How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye

How To Engineer Your Layoff Ebook 5th edition

How To Engineer Your Layoff is my bestselling ebook that will teach you how to negotiate a severance package. For those of you who want to walk away from your job with money in your pocket, my book is for you.

By age 34, I was able to confidently leave my job in finance and be free thanks to a multiple six-figure severance package. My life changed for the better and I haven't been back since.

Whether you work at a startup, a large public company, or a government agency, I believe my book will help you better take control of your future.

Since leaving work behind for good in 2012, I've been able to travel the world, grow my website, and become a father of two. It's been a dream come true, all because I was willing to take to improve a miserable situation at work.

I firmly believe everyone who plans to retire or quit their job should try and engineer their layoff and negotiate a severance instead. You have nothing to lose!

One Of A Kind Severance Package Guide

Let me show you how to negotiate a severance with my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye. It is a 247-page book I've refined since 2012 to help tens of thousands of people live the lives they want.

It's the only book on the market that teaches you how to negotiate a severance. You'll also learn how to better time your exit so you can have more control and time to do something else.

In addition, How To Engineer Your Layoff is full of firsthand severance negation experiences. There are multiple case studies of people who succeeded thanks to the tips and resources in the book.

Half the battle to getting what you want is believing what is possible. By reading severance negotiation package case studies, you will gain the confidence to negotiate your own.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Is Unique

Before I wrote the book, It took me two years to engineer my own layoff. I was concerned and didn't know how.

There were no resources on the market that could guide me to quit my job with money in my pocket. What was I supposed to say? “Hey Boss! If you give me $200,000 I'm outta here!” over coffee one morning?

Fears and unknowns wracked my brain. What if I quit my job and my bank account goes dry in six months? And what if I can't find a new job in a new industry that I really love? What if my entrepreneurial endeavors fail miserably and some exogenous variable knocks me out for the count? Worst of all, what if I turn into a deadbeat with no more motivation to do anything again?

One of the reasons I knew I needed to create How To Engineer Your Layoff is because I know there are millions of people who have these same fears. My book is the only unique resource that helps you prepare for the changes that come after getting laid off. Not only that, it helps you get the most possible in your severance package.

The Need For A Change

I didn't hate my job, I just didn't love it anymore like I did 13 years ago. Nothing is worth doing for an extended period of time if you don't love it. Ten years in a row is the maximum amount of time I can truly commit to one occupation or firm with full enthusiasm.

To go much longer would be unfair to my employer, to others who have a deeper hunger, and ultimately to myself. I kept questioning what type of idiot would quit a good job in this type of economy?

After a while, I started asking myself what type of idiot not to quit in this economy! Wages are down, profits are abysmal, and industries are going through multi-year consolidation phases that won't be pleasant.

With no kids, a 18 year financial safety net, and a clear idea of what I want to do after my separation, I decided to initiate severance negotiation talks in October 2011 after creating a healthy stream of passive income over the past 13 years.

I was so close, but couldn't pull the trigger because I was STILL too unsure. What I needed was that one last kick in the pants to send me on my way to entrepreneurship.

Negotiating A Severance Was The Catalyst

Before quitting, I wanted to have that final catalyst that made leaving my job an absolute no-brainer. There are plenty of books that talk about how to land coveted jobs and make lots of money.

However, before I wrote my book there was nothing on the market on how to quit our jobs and make a small fortune in the process! Negotiating a severance was a foreign concept.

Unless you plan to work forever, there will be a backstop when you will want to do something else. They say the average person changes jobs seven times in their lifetimes.

Gone are the days when we join a firm right out of college, work there for 40 years and retire with a pension. Instead, it's a dog eat dog world now. We need to look out for ourselves or else risk getting blown up in the process. I was surprised to last 10+ years at the same firm.

In addition to the inevitability of change, a recent study showed that 70%+ of the American workforce is unsatisfied with their jobs. 70%! What a waste of life! I'm not sure if the percentages are any better in Europe, Canada, Australia, Africa, or Asia. I doubt it.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Is Created

Back in 2010, I knew I had to start doing some research so I could make my exit. I wanted to educate myself as much as possible on my rights as an employee.

I needed to discover my options so I could methodically formulate a plan to not have any regrets when I'm old and grey. The more I prepared for my own retirement, the more I realized I wanted to help other people do the same!

After two years of research, planning, coaching friends, and successfully engineering my own layoff, I present to you a comprehensive guide on how to profitably quit your job.

How To Engineer Your Layoff serves to help people understand their rights as employees, offers step-by-step guidance so you won't leave money on the table, and discusses the importance of building relationships to get what you want. I want to provide you that catalyst to motivate you to do whatever you truly desire!

Newly Updated

Now in its latest edition, How To Engineer Your Layoff has expanded to 22 chapters and is over 240 pages long. The book provides you with the most comprehensive guide to profitably quitting your job.

I set up the appropriate framework, identify the key players involved, highlight important Federal and State level resources to read, provide various strategies for maximizing your separation package, feature many examples of people who've successfully quit their jobs, and help you plan for a life after layoff.

I also write never revealed information on my own personal story. For those of you who have been following Financial Samurai since 2009, and plan to follow for several more years, you'll understand why I write the way I do and take the stances that I take.

Hopefully by better understanding my background, you will enjoy this site even more.

Make A Fortune Negotiating A Severance

What if I said you could make and extra $3,800 on your way out the door? If you plan to leave your job anyway, getting $3,800 is like receiving round-trip airfare and a week-long stay at a 5 star luxury hotel as a farewell present!

What if your company gave you $50,000 as part of your severance package? You could pay off all your credit card debt, and have a nice amount of savings to help care for your new baby!

And if you happen to receive $100,000+ in severance like many of my friends in finance, technology, and consulting you might never need to work for anybody again!

Get More Money With How To Engineer Your Layoff

There's a lot of money out there! The above amounts are from actual case studies in the book How To Engineer Your Layoff. Each person wanted to do something else. And they all succeeded!

Real Case Studies

  • One woman who received $3,800 was tired of bartending and is now a full-time artist.
  • Another woman received $50,000 negotiating a severance from her job as a marketing manager. Now she is a stay at home mom who never wants to go back to work again.
  • One man who received received hundreds of thousands of dollars getting laid off from his banking job is now working for one of his clients.
  • Another man not only negotiated a better severance for himself, he got better terms for his entire department. And this all happened during the pandemic to boot!

There are multiple detailed case studies in the book including an in depth look into the examples above. I've helped many people take the next step by advising them on a clear plan. And they are all better off financially and are happier because of their willingness to learn.

I have also included a fascinating case study about using Family Medical Leave Act to negotiate a severance. I've also highlighted how I was able to help negotiate a severance for a high-performing employee.

Can Great Employees Get A Severance?

Over the years, the #1 pushback I get from potential buyers is: why would my employer ever give me a severance if I'm a good employee? The answer is that the more valuable you are, the easier it is to negotiate a severance because you don't want to just quit and leave them in the lurch.

Further, I highlight how one employee negotiated a severance because her employer didn't want to be “put on blast” and sullied over social media. We're in a new age folks. Employees have much more power than they think!

You can read my wife's severance package case study. She was a high-performing employee who worked out a fantastic severance. My book will help you think outside the box so that both your employer and you win.

Do Not Quit Your Job Before Buying My Book

Please do not quit your job before you read How To Engineer Your Layoff. On the same note, please do not retire before you read my book either! You could be leaving some serious money on the table if you do not arm yourself with the knowledge and strategies in the book.

One friend quit his job of 10 years and learned a week later his entire department got laid off with two weeks of pay for every year worked plus a full year of healthcare insurance (COBRA)!

In other words, he left two months of mandatory severance + 20 weeks of salary + $8,000 in health care premiums on the table. We're talking over $70,000 in lost severance if he had only listened to my advice of sticking it out for several more months! Furthermore, he is ineligible for $21,600 a year in California unemployment benefits!

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First Hand Experience

Everything I've written is based on my own experience of successfully engineering my layoff and helping others in the process. There is no fluff, nor are there any presumptions.

Feel free to spend some time reading some of my most popular posts to get an idea of my writing and my habit of being as thorough as possible.

Engineering my own layoff put another six years of full living expenses in my bank account!

New success stories from readers who also negotiated their own severance packages continue to come in. Even amidst the craziness of the global pandemic, readers have been able to negotiate successfully.

If you fear your job is at risk of a mass layoff, all the more reason to take matters into your own hands. You have the power to negotiate and get the best deal possible if you act swiftly and wisely.

How To Engineer Your Layoff Ebook New Edition

Who Should Buy How To Engineer Your Layoff?

Many people can benefit from reading How To Engineer Your Layoff. For example, people who:

  • are looking to change careers,
  • want to be an entrepreneur,
  • feel burnt out and want to take a long break,
  • want to retire early and join the FIRE movement,
  • don't know how to start,
  • are afraid to blow themselves up in this delicate process,
  • don't want to miss out on unemployment benefits,
  • realize life speed accelerates and don't want to have many regrets,
  • want insight into how the layoff process works at some firms,
  • feel short-changed by their company,
  • want to preempt a layoff or firing,
  • are meticulous planners or need help with planning,
  • want to take control of their lives,
  • wish to spend more time with their children,
  • hope to spend more time with their aging parents,
  • are interested in developing a deeper understanding Sam's existing & future posts,
  • are managers who want to prepare for the wave of employees looking to engineer their layoffs,
  • believe the value of freedom, unemployment benefits, and a potential severance is far greater than the price of my book!
Get The eBook Now button

How To Engineer Your Layoff Will:

  • Go through exercises to make sure you are ready to move on.
  • Guide you on establishing a plan to switch careers or retire.
  • Help you understand the players involved in engineering your layoff.
  • Provide you with multiple strategies on how to maximize your severance package.
  • Teach you how to leave your company without burning bridges.
  • Explain how higher and lower performers are both able to engineer layoffs.
  • Prepare you for a life after separation.
  • Give you a much better fundamental understanding of current and future FS posts.
  • Entertain and motivate you with success stories.
  • Teach you how to collect thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits if you are laid off.
  • Potentially allow you to walk away with a healthy severance package.
  • Save you precious time in figuring out how to lead your new life!

Promotion special – For a limited time only enter coupon code “saveten” in your shopping cart to get $10 off instantly! If you run a business or are a sole-proprietor or freelancer, you should be able to deduct the cost of purchase.


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Negotiate A Severance And Be Free

I arm readers with the knowledge, skills, and courage to take that leap of faith as I have done. Not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for being able to negotiate a severance that equaled five years of comfortable living expenses. The financial runway was huge for me to patiently build Financial Samurai without having to worry about revenue. 

When you engineer your layoff with a nice severance package, you will walk away feeling like a winner. Thanks for your support and congratulations for taking the next step closer to freedom!

About the Author

Sam worked in finance for 13 years. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $380,000 a year in passive income.

He spends time playing tennis, taking care of his family, and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom too. Sam is also the author of the instant Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009. It has grown it to be one of the largest independently owned personal finance sites in the world. Join 60,000+ others and sign up for his free private newsletter here. Everything is written based off firsthand experience and knowledge.

58 thoughts on “How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye”

  1. Hi, Sam-

    I’m sure everyone feels like their situation is unique; I am no different. I have worked for a large public company (very recognizable brand) for 11 years. Our president has said that “difficult” org changes are coming, which strongly hints at layoffs. I work on a very important project that is (most likely) not part of the org that will be impacted, but I would love to be laid off with a severance! While I’m not certain, I don’t think my manager (and maybe not even my manager’s manager) would be a decision maker for a request like this. If I’m in a relatively “safe” role and don’t even know who I would make this request to, would your ebook benefit me?!

    1. Hi MN,

      My work will absolutely help you negotiate a severance and make a strategic exit. You will learn strategies he never thought of before because most employees don’t think about them at all.

      I just had a consulting client email me saying that he successfully negotiate a severance package from one of the big consulting firms. He got a six month financial runway to relax and also find a new job with higher pay in the pipeline. He cannot believe what he was able to do. The thing is, since 2012, I’ve seen people do what they think was previously impossible all the time.

      Best of luck!


      1. Melissa Naslund

        I purchased the book yesterday but haven’t received anything yet. I think because my PayPal is connected to an old email address. Can you resend to the email I use to post this comment?!

  2. Peter Brown

    would this book be at all helpful for state / gov worker? I have some pretty complicated def comp, pension, leave cash out decisions…have been working them through, and it seems ours are all covered by government code and the State’s interpretation of that, and thereby, case law usually dictates (and memo/policy are written from it I guess)….union shop, lots of conflict.

    Just want to check before buying…



    1. Yes, because it is a book about negotiations and working with the people in charge to get a better outcome (severance, when you will leave, next step planning, and more).

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

  3. Dear Sam,
    I would like to ask if you can add to the list who should purchase this book and who should not purchase this book section ?
    I mean this is my second year at my new job and I have good relationship with coworkers and my supervisor but I’m not sure the book is right for me because I’m still pretty new but I would like the idea of starting my own business and become an entrepreneur.
    Regarding my situation what is your advice ? Am I a candidate to engineer my layoff ?
    Thanks Sam,

  4. Thanks for putting this post and ebook together Sam! In my career I’ve left a few companies to pursue my next opportunity, and the opportunity to negotiate a severance package never crossed my mind.

    I do have a few big questions though, if you could help out:

    1. ~74% of Americans are At-Will employees. Does this book apply to them? I’ve looked everywhere but I haven’t seen this being addressed. I’d hate to buy the book, to only find out that this doesn’t apply to me.

    2. The other items that isn’t addressed in this article is who the book is for. Are you saying that most people could negotiate a severance package given their current employment, or is there only a small % of people who would actually have the right type or work environment where this would be a viable option for them. I understand that you’ve had successful stories of people taking your advice and having it work out for them, but i want to know before investing the time into this, if this is an option that is even available to me. If it is, I’m 100% in.

    Thank you,


  5. Theo Breese

    Hi Sam, I’m probably two years out from the point where I can tell my employer that I won’t mind being on the next round of layoffs. The maximum regular amount of layoff pay tops out at 6 months salary. Once, they offered 10 months, but that was unique. During our 2005-2009 bankruptcy, I think they even welshed on the 6 months for many people.

    I’m not asking you to give me all the info from your “Engineer Your Layoff”…but is there info in there that would point me towards getting more than the 6 months that everyone gets who’s been here more than 25 years? I can’t imagine how to make the bureaucracy do that, but if there are some strategies, I’ll give it a go.


    1. I also work at a company with pretty rigid rules/guidelines for every benefit. So, this question from a year and a half ago interests me as well. Does the book address what you do when the company already has a rule and policy for EVERY situation?

  6. Hi Sam,

    I’m just curious when you do manage to successfully obtain a severance package is there any stipulations that bar you from suing them in the future. Recently came to my attention my company is violating wages for OT.


  7. Hi Sam,

    I’m reading chapter 4 “Time for that Heart to Heart with your Boss”. Perhaps I haven’t read far enough in the book, but the conversation suggested seems like you are just putting in notice. It doesn’t mention how to broach requesting severance. If I had that conversation I’m pretty sure my boss would say “we are so sorry to see you go” and not understand that I am asking for something. Could you please elaborate a bit on this point?


    1. Hi SH,

      Thanks for buying my book. You talk to your boss when you’ve made up your mind that you want to go, BUT you don’t say it outright. Instead, the meeting with your boss is to:

      * Feel him/her out regarding plans for the future
      * Discuss various options you may have (sabbatical, relocation, different role)
      * Plant the seed of doubt (sabbatical, extended paid time off, family medical leave)
      * Reveal about your spouse’s plans to do something new, family issues, etc.
      * Finally come to a heart-to-heart on next steps to take



  8. Hi,

    I am very interested in your website. It s a great resource and testimonial.

    I am about to be layed off after what I believe was a manager dirty trick to put me on a PIP for 3 months. his reports are misrepresenting the efforts and achievements during the PIP period.
    On top of that he did not plan the mid year reviews as per the corporate policy and all his advise year long were vague, not documented, positif thumb up good job, etc …
    What is your advise for this situation ?
    Is there a case for a claim and negotiation ?

    Thank you

  9. Pingback: Episode 003: Surviving (and Thriving from) a Layoff

  10. Congrats Sam, great help and timing for my personal landscape right now. I couldn’t stop reading until I finished it.

    I want suggest you share the index or a simplified table of content, many guys I know purchase their ebooks based on that information. When first saw this post I was looking for it before pushing the buy button I even started to write you to ask for it, but being a long time reader of your blog already knew the kind of content you publish.

    Hope to submit you my own success story when the time comes


    1. Hi Carlos, I’m glad you enjoyed the book! I’ll take your advice into consideration. I’ve got a 6 month marketing plan, and will really evaluate come January, 2013.

      I hope you submit your story as well!

  11. Congrats on the launch, Sam! Sounds like you got a very sweet package to be let go. It’s too late for me, haha, but hope the book does well and helps out a lot of people.

  12. Your book will do well Sam for one simple reason. There are many who find no way to quit due to the financial risk involved. I am assuming that you are showing them how to negotiate enough dough before turning the keys back to the master. Congrats!

    I have one idea or suggestion. You may want to let people read one chapter FREE that can excite them to buy the book.

    1. Thanks Shilpan. It looks like this post, and the last post with a combined 4,000+ words are exciting a good amount of buyers!

      Your reasoning is exactly why I wrote the book. To empower the people to fight a fair fight for what they are worth!

  13. I don’t know if I’d ever need it, but I’ll be sure to let other folks know about it. In fact, I’d love to be an affiliate. You’re going to need a lot of help promoting this thing. With the number of people that you’ve helped over the past two years, I’m sure that many of them would gladly put a 125×125 banner somewhere on their site for you, even if they don’t get paid….

    1. Cool. I have a six month plan. I like building things slow and steady. Things really start paying off online after 6 months of work I’ve noticed, hence things like the 6-month Yakezie Challenge.

  14. I will allocate $38 of my budget to this in the near future! Sam, you are an inspiration to us all! And this is a great way to empower more employees, especially when they feel like the employer has all the power.I’m especially excited for the chapters on getting a severence even when you have another job lined up!

    1. Sounds good Jacob. The sooner you know, the sooner you can plan, and the better the separation becomes. It’s all about knowledge and planning. You don’t want to get off guard with no time to plan.

  15. i would love to read this book and will certainly look into picking it up in here in a few weeks.. i don’t recall ever seeing a book of this kind anywhere..

    leaving a job is certainly a very tense time, and you are correct in stating that most folks don’t know their rights. the last time that i switched jobs, i felt that i was truly at the mercy of my employer..

    1. One of the main reasons why I wrote the book was to EMPOWER the people. It’s David vs. Goliath where our employers have more capital, and more personnel (HR, Managers, Lawyers) looking out for their own reputation/interests. It’s understandable and is what it is. When we know our rights, we know our value.

      Power to the people!

  16. Congrats on the book launch! Impressive work. Curious how you chose your price point. During the Great Recession I did engineer a severance package myself to buy me some time as I looked for my next gig. We should compare notes!

  17. Well done! Just like birthing a child minus all the crying, cleanup, and lack of sleep….well….maybe not minus those things.

    Would love to hear how the launch goes and how your print publishing efforts develop (or are you sticking to ebook only?)

    1. Indeed! So fun to execute.

      I’m focused on saving the trees and doing eBooks for now. It’s the way we’re all reading with the emergence of ubiquitous portable devices.

      There’s no more prestige in seeing a physical book on the shelf, partly b/c there are gradually no more book stores!

  18. Congratulations on the book! Now you are an author along with other titles. Your timing may be superb as the economy improves. Time will tell.

    1. Thanks Larry. In good times, people definitely want to move around more. However, as I write in my post, it’s the bad times that make the opportunity cost the lowest and best time to make a move for me! Each person’s case is different.

  19. Bryan at Pinch that Penny!

    Man, this book would be profoundly helpful for me as I’m probably leaving my job in the next 2 months. I’ll have to give it some thought; $38 is a little steep (no offense).

    1. No problem Bryan! $38 is less than $21,600 a year in annual unemployment benefits in California, less than health care an employer pays as part of a severance, and certainly less than the value of one’s separation package.

      Perhaps see if you can negotiate your terms yourself in 2 months with your managers and HR first. And if it doesn’t go down well, then buy the book. And if it goes well, you just saved yourself $38 bucks!

      Good luck!

    2. Bryan:
      Consider the value offered, before balking at the price. I once bought a 50-page book at $150, and what I learned from it made me tens of thousands. Sure most eBooks are $7.99, but what is in them that you don’t already know. This is highly specialized knowledge and experience being shared. If you are anticipating a big change in two months, isn’t it worth an investment to be prepared enough to do it right?

  20. Congratulations on your book. Seems like only minutes ago I read that you were writing one and pow–here it is. Your energy level knocks me out. Every time I turn around you have a new completed project. If you could market your energetic DNA you’d make buckets…

    1. Thanks Pat. I figure, might as well work hard while I still have the energy right? Every day is so exciting because a full 6 hours passes where things pile up and I’m excited to see what happened over night.

      I always try to be methodical and look at every angle possible before doing something. Hope all is well!

  21. Sam, just curious but what did you actually do? From all your posts I’m pretty certain you were in financial services but were you like a wealth manager, insurance guy, banker or waht?

  22. Congrats! Too bad you told everyone it took you two years to write. In some aspects, telling people that you retired less than a week ago and now wrote a 100 page book would be an amazing feat. ;) haha. But, in all seriousness, this looks like a great resource. Are you having it printed or working with a traditional publisher as well?

    1. Ah, but that’s because I didn’t have the book to be my guide. If I had my book as reference, I’d realistically only take 6 months tops, and I’m a planner! Each person is different though.

  23. Congrats Sam on getting your book out.
    BIG NEWS @ FS, first you left the job, and now the book launch.
    Going to buy a copy now, and I’ll email you about something else.


  24. Hi Sam,

    Congrats on getting the book out. I must say that you have really done an outstanding job from a marketing perspective in both your book and your website.

    Very inspirational- I can only imagine how hard you have worked from all angles to pull this off. Well done!!!


    1. Appreciate it Mike! I wanted to put together the highest quality resource I could, given there is no resource on the market that teaches us how to profitably quit our jobs and transition into an “encore career” or into early retirement.

      It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling to be able to successfully engineer a separation package that can cover a full six years of living expenses when I didn’t even need it either due to my savings. I hope everyone who wants to leave is able to engineer some sort of separation package!

  25. One of the key reasons why I wrote this book is that employees surprisingly do not know their rights. Employees are intimidated by their managers and their companies. As a result, they leave a lot of money on the table when they eventually leave. Everybody eventually leaves. It just depends on how much one leaves with!

  26. Awesome!! Congrats Sam! I am so thrilled that you launched your book and am honored to have been involved in helping you edit it. What an insightful and eye opening book and I learned so much in the process. I have a goal to leave my day job and become a full time entrepreneur in 3 years and feel so empowered after reading your book.

    I think it’s fantastic you were able to engineer your layoff and are now following your passions full time. I am in a good spot being a part time entrepreneur right now but I’m definitely looking forward to engineering my exit and making the most of things. Thanks for teaching me so many things!

    1. Thank you Sydney! I’m excited that you’ve read the book and will be using the framework I’ve laid out to engineer your own layoff in 3 years time!

      Three years is a fantastic runway to save, invest, and plan. I’m sure if you implement some of the strategies I’ve discussed, theres no doubt you’ll be able to walk away with something nice. It feels so good to have that extra cherry on top!

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