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What Would I Do If I Lost My Job?

An interesting question was asked the other day.  What would I do if I lost my current job?  This got me thinking a bit.  Others have written pretty good pieces about how they parlayed the bad situation of getting fired or laid off into something better.  While that has not happened to me, I do sometimes wonder what would occur.

Our Situation is Fairly Stable, Well Prepared for Layoffs

To start, realize our situation is fairly stable.  Sam over at Financial Samurai has written numerous pieces about negotiating severance pay over the years.  Quite frankly based on my employers existing policies there isn’t much negotiation needed.  Once you combine policy, stock options, vacation, and everything else that would pay out we would exceed a year of pay in a layoff situation.  Getting fired would null some of these options, but frankly getting fired where I work is nearly impossible if you have almost any ethics.  Quitting would also negate some of these payouts, but that’s a subject for much later in my career.  Getting Laid off, however, pays out on everything. So the most likely scenario where I lost my job would leave me enough time to adjust.

What Would Happen If I Lost My Job

So we can establish that in any layoff situation I’d be sitting with at least a year to figure out what next.  This is where get things interesting and also the reason I have been contemplating this scenario.  A post on ESIMoney really was the inspiration for this post with a recent article on how getting fired actually helped him.  I suspect a layoff might help us, to understand how let’s dig deeper.

We Work In the Corporate World, and Yet I am Entrepreneurial Curious

We long ago established I work in the W-2 world.  I have also noted I’m a high income professional.  For stealth purposes, I won’t give exact numbers.    My job satisfaction is also considerable.  And yet, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go it alone.  To work as a consultant via my own consulting company. 

Quitting For Financial Motivations to Work a 1099 Job Would be Foolish for a Highly Paid Corporate Worker

 The reality is, bearing a side hustle or a layoff I will never work for myself.  Why?   As noted my income is on the higher end of the W-2 world.   To replicate it in the consultancy world I’d have to be one of the more successful private firms.  I.E. the bar would have to be set high to not deteriorate our pay or impact my quality of life.  I’d be a fool to voluntarily jump into that type of situation.

The Allure of Self Employment

So if I enjoy my existing work and am well paid you are probably wondering why I’d like to be my own boss.    It would come with more headaches as I would be dependent on myself to both find customers and deliver results.  But there is still some aspect of benefiting directly from the fruits of one’s labors, rather than through the roundabout method of my employer, that is appealing.

Add to that the freedom to control my own hours.  I’m going to pause here to share my own privilege.  I mostly control my hours today.  My vacation time including holidays amounts to 30 days a year.  Location Independence is actively encouraged rather than restricted where I work.  And of course I can choose whatever hours I want to work so long as I get the work done (Sometimes driven by teleconferences at odd hours of the night for foreign constituents).  I’d dare say I average about 45 hours a week with frequent spikes and dips based on my current programs.  So by being my own boss the only thing I really add is the ability to control the amount of work I accept.  It’s a small change systematically, but can’t be underestimated emotionally.

Psychology Versus Finances

If you grasp by now, going it on my own would be a psychological plus, but otherwise, have limited upside for the Full Time Finance household.  It would also have substantial risk.  As such I won’t be taking this leap on my own outside the side hustle world.    Since I’m no fool I’m not too proud to realize the only way it will ever happen is if I’m pushed.  Still, it’s interesting to contemplate the ramifications.  I could experiment a lot with a consultancy business model with a year of severance….

Anyone else toy with the idea of striking out on their own but realize the psychological gains are not worth the risk?

10 Comments

  1. Larry Carter
    Larry Carter July 17, 2019

    You will probably not know for sure whether the psychological gains are worth the risk until you try it and compare.

    Larry

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance July 18, 2019

      True, but I’ll probably just settle for side hustles.

  2. Joe
    Joe July 17, 2019

    I love working for myself. It’s perfect because I don’t have to worry about the money that much. We’re financially independent now. If I have a good year, that’s awesome. Bad year, I just shrug it off. At this point, it’s all gravy.
    I should have waited to get laid off instead of quitting. But life is great now so I can’t complain too much. A few bucks wouldn’t have made much difference.

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance July 18, 2019

      I’m not quite ready financially to pull the plug. It might change my outlook if I had already reached my target number. Then again it might not, won’t know until I get there.

  3. xrayvsn
    xrayvsn July 17, 2019

    Good food for thought.

    If I lost my job as a physician I would think long and hard if I really wanted to continue practicing medicine. In my mind I am probably 3-5 years out from getting to a FAT FIRE level of retirement which would be my goal.

    I could certainly manage with the anticipated passive income streams I currently have in place but it may make me compromise on my truly ideal envisioned retire life. Things like continuing private school for my daughter and subsequent college expenses would be more at risk if my w2 stream stops right this moment. I could probably do some moonlighting/night coverage which is fairly easy to do as a radiologist, but it would not be ideal.

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance July 18, 2019

      Our financial fat fire target is about 8 years away. I’ve noted before my retirement date and number are not related so it certainly wouldn’t be the end. But like you it’s good to have choices and it might motivate me to bigger things.

  4. Dan
    Dan July 17, 2019

    Like you, I receive a W-2 and modestly speaking, I earn a good salary. I’m not very entrepreneurial. I’m more intellectually curious. It is hard to walk away from a good salary which makes it difficult to move off the status quo. However, if I am laid off, the status quo is different. I think I would begin my early retirement immediately. I’m 51 years old. I would likely travel, go to book fairs and take some college courses in the humanities.

    The obvious question is if I can afford to retire now, why don’t I just retire and get started with my post-retirement life. Once you hit your numbers, there is a psychological component to FIRE. First, economically it doesn’t make sense to walk away from the job. Ultimately, you recognize life is finite and if your goal is to maximize your net worth, you would work until the day you die. At some point, you have to retire. I recognize that. I also recognize that I’ll likely be able to enjoy my retirement more at age 51 than say 71 for example. That leads to the second psychological issue. Am I ready to be a retiree? My whole adult life has been spent as a professional earning good salaries with some measure of success and respect within my field. At this point, it is the success & respect I value more than the salary. I’m also not sure if I want to give all that up for retirement.

    It’s all about your status quo. I’ve often said that being laid off could be the best thing that could happen to me. It forces a change in the status quo and allows me to move in a different direction. It reminds me of high school. There is a party on Saturday that you don’t really want to go to. However, when Friday afternoon rolls around and you haven’t been invited to the party, you become hurt and offended that you weren’t asked to the party.

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance July 18, 2019

      Some times we need a good kick in the pants to change the status quo. I can definitely see where I’m currently settled. Who knows…

  5. I can’t hustle my job, which is customer support, but I could always write freelance posts in the PF blogosphere. But to bring in the same kind of money — my boss is very generous with pay — I’d have to work my tail off. Far harder than I work just answering customer emails for 8 hours a day (with stretches in between emails quite frequently).

    So the only way I’d stop working my job is if I were to get laid off. And I’m a damn good employee — far better than the other gal who does the rest of the customer support (small company) — so I’d be laid off last. At worst, I’d be asked to take a pay cut if competition got too bad in our industry, which is always a possibility. So I’d have plenty of advance notice before I lost my job — years of slowly decreasing pay that would let me ramp up my freelancing efforts to a sustainable level.

    Why no, I haven’t obsessed about this at all and come up with this plan. Can’t you tell?

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance July 19, 2019

      It’s always good to have a plan 😉

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