyer or consultant does. I strongly advice speaking to someone in the game before your next meeting. You may be in a stand down period where that is what you are meant to do. Do this properly and you should get your options and perhaps more cash. You are getting ripped off if they don't give you the options or compensation for losing them.

Saying on a public forum that you wanted to leave anyway was probably unwise btw as it makes it harder to negotiate a decent severance.

You may want to buy some time by contracting with a staffing agency. You'll earn a nice premium in salary and can take your time contemplating your next chapter.

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