Wednesday, November 15, 2017

In the end of October the inevitable has finally happened. I got a dreaded WFR (work force reduction) note. But... I can't help but enjoy being laid off.
I got my inkling of what it is to come on Sunday evening when I saw an unexpected meeting with my boss and his boss popping on my calendar with a mysterious name. I could not sleep well that night with the same thought going through my head, "I hope they won't make it performance-related". It's one thing to leave almost 25 years of continuous employment with a severance package and another thing to get a bad performance review.
It was not a bad performance review. It was a good old "We regret to inform you that your position has been impacted by workforce reduction." And... my predominant feeling was of a profound relief. The truth is that I was not happy at work for a long time, but... I was too "chicken" to leave. I liked my boss, my flexible schedule and ability to set my hours, and my 4 weeks of vacation time. All those perks were like "golden handcuffs" that were holding me in place. So now the decision has been made for me, and I was pushed out of this nest that was too small for me for a while. I admit that I was very happy not having to deal with the projects that I led - due to bureaucracy of my big company and resistance of some senior folks, they were rather dead than alive anyway. So I feel like a big burden was lifted off my shoulders - suddenly, I am light as a feather again and ready to be productive again.
Speaking of being productive, I worked without any breaks from August 1993 when I found my first job in US until November 2017. That's almost 25 years. I've been better than most Americans about actually using my vacation time, but the longest vacation break I had was this summer when we went to Germany for 3 weeks. So, yes, I am enjoying this break while trying to use time productively. Since my husband works only 3 days a week, we finally started much postponed project of clearing out our garage - something that we did not fully do since moving into our house 9 years ago. I am also doing some decluttering and trying out new recipes. It's nice to not feel dead tired all the time and actually have some time to myself on the days when my husband is at work and Smarty is in school. I am trying to use the time to its fullest, since, I hope, it won't last for too long.
Of course, this break is not without worry. Our main worry is about health insurance. I was insuring our entire family, and now we have to get either COBRA coverage (continuous benefits) or to get a policy from a health exchange. My husband and I looked at the options available at the exchange and our minds were blown. The prices are almost as high as COBRA and the out-of-pocket costs are significantly higher. The health insurance business in this country is nothing but a racket - with no attempt to lower costs and curb profits of health insurance companies. So we are going to stick it out with a price shock of COBRA - we did not get a number yet, but we expect it to be more than $2,000 a month. It's a little funny considering that my monthly unemployment benefit is only $1,800 a month. No wonder that many Americans lose their homes or run up credit card debt within a few months of losing their job. So far this is not a worry for us, since my husband still works, and we have savings, but I rather hope that I will find my next destination in a few months.

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Have you ever quit your job or were laid off? How did you adjust?

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Min Erva said...

Enjoy your time off! You deserve it! With your strong focus and work ethic, I'm sure you will find a job in no time!

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

I have quit several jobs - when I graduated college I quit my part time job, and then. I quit my teaching job to go back to school. I went on maternity leave when Emma was born and never went back. I actually loved that job, but we moved by the time I would have been going back. I haven't found anything other than blogging that feels flexible enough since...

I love the way you are focusing on the positives in your situation. Health Care in the US is outrageous.

Ticia said...

Yeah, Cobra insurance is insane.

I think Jeff is feeling like his work is a pair of golden handcuffs right now too, so I quite understand your situation, and he's also been there for around 25 years.

I'm glad you're enjoying your time off, and that it's giving you a much needed break.