How To Negotiate A Severance: Don’t Get Fired Or Quit, Get Laid Off Instead

This article will teach you how to negotiate a severance package and break free from a job you dislike. Life is too short to keep doing something that brings you no meaning, purpose, or happiness.

I am the bestselling author of How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye. The book is the most comprehensive book that teaches you how to negotiate a severance. Negotiating a severance was my #1 catalyst to leave my six-figure investment banking job in 2012.

If you want a severance, the main thing you must do is not get fired or quit your job. Instead, get laid off. If you quit or get fired, you get no benefits, such as unemployment or health insurance. But if you get laid off, you can receive a severance payment, unemployment benefits, subsidized health insurance, strong referrals, and so much more.

A baby panda dies in the woods every time you quit your job or get fired. It is so much better to negotiate a severance and leave on your own terms with money in your pocket!

Big Difference Between Laid Off And Fired

First of all, there's a big difference between getting fired and getting laid off. In addition, there's a significant difference between a person who gets laid off by surprise versus someone who is able to negotiate a severance.

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.

People don't get fired because there's a big recession and the CEO says 10% of its employees must go. People don't get fired when there is a reorg. These people are getting laid off without cause. As a result, a severance is often given.

Reasons Not To Quit Or Get Fired

The vast majority of workers quit their jobs when they want to start a new job, go back to school, etc. Most people don't think there's any other way. It's a herd mentality.

On the other hand, those who learn how to negotiate a severance are open minded individuals. They are not afraid to think outside the box. To help explain why it's not ideal to quit or get fired, here are some unexpected negatives.

If You're Fired Or Quit, Many Bad Things Can Happen

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

2) You might have a black mark on your record if you are fired. Word can travel fast. Thus, you'll likely be passed over by future employers. No firm wants to risk hiring someone who was previously fired.

3) You may lose supporters and mentors who would have otherwise written letters of recommendation for you. They might not want to risk their reputation on 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 Laid Off And Make More Money With A Severance

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 want to leave your job, get “riffed” and negotiate a severance package. Don't just quit and walk away with nothing. Cashing out smartly is the way to go.

Here are some of the main reasons why it's beneficial to negotiate a severance and ask to get laid off.

Reasons To Negotiate A Severance

1) Getting laid off makes you eligible for government unemployment benefits. Here in San Francisco, you can get $450 a week for 26 weeks.

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. It 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 can get all your unused vacation days paid. If you quit there's no guarantee you'll get them. You may even receive unused sick days, but that is very rare.

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

6) You can 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.

7) Even if you get mandatory WARN Act pay and a severance package, you are eligible for unemployment benefits, so don't delay filing immediately once laid off. Some people erroneously wait until after their WARN Act pay runs out before applying for unemployment benefits. Apply for UB immediately.

How To Get Laid Off With A Severance

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 out on 10 weeks of severance pay. In addition, you won't be able to receive unemployment benefits or health care.

Instead, negotiate a severance package and get paid to take your three month break.

Steps To Negotiate A Severance

Here are some ways and thoughts to get laid off:

1. 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).

2. 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.

Quitting your job is selfish. Getting laid off is the more thoughtful way to go.

3. 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.

4. 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. You can adopt the quiet quitting movement.

5. Become disliked, but not hated

Another strategy to get laid off with a severance is to become disliked. 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.

6. 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 a Democratic 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!

Avoid These Mistakes 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.

Don't quit your job, get laid off instead

Empower Yourself With Knowledge

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.

Getting Laid Off Has Benefits

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. 

Here's an inside look at how HR lays an employee off. Watch the video to demystify the process.

Recommendation For A Better Life

If you enjoyed this article, I wrote a comprehensive 245-page ebook entitled, How to Engineer Your Layoff. It teaches people like you how to get laid off profitably. The book is updated for current times.

I go through the framework of how to negotiate a severance package in further detail. There are lots of case studies, negotiation tips, and guides to help you plan and execute a severance package.

Corporations have a team of lawyers and HR professionals looking out for their own interests. On the other hand, employees have to fend for themselves. I've taken in feedback from thousands of readers to make this book as impactful as possible.

How To Engineer Your Layoff is here to help those who feel they are at risk of getting let go, or who simply want to leave. Everybody whom I've coached or spoken to has said that engineering their layoff feels like winning the lottery. In my case, my lottery ticket amounts to six years of living expenses.

Use the code “saveten” at check out to save $10.

How to engineer your layoff - learn how to negotiate a severance package and be free

Stay In Touch With Financial Samurai

For another example, you can see my wife's case study on high she negotiated a six-figure severance as a high-performing employee. Never quit your job, get laid off instead. You will feel like you won the lottery as you move on to do something new.

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 65,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter and posts via e-mail. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. 

203 thoughts on “How To Negotiate A Severance: Don’t Get Fired Or Quit, Get Laid Off Instead”

  1. Lost and Confused at Work

    I’m in a weird situation. It has been explained to me that [I will most likely be laid-off after February]. I have also spoken to an employment lawyer who has advised me to wait and see what the company does, that I should not quit or find another job. So, my immediate question, I want to follow your strategy to fade into mediocrity. I am extremely uncomfortable in the office. I have been told not to attend meetings and I am allowed to work remotely as much as I want. I feel my coworkers are talking about me behind my back, and even though the situation is not my fault, it still makes me feel like I did something wrong. I promised a small amount of independent project work between now and February, but, do I actually have to do it? Or can I skip it and wait for February? How much effort do I have to give to this miserable company between now and the end of February?

  2. delightful muzi

    Hello there.

    It’s funny how I was thinking of doing the same thing, then find years of work done on the exact topic.

    A question though.. I am in my mid career with 6 YOE. I’ve been engineering to be a low performer and about to press the nuclear button to be let go. My concern is that when I get a job somewhere else, the HR may give out my information on how I was let go.

    Is there a way to prevent the HR leaking my performance review to a potential new employer?

    1. delightful muzi

      Not sure if the editor of this blog will reply to my comment, but I just pulled the trigger today. I spoke with my manager, and my manger first laughed. Then he realized that I was being serious and told me to just resign as this may look bad in the future.

      I insisted that I prefer layoff and emphasized that this is a win-win for both of us.

      Now I wonder how this will go. He said he will speak with others and get back to me.

      1. You have little downside b/c they can’t fire you for cause if you didn’t do anything bad. You need to know offer your services for a smooth transition. I talk about all the strategies in my book.

        1. delightful, yet salty muzi

          Just an update.

          I got a call from HR today and got terminated for cause(job abandonment) effective today. They used my use of sick days against me (and we have unlimited sick days lol). Well, HR sure can use whatever to create a cause I guess.

          Not super mad as a new job is waiting for me, just little salty as I could’ve collected the pay check for another week. I am just not sure how far I am gonna take this to fight against my former asshole.

          Any thoughts?

  3. The company that I currently work with, just offeed a voluntary resignation with benefits of severance package and EI approval. I am thinking that Volunteering on it is the same as quitting? Will job loss insurance (credit card/loan protection) will consider it as quit or lay off? I am just worry that they will deny my claim, even if the Reduction in Workforce was approved by Employment Insurance…

  4. Getting fired is not the black mark everyone makes it out to be. WHY is the tricky part. Many people get fired or terminated and unless you did something really bad, unemployment can usually be gotten, even if you have to pay $1200-$2000 for an attorney to handle the appeal.
    Of course, you don’t want to make a habit of it.

    1. Exactly! Get creative as to the why without fibbing-place as much positive in it as much as possible.

  5. Tech Worker

    I will buy your book tonight but I have an interesting situation. I am considering negotiating a voluntary severance as I am looking at buying a business. So I might leave anyway. Of course I wont bring that up but in my roll out I think I will first just ask for a package. At some point it might be a game of chicken/poker with the company daring me to quit versus me daring to quit…

    I am late 50’s and have mildly complained the last year about being excluded from higher level meetings, though recently i am now invited, so I dont think I have performance issues…

    I have subscribed to your newsletter for a few years, it is really great, love every post
    thanks Sam
    Tech Worker

  6. I’ve just recently found your blog and have really been enjoying reading through these posts — thank you!

    As a contractor doing web development, my experience has been different – no employer paid benefits, and no deferred compensation (like stock options). It’s just me connecting those dots.

    Last year, most of the work I was doing was with a specific agency. I enjoyed the company for the most part, but was getting bored and uninspired with some of the projects being thrown my way.

    I considered quitting, but instead I crafted an email articulating all the ways in which I was a vital part of the organization — and as such required an extreme increase in my hourly rate.

    After a bit of negotiation, they accepted. I learned that I had been undercharging for too long, but there were also a few interesting consequences:

    * Because I am now so expensive, I am only being asked to do the really “hard stuff” — things that are challenging and engaging for me, as opposed to things that are just re-inventing the wheel.

    * I am working less hours, but getting paid more.

    * With more free time, I am able to focus on spending time with my new born son along with growing my other side projects!

  7. I’m in a senior level management position with a large corporation. I’ve had discussions with my manager regarding future restructuring in our division. He is being tasked to reduce cost (in this case headcount) by 5% next year. It is obvious after discussing with him he will not need me in my current position under the new structure but says he will not make a decision until the year end. I’m not willing to take a step back or reduce my compensation, which looks like will be his recommendation as he considers me too highly compensated for a lower position. I’m also not willing to wait until year end. I’m considering suggesting to my manager to make me redundant so he can meet his cost savings for next year but I’d prefer he do it now opposed to year end. I have 16 years with this company and have moved over seas for them with a proven track record and good performance. Any advise or guidance you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Robert

  8. Hi there!

    So I’m in a sticky spot. I have a good amount of money in unvested stock. There are rumors that the company I work for may be acquiring another company (our competitor), which would make us the largest player in our space. An article I read stated that our stock could double to triple if this event were to take place. I had worked closely with one of our c-suite folks on a rather large effort when I joined the company, so I can reach out to this person anytime and it’s not a big deal. I was offered a position to the company I worked for prior to the one I’m working for now, and to add to that my former company use to own my existing company. I setup a meeting with my c-suite contact and was going to ask if I could be laid off and have my unvested stock accelerated to vest. What do you thing is the best approach to ask this. Side note, c-suite contact is retiring at the end of this year.

  9. I just found out my job is being eliminated and I am being laid off (with a NUMBER of other employees). I am about 6 weeks pregnant. A new Maternity policy went into effect Jan 1, 2016 with 14 weeks paid, and up to 6 months of job protection. I JUST missed this policy with my first, born 9/2015. I have 8 years with the company. I receive 16 weeks severance and am being paid for those 16 weeks to help pay for COBRA. How do I ask (demand) for 14 weeks paid maternity, in addition to my package from HR, since any new Job I find (IF I can get hired while pregnant…seems like a slight chance), I will be ineligible for any decent maternity due to my short length of employment at a new company.

    Do I have options? I am a female millennial, and my company implemented the new maternity policy to ATTRACT millennials, and have been pushing in all our company meetings they want more women, and more millennials! What gives?

    1. Hi Sarah, do they know you’re pregnant? If not, you should bring it up. You have nothing to lose now since they are already laying you off. With new information, they should be flexible to change some of the terms.

  10. What would happen if you work for a company for more than 15 years and got laid off. They gave out no handbook to employees. Is there any chance that you can receive severance package? Or what do you need to do to receive it?
    Please reply. Thank you

  11. I was working for a manufacturing company since May 2015 they laid me off in September and i had signed the paper stating i was laid off. Than realize i didn’t have a reason i called the company and spoke to the lady who laid me off. I told her i needed a reason why so i can file unemployment. She told me to go back the next day to get another paper. When i go back she gives me the paper but added the reason to the one i had already signed. And the reason i didnt agree to it because i was never written up or talk to. 3 days later they rehired me and kept me for 2 months its now December and i asked for a reason why and she mentioned that she didnt need to tell me so i didn’t sign the paper. Am i suppose to be given a reason stating why im laid off?

  12. I am no longer interested in working for my company (9 years) because my manager started to micromanaging me to the point that I feel I am being bully. Can I just go to HR and ask for a package and leave? He has two people report under him, yet, he bother me constantly and leave the other one alone (that person has tide to the VP). I feel like I am being watch on everything I do. When I worked 20 hours per day (yes, that is the correct hours) on a project, he wouldn’t bother me, now the project is over, he has nothing else to do and start to bother me. He is trying to make me quit (going through a re-org again slowly) and it’s working.

  13. Well, I got laid off. Not by choice though. Not sure what I should do next. I have about 1MM net worth – 700k invested 300 k house. 3 kids and a stay at home wife…. Here is Canada we get a monthly child benefit of about $400…

    I can collect EI for the next 10 months

    I have considered calling it a day – my wife is willing to go back to work and can add about $1000 month to the pot… not sure..

  14. Pingback: Use The Family And Medical Leave Act To Negotiate A Severance | Financial Samurai

  15. I work as a hotel supervisor, the hotel recently was bought by a new management company, i just had a baby 2 month ago. My boss hates me, i’ve been telling him i cant stay late because i have to take care of my baby, two weeks ago they told me since im not flexible they were letting me go or I had to accept a demotion, i have one more week to decide. I was wondering if i would still receive benefits for being let go even if a new company just bought the hotel out???

    1. i forgot to say i’ve been with the hotel for about 3 years, but i dont know if that matters since new management company just took over

  16. Pingback: Can Cash Be Considered An Investment? Or Is Cash One Big Drag? | Financial Samurai

  17. I started working for an information security startup in the beginning of March (In CA) in an inside telephone sales role. After 6 weeks at the job I was pulled into a meeting with my boss in which he said I had not been performing as expected and was put on a performance plan. Now after 2 months at the job I was laid off. They gave me an unemployment brochure and a cheque for my vacation days , no severance pay. Any suggestions on next steps would be appreciated.

    1. Unfortunately, 8 weeks on the job is not long enough to build any sort of good will. I would just apply for unemployment in the meantime while looking for another job, and discover why you think you got laid off.

  18. Hello! I work for a small company (20-40 employees), and I am curious if your book would still be useful to someone who works for a small company.

  19. My husband was approved for leave of absence for 3 months. He worked in the company for 7+ years. Let’s wait and see the outcome.

  20. Yes I live in jax FL I was working with a company for 8 months I’ve had back problems sense 2009 I put it on my app that I did. In 2014 my back when down on me so I had to call out about two to three days a week till I got to my doctor doc gave me a notice to stay at home for a couple weeks I turned the notice in and my Forman told me if I was unable to make it in that day to let him know so I did a week later they laid me off. That was the first week of October well October 31 I was laid off do to me not being able to work and I was under doctors note . But it is now March 5 2015 and I’m applied for disablity. Is there anything I can do to get any finance help from the company is state. I’m going to look up your book and read it and learn much as possible I’ve never have been to book smart bout this stuff Thanks my email is

  21. Confused Daughter

    Dear Financial Samurai,

    My mom worked for this company for more than 5 years. My dad, who leaves abroad, was sick and she had to take care of him. So she told her employer that she would take some time off, leave with out pay, and even sent email with the detail. She was asked to send proof of his sickness. She couldn’t get a working fax machine to send HR the proofs. But she got it scanned and emailed it through internet service provider company. She then send the pictures of the papers to my sister. My sister emailed the HR office what she got and explained the hardship my mom is in. Then, without her presence, the HR office sent letter to my mom that the company has let her go. When she came back after a month, my mom found the letter. The letter was dated almost a month before it was stamped. Few days ago, my mom called her company and asked why they did that. They said, she can come in as a new employee if she wants. But, if she chooses not to, they told her not to enter the building and they would put her personal belongings. Is this how things should go. Since my mom doesn’t speak good English, she couldn’t express herself. Her company doesn’t talk to anyone but her. She is frustrated and crying. What do you advise? Thank you for your service by the way. Reading your site gives some kind of hope.

    Confused Daughter

  22. I was on FMLA for a back, shoulder and neck injury. I used all my FMLA and now the doctor still feels i should not be back to work, my job has placed nice, and not said a whole lot as to what will happen next. I have been told that they can not continue to wait much longer for me to return. If they lay me off now, will I be able to qualify for unemployment since they have been working with me? I was suppose to be back to work on January 15,2015, and have not been released as of yet from the doctor. I am currently on Long term unemployment as well.

  23. My husband just got laid off after 9 years and was given a 19 week package, but it all goes away as soon as he finds another job. Is this usual?

    1. The 19 week package should be paid in lump sum, although other companies are crafty in that they just pay 19 weeks, one week at a time. It’s a negotiation. Have him ask for the lump sum, or coordinate to start a job on the 19th week and relax during this time while job hunting.

  24. I work full time and go to graduate school full time, but I have 3 month long clinicals coming up and need to take a leave of absence from work for 3 months. I live in NY, if they fire me during my leave of absence, do I still qualify for unemployment?

  25. After working for a really great contract, a new one took over. They doubled performance goals and do not know how to efficiently run the company. I also got accepted to a graduate program on the east coast and am planning to attend.

    Do I ask HR about being laid off or the manager? Can I receive CA UI benefits on the east coast? Unemployment would help tremendously for paying rent while I’m there, and I just want to leave this ridiculous management and avoid taking out loans.

  26. Question- we live in Colorado and my husband has been working for a construction company as a driver. Today his boss said he is “restructuring” and that he no longer wants my husband to be the driver and is giving the position to someone else. The boss then offered him the position of laborer. Well there is no way hubby would have applied for laborer, he has a chronic illness that prevents him from doing things like digging ditches and hauling concrete bags up and down stairs. Boss also didn’t give a reason for wanting someone else and hubby has never been in trouble, written up or threatened with firing. If he declines the laborer position would he still be able to receive unemployment? Technically they are not liquidating his position. I think CO is an at-will state which allows employers and employees to terminate employment without reason.

  27. Any ideas how to get me made redundant? I want to continue my masters to completion, ended up going part time after new manager wouldn’t give me day release that had been promised by previous head of dept after I moved into the dept due to medical redeployment. In job that’s pretty mindless, thankless, for less money now part time, and really want to give up to concentrate on the course for a year. I’ve got a condition that worsens with desk based job, so guess what redeployed to desk based duties! Had one day work from home to manage fatigue organised but emailed late at night, told this was unacceptable and so I wasn’t to be trusted and this was then removed! I have a physical disability. Micromanaged too, goal posts moved, they want rid of me I suspect. Accused of hiding my outlook calendar from my manager and a host of other nonsense has me questioning my sanity.

      1. Thank you but yes, I’m aware that they are synonymous. Sorry I didn’t clarify, my disability is physical not anything else. I was looking for an appropriate set of tactics to use, but I can see that perhaps I’m best resolving this myself. Thank you anyway for your thought provoking and considered response.

  28. Kathy caldwell

    I have worked for this company for 13 years I got a new boss every scene he has been belittling me now I get fired after telling him im not coming in on my day off to do the job he said was fine doing on sunday,he new me and my husband was going out of town, then after im fired tell tell them the store is closing.and he is fighting me for my you think they did it so they wouldnt have to pay me serversnce pay.

  29. I’ve worked for a school district for 21 years. I am a highly credentialed, highly qualified employee without a blemish in my file. A new director is hired that I previously worked with and 3 months later, my contract is not renewed! Supervisor stated, “You’re a contractor and your rates are too high” when I was hired as a non-contractural employee ~ I’m in the pension, supervised, receive sick/personal days ~ my position has to be filled~ can they just “at will” say adios?? The district set my pay rates and each year has given me a raise!

  30. I work overseas and i have been filing tax exempt becouse I did not plan on being in the states for more than the 35 days allowed,but now I am getting laid off and will be home for the remainder of the year,so my question is will I now have to pay taxes on the money I allready made? I have been told by some of the people that work here that if I lose my job at no fault of my own I will not have to pay taes on that money, is that true.

  31. you can still collect unemployment if you have been fired. It’s just when you quit voluntarily or if you were a 1099 worker that you cannot collect unemployment

  32. it's windy out here

    OK, so I’ve almost managed to accomplish this (OK, I lucked into it) and I need some ideas for what’s next. I’m about to get laid off for the rather mundane reason that my company is moving / eliminating my position and they offered me the choice between leaving with a severance or moving 1,000 miles away and taking a different position. My wife has a great job here and we’d prefer not to uproot our daughter, so we’re staying.

    So, the conundrum: my job for the last 5 years can be best described as new business development in a very narrow energy niche that’s not a great place for opportunity right now. It’s been a decently heavy travel job (25-50%) but the pay has been really good and I’ve progressed up the ladder a little. However, I want to reduce that travel to <5% (i.e. zero) or as close to that as I can get. So I'm talking about changing both my industry and my field. I'd describe myself as a generalist with some leadership experience thanks to Uncle Sam and an MBA from a top 20 school and industry-specific experience in wind energy, which despite what you may be thinking doesn't necessarily translate very well to solar or nat gas. Most of the jobs that are popping up on my radar are management consultant, biz dev or sales jobs, all of which I'm generally trying to avoid due to the travel requirements. I also clearly am not willing to relocate. I have the resources to get additional credentials to go from being a generalist to a specialist, I could even pick up a masters degree for free or at half price, but would like to avoid that if possible because I want to keep earning. Along those lines I have considered CFA / CPA / CFP to target financial services or taking a more technical / quantitative approach by getting an MS in CS or data science. Technical certifications may also be on the table.

    I am very open to the possibility of operating a lifestyle business or businesses online as I've really come to appreciate scheduling flexibility, but what I lack is a specific idea or direction to launch towards and I'd want to be able to start generating a decent amount of profit within a year or so.

    So to summarize, I'm looking for suggestions for jobs, businesses or fields with good pay ($100k or more, or the potential to get there within 18 months), zero or very low travel requirements, can be found in relative abundance in any reasonably major metro area and that are suitable for generalists with minimal additional credentials. Any suggestions?

  33. Financial Samuri,

    Thanks for your website. Psycho boss I worked for told me I wasn’t “working out” and that I had “30 days to find a new job.” I told her I would not be back. I’d like to write a letter “accepting” her termination. Will this help me get benefits? I’m in Texas.

    Also, info I found on WARN doesn’t seem to apply to most…am I wrong?

    Any info ASAP would be greatly appreciated. I need to make contact Monday since everything was verbal.

  34. I live in UT. I am a top producer at my job. My boss was a hired gun to get rid of me. I was told I am layed off as of August 16, 13 BUT if I do anything disruptive intential or unintential I will be fired. My husband said this is illegal and they cannot lay me off for a month and then fire me. I am walking on egg shells to not do anything wrong, but they have odd ideas and preceptions at this place. I just had a great yearly employee review in June 2013. They are already advertising for my job and I have a BS degree. Was I wrongfully terminated and should I seek legal advise?

    1. I’ve never heard of that type of language before. Sounds like they are having everything all ways. They CAN file a motion to fire you for cause, but only you will know whether you have a history of insubordination.

      The positive is that at least you know ahead of time that you will be laid off, and you can start looking for work ASAP. Since you know the end date, please talk to HR now about your severance package. And also please consider buying my book about how to get laid off. This is serious stuff where you need to arm yourself with as much knowledge and strategy as possible.

  35. Financial Samurai,
    Need your help. I started a position 6 months ago after being recruited for the role. With in 3 months I have had multiple managers and my position has been changed drastically. I working in a training field but the travel has increased significantly from 50 to 95 percent. I have expressed concern to HR but they have stated this is the job now. In addition the new role has duties which I do not have the skill set for. Although training has been offered I am feeling stuck as most of the new information is geared towards someone with a completely different background/work experience than what I bring to table.

    I have thought of quitting but realized although I can show proof in the job change/role and unwillingness to reduce travel schedule, I am afraid I won’t qualify for benefits. I left another job which I was at for years for this role. What suggestions do you have to walk away from this situation and receive a severance or be laid off and qualify for benefits.

  36. I am being laid off at the end of this year due to company moving division back east. The problem is a lot of the senior people moved on before the announced layoff so a lot of the current employees didn’t bother to stay for a limited package. So now I am stuck with limited resources and temps. In addition, they want to build inventories to make the transition to the new location easier. Sticking around for this severance package may put me in an early grave.

  37. My employer just issued a confidential letter stating that some departments will be downsize, and certain employees have been notified already. My department jhired five new employees. I am under disciplinary action for attendance. I have improved. Can they fire me for past reliability issues?

  38. peaches edelstein

    I work as Administrative Assistant for a large university in a small department where there will never be a layoff, but i REALLY NEED to get laid off because boss is psycho and hates me. I know she is setting a paper trial to get me fired and annual review is next week. I need to work on my own paper trail, but do you have any advice for putting forth my best effort to get unemployment benefits even though it’s due to firing?

  39. LaidoffGoodman

    Dear Sam,
    I have been employed at this company in California for almost 22 years on a salary basic. Recently, the company said that their work loads were slow so they told me to work only 3 days a week and take 2 days vacation pays so my checks would be the same. After one month, the Office manager told me that they had to lay me off, and if they get busy again, they would call me back. They also told me to leave my stuffs there, I didn’t have to take them home. A month later, I came back to visit them and saw my stuffs were all packed up in boxes, ready “to go”. There was a new guy in my office, sitting on my chair…doing my job! I am a Planner and Programmer. There were never any warnings or any indications that this would happen to me. They did not give me any paper work to say that I was laid off or would be rehired back later. They only gave me a check for the remain hrs and a check for 2 week vacations that I did not take and that was it.
    Do you think they can do that to me? After 22 years working hard and being so loyal to them, is this it? I am lost…. I think it will be hard, very hard for me to find a new job or a job that would pay the same! I am currently looking for a new job, at the same time applying for UI, I am also trying to learn new software to update myself at home….
    I have a family with kids, a mortgage and a car payment to manage!
    Please advise.
    Thank You for you help.

    1. Mate, I think your rights have been violated. Did you get any severance, COBRA, vacation days paid, retraining benefits, or anything? 22 years is a long time. You seriously need to read my book if you are talking about family with kids, mortgage, car payments etc. I think you are being screwed over. S

  40. laid off lady

    This was an awesome read! I was laid off a few months ago, only to find I did everything that was mentioned in this article! Some of my coworkers found me annoying, I was late ever now and then, I was actually top of my company but began to “slack off” because I saw others getting paid for doing my same job less efficently. I ddecided to take a “leave of absence” for 3 months to “benefit the company” since things were slow, only to return to my boss laying me off! And you’re right!I have worked for over 25 years and paid my taxes, why not take advantage of it! Thanks Sam!

  41. What happens when you don’t have a contract but you are full time under employment at will.
    Would I still have a chance of negotiating my severance?

  42. I just bought the book, reading now :) but can’t find the maternity leave section…
    I’m so happy that I found you via Google!

  43. Dear Financial Samurai,
    I haven’t seen it but will do right now!
    Do you have any ideas of how to approach this situation?
    I really don’t know how to negotiate with HR but don’t want to give them the pleasure of handing them a resignation letter. They want to talk over the phone but I feel like all this correspondence should be in writing at least, right?
    I don’t know what to do, I think they are taking full advantage of the situation.
    Any advice?

    1. NYMom, I’m glad you are reading my book as it should empower you to take charge of your employment situation. Please go through the entire book first and then maybe we can talk later. I do not understand your full situation b/c you haven’t provided it, but what I can tell you from our comments is to NOT hand in a resignation letter! That is a cheap way for them to get rid of you without having to pay you severance or healthcare.

      If you are interested in detailed advice, you can visit this link:

  44. I need some advice here:
    My maternity leave is about to end and I have proposed my employer to come back to work gradually while I adjust to leaving the baby with a nanny since it is so expensive to have a full time nanny in NY. I offered to work from home and get back to the full time schedule gradually but my employer said that this wasn’t possible, that they needed a full time person to take over the position I left.
    After having a conf call with the HR department, they asked me to furnish a letter of resignation. I haven’t done that yet because I want to analyze the situation and how can I figure out a way for them to lay me off instead. I don’t know how though, any ideas!??? Also, they haven’t emailed me back regarding te remaining vacation days that I didn’t use or the end of year bonus that I worked towards to for more than half of the year.
    I would greatly appreciate any advice!

    1. NYMom, that is a tough spot, and I think you are being bullied here. I wrote an entire 100-page book about the process, and about woman’s rights and maternity leave. Have you seen it? If not, please empower yourself. Right now is no time to mess around.

      1. i had ajob at this company for 13 years then another company take over and theyhire aperson to do my job and they put me back to dietary aid they said my pay would not change and it would be my decision if i whont to stay or leave what would happen if i said i did whont a would do

  45. MillionaireNTraining

    Hi FS,

    I Googled how to get laid off and your blog appeared! Thanks I’m going to read your book ASAP! I can’t wait and I live in a “At Will State” which means they can fire you for anything.

  46. MillionaireNTraining

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog!! I am thinking of a way to get laid off! I work at home for a cell phone company and recently my company was trying to write me up saying I had missed to many days of work, but it so happened that it was technical issues on their part that I missed the days. Glad I kept the emails they sent out! Now, I have to put my action plan in play..I want to do some other stuff and now by them trying to wrongfully write me up…I feel like this is my ammunition that I needed!!! Thank you GOD!! I’m going to check out your book! I think this will be great outlet for me! I hate working for other people! I want to be my own boss! THanks Financial Samurai

    1. Thanks! How did you find my blog? If you are serious about figuring out a way to get laid off, read my 100-page book where I teach people how to set up the framework in order to do so.

      If you’ve got a plan, you’ve got a great chance at walking away with a good chunk of change in your pocket. Good luck!

      1. And always ALWAYS keep tabs on vested interests in any employer sponsored plan in which you have participation. I RIFFED away after a decade of successful work in a very functional nice position decades ago from what then was a true giant that reinvented itself, merged with a much smaller and less successful foreign entity with an unsavory political past, and then they hired the absolute morons of all morons to manage and administrate it (below the C-Level- who were actually good guys whose hands for some reason were tied) and never again promoted employers with education and merit. Talk about perverse values. Six years after I left, they could not re-org or M/A (or further depreciate the status of knowledge worker intellectual capital under an obscure IRS Code and Reg Section) themselves out of the mess they were in, and liquidated all, even sold the ticker symbol to someone else! They actually had the guts to send out letters DECLAIMING the obligation to fund the pension they had managed…wrong!(it may have been true for certain classes of employees who received only shares, options and warrants but who could benefit if people didn’t claim vested funds (and sales commissions, bonuses, etc-Class A Obligations) if they beneficial owners ignored things long enough and they publicized a final claim date!

        Had I believed this, I would have walked away from more money than most people make in a decade waiting for me down the road. Always keep the fund custodial manager up to date regarding your contact information, and so on. Assert your claim, and keep documentation.

        Make sure your beneficiary/contingent payee information also is as you wish it to be. You could be leaving big bucks on the table. You have rights to get periodic statements from them, to see values online, to rollover annually, etc.. And at age 59 1/2, they must mail a notice explaining your rights to early withdrawal, rollover, etc.. They may spin it as something ‘nice’ your former employer has chosen to do for you; whether or not, they are obligated by law to do it anyway so don’t neglect it. This includes so many types of retirement plans, profit sharing, deferred comp…you can find all you need to read doing a few simple searches online. Using the online account picture system promoted in this site can really help anyone who may have to pick up the pieces if you suffer the unimaginable, so think of them, too!

  47. I worked at the same job for over 20 years. The last 8 or so were very stressful. These people were so nasty and hateful in so many ways I simply will not go into it here. Instead of waiting around to be laid off I decided to be proactive. I went back to school, picked up some valuable skills and quit. When I turned in my resignation they were actually angry and from what I hear still are (and its been over 5 years!). Life is too short to wait around for some A-hole to lay me off just so I can pick up some government benefits.

    1. It took you 8 years to get fed up with people that were so nasty and hateful that you couldn’t post the details?! Sorry sweetie but life isn’t too short for “government benefits”, you’re just too slow…..

  48. I got laid off from a very stressful and impossible to do well long term project. At the beginning of the project, the company hired a senior manager to manage my manager and the guy immediately started criticizing every aspects of the project. Friends had warned me that it’s a sign that the new guy wanted to bring in ‘his’ people and it’s time for me to look for new job. Sure enough, within a short time, he started re-organizing and hired two senior people who used to report to him. I didn’t believe in quitting and sort of believed in the ‘team’ that I worked with fro some long so I decided to fight on and managed to survive another year. But eventually I was laid off on some lame excuses.

    Thinking back, I could have done better if I had listened to my friends. But now that I got severances, unemployment benefits, as well as seeing how ugly politics worked, it’s actually a very helpful learning experience for me.

    I had never been laid off before but I now believe everyone should experience it at least once. It’s a great life lesson.

  49. Hello,

    Two months ago my company decided to get rid of my position. They gave me a choice to take a different position and keep my pay or get laid off. Since they were giving me a option to take another job role I thought that I would not appy for unemployment benefits. Therefore, I immediately started researching and ran into this article. After reading the benefits that I would receive I decided to get laid off. I must say this was the best decision I could have made. At first I thought that this would be a mistake because I would be unemployed but after reading and informing myself of the benefits, I really had nothing to lose. I received a severance package, stock compensation, vacation pay, three personal days, and unemployment. At the moment I am taking a well deserved time off after working for so many years. I must say “I love it”. Thank you for putting this out there for everyone, it sure helped me.

  50. Hello,

    I got called into my boss’s office this morning (Thursday, 9/20/2012)and told me that things is not working out, they had found my replacement and if I’m willing to train the person. I told them I can only stay for another week (Friday, 9/28/2012) before I was going to take off for my wedding. If I do decided not to show up next week, can I still collect the unemployement?


  51. 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. :/

      1. 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.

  52. 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?

  53. Widya Sulistyowati

    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

  54. 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?

        1. Scarysherry

          It’s the beginning of July! Where’s your reply Samurai? :) I’m in a similar situation to Norm and would like advice on getting layed off…. actually, more specifically I’m wondering if it’s possible to go off on stress leave and then transition to a permanent lay off if I inform my employer that I’m not fit to return to work… It’s WAY too stressful in there! Corporate America take over’s suck! Thanks!

  55. 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.

    1. Oh and I’m now doing what three people were doing when I was hired at that job, but not making a whole lot more money.

  56. 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.

  57. 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?

  58. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

  59. 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?

  60. 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?

  61. audrey michael

    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?

  62. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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 :)

  63. Money Reasons

    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…

  64. 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?

      1. 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…

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

      1. 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.

  67. JoeTaxpayer

    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?

  68. Lisa @ Cents To Save

    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.

  69. The Financial Blogger

    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).

    1. 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?

  70. Darwin's Money

    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!

  71. 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.

  72. Another possibility of getting laid off: start calling your other potential employers in front of your current supervisor. Works like a charm! :)

  73. Mark D. Cook

    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.

  74. 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.

  75. Traineeinvestor

    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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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).

  76. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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!!!

  77. BE @ BusyExecutiveMoneyBlog

    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.

    1. 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!

  78. 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.

  79. Anonymous in NYC

    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.

    1. 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.

  80. 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.

    1. 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!

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

    1. Why give them the satisfaction of volunteering of they’ve wronged you and your loyalty?

      In today’s world, after a certain point, loyalty is overrated sadly enough.

  83. 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.

      1. 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.

    1. It is tough I Imagine, but like all things as you get older, you get over it.
      It’s why companies like to hire younger folks, bc older folks see the light and get salty in their ways.

  84. Mrs. Money Mustache

    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!!

      1. Mrs. Money Mustache

        It was! I went to Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand. It felt like I was gone
        for a year and I returned all energized for my work. Everyone should do it! :)

        1. What do you think is the optimal sabbatical time if the choice is 1 month, 2 months, and 3 months? Someone told me 2 months was enough and they were itching to return. You?

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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!

  88. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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 :-)

  89. 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.

    1. 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.

  90. 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.)

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

    1. 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.

  93. Sunil l Expedited Wealth Building through Entrepreneurship

    strategic “quitting”, just like a strategic default on mortgages in selected states….

    1. 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.

  94. Dollar Disciple

    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 :)

  95. 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.

  96. Money Infant

    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.

    1. The ethics are: If your company has screwed you over for promotion and pay, and you want to move on, it behooves you to at the very least have them lay you off and not quit.

      1. Money Infant

        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.

  97. 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.

    1. Neat! You’ll have to share some good secrets you learn in HR school! Is it wrong to assume that the HR department is there to protect the company, and not the individual?

  98. Jana @ Daily Money Shot

    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).

  99. 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. :)

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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!

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