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Fired. And maybe FIREd?
Old 08-29-2013, 11:08 AM   #1
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Fired. And maybe FIREd?

I just got let go from my job earlier this week. It was a permanent government job, but a position that was totally "at will" given the dynamic demands of the organization and the politically sensitive nature of our mission. Over the last 2 years a concerted effort had been made from the Legislature on down to systematically disassemble our organization and assimilate it into a larger (but clunkier) MegaAgency. We used to have 20 staff and as many consultants. After this last round of terminations that included me, the organization is left with 5 staff.

It was a little shocking on Monday (the day I was let go), although I had a suspicion I may get let go. Last week I was on vacation all week, and I just happened to check my email over the weekend. I freaked out when I saw the email saying my coworker, "Employee X", is no longer with the organization because it was very sudden. And he didn't quit, he was fired with no warning whatsoever. Of course I was next on the chopping block Monday morning.

"Today is your last day of employment here. Your employment is being terminated. Pack your personal belongings and turn in your ID badge on your way out. Mr. Office Assistant will assist you and escort you from the building."

As soon as I arrived home on Monday, I began the process of finding out what happened from a couple other trusted employees. I sent out my "Goodbye!" email thanking those people I liked working with during my time at the Org. I developed an action plan for tasks I needed to complete immediately and over the next few days. I started working the plan.

By Tuesday the shock wore off and I realized everything is going to be okay. I was able to update my financial models and rerun firecalc. DW still has her job and it seems as solid as ever (including a likely raise and promotion in January 2014).

Financially, we will be totally fine on a cash flow basis for the indefinite future. I set the dividends on our taxable brokerage accounts to pay out in cash instead of reinvest automatically. That will generate $8,000+ per year in additional income (mostly paid in December). DW's take home pay plus the $8000 in dividends is almost exactly what we spend on regular living expenses plus the mortgage (that will be paid off in 3.5 more years). DW still saves over 40% of her gross salary, so we are still making forward progress toward reaching our ideal portfolio target even without my income.

I feel like I am retired already, even though I have been networking and looking for a job. We have 3 young children, 2 of which are in elementary school and the other still in diapers. Not having a job this week has been a huge help in allowing us to adjust to the school schedule, picking up and dropping off the kids, and overseeing homework. During the day while DW is at work, I am able to clean the house up a little, do the dishes, shop for groceries, and prepare awesome dinners and pack DW leftovers for lunch at work the next day. I also take care of our one year old, thereby obviating the need for childcare and the related expense.

I suppose some might say I'm a stay at home dad. I'm ok with that. Or "between jobs". Or "doing a little consulting from home". I plan on using one of those three explanations when the question of "why aren't you at work" comes up. Close friends may get a little more info like "we're totally ok financially and have planned our finances around only having one income even though we have had two incomes for a long time". Most close friends already know that about us based on how we live.

I guess I should get another job because if I don't DW will end up working longer than the ~2.5 years we had both planned to work before FIREing with a little fluff in the budget. Luckily I had a couple of unsolicited job leads fall in my lap a couple weeks ago before I had any clue I would be out of a job. So the next couple weeks will be filled with sporadic lunches, hand shaking, emails, and phone calls to see what shakes loose in the way of a job. Not that I'm in a hurry to go back to work (because this not working and not worrying about work is AWESOME), but the good money is hard to pass up. And I don't think we have quite enough to live comfortably with almost zero risk forever.

For reference, I'll link to an earlier thread I posted in February 2013 that outlines our "Plan to Retire at 35". The best laid plans of mice and men...

As for what I am doing with all my free time? There has been relatively little of that, but on my agenda is:

1. Ebay a bunch of stuff
2. Learn a foreign language or 3
3. Investigate starting a blog and/or a Youtube channel
4. Get more exercise
5. Cook even more than I already have been, and perfect some new dishes
6. Hang out with more people more often
7. Play more video games
8. Read more books

Since Monday, I have done a little of # 2-5 and 8. Although a lot of time this week has been spent handling job loss related minutia, networking, decompressing, and on routine household duties (as outlined above). If this period of "between jobs" last for a few months, it will be a good trial run for FIRE. So far days 2-4 have been exactly what I expected.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear this news. You sound like a person who will end up on his feet.
Best wishes on whatever your decide for you and your family's future.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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That's a drag, sorry to hear. But it sounds like you are ready to plan your next move. At your own pace.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
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I assume that you have signed up for unemployment.... don't let that go if you qualify...


Sorry to hear about the lost job... I am horrible in remembering things... but didn't you move for your job awhile back I could be thinking about someone else....
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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Damn Fuego. But you have clearly hit the ground running. And, perhaps this is a disqualified idea, but you are a dual attorney/engineer. You are likely readily employable in any community.

Ha
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:00 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about the job loss, FUEGO. You are well prepared to weather this setback so, in the meantime, enjoy this retirement trial run!
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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So sorry, Fuego. I'm sure you will work this out, but the disruption may be daunting. Keep the "faith". You already know how to "live lean" and you may even find that stay-at-home dad pays very well by all the savings (day care, fewer meals out, leisurely shopping to save money, maybe even give up a car, etc. etc.) Best of luck whatever you decide about future w*rk or earlier FIRE.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear about the unexpected job loss. I know it is a weird feeling to go from a 40+ hours job to being at home full time.

Maybe you can take this time to go back to school and/or find a flexible or part time job or business you might enjoy and not need to retire from, like a Millionaire Next Door type job.

It is a lot easier to semi-retire with even with a part time, $10K income for 60 years, than it is to fully retire at a relatively young age and never have to work again. $10K a year of part time work would bring in $600K over a 60 year period. If you and your spouse both did that it would bring in $1.2M.

Good luck. I am sure you have a bright future no matter you decide to do.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
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What a shock, Fuego! Even if you knew it was an "at will" job, still it had to feel like a sucker punch. So sorry to hear this happened, especially so suddenly.

You are right, though - - sounds like this could end up being your ticket to FIRE.

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I assume that you have signed up for unemployment.... don't let that go if you qualify...
+1 You paid for it and situations like this are what unemployment is for, if you qualify for it.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:44 PM   #10
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I assume that you have signed up for unemployment.... don't let that go if you qualify...


Sorry to hear about the lost job... I am horrible in remembering things... but didn't you move for your job awhile back I could be thinking about someone else....
Luckily I didn't move for this job. I started the job roughly 2.5 years ago.

I'm not sure if I will qualify for unemployment but I plan on applying if my former employer will ever tell me what my final vacation pay will be. They fired the HR person a long time ago so questions like these often go unanswered for long periods of time.

My first action after getting home on Monday was to take screen caps of all my email communications and calendared meetings to document that I was diligently performing my job in case the question might arise should my former employer contest my unemployment claim.

I think I may have pissed off the new manager by asking for a raise a few months ago. I told him I can't stay in that position forever without any kind of raise, and that part of the benefits of being an at will employee in the org is that he has the authority to give me raises for justifiable reasons (career growth, added responsibility, equitable market wages, etc).
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:46 PM   #11
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Damn Fuego. But you have clearly hit the ground running. And, perhaps this is a disqualified idea, but you are a dual attorney/engineer. You are likely readily employable in any community.

Ha
I don't think I'll have a hard time finding something to keep food in my kids' mouths. I could always settle speeding tickets at the county courthouse or get on the court appointed list for criminal defendants if plan B and plan C don't pan out.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:47 PM   #12
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This is just God's way of laughing at your plan (to work 2.5 more years). But you can laugh right along with your unusual-for-your-age level of preparation. And how exciting with the financial foundation that you can look ahead to many doors that will beckon you and not worry.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:49 PM   #13
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What a shock, Fuego! Even if you knew it was an "at will" job, still it had to feel like a sucker punch. So sorry to hear this happened, especially so suddenly.
It stung a little on Monday. I was pretty much over it by Tuesday, although there is a little taste of bitterness that won't go away (although time will surely sweeten it).

I have watched many before me go in the same way and it is difficult to watch it happen to others.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:52 PM   #14
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This is just God's way of laughing at your plan (to work 2.5 more years). But you can laugh right along with your unusual-for-your-age level of preparation. And how exciting with the financial foundation that you can look ahead to many doors that will beckon you and not worry.
I like to look at the job and the outcome as a choice I consciously and deliberately made. I took a risk taking the job, and this was about the worst possible outcome. But it really isn't that bad given my financial situation. And career wise, the experience and contacts were invaluable.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:56 PM   #15
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Damn, man---I'll be the first to say CONGRATULATIONS! This is great! Why are these folks saying they are sorry about it? You and my DH are going to rock the stay-around-the-house menfolk option! Lucky man, I tell ya!

Too cool...I leave for a little while and this falls in your lap! Don't be in too big a hurry to grab that brass ring again. Take a break and play with those little ones. And run down here for a goof off weekend to drink beer and such.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:03 PM   #16
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Damn, man---I'll be the first to say CONGRATULATIONS! This is great! Why are these folks saying they are sorry about it? You and my DH are going to rock the stay-around-the-house menfolk option! Lucky man, I tell ya!

Too cool...I leave for a little while and this falls in your lap! Don't be in too big a hurry to grab that brass ring again. Take a break and play with those little ones. And run down here for a goof off weekend to drink beer and such.
Thanks! You have reduced to words the 60% of me that is screaming "Yippee". The responsible adult 40% of me is suppressing that silly 60% that is saying "this is pretty awesome".

I have been telling DW to plan on taking a sabbatical as soon as she hears about her raise/promotion in Jan or Feb 2014. She gets 3 months off mostly paid and hasn't ever taken advantage of it. So maybe we'll make it down your way sooner rather than later. And I'll still work on her for the Pan-american highway trip if you guys are still contemplating that. Although after seeing those mongol rally pics and stories, I'm not so sure I am still interested...
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:06 PM   #17
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I have the oddest mix of sympathy and envy for your current situation and definitely hope things turn out well for you and your family. Frankly, you probably have a better chance for a good outcome than most other folks if that provides any comfort.

Good luck!
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:11 PM   #18
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haha, I've got the bug for Pan-Am even worse now! Sabbaticals and time off don't EVER make you want to return to the grindstone. Just ask DH, who is at this moment resting up for the final bit of Siberia before he reaches Vladivostok after 6 days of wild camping from UB! Don't lie, you know you would have totally dug that 10 days across Kazakhstan!

Stick with the YIPPEEE part. Way better than the grown up chatter. And yes, come see us. Road trip across the USA to some parks would be cool for this year, and with your kids being so little, they wouldn't miss much if you pulled them out of school a bit. DO IT!
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:17 PM   #19
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haha, I've got the bug for Pan-Am even worse now! Sabbaticals and time off don't EVER make you want to return to the grindstone. Just ask DH, who is at this moment resting up for the final bit of Siberia before he reaches Vladivostok after 6 days of wild camping from UB! Don't lie, you know you would have totally dug that 10 days across Kazakhstan!

Stick with the YIPPEEE part. Way better than the grown up chatter. And yes, come see us. Road trip across the USA to some parks would be cool for this year, and with your kids being so little, they wouldn't miss much if you pulled them out of school a bit. DO IT!
That grown up 40% of me wants to put you on ignore!

We'll see what this period of unemployment turns into. For better or worse, I may have an interesting and lucrative job offer in a week or two that will be difficult to turn down and that probably won't be available in 6 months.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:26 PM   #20
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Stick with the YIPPEEE part. Way better than the grown up chatter. And yes, come see us. Road trip across the USA to some parks would be cool for this year, and with your kids being so little, they wouldn't miss much if you pulled them out of school a bit. DO IT!
+1

One word of warning. Not working can become habit forming.
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