So a few months ago now, we were told our office was shutting down. We are a Canadian subsidiary of a very large US corporation and apparently “our services are no longer needed”. So far all we have is a verbal notice. We know management wasn’t planning to let us know until much later but due to circumstances out of their control they had to let “the cat out of the bag” a lot earlier than planned. It has been over 3 months now and we are still waiting to receive our formal layoff notices (pretty pathetic if you ask me!). On the outside, I may look cool, calm and collected, but … on the inside, I am kind of freaking out!
If you follow my blog, you already know I am “technically” Financially Independent. Meaning I could retire if I
wanted had to. But with three kids (21, 19 and 16) still leaving at home and being the only parent (their dad passed away a few years ago, you can find out how his depression changed our lives ) I decided to continue working and pursue financial freedom instead.
So Why Am I “Kind of” Freaking Out?
Too Many “What If” Scenarios Scare Me.
My life so far hasn’t always been a “walk in the park”, I know s**t happens and usually when you least expect it. When you have kids, it’s worse because s**t can happy to them too! You can’t plan for everything but you need to be aware it can happen and be ready to manage any situations. Having the security of my job while they still live at home allows me not to worry as much about the “What If” Scenarios.
One More Year Syndrome?
My youngest is 16 and being the sole provider, part of why I was planning to work for another few years is so I didn’t have to adjust our lifestyle yet and take the opportunity to save more. I was looking forward to start taking more time off and travel often (with and without kids) while I was still getting a regular paycheck and free travel insurance.
It’s Not On My Own Terms!
I lost control. It’s one thing when you decide it’s time to leave work or retire. You progressively get ready for it, start planning your next moves. But when you get laid-off, someone else’s is making the decision for you. You are not in the driver’s seat anymore. It’s that loss of control I find hard to deal with. One of the main reasons I am pursuing Financial Freedom is so I can make my OWN choices and decisions, not to have some management “dude” (been around my kids too much!) do it for me.
I Feel “Cheap”!
I have been loyal, ethical, and hard-working for so many years, for what? You may think your company cares but it’s true, at the end of the day, you are just a number to them. You think they will remember all those years you worked so hard for them? I mean how can they not, I started at the bottom of the food chain as an administrative staff and worked all my way up to vice president, someone must have noticed right? NOP! It took me so many years of hard work and dedication to get where I am today. It wasn’t always easy but it seemed worth it then. And now? They are done with me! Moving along, there is nothing left to see:
“We thank you for your years of service and wish you all the best in your future endeavour!!!”
I Am Not Ready To Retire!!!
This is the worst part; I am not ready to leave my job. I know many of you are saving so you can retire early but I happen to like working. My pursuit of financial freedom is so I have the freedom to choose what I want to do, when I want to do it. I wasn’t planning to stop working yet, and definitely not entirely. In all fairness, when you read many FIRE blogs, most of them are not “retired”; they all have side hustles including blogging. There is nothing wrong with it but just pointing out that not working at all is not for many. Being laid off doesn’t mean I have to retire but (see next bullet):
I Will Never Find Another Job Like Mine.
I bitch and complain about work like everyone else (right?) but after so many years of hard work, I am in a pretty good position! My boss is miles away and I only have to interact with him when there is an issue (so I avoid them). I don’t need permission to take time off, work from home or get in late and leave early. I don’t cheat the system but I have the freedom to do what I want as long as the work gets done and I meet ALL the deadlines (and we have lots!). When it was -42oC two weeks ago, I was so thankful I could park my car in our building (company paid). There is no way I will find another job like mine! It’s not just the money, it’s the freedom.
I Will Miss My Co-Workers
For sure some days they drive me crazy but in general I really like them and will definitely miss them. We are not best friends or anything , but after all these years working together, I got used to see them and interact with them almost every day. I am sad to think I probably will never see them again. I know I could make an effort and keep in touch but it’s not the same and I suck at keeping in touch:(
Turn Off The Lights On Your Way Out!
I have worked for my company for a good part of my adult life, trying to build a career for myself and a company we could all be proud of. It took a lot of really hard work from lots of people to get where we are now – a medium size profitable business – and now , through no fault of our own, it is all going to end! What a waste! It is very sad.
So here you have it, these are all the reasons I am kind of freaking out inside! I am fortunate I don’t have to worry as much about the money (but I still do) at this point but many of my co-workers do.
I am not certain yet what my plan is going-forward. Lots of option but there is no point in me making any type of decisions until I get my severance package.
Why Wait For My Severance Package?
Why am I waiting to get my severance package before moving on, why not just leave now? Well, unlike in the US, we don’t have “employment at will” in Canada. We have provincial Employment Standards that set the minimum owed to an employee in case of termination. But most times, assuming you didn’t sign an employment contract with a specific termination clause when hired, terminations are based on “Common Law”. And because I have worked for my company for a long time, my package should be quite substantial! It would be stupid for me to leave now knowing I would leave a pile of cash behind. It is common in Canada to receive 3-4 weeks of severance for each year of service!
So, just like everybody else, I am waiting for my “package”.
Small Steps In The Right Direction
In the meantime here are the small steps I am taking in preparation of my pending lay-off:
- Increase my LinkedIn connections, it will be handy if I look for work or start my own business.
- Plan a meeting with an employment lawyer soon. I need to be pro-active and find out how much I could really get in the current market. Maybe I can give my boss my own severance proposal! It would be bold but you have to be pro-active sometimes. You don’t get what you don’t ask for (same as salary increase). I know a lot about employment law but lawyers keep up to date with all recent cases and legislation, it would be helpful to know what I can ask for. Even if I don’t give them a proposal I will know what I should expect and be in a better position to negotiate my package once I get their offer.
- Plan a few trips this year while I have a regular pay cheque and full travel insurance (and paid vacation)
- Work on a business plan in case I decide to start my own business, lots of research to do regardless of the business.
Have you ever been in this situation? What would you do if you were in my shoes?