Don’t Get Fired Or Quit, Get Laid Off Instead

Gold Coure With BeerThere’s a big difference between getting fired and getting laid off. Most of what you read in the papers is about people getting laid off due to a “reduction in force,” or RIF as many companies call it nowadays. Getting fired is almost always due to cause.

You may have sent out a blast e-mail with company secrets by mistake. Or perhaps you said some sexist joke about women when the female HR manager so happened to walk by. Whatever the case, you don’t want to get fired, nor should you quit if you don’t have to.

If you are fired or quit, a number of things can happen:

1) You will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. The logic is, you did something wrong that forced your company to fire you. Hence it is your own fault you are unemployed!

2) You might have a black mark on your record if you’re fired, making you damaged goods for future employers.

3) You may lose supporters who would have written letters of recommendation. They might not want to risk their reputation on a quitters or miscreants.

4) You might die alone. Few things in life are worse than dying alone. If you don’t have a job and don’t have a backup plan, who will want to be with you for the long term?

GET “RIFFED” AND BREATHE EASIER

Now that you realize the downside of getting fired or quitting, you should logically seek an alternative. If you just can’t stand the company you are working for anymore, figure out a way to get laid off of course!

If you are laid off, you get a number of benefits:

1) You are eligible for government unemployment benefits. Here in San Francisco, you can get $900 every two weeks. That’s $1,800 a month for at least 26 weeks, and up to 73 weeks back in 2012 when the unemployment rates were much higher.

2) You may get severance. Many companies offer one to three weeks per every year worked. Please note that severance is completely at the discretion of the employer and is not required by law.

3) If you have deferred compensation in the form of stock or cash, you are eligible to receive these assets during the scheduled time table. My friend Paul, for example, has around $400,000+ in deferred compensation he loses if he quits!

4) You will get all your unused vacation days paid. You should get this anyway, but if you quit, there’s no guarantee. You may even receive unused sick days, but that is very rare.

5) You will have no black marks on your employment record. A key if you want to get back into the game at a future time.

6) You will get COBRA (healthcare) coverage for at least month and often times 3-6 months fully paid for by your employer. Legally, most companies must provide the option for COBRA for 18 months after separation. You most likely have to pay the monthly premiums after the initial grace period. It all depends on how well you negotiate. Here’s a 1,700 word article on Cheap Health Insurance Options For The Unemployed, Self-Employed, Or Early Retiree I wrote on March 8, 2013.

HOW TO GET LAID OFF

Let’s say you’ve been working at your company for five years, and you’ve decided selling vacuum cleaners no longer interests you. You are a bit burnt out, and you wish to take a three month break in between jobs to recharge. You can’t just quit because you’ll lose 10 weeks of severance pay and not receive unemployment benefits or health care. Here are some ways and thoughts to get laid off:

* Google “WARN notification *your state*.” Then search by your company. WARN stands for “Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notificationwhere a company legally must file with the state if they plan to do a mass layoff. The goal is to provide potentially laid off workers time to adjust to a job loss (2 months in California, 3 months in New York for example).

* Talk to your manager about the company’s staffing levels. “Bloated, lean, just about right?” Basically tell her that you empathize with how difficult her decision must be to lay people off, and ask how she copes? As the dialogue ensues, bring up a suggestion that you are willing to sacrifice your position for the good of the firm if she is asked by senior managers to choose people to layoff. This way, you seem like a good team player. You should also make clear that with your sacrifice, you wish to receive severance and any deferred compensation you might have.

Being a manager is very difficult during rough times. If you can help managers make some difficult decisions for them, more often than not, they will accept your proposal  If you ever wonder why C-level execs hire consultants like McKinsey for strategic reviews, now you know why. The consultants are often the scapegoats for letting go of staff, so the blame doesn’t go on the big bosses. Of course, if you are one of the top performers, they will make it difficult for you to leave, and might ask how they can help make your life better and might even give you a raise.

* Bring up the topic of a sabbatical with your manager. There’s never really a good time to ask for one. When things are busy and booming, the last thing the company wants is for an employee to take a nice 3 month long break.  When things are bad, your manager will think you’re being thoughtless and foolish with your career. That’s fine, since you want to get laid off anyway!  You can recharge and enjoy your time off, and if you get back and find yourself laid off, then what a fine choice. Here’s a post that goes through the decisions on whether to take a sabbatical or not.

* Fade to mediocrity.  This is a riskier strategy that must be tactfully managed. Companies let go of their bottom 5-10% performers every year. Some call it the “Jack Welch Rule” from GE.  So long as you are one of the average 70-80% of employees, you’ll likely never be let go. Falling to the bottom 10% in performance requires: not being a team player, but still being nice e.g. “Sorry, can’t stay late, gotta go!“, being out of sight, not feeling you’ve put in your best work, and maybe even arriving 15 minutes late at times. Be very careful not to do anything wrong. Most people at firms are mediocre, so don’t feel bad.

* Become disliked, but not hated. Are you the type of person who likes to whistle at your cubicle to the agitation of your colleagues? Do you like to bring back from breakfast or lunch the stinkiest meal possible and disgust your neighbors? Well then, you are on the right path for getting put on the “RIF List.” I’ve had a couple managers tell me they can’t stand someone because of their loud noises and whistles. Because they can’t stand that person, the manager finds nitpicking things to justify a RIF. As the annoying person, you should continue to be nice and smile.  Just be a little oblivious.

* Use the “It’s not you it’s me, but really it’s you” strategy. When you’re afraid to let someone down who loves you more than you love them, employing this strategy works. Here’s a whole post on how you can lessen someone’s pain during breakup.

Important: It’s really all about planting a seed of doubt in your manager’s mind. Once your manager thinks you’re a pain in the ass, annoying, or not pulling your weight, you will have a very difficult time convincing him or her otherwise. People are naturally biased and will find reasons to let you go if you sufficiently bother them. For example, if your manager is a Republican, you can mention you are going to an Obama fund raiser. Totally legal, but you will crawl under your manager’s skin to the point where all he’ll think about is finding ways to legally get rid of you!

Things to do or not to do when you are trying to get laid off:

* Do not write anything in e-mail that could condemn you to getting fired. Assume all your e-mail are read. If you are embarrassed to read your e-mail on the front page of the newspaper, the e-mail is not legitimate and should not be written.

* Do not abuse your corporate card or any channel where you can spend the firm’s money. You should never abuse your corporate card anyway. All expenditure must be above board.

* Do not harass your colleagues. This is a given. Now is not the time to go hit on the hot tamale at the other end of the floor. Many companies have a non-interoffice dating policy.

* Do not come in late or leave early more than once a week. Companies can terminate you for being incessantly late, so don’t slack too much.

* Read your employee handbook. There are many dangers you must avoid that are contained in the hand book.

EMPOWER YOURSELF!

Getting laid off can be a wonderful thing if you have other things planned. The better an employee you are, the harder it is for you to engineer your layoff because you are clearly more valuable to the firm than what they are paying you. Also, if a manager lays you off, by many state laws, they can not replace you with another candidate for a certain time period because that would violate the reason for a layoff. If you are a bad employee, you should probably be fired, but that opens up reputational risk to the firm as well as litigation risk.

If you are thinking about quitting your job, please at least attempt to engineer a layoff instead. You may get severance, all your deferred compensation, healthcare coverage,  as well as unemployment benefits from the government. This is real money that shouldn’t be taken lightly, since there’s no guarantee that after the layoff you’ll succeed in whatever new thing you want to do. Besides, after all these years of paying taxes, don’t you want at least some of that money back? Although your employer pays the unemployment insurance directly on your payroll, you are still indirectly paying for unemployment through a lower wage equivalent to the tax they must pay!

Sooner or later, our careers end. If you want your career to end sooner, consider getting laid off instead of quitting or getting fired. And if you have an incredible opportunity lined up already that will pay you handsomely, go ahead and quit. Just make sure you know what you’re missing if you do!

Note: It is very important to work together with your HR staff. The HR staff’s main purpose is to protect the company from litigation and NOT you. Remember who pays the HR staff’s compensation. Finally, a severance comes with you signing a document protecting the firm from you. In essence, a severance package is like hush money. 

Recommendations For Building Wealth & Living FREE

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Regards,

Sam

 

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    I did quit my job, because I grew impatient with trying to get let go. The people that I was working for had a higher tolerance and a longer attention span than I did… so, I worked for about 6 months at trying to get laid off, but I finally grew too exasperated and left. Much happier now, though. :)

    • says

      Gotcha. What are you doing now? 6 months is a short enough time to just quit, since there really is no semblance of severance at that time frame. 6 years, that might be a different story.

      • says

        I was at the job itself for around 12 years, but it didn’t become a PITA until the economic downturn – you discover that the bosses are NOT your friends when they’re in trouble of losing their financial shirts. Now, I’m a writer – I don’t make anywhere NEAR the cash that I was, but I work from home and even though there’s stress, it’s all self caused.

        • says

          Very good point. When shit is hitting the fan, you find out real quickly who your real allies are!

          That’s why when people go through bad times and survive together, it makes their relationship that much stronger.

          I hope you are also happier working at home!

  2. says

    I did engineer my own layoff. In my very first job after grad school, I lasted a whole 9 months. Due to lack of training on the part of my employer and a complete immature attitude on my part, it was decided that I was not a good fit. So we had a meeting and they offered me the choice to quit or be laid off. For many of the reasons you listed, I opted to be laid off.

    The only problem it presented was when I went on subsequent interviews and was questioned as to why I was only at a job for 9 months. Fortunately, after less than 4 months of looking (this was 10 years ago), I interviewed at a company that didn’t care (thank you, nonprofit who desperately needed workers).

  3. says

    Yeah people seem to confuse the two all the time. Never thinking about the benefits that those are entitled to as opposed to those getting fired. I never thought about playing the being the team player card. I think that would really work like at charm. In the end what do you have to lose if you want to be laid off anyways. I not with getting intentionally fired but laid off sounds a lot better. Im glad you made to point to bring up you want to receive severance don’t want to lose out.

    • says

      It does work. When a good, long-term, loyal subordinate asks me, I will most certainly consider his/her option and do the right thing. Furthermore, it’s not like the severance payments are coming out of the manager’s pocket. The manager will gain an ally this way as well.

  4. says

    I’m actually in school for Human Resources and getting laid off is the way to go if you’re going to be staying on unemployment for awhile. Getting fired obviously doesn’t look great on you – it’s a black mark, and it can’t really be explained in a way that will work for the fire-ee. Getting laid off is easy to explain to future employers though.

  5. says

    Given the choice between quitting, getting fired and getting laid off I think getting laid off will always win and getting fired is always a losing proposition. I wonder about the ethics of intentionally getting laid off though in order to collect unemployment benefits. While I wouldn’t mind getting those 99 weeks of benefits I can’t see myself intentionally getting laid off to do so. It’s all rhetoric for me anyway since I’m self employed so can’t get laid off or collect unemployment.

      • says

        Oh yes if you’ve been screwed over by the company that might mitigate the ethics of the planned layoff. You didn’t mention anything about getting screwed over in the post though, just “If you just can’t stand the company you are working for anymore” and that your job “…no longer interests you. You are a bit burnt out”. In any case, if you can get laid off that always beats quitting or getting fired.

  6. says

    This is a pretty interesting take on things. Engineering a layoff is something that definitely takes planning. IN my own case getting laid off was the byproduct of an initial reduction in hours and the final call to table the project I was working on.

    You made some great points about ending things on good terms. If you leave amicably then it will really work in your favor. Even in the blog post I wrote about my layoff, I praised my boss as one of the best leaders iv’e ever worked for. Because of that he’s always been willing to give me recommendations for anything I ask for.

  7. says

    I have some friends whom this might apply to… :)
    That’s a nice point about simply asking to be layed off or suggesting that it should be you first. That’s one point I never would have considered.

    Personally, I like the”fade into the background” approach where you do just enough work to not get fired. The added benefit is of course that those last few months (or years!) of work are really easy to manage :)

    • says

      Similar, but not the same. As an employee, if the company screws you on your compensation or doesn’t pay you, meanwhile, you’re putting in your hours and paying your taxes to the government, getting laid off doesn’t even fully make up for anything. Only partly.

  8. says

    Just to play devil’s advocate here, getting laid off and going on unemployment isn’t always the sunny vacation many people seem to think it is. The problem with unemployment insurance, at least here in Canada, is that while you’re on it, you can’t earn any other income. This contributes to people staying on it for longer. I have a friend who was laid off back in September, and has been on unemployment since. She hasn’t had any luck finding a job, and she’s going out of her mind with boredom. She’d like to do some freelancing, some part-time stuff, but she can’t, because it would screw up her unemployment. She can’t get a job at a fast-food or retail place because 1) No one would hire her, because they know she’d just leave as soon as she gets a better job and 2) Why would she, since she makes more on unemployment than she would working full-time minimum wage?

    By comparison, I quit my job late last year, and decided to go full-time freelance. I’m making less than I was before, and probably less than I would be on unemployment, but I’m having a blast, and my income is consistently increasing. (I’m still in the very early days.) If I’d orchestrated a lay off in order to have the cushion of unemployment, I wouldn’t be doing any of this. In my situation, just quitting was definitely the right call. I mean, yes, I pay into unemployment and I want my due, but the time will come in the future where I’ll need to collect it. But today it’s it.

    • says

      Very good points. The shorter you’ve been at the company, the easier it is to just quit.

      Also depends on what someone has lined up or wants to do after.

      If you’ve worked for 8 years and are completely burnt out and want to take a 6 months break to gather yourself, get laid off and collect 26 weeks of unemployment insurance you paid in for 8 years is absolutely fine.

  9. says

    I’ve totally been thinking about this lately, and I was hoping I could get laid off! I have a few things going for me: I know that my nonprofit is projected to operate in the red this year. But my boss has no history of laying people off. Plus she already knows that I plan to leave in May, which may be good or bad in my case.

    I’ve considered flat-out being asked to be laid off sooner than May, but it seems unlikely to happen. I definitely think your tips could work for others, especially in large offices and places that are more likely to lay off workers.

  10. says

    I have seen ‘structured layoffs’ work out quite well. One gentleman was a year away from retirement, and there were layoffs coming. He talked the company into laying him off, and so he got severance up until his real retirement started, and he spared someone else their job.

    A few years ago during ‘layoff season’, I told my boss that I had no problem with being laid off, and I would prefer if it were me instead of someone else. Well, in my case, I subtley told them that I would be alright if they didn’t renew my contract. It worked out well because again, another job was spared, and I got some time off that I wanted. (They then brought me back 9 months later.)

    • says

      I’m assuming though, he had some type of pension or what not that kicked in once his retirement started, yes?

      People view leaving the firm as an all-or-nothing experience. It’s not as your case demonstrates. It can be mutually beneficial!

      • says

        Not sure of his retirement details as he is Canadian.

        I believe I said this over at Invest it Wisely- the best thing you can do is make sure you don’t burn any bridges. Even if you don’t go back to where you quit, people in the industry talk, and sometimes it can be a very small world.

  11. says

    It’s going to be difficult getting laid off this year. The economy is getting better and if you made it through the last few years, they probably won’t lay you off. My company is hiring.
    I will try to get laid off when the time come as well, but the company has a huge team of HR to get me fired instead. Can I really fight that? Maybe…
    They will try to build a “paper trail” and fire me instead, I know how this works. You should build a paper trail of your own. If there is a reorg or merger, save all that paper works. You may be able to use it as evidence (?).

    Also, always file for unemployment. The government decide if you get the benefit, not the company. Often time the company may not fight the decision, I guess it’s similar to fighting a speeding ticket.

    • says

      I think you’re right. You asking to take a sabbatical or layoff might make them want to pay you MORE! Companies always make more money off you than you cost, many times by a HUGE margine.

      Your paper trail tracking is key.

  12. says

    Another Devil’s advocate post-this time from a small business perspective.

    Many small businesses in my state are reluctant to outright fire or lay off someone because it results in an increase in payroll taxes every time you let someone go. We are heavily regulated and the term “big government” here is well understood.

    Unless the reason for letting the employee go was for GROSS misconduct (stealing, vandalism, physical violence), that person gets unemployment which results in an increase of around 2% in taxes for the small business and it stays there for as long as these people are out of work. So for every person you lay off or fire, the tax rate goes up and stays there for as long as they are out of work.

    From a small business perspective, it is hard to lay someone off because it results in you essentially paying them to leave. In my state if you want to leave and get unemployment, you really do have to engage in something awful not to get unemployment.

    • says

      Very interesting and good to know the firm has to pay higher taxes! Might motivate a disgruntled employee more to get laid off actually.

      I’ve heard so many stories of people getting rejected for unemployment benefits because they got fired or quit, I don’t think people should risk this route.

      “If you quit, it’s because you don’t need Ye money, otherwise, you wouldn’t quit!” says the government agent.

      • says

        Nope, here even if you get fired, the state’s rational is that even if it is due to
        cause, the employee is there to do their best so you have to work with them for
        heaven knows how long before you can fire them and not be penalized. The state
        won’t say where that line is.

        As far as being motivated to get laid off, it’s still the employer’s decision to lay them off
        vs firing them not really the employee, especially of they want to be laid off.
        All of this is taken into consideration when deciding when to fire or lay off someone.

        Severance isn’t mandatory in my state so Im not sure if it is in others.
        But Im sure other companies consider the financials of
        firing (paying higher payroll taxes) vs laying off (severance which isn’t mandatory).

        So pushing yourself into a lay off doesn’t guarantee you severance but it would
        get you unemployment in my state.

        That said, check your state laws before jumping ship.

        I’m assuming we’ve all seen the Boston Legal episode where the clerk was set up
        to meet deadlines she couldn’t meet :-)

  13. says

    I’ve quit before but due to finding new employment beforehand and I wasn’t leaving anything on the table. I knew a guy who quit without a new job and then tried to accuse his former employer of several bad things in order to get unemployment. Needless to say he wasn’t successful, burnt bridges, and was probably kicking himself for not trying to get laid off. If I ever decide to leave my job I want to have something waiting for me whether it’s a new position or retirement. And if I can convince my employer to lay me off so I could get severance at that time that’d be sweet!

  14. says

    Sam,

    The idea of asking for a sabbatical is genius. It demonstrates disinterest in your work and implies a level of being burnt out and has the inception quality of planting the idea that maybe you’re not giving the company your all while in no way being a just cause for termination.

    The only concern I would have is that it may lead the boss to look for ways to “fire” instead of layoff, but this is more of an issue at smaller companies where employers are more likely to be mindful of the costs of laying off when it comes to unemployment taxes.

  15. says

    I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a company that had laid people off. I think I’m small time right now – and within my job experiences there is quit or be fired. There’s no middle ground of being laid off. Basically I’ve never worked for corporate america – it’s always been small businesses. This idea is a foreign concept to me.

  16. says

    I quit once after the company accountant touched my thigh. I realized that even if he was reprimanded, the company culture condoned behaviors that led the douche to think it was okay for a 65 year old man to touch the receptionist’s thigh. When I told my boss he was upset, but I’d already decided to made arrangements to work someplace else.

    I quit another time when I found out I was not going to be advanced as promised due to company politics, they weren’t going to pay me nearly $9,000 in overtime, and I got an abysmal review. (Who tells someone they aren’t committed to the company the week after they come to work with a migraine?) I realized I didn’t want to work in that industry anymore, and was offered another job elsewhere, so I gave my two week notice.

  17. says

    Interesting… this topic has come up for both MMM and myself in the past and we both decided to quit (instead of waiting around or requesting a layoff). Fading into mediocrity was not really an option for me as I really pride myself on doing good work.

    Instead, I ended up giving a one-month notice and documented everything I did and ended everything on very good terms. I left and started my new job and guess what? About a year later, I got a job offer from the company I had left for a much better and much higher paying position (I didn’t take it, although it was tempting, since I was at home with my little one).

    I guess my point is, don’t be anything less than the way you want to be remembered. Be honest, up front, stay true to yourself, and don’t burn any bridges. It will always come back to you in a good way… I’ve never been laid off or fired, but I have requested a sabbatical (I got 12 weeks off to travel!). But, the only reason they let me do it is because they really valued me as an employee.

    Good topic!!

  18. says

    Getting laid off wasn’t an option for me. The company I left is doing fantastically well. Taking a 3 month sabbatical would’ve almost definitely resulted in me getting fired. The law doesn’t entitle you to a leave of absence for soul searching. And I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t qualify for unemployment benefits.

    I gave my employer 2 month’s notice, helped interview my replacement, and even trained him after I left the company as a full-time employee. My boss recently asked me if I’m interested in doing additional work for the company. Trying to get laid off by being mediocre would put an unfair burden on the people I worked with and most certainly burned down bridges I may want to cross later.

      • says

        It’d be nice to receive unemployment benefits. However, I don’t qualify for them. There was no business reason for the company to lay me off. And if I filed for unemployment benefits after quitting my job or performing it so poorly to get myself fired, they’d almost certainly contest it. Plus, I’m not unemployed because I’m not looking for work. Having employees claim unemployment causes the employer’s employment tax rate to increase. So, they have a financial incentive to stop employees from filing for unemployment benefits who weren’t laid off.

    • says

      I agree with you, Shawanda. I’m not sure I could slack off or irritate people for the purposes of getting laid off. It just doesn’t bode well with what I’ve always thought about work and employment, and I think I’d feel bad for it.

  19. says

    I think of myself as a pretty good planner and strategist, but I don’t think I could engineer a lay off. Last Spring, I was RIFed, but it was unplanned and very difficult at my age. I think it could be negotiated by volunteering. That is the only way, I could do it.

  20. says

    As Napolean Hill says in his classic book, give more in service than what you expect your employer to pay for. And you won’t get fired or laid off.

    But, sometimes, those unexpected events motivate you to start your own business.

    Besides, this notion that government decided when to pay you your unemployment benefits is really another bad sign of big daddy controlling your life. We all pay for the benefit when we work. But seldom we even pay attention to that aspect at all.

    • says

      Ahh, but this is not an article about avoiding getting fired or laid off. This article is about putting the control in the hands of a good performer who is burnt out, or feels wrong, and wants to maximize the returns of his or her departure!

  21. Anonymous in NYC says

    I quit without a job lined up. Luckily I found a temp position. Believe me, the money I didn’t get in unemployment/severance isn’t a drop in the bucket compared to the lawyer fees I was going to have to pay after I lay the smackdown on some type of fool!
    When your job’s stress sends you to MD appointments instead of happy hours, it’s time to pack your bags.

    • says

      Eh? But if you spent money pro bono on a lawyer, you might have sued your employers for a life’s savings worth of expenses?

      Sorry, you’ll have to elaborate on your situation for us to understand.

  22. G$ says

    I agree with your article but in most cases you are still eligible for UI even if you are fired. Only gross misconduct (an example would be stealing from your employer) precludes you from UI.

    Never quit, you can’t collect UI if you do.

  23. BE @ BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog says

    Wow…getting laid off is new concept to think about. But, theres value in planning for anything. I hope to hold on as i hold a high position at my company, but one never knows. The severance can be a huge incentive in this environment.

    • says

      Imagine if you are at a firm for 15 years and get 3 weeks off a year? That’s 45 weeks of severance at your likely solid salary + deferred comp if any, + $1,800/month in unemployment benefits for 26-99 weeks! That is sweet!

  24. says

    I was offered a rather tempting continuation bonus by one of my previous employers if I stayed for at least two years. While it was a lot of money I just couldn’t bring myself to hang around and do something that I didn’t like to do. I left with only a few regrets in the end, didn’t pick up any additional money in the move but I was a lot happier.

    • says

      I’ve never heard of anybody I know get a “coninuation bonus”! Sounds like a great carrot, depending on how much it is!

      Interesting you said how you didn’t pick up more money, but found much more hapinness. . After a certain level of happiness, isn’t it enough?

      • says

        I was fed up, uninterested and needed a change. I guess it might be a silly approach, but I need to be interested in what I am doing and feel that I can add value or I just can’t do it. I don’t like the idea of just staying somewhere for the money because it isn’t my main motivation.

        • Rich says

          I know this is a post from months ago but found it entertaining, each person makes their own decision as to what they think they need to do. Now I can say this, I have very recently resigned my position, I did not quit there is a difference, I also had been asking to get laid off for 5 plus years due to the way the companies ran their business but they know it and I know it I was not getting laid off until closure which had no definate date but in 2 years or so, maybe more maybe less, so after a merger a short time ago, plant is closing etc, now another merger, I didnt want to go through the last one but I let someone talk me into it because things might get better, well here it is later on, and was I??? Hating the place and companies twice as much then I did before so what did it do for me? nothing but cause me misery, etc, I am not going to live a life where I absolutely dread going to that place just because “everyone else” things I should have had a job lined up first, that is nonsense but I do understand the mentality, but its not me, did it done it, 12 plus years oh well, I am relaxed, and feel much much better so I know I did the right thing for me, even though all I hear is that I am an idiot etc, unless your in someone else’s shoes you can not tell them they are right or wrong, that is their choice to make. Now as far as unemployment compensation?? I have not filed yet but we shall see how everything works out. Thanks and Good Luck to everyone!!!

  25. Traineeinvestor says

    Somewhat disturbed by references to companies being stuck with higher taxes in some states if they lay people off – sounds like a good incentive not to hire people or to do so in other states.

    It’s a complete non-issue for me in HK as I wouldn’t be eligible for any kind of payout. Quite the opposite as I would almost certainly loose any potential for a discretionary bonus if I even hinted at quitting, wanting to be laid off or take a sabbatical. In my case, retiring by handing in notice just after bonuses have been announced makes more sense.

    • says

      Didn’t realize you were in HK! How long have you been there and do you like it? It seems always so crowded and EXPENSIVE, but I do love the 15-16% FLAT TAX! No wonder why the island is doing so well, and the US is so inefficient!

      • says

        In April I will be celebrating 20 years in Hong Kong.

        It is expensive for some things (housing, airtickets, education etc all cost more than at home) but the opportunities and low tax rates more than make up for that cost.

        Crowded? Yes, but you get used to it and it is a very convenient city with great (and cheap) public transport and affordable health care.

        The tax rate here is not flat – it is a progressive system with higher marginal rates but an overall cap of 15-16.5% of total income (after various allowances). There is no tax on dividends, interest or capital gains. Most people pay either no very little income tax. Personal tax returns for salaried workers take about five minutes to prepare (and most of that time is spent agreeing how to split allowances between spouses) and a bit more if you own investment properties. Its not just the absolute amount of tax paid, but the amount of time wasted on understanding the tax code and complying with tax obligations that differentiates Hong Kong from the US (and other places).

  26. says

    Where I live you can actually collect money from a government program if you are laid off. Here we call it employment insurance. However if you quit or get fired you are out of luck. You don’t qualify.

    I have never been in a situation where I have had to consider these options before and I hope I don’t have too. My heart goes out to people who are having to deal with this right now.

  27. says

    I like you’re “How to get laid off” section of this article–clever and slightly humorous. After getting laid off I suggest using the unemployment money to start your own business.

  28. says

    I have a friend that actually did this about two years ago. He took the unemployment while living with his parents and saved up quite a bit before finding his next job.

  29. Darwin's Money says

    I know several 50-somethings that have employed this strategy rather well at my company. They’re lovin’ the enhanced severance and unemployment to follow. I don’t think I’d feel ethical about collecting unemployment when my goal was to be laid off, but well…that’s our system!

  30. says

    Wow, that’s a quite evil plan:-)
    If I can’t stand my job, I would just quit it and move forward. I did in the past and it was perfect.

    I would not be able to “wait” until I get laid off. Imagine if it takes 6 months, 12 months? Some employers are very patient ;-).

    On the other side, if you do that too often, you might not be able to craft a good resume. What do you do when your new employer ask for reference or ask why you were laid off? I don’t think your ex-employer will have a lot of nice things to say about you, right?

    It sounds a bit risky to me considering that the small benefits you could get. I don’t know how it works in the States but I would get only a portion of what I’m making (the unemployment checks doesn’t cover salaries over 50K or 60K in Canada).

    • says

      You just tell them that you raised your hand to get laid off and took one for the team.

      If you could get 1 year’s full salary as severance, wouldn’t you try and get laid off?

  31. says

    I was unexpectedly laid off last August. Rejection is so hard..:) I did enjoy the time off but unemployment is not a lot of money but it definitely helps! I have an interview today and I am hoping it works out. No doubt, putting my GPA on my resume will help.

    During my time on unemployment, we have learned to live on less.

  32. says

    Always thinking, Sam. I just remarked to Jane, as we get closer to retirement, it would be great timing to catch a severance package, even a week per year would be a great boost to the final year’s income. Never thought about collecting unemployment as well. Maybe accepting severance means no unemployment, no double dipping?

  33. says

    You won’t die alone if you quit. ;)

    I think the sabbatical or “going back to school” cards are the only ones that work. If you think becoming an annoying coworker will help or that performing in the bottom 10% won’t burn bridges you’re probably better off quitting. What a waste of time just to get some UI and severance.

      • says

        Are you still eligible for that if you’re self-employed? I dunno, the U.S. situation is so ridiculous — 99 weeks? Get paid even if working on the side? That’s not insurance, that’s an incentive to slack off and have everyone else pay for it.

        I hear you on severance, but it depends on how you get it. I think the best way is to get chopped cause of company general cutbacks or an acquisition. If you’re chopped because of your own lack of performance, I don’t think that reflects so well on the future.

  34. says

    As promised, Sam, this is an awesome post – you delivered! I did contemplate getting laid off, actually long before I decided to quit. Problem is, I’m a perfectionist, and even though I was leaving the industry altogether, I just couldn’t lower my standards far enough – I was even being considered for a promotion at the time I left! I do realize, though, that I lost out financially because of my perfectionism.

  35. Worker says

    I started working for a company about 8 months ago and 3 months ago they started laying off people across the company till today, including people in my team who do the same work as I do (and we all get 6-figures). People are dropping like flies – the boss that hired me got fired so i have a new boss of only a few weeks. Well, our budget for this year has been cut about 60% so there is HIGH possibility of more layoffs (since the budget has been officially approved). I started looking for jobs, but haven’t applied yet…thinking I “might” be one of the safe ones. I have a good relationship with the senior exec of our department and have been told by my boss that this senior exec “likes” me as an employee and role models for others. I’m debating if I should start applying for jobs or just wait to get laid off. Thoughts?

      • worker says

        i’m still at the same company today and it sounds like the company is re-branding itself. debating if i should still stay. i’m one of the few that still has the “best” work which is budgeted work…other people’s work are not even budgeted. i know there’s more layoffs, but the company is re-forming itself so debating to stay. i also recently happened to receive an interview invite from an old employer out of the blue so IF this position suits me i’m debating to stay with my current company or not…

  36. says

    It’s funny you write this, because getting laid off has crossed my mind lately. And the “Fade to mediocrity” seems like a easy way to go about it to me…

    If I were laid off, my only concern would be how would my side income affect my benefits? I would hate for the government to say, “Oh, you have income” no soup for you…

  37. says

    I don’t want to get laid off for a variety of reason. First of all, I take pride in my work so I could never purposely do something that will annoy the employers. (2) I am leaving my job for now, I am not leaving my entire career. If I want to come back I want my stellar references. Being laid off, the main thing that will remain on their mind will be my last few weeks of slacking. I cannot let that happen. I do not want to burn any bridges at this point of my career. (3) I genuinely feel bad to slack off or miss on my work when I know that is what I getting paid for. It hurts my work ethic and that is more valuable to me than the severance or unemployment. (4) You are counting on unemployment assuming you won’t do anything else. I have not looked at unemployment so, I might be totally wrong here, but doesn’t unemployment reduce if you start earning from some other job/work? I don’t plan to sit at home so I will obviously bring in some income and that is going to reduce my unemployment by that much? If that is the case I don’t see a point in applying for unemployment.

    • says

      Good points Suba. Definitely keeps the door open if you want to come back in the future!

      I’m just providing an alternative people should really think about. You can engineer your lay off in a very POSITIVE way as well eg raise your hand to save a teammate if a round of cuts are to occur anyway, and offer to stay on board to train others on how to do your job for as long as the company wants you to be there.

      • says

        I am the only one left in my team who does what I do :) I survived the lay offs, there is mo way they will let me go now. I should have made it clear. That is why there is absolutely no way for a positive lay off.

        • says

          Gotcha! I think when you tell them you want to quit, then there’s a good chance they will offer you something sweeter to stay! I’ve seen it happen many times before!

          I’m an easily replaceable monkey :)

  38. audrey michael says

    what if you got laid off because the manager viewed you as a threat because of your education? He has an associates degree and I have a BBA and MBA. Never had a written, verbal warning, perfect attendance, excellent evaluations for 6 years and high productivity. Other employees that were on corrective actions, written and verbal warnings, and that were always in trouble did not get laid off. I kept great documentations. What can I do?

  39. E says

    Gotta unique situation. I am State Licensened professional, the small business I work for is REQUIRED to have someone with my license to do the work they do. I came on board right after the last licenscee left amid a cloud for taking more pay elsewhere. I have been told last week they are “bringing him back on” and that I’ll have different job duties. I’ve asked directly “am I being let go” answer “no” I asked “how can you afford two licenses” they replied “we can if we increase business 4 fold” which is BS, we haven’t increased 1 fold in the nearly two years I’ve been here… am I being set up to be fired or laid off? I know that I am also being used as a scape goat for several projects (which I can prove was not me) but the CEO is 76 and doesn’t listen to anyone but the mgr who has it in for me.
    I am within just about 4 weeks of getting my two year anniversary and 3 weeks more vacation.. since that would probably be enough for another job to come up…

    HOW do I engineer it to stay on after the new/replacement comes on?
    Do I tell the CEO that I have another job lined up and would like to just hang on till then?
    Or should I wait until they ask to let me go and counter that I would reduce my hours if they just keep me on till the new job comes online?
    reduce my pay till the same?

  40. Lily says

    hello…i am in a work situation where I am not doing the job I was hired to do. As soon as I was hired at the Dir of New Business 2 years ago, marketing/travel budgets were cut and I have been spending 75% of my time doing much lower level work (think telemarketing). The company is struggling and i agreed to a short term paycut about 6 weeks ago. My boss really likes me and would probably not want to lay me off. My question is if I quit for being underemployed (and bored!) would I be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in the state of CT?

  41. says

    I think “fading to mediocracy” is a form of theft. If you aren’t happy, just quit. Playing games with your own reputation seems to be silly. And even if it works, I would know for the rest of my life that I didn’t live up to my own code of morality. That sort of regret isn’t worth it.

    • says

      The code of morality…. hmmm, now that is a great topic! We can discuss the morality of companies and how they treat their employees and all their broken promises. We can talk about how one is inconsistent with their code of moralities as well.

      A great topic indeed. You would be a good employee then Crystal. Have you considered going back to the corporate world?

      • says

        No, I won’t be returning because I wasn’t happy – it was truly a company that didn’t care about its employees in general. But I kicked butt in my position even into my last hour and had the full support of my ex-bosses when I did give notice. One of them still reads my blog. Just because a company isn’t fair doesn’t change what I think is right.

  42. Les says

    Great article. I am one of those who wants to get laid off but is considered too valuable. I have been throughout multiple rounds of layoffs and my reward is more work, less pay while departed colleagues get the package. I want to offer myself up but not sure what I would say and who to say it to. I am fairly high level and my boss reports to the President. I have been with my company 14 years and manage sales people. Thoughts?

  43. Dizzy says

    I really would like to be laid off and my company is on a round of layoffs right now. My husband got laid off earlier this year–not orchestrated–and totally unexpected, but that has been a lifesaver for us because he can devote his time to our dream. I’m kind of jealous of him because he is setting up our business and loving it. I’m bored stiff at my full-time job. They rarely fire people, but they frequently lay people off. There is no paper trail on me that I know of anyway. Oh well, we’ll see… I guess it can’t hurt to ask soon, when I hope to quit in the next few months anyway.

  44. Donna says

    Has anyone tried volunteering to be laid off? I’m really thinking about that possibility. I have an opportunity and I’m starting my own business. It’s going to launch by the end of the week. The thing is that it’s hard to work full-time and work at home to get the business going. My plan has been to get the business making money then quit the full time job. The company I work for is doing a big round of lay offs, and that would be ideal for me right now. I just don’t want to risk getting fired.

  45. Norm says

    Thank you for writing this! I started working for a company almost 3 months ago (resigned from previous job) and I want out. I can’t handle the pressure (overwhelmed) and I feel that I need to change careers (stress is affecting my health). My supervisor has mentioned that I cannot work too much overtime and I don’t feel that it is right to work off the clock. Tension is rising between us and this month is going to be super busy. I’m trying to hang in there but I would rather get laid off so I can move on. I can’t afford to get fired. It’s a small company so I know they would need someone to replace me right away. I think they would feel betrayed if I left so I’m doubtful I would get unemployment benefits. Any suggestions in engineering this layoff?

  46. Widya Sulistyowati says

    I’ve been laid off for 6 months now ( they said it was only a temporary laid off but yet they using temporary workers instead of calling us back ) , but I’m not interested to go back I found new job now.
    I’ve been asking for reimbursement for my vacation, personal and sick days from my previous employer for the last couple months.
    They agreed to pay for my personal and sick days only and not my vacations, they said they can give my vacation days back only if I’m working with them again. Is that the right procedure ??
    and they mention that I supposed to get my reimbursement after a year ( if they are not calling me back ).
    What if they are not giving me my reimbursement, what the next legal step I should do?

    Thank you

  47. lila says

    I work at a grocery store and a new manager just came about a week ago I asked him for 3 days off because I will star school and I let him know I could work the night shift one day, the next day he made the schedule I had to work and he had only put me to work for only 3 days about 18 hours he approached me saying “you cant close but you want more hours” my answer to that was there is nothing I can do I let you know I could close one day and you gave me the day off there is nothing I can do and his answer was “well I can give you less and less hours.” I’m not sure what to do I feel stress out and I think this is threat but I need money but I know that his boss won’t really do anything. what should I do?

  48. Heather says

    Well try this one, been at this firm since 2005; 2007 the economy goes bust (we got it earlier in our sector). I go from full-time work to almost nothing overnight. Go on maternity and there are no hours to come back to. Flash forward to now, 5 years later. Work trickles in but nothing sustainable, a few hours here and there, sometimes blocks of days over a couple of weeks, then nothing for months. I can’t afford full-time childcare because I don’t have fulltime work and the job market is awful; when I do get an offer it is less than half of what I make.

    I ask my employer for just one day (6-8hrs) per week every week and she can’t gaurantee that. This employer will not and has not ever laid anyone off, she says it is seasonal work, even though myself and three others have stuck it out and are there for her to keep business going.

    I need money to catch up my mortgage but can’t access my 401k with this company because technically I ‘work’ there. My mortgage isn’t too far behind but the mortgage company wants to know why if I am employed do I not have work and if so why haven’t I been laid off. I am in suck a pickle. My husband says seeing she won’t lay me off, I guess I will have to quit. Which doesn’t matter if I don’t collect unemployment anyway because it isn’t like I had a steady paycheck. But my husband works insane hours to make up for my lack of work, so I just feel helpless.
    I wish she would just lay me off, but in 25 yrs in business she hasn’t and she just wears people down until they quit. :/

      • Rich says

        I posted above about recently resigning my position and I am going to read that book. However there is many other issues, like management ruling in fear, which many know is totally counterproductive 100% however due to insecurities of management all the way up the chain, this is one thing they do. I was not management however, I always take pride in my work no matter what, that for me is personal pride, but I also make sure I know my job and know it well, and I dont need to go run to any boss and say “look what I did” it is totally not needed if you do your job and do it well, performance speaks for itself. They knew this, I know I was top notch even though I may speak my mind, bottom line is they wanted me there because they knew what they would get. On the other hand, with all the backstabbing, nob-gobbling, rear end kissers etc, some can see right through it, but the insecure people who dont know their job, got promotions etc because of being someone else’s buddy ,eat that stuff up, it is not for me, I believe if every single person did their best to know and understand the mission and let the performance speak for itself, everything would be great, unfortunately, things do not work that way and it is what it is, I always have good references no matter whatever reasons I left here or there and that is respect, not for something I deserve but it something I earn.

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