Getting laid-off for fun and profit

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I think most of us dread the word "laid off". However, I've worked with people who looked forward to getting laid off for fun and profit.

Most of these people were
1. in their 40s, and had significant savings.
2. worked in the same job for 5+ years (I.e. had long tenure and expected significant severance money).
3. had significant marketable skills so that getting another job is not a huge deal
4. Did not necessarily need this paycheck to survive - either due to working spouse, significant savings or some combination.

In my attempt to get financially independent, I hope to achieve this "layoff proof" state in another 5 years or so, hopefully in time before the next recession.

Some anecdotes:
1. One of my friend's boss was getting laid off. In the farewell party - he was ecstatic. He had 13 years of tenure and expected $80k+ severance. He planned to pay off his house (based on the town where he lived - house must be worth $600k+), take a break for 6 months and then search for another job, preferably closer to home.
2. This guy I reported to was independently wealthy. He was in the same job for 11 years when I worked with him. He wanted out and was actually lobbying with the upper management to be in the "next list" when the next round of layoffs happen. This was during the 2009-2010 time period, so layoffs were almost a regular feature. I heard that he finally got his wish after intense lobbying for a couple of years.
3. Not sure if this guy really got this by design - but another colleague of mine got the deal of a lifetime when our department was axed in 2008. Two people (from a department of 100+) were "retained" as consultants to supervise the wind-down, for a compensation that was between 200 to 300 % their total comp for the last year. This gig stretched all the way through 2013!!

What other "positive" layoff stories do you have to offer?

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No stories, but after my last 5 year contract renewal (which was quite stressful and up in the air), I started a personal plan to be fairly financially independent when the next one comes up (4 years left).

Sometimes I daydream about being let go....but know that I'm not at all ready for it yet. BTW, I'll be 39 once the current contract ends, so I'll still definitely be working...but something that's a lot more on my own terms.

read it as getting LAID for fun and profit....that will be a gigolo's job

Get sent as an expat to a country with employee-friendly labor laws. Get laid off there. Receive layoff benefits for US employees and the benefits legally required by the foreign country when the company realizes they have to give those to you too. Didn't happen to me personally, and probably doesn't work that way in all foreign countries.

What's your definition of being 'layoff proof'?

I understand there is no right or wrong answer! Each one of us would have our own criteria what it will take to reach a peach of mind where we don't lose sleep over layoffs.

Here's mine:
When losing one stream of income (my salary) would just mean that we don't save money till I get employed again (expenses covered by spouse's salary, dividends from brokerage account etc), but don't actually draw down from savings - then I'd consider us to be there.

As of now, I see that to be about 5 years away!

i also dream about a layoff. i now make more money from my real estate holdings working, i dunno, 3 hours/week than i do at my 40-hour-week engineering job...and i get taxed much less. the worst is on a beautiful day (we don't get a ton in southeast louisiana) when i could be doing a million different things outside in the sunshine, but instead i'm in a windowless facility trying to look busy waiting for the next fire to put out.

if they don't lay me off by the time i have kids, i'll resign i suppose. it's one thing to miss a sunny day, it's another to miss all those moments with your kid(s).

After you get laid off, keep your resume showing your still employed. Then look for jobs in places you want to visit and apply for them.

Then when they invite you for interview and pay for air, hotel and rental, schedule it for a friday or monday and use the weekend to sightsee etc. Bonus points if you get them to pay for extra hotel and rental for the weekend. god mode if you get them to pay for airfare for your spouse and per diem

I've gotten to see pacific coast of OR and mountains of AZ courtesy of some big name companies.

I've had one day trips to Ft Lauderdale and Boston 

rufflesinc said:   After you get laid off, keep your resume showing your still employed. Then look for jobs in places you want to visit and apply for them.

Then when they invite you for interview and pay for air, hotel and rental, schedule it for a friday or monday and use the weekend to sightsee etc. Bonus points if you get them to pay for extra hotel and rental for the weekend. god mode if you get them to pay for airfare for your spouse and per diem

I've gotten to see pacific coast of OR and mountains of AZ courtesy of some big name companies.

I've had one day trips to Ft Lauderdale and Boston 



Do you apply directly with the individual firms? Or through some type of recruiter?

rascott said:   rufflesinc said:   After you get laid off, keep your resume showing your still employed. Then look for jobs in places you want to visit and apply for them.

Then when they invite you for interview and pay for air, hotel and rental, schedule it for a friday or monday and use the weekend to sightsee etc. Bonus points if you get them to pay for extra hotel and rental for the weekend. god mode if you get them to pay for airfare for your spouse and per diem

I've gotten to see pacific coast of OR and mountains of AZ courtesy of some big name companies.

I've had one day trips to Ft Lauderdale and Boston 



Do you apply directly with the individual firms? Or through some type of recruiter?

directly. because you have time when laid off

I know of some sweet early retirement deals but don't think I know anyone who was happy with a layoff.

And your 2nd anecdote makes no sense to me - why does an independently wealthy guy need to ask to be laid off to leave a job he's done with?

SlimTim said:   I know of some sweet early retirement deals but don't think I know anyone who was happy with a layoff.

And your 2nd anecdote makes no sense to me - why does an independently wealthy guy need to ask to be laid off to leave a job he's done with?



I'm going to take a wild guess that he wanted the generous severance package.

Happened to a friend:
-Company announced plans to outsource 80% of department's work to overseas consulting company, with goal of transferring everything in 3 months.
-For the 80% who were being fired, for those 3 months they were allowed to leave as soon as they found a new job and they would still get their 2 months of severance pay.

-A week after being informed, friend found that overseas consulting company was desperately trying to hire local people to work in the office to manage the overseas people. He applied and immediately got the job, so put in his notice and received his 2 months of severance, then started the next monday working in the exact same cubicle doing the exact same job, just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.

Czechmeout said:    just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.
  Why would a company outsource work but pay the contractors a 30% premium?

SlimTim said:   I know of some sweet early retirement deals but don't think I know anyone who was happy with a layoff.

And your 2nd anecdote makes no sense to me - why does an independently wealthy guy need to ask to be laid off to leave a job he's done with?


Duh! It's the severance package!

 

rufflesinc said:   
Czechmeout said:    just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.
Why would a company outsource work but pay the contractors a 30% premium?

 
There are many tiers in the consulting value chain. I have found that pretty much any consulting company above the absolute bottom tier (they happen to be the bottom of the pyramid - hence more numerous) would usually pay more for the same job than a typical "full time" job in the lower paying US areas (e.g. midwest).

So assuming it was IBM/Accenture - them paying 30% more for the same job based outside NYC/Cali does not sound unusual to me at all.

This relationship changes somewhat in the higher paying areas. It still holds true for MBB - but not so for Big 4 downwards. In fact - for the bottom two tiers, it is completely inverted.

I have never spent much time thinking about how/why of this. For some reason - consulting rates (hourly rates which reflect into the salaries of consultants) don't vary as much based on location where they live. For travelling consultants that makes perfect sense. But this is true even for the ones who don't travel quite as much.

As to why it makes economic sense to outsource while paying higher? Typically that has to do with doing the same job with less people. Consulting companies have armies of people specializing on application rationalization. Organically grown IT infrastructure is often ripe for consolidation and modernization and getting a lot of cost savings that way.

IBM is the biggest name in this type of outsourcing. Now lower priced competitors are giving them a tough time.
 

While I don't agree with the OP's post, the title can be close to the truth.

I went to work for a large company, which was acquired by an even bigger Mega-Corp, citing the "efficiencies" gained. In the middle of August, our director called on a Friday morning to tell us that he was coming down to take us to lunch. Since it was a 2 1/2 hour drive, we were like "OH, this doesn't sound good'

To make a long story short, the entire division was laid off from the VP down. We would be employed until the end of the month, then each would receive two months severance with benefits until the end of the severance. Not bad after nine months of employment.

The very next morning (on a Saturday) I received a call from the CEO of my prior company who offered me a contract at 2X my prior salary. I said fine how about I start after labor day. He said sure.

So the layoff resulted in three weeks off with pay then two months at 3X salary. While I would have preferred to stay with the acquiring company, all in all a nice tidy profit.

>> While I don't agree with the OP's post, the title can be close to the truth.

Would appreciate if you would clarify which specific post you don't agree with.

I've found that I learn more from differing opinions than people agreeing with me. So I try to actively seek different positions/opinions - hence this request.

not a positive story. Before the great recession, our department was told to lay off 4 guys working elsewhere in the country, and pick up four people who would, otherwise, have been subject to a layoff. 3 of these guys layed off I'd worked with off and on for 18 years (they'd hired me when I was fresh out of University).

The oldest of the 4 retired. The other two of the hiring bunch got jobs relatively quickly. The fourth, well, he decided to take some time off and then look for work afterwards.

He was not "layoff proof", and last I knew, he was still looking for employment.

And strictly speaking, no one is layoff proof. My use of the term is to mean that the person has a skill set and personality that make the person highly likely to be hired quickly after a layoff.

rufflesinc said:   Czechmeout said:    just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.
  Why would a company outsource work but pay the contractors a 30% premium?



Lots of reasons....but usually it involves getting the work done with less people. Plus you have less overhead (HR, management, etc...). Finally, the company doesn't have the long term commitment to an in house employee. This is particularly important for work that is only short to medium term in duration. Companies try hard not to lay people off, it can cause their unemployment insurance premiums to go very high.

Being "layoff proof" can mean different things. There is "financially independent" or "has enough other options to work for yourself or get hired very quickly."

As for wanting to get fired, the only reason would be if you got some sort of severance. (Or if you're one of those illogical people who would rather passively be fired than actively choose to quit.) But for someone who is truly "financially independent" and ready to retire from a high-paying job, an $80K severance is more like a nice bonus, not a reason to stick around a job you hate for money you don't need just hoping a layoff + severance package comes along.

rascott said:   
SlimTim said:   I know of some sweet early retirement deals but don't think I know anyone who was happy with a layoff.

And your 2nd anecdote makes no sense to me - why does an independently wealthy guy need to ask to be laid off to leave a job he's done with?



I'm going to take a wild guess that he wanted the generous severance package.


Makes sense, except for the "independently wealthy" part. Maybe that means something different to me.

SlimTim said:   
rascott said:   
SlimTim said:   I know of some sweet early retirement deals but don't think I know anyone who was happy with a layoff.

And your 2nd anecdote makes no sense to me - why does an independently wealthy guy need to ask to be laid off to leave a job he's done with?



I'm going to take a wild guess that he wanted the generous severance package.


Makes sense, except for the "independently wealthy" part. Maybe that means something different to me.


A person with 2 million inherited would probably be considered independently wealthy.

However, if I was that person - $80k to $100k in severance package one way or the other would still be a big deal for me.

I'm just guessing stuff here! I have no idea how much money he had or inherited. I just knew that his dad was a CEO of a big-a** firm in his day, and that he wanted to quit his job to pursue a hobby - and connected the dots.

I have had short-term "profit" from being laid off... I got about 2 months severance. I quickly found a job paying about 20% more but it wouldn't start until right when my severance would run out... so I got a temp job paying about what I was making already. Profit.

Once I hit that point that I am "layoff proof," I would say that is retirement time, though (and I intend to be there around age 45).

rascott said:   
rufflesinc said:   
Czechmeout said:    just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.
  Why would a company outsource work but pay the contractors a 30% premium?



Lots of reasons....but usually it involves getting the work done with less people. Plus you have less overhead (HR, management, etc...). Finally, the company doesn't have the long term commitment to an in house employee. This is particularly important for work that is only short to medium term in duration. Companies try hard not to lay people off, it can cause their unemployment insurance premiums to go very high.

  
The key you are missing here is he was managing the client side and the staff doing the work he managed were MUCH cheaper.  So they had 20 people making half as much doing the work offshore, and the one or two "managers" getting a 30% bonus to make it seem to the client that the job was being done the same way.  Ideally the client never has to talk to the support guy in India at all.

Heck, when I was laid off they had TWICE as many people in India doing our work -- and were still paying less.  They shrunk the US group 80%, and used them as an "escalation" path.  In our case they were not outsourced, but employees in India.  

I promised myself a LONG time ago that I was never going to take a training job in India -- I know some guys that did.  When they left the rest of the team started looking for a new job.  (some of those guys were in Europe)

---

I know a guy that quit versus taking a severance package.  I think he was an idiot, but he wanted to walk out on his own versus being "escorted" by security.  He had 6 years in, so that was a lot of money he paid for his dignity.  It helped he had a much better paying job offer on the table..  but still...

I have had jobs lay us off and then not pay us a dime more than 2 weeks notice and vacation too.  Heck, last one didn't even pay the two weeks but made us work 2 weeks after notice.  Then shorted me a week of vacation with a last minute "policy change."  Best one paid two weeks notice pay after 4 months work.  (client pulled their contract -- see comments on "India" above..)

rufflesinc said:   
Czechmeout said:    just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.
  Why would a company outsource work but pay the contractors a 30% premium?

  The company pays the contracted company a set rate for the work received, which is presumably cheaper than the resources the company had been committing to the projects.  How the contractor allocates those payments is completely independent; in this case, it make sense that the overseas labor is significantly cheaper, but worthless without competent project supervision.  So they'll pay more for less (local supervisors) because on the whole it allows them to pay much less for more (cheap overseas workers).

>> I promised myself a LONG time ago that I was never going to take a training job in India -- I know some guys that did. When they left the rest of the team started looking for a new job. (some of those guys were in Europe)

I think I know where you are coming from. But I personally believe this is not a logical position to take.

Two reasons:
1. Decisions that drive offshore/onshore mix of work are decided at an organizational level driven by economic factors. Any individual action can hardly have any influence/impact on that. So you deciding not to take these positions has no impact. Indeed, if everyone in the US took the same position and stuck to it - that would just change the mechanics how offshoring is done , but not the end result.
2. Having a diverse experience is the easiest way to move up the value chain. The higher up the value chain you are, the less impacted you are by offshoring. The low hanging offshore/onshore mix changes are already done. In that sense - offshoring as a job killer in US has already run it's course (maybe automation will be the next one - but I don't know). The next stage of productivity gains are to be had by driving a 24 hour work cycle by taking advantage of the difference in timezone. I believe that by taking this position, you are throwing away some valuable opportunities to gain good, diverse experience that can help your career in such a 24-hour-cycle workplace.

rufflesinc said:   
Czechmeout said:    just for the consulting company and for an extra 30% in pay.
  Why would a company outsource work but pay the contractors a 30% premium?

  
As was guessed by others in the thread, it is all about the chain. 
-Company fires 20 workers making $100k/year =$2,000k/year, consulting firm says they can do it for $1,600k
-Consulting firm hires 30 workers in India at $25k/year ($750k), then hires 2 of the original workers back at a 30% premium of $130k ($260k total) to coordinate the 30 and to provide training
-Consulting firm makes $1600-$750-$260=$590k

puddonhead said:   >> I promised myself a LONG time ago that I was never going to take a training job in India -- I know some guys that did. When they left the rest of the team started looking for a new job. (some of those guys were in Europe)

I think I know where you are coming from. But I personally believe this is not a logical position to take.

Two reasons:
1. Decisions that drive offshore/onshore mix of work are decided at an organizational level driven by economic factors. Any individual action can hardly have any influence/impact on that. So you deciding not to take these positions has no impact. Indeed, if everyone in the US took the same position and stuck to it - that would just change the mechanics how offshoring is done , but not the end result.
2. Having a diverse experience is the easiest way to move up the value chain. The higher up the value chain you are, the less impacted you are by offshoring. The low hanging offshore/onshore mix changes are already done. In that sense - offshoring as a job killer in US has already run it's course (maybe automation will be the next one - but I don't know). The next stage of productivity gains are to be had by driving a 24 hour work cycle by taking advantage of the difference in timezone. I believe that by taking this position, you are throwing away some valuable opportunities to gain good, diverse experience that can help your career in such a 24-hour-cycle workplace.

  
These were training for very specific jobs - -basically exactly what I was doing for a specific customer.  So not just generic, but training my replacement (and everyone I worked with as well).  

It is certainly a principle, but either way I was going to be out of a job in 2 months.  I would happily take a true contract job in India, and was even considered for one recently.  I have done US training, which will have to be enough.

My experience does not match yours -- India REPLACED my organizations timezone based system for some support.  We had one "center" in US/Canada, one in Europe (including some Eastern EU offices) and one in Australia.  First they made the regions support themselves 24 hours a day and back off global (which actually increased headcounts) and then the regions started offshoring the work.  It has not "run it's course" at all -- I know of quite a few recent offshoring cases in my industry.  The US company I worked for was actively offshoring to MX, then got a surge of business and restarted the US center with a lot of the people they had laid off the year before -- then offshored it again to India and even some of the MX work was sent over there.   A lot of us have been avoiding that companies work since and they are a major supplier.  (I work on their equipment still, but directly contracted to a client)

Quite a few people have been hired by that vendor as full timers to do work that they knew would be gone as soon as they had the offshore centers ready.  (offshore versus outsource, they have a massive "center" in India)  Along with their policy of not rehiring ex-employees you ended up with experience that was hard to use after getting laid off within 2 years.  That was why I didn't convert to an employee when offered.

I don't have the degree to go beyond an advanced or specialized technician, so moving further up the value chain is blocked to me.  At my age going back to school would never pay itself back.   I have an associate electronics degree, not much of that transfers to a true engineering program.  I could do 18 months and get a Bach on a technical program (likely Devry or ITT) but that is both expensive and IMO not worth much more than the Assoc I already have in the job market.  

 

>> My experience does not match yours -- India REPLACED my organizations timezone based system for some support. We had one "center" in US/Canada, one in Europe (including some Eastern EU offices) and one in Australia. First they made the regions support themselves 24 hours a day and back off global (which actually increased headcounts) and then the regions started offshoring the work. It has not "run it's course" at all -- I know of quite a few recent offshoring cases in my industry. The US company I worked for was actively offshoring to MX, then got a surge of business and restarted the US center with a lot of the people they had laid off the year before -- then offshored it again to India and even some of the MX work was sent over there. A lot of us have been avoiding that companies work since and they are a major supplier. (I work on their equipment still, but directly contracted to a client)

It must be dependent on industry/sector.

Last time I worked on a pure replacement offshoring was before 2008. That was the low hanging fruit. Lay off 20 people here, hire 30 in India and 2-3 here to supervise - and call it a day!

After that was done - it was mostly about gaining more productivity and less about cost alone. On fact, I have seen some of the "hands on" jobs to come back to US on a permanent basis to support a 24 hour work-cycle.

I like to tout myself as a risk management guy. You have risk that you need to figure out how to model and measure - well I try to sneak in and set up shop there. :-D. Since it is fairly domain agnostic, I have worked with lots of different types of corporations - commodities, big oil, utilities, mining and big "systemically important" banks.

The latest task I am working on is to figure out why a risk model is unstable for this latest gig, i.e. the numbers jump up and down way too much for no good reason. Well - I form some hypothesis, write some map-reduce code that will hopefully prove/disprove it, throw it on a dev grid to run for the next 15 hours (I only get to use 500 nodes ) and send email to folks in India team to babysit the job. Do basic debugging if it errors out for some stupid reason and restart etc.

This helps me gain a lot of efficiency. The task that would have likely taken me 3-4 weeks (or me working round the clock - done that!) now gets done in half the time as work is happening in a 24-hour cycle.

Most type of outsourcing I have been involved with in the last 8-10 years have been of this type.

Telecom, specifically cellular -- all of the back end support for the three major vendors is in India and/or Mexico. (Nokia/Siemens, Lucent/Alcatel and Ericsson) Most of that has been in the last 4-5 years.

The idea was that whoever offshored first was going to lose a lot of support business, but when one of them finally did and survived it the rest promptly followed suit. They all neglected to pay attention to contract cycles, most carriers were on 2-4 year contracts. Most carriers started self-deploying or at least hiring contractors to oversee the work done by these vedors. Which is what I am doing now. I started in the field, moved to the back end, and now I am sorta in between the two. At least this contract is the first (though small) pay raise I have seen in 5 years.

In 2013 I was lucky to quickly find a job that paid decent for a second tier (in cell site equipment) player that lasted 3 years when I got my layoff from the "big guys" -- I got in and then they never hired again and got smaller over time through small layoffs and attrition. The layoff in January pretty much got all of us though.

I think a lot of guys left the industry, because I was expecting far less work after all the layoffs in the last year or two. Of course I was willing to leave Dallas, which had a serious glut of telecom workers. Just glad I am not having to do "true" field work again.



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