It wasn't me, thank God, but I felt the brush of the bullet as it zoomed past me. There are two of us in the Salt Lake office and in 30 days, there will only be one of us. I don't even know how many others there were in the other departments because the grapevine hasn't gotten around to me.
That was such a shocking moment, I was just sitting there shaking. What if it had been me? The other gal is a recent widow so if it came down to the two of us, I would have put the money on ME having the meeting with HR this morning, so I am feeling very, very lucky.
But the practical lesson here is that financial devastation like this can happen at any time. Yes she will have some severance pay and unemployment benefits to hold her over for a while, but she is the sole breadwinner of her family and I am the main breadwinner in mine. You have to have a plan in place BEFORE the ugly news comes your way.
That is a great argument for doing everything in your power to keep your debts low (or non-existent) and build up that emergency fund, because emergencies doesn't ever come on a schedule. They come when you least expect them.
And obviously, do whatever you can possibly do to keep your name OFF that layoff list. I think in my case, my saving grace was that I have multiple talents - my accounting skills, some general Telecom experience, and a lot of technical skill in databases and spreadsheets that my co-workers don't have. Plus I handle one of the largest vendors in the company and am always begging for more. So they know that I am willing to handle a workload that would choke a horse! Apparently, that's a good thing to be known for.
Because being broke and unemployed is just not a fun experience. When we first moved to Utah, my husband's promised job fell through. Jobs were harder than we expected. I ended up out of work for four months and he was out of work for six and we both took a 30%-40% pay cut. We didn't have money for bills, prescriptions, diapers, entertainment, and had to borrow money from our folks for groceries. We finally ended up short-selling our house and living in my parent's basement for a year. That was our rock bottom and I'm not too interested in going back there ever again. I don't want to see you end up there either.
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