How To Engineer Your Layoff Book Review: Reader Case Study Two

How To Engineer Your Layoff Book Review

Here's a How To Engineer Your Layoff book review by a reader.

I first published How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye in 2012 after negotiating my own severance worth about six years of living expenses. Since that time, I have updated the book with more strategies and case studies as literally hundreds of readers have e-mailed in to share their story about how my book changed their life.

Here is one such case study.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Book Review: Reader Case Study Two

Hi Sam,

Thought I'd share a success story with you. I purchased your book online.

I had been working at my company for nearly 11 years. During that time, things had changed for me a lot. I found myself, through a series of reorgs and reassignments in a role that I had no interest in and was not willing to stay in for long. It was very bureaucratic, unfulfilling, and soul draining. Fortunately, I had been negotiating a new job at another company and wished there was a way to get severance. Funny how months before I was praying to keep my job during a round of layoffs, now I found myself praying to be laid off.

I pretty much fell into the sweet spot for the ideal candidate you outline, but the company wasn't planning anymore layoffs.  Using the guidance in your book, I suggested a hardship to my boss that I was facing with my aging parents in another state. I didn't even have to ask him to take time to think about it. He suggested taking some time to think and we'd reconvene in a week or so to discuss it again.

At first, I didn't get a bite, but was told they don't offer volunteer layoffs, and it would set a bad precedence in the company, so it was off the table. We began exploring other ideas and the Family Medical Leave Act came up. I'm not sure if they were bluffing, but when I began pursuing the use of Family Medical Leave Act, which I did intend to exercise, things quickly changed. The next day I was called in for an urgent meeting where a layoff with severance was offered. I accepted it with gratitude.

Again, following your guidance, I made sure the record indicated this was voluntary and they agreed. I was given three months severance which included a month of insurance for COBRA coverage! About a week later I left the company with a signed legal document, and got my severance check a week after that.

Thank you for making your method available. My wife is happy and astonished thinking that I'm the only person she knows that would find instruction on getting laid off, and then actually following through with it successfully. I can hardly believe it myself!



Doug's testimonial reminds us that everything is negotiable. It's up to you to bring the discussion to the table. Let's look into what the Family and Medical Leave Act is. The details below come from the United States Department Of Labor.

Related: When A Severance Package Isn't Really A Severance Package

Family and Medical Leave Act

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Eligible employees are entitled to:

  • Twelve workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for:
    • the birth of a child and to care for the newborn child within one year of birth;
    • the placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care and to care for the newly placed child within one year of placement;
    • to care for the employee’s spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition;
    • a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job;
    • any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a covered military member on “covered active duty;” or
  • Twenty-six work weeks of leave during a single 12-month period to care for a covered service member with a serious injury or illness if the eligible employee is the service member’s spouse, son, daughter, parent, or next of kin (military caregiver leave).

FMLA essentially provides employees with the ability to take care of life's many twists and turns without fear of getting laid off or punished. You know, like getting fired after giving birth. We all know that life gets in the way. We might be happy and healthy now, but things can turn bad real fast.

From an employer's perspective, twelve workweeks of leave is a long time to be without an employee, even if s/he is not paid. You can see how an employer might be more open to negotiating a severance if you highlight your desire for FMLA because they are going to lose you anyway. The employer might as well find some amicable arrangement so they can get on with finding your replacement ASAP.

The last thing your employer wants to happen is for you to check out for three months, and then dilly dally for another several months before deciding to quit. That would be a massive productivity loss.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Book Review: Always Negotiate A Severance

It's much better to have an open conversation to figure out how your departure can best help your employer. My employer was fearful that if I left, business would decline. Given I generated many multiples more in revenue than my compensation, losing revenue, market share, and client votes were all big risks. Another fear my employer had was me leaving to go to a competitor. This happens all the time in the finance industry (or any industry for that matter), but I told them I wanted to retire from the business and do something entrepreneurial instead.

By offering to train my subordinate for as long as they wanted in order for the business not to fall off a cliff once I departed, I showed good faith. It was also my job to sell my employer they'd do better without me by highlighting how much they'd save in compensation cost, by laying off someone who didn't fully want to be there. If you're a good salesperson, you can convince your employer everything will be OK, which it was.

Since every employer is trying to maximize productivity, the FMLA is another powerful tool for severance negotiation. Utilize FMLA as skillfully as you would utilize asking for a sabbatical to plant the seeds of doubt in your employer's mind. If you do it well, a new journey awaits!

You can buy my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff, by clicking the link. It is the only book on the market of its kind. Never quit your job, get laid off instead!

About Sam Dogen: 

Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. He also became Series 7 and Series 63 registered.

In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $200,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom. was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Book Review: Reader Case Study Two is a FS original.