Monday, November 24, 2008

Layoff Gossip

I feel like the effects of the financial crisis are starting to hit closer to home. I know a few people who have been laid off recently and at least one of them was someone I'd never have expected to lose his job. I feel relatively secure in my own job, but I got a cryptic email from a colleague the other day that suddenly made me a little paranoid-- in these times, it would be silly for anyone to think they're indispensable.
What I found interesting about some of the layoff gossip was how people talked about the circumstances of those who lost their jobs. One person was rumored to have a wealthy wife who'd have no problem covering the bills on her own. The other supposedly had "saved every penny he'd ever earned" and invested in income-generating rental properties, so it was thought that he'd be just fine.
I wonder when I'll hear a story about someone who's actually living paycheck to paycheck and desperate to find their next job fast. I know those stories have to be out there too. Perhaps it's just too painful to gossip about those people-- everyone's depressed enough and freaked out enough as it is. We'd all rather feel like everyone's going to be okay, and that the people who are losing jobs didn't really need them.

Have you lost your job as a direct result of the current economic slowdown, or do you know anyone who has? How are people talking about it?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

My 23 year old son just lost his job working at a high-end motorcycle shop. When gasoline prices were sky-high people were buying motorcycles and everything was okay. Now that prices have dropped and credit is even harder to get he was let go. He doesn't have any prospects on the horizon. No one is hiring in our area. He quickly took another roommate to help w/rent but he's pretty scared.

Middle Class Hick said...

While I know of no one that has been laid off due to the current slowdown, I know a few people that have been laid off when they lived paycheck to paycheck.

A friend of mine, we will call him Junior. His father (such a nice guy) had two houses foreclosed on his social security number before Junior was 18. His father bought the houses with his son's credit (and he had the same name). So when he turned 18, he was already behind the 8 ball. He is a Renaissance man. He has an IQ off the charts, he went to Hollywood to sing Opera, is one of the smartest IT guys I know, can expound for hours on politics, and only went to college for a year. He went on a ROTC scholorship, but was dropped when he blew out his knee in training, and since he could not finish the physical fitness stuff, was dropped from the program.

Anyways, since everything he gets, credit wise, is like in the 20-30% range (try buying a car, with a 23% loan). He is not stupid with his money, but unfortunately he is married and has two kids. His wife is a firm believer in spend it now, or it will be gone. Jr. was making $75k (like me) and living paycheck to paycheck because his wife would not leave anything in the bank. They would get a couple bucks and she would spend it on a new couch or something.

This is how bad it is with his wife. He was saving $100 bucks from his paycheck and put it in the bank so that he could have a nice 10 year anniversary getaway. He had about $2k in there, and his wife found out about it. Indiana has some really backwards laws about marriage and ownership of bank accounts. Needless to say, she took the entire amount, went out that day and went to a spa and got hundreds of dollars of makeup and other things like that. When she confronted her husband that evening, he had told her what it was for, she accused him of trying to save money to leave her, and that was why she spent it.

He has taken her to marriage counseling, financial counseling, etc. Nothing helps. I just feel so bad for Jr. Then he was let go from where I work (I got him his job) and he was unemployed for 2 months, with ZERO savings. He had to raid his 401k to pay the bills as our company denied that he worked there, and it took 7 months before the unemployment hearings took place. He finally got a $40k job, and he is still broke. His wife won't let their daughter leave her cheer leading classes. His daughter hates them, but she has private lessons 3 times a week (at $100 a pop), plus club fees of $100 a week. So she is spending $1600 a month on cheer leading for their daughter (who does not want to do it, at least in the last year).

So, there are lots of types of people out there. It is just sad to me. I don't mind picking up the bill when we go to lunch, he is a good guy. He is just trapped, and unable to get above water when you have that type of drain on your finances.

Miss M said...

I've been laid off before but I think I'm alright this time. I'm on a project that will last till next summer and the voters just approved a sales tax increase for transportation projects. I'm a civil engineer and that tax should mean employment for the next 30 years. I need it, my other half has barely worked this year. He freelances in hollywood, mainly working on commercials. Companies are cutting back on advertising, so less work for him. Most of his hollywood friends are in the same boat. I also know quite a few people who have gotten laid off recently or are expecting to be. We'll see how bad this gets.

Kris said...

A good friend of mine was laid off last week. Her hotel, formerly part of a chain, was bought out by a wealthy family a few months ago. They let the staffers go one by one, and she's one of the last. She is eight months pregnant.

Money Minder said...

We will find out in the next couple of weeks whether my husband will be "downsized". His firm is "flattening their organizational structure". He is a senior executive in investment banking.

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JG said...

I feel the exact same way. I am finding myself a lot more paranoid about jobs as well. It is just a time where people need to take their personal finances a bit more seriously and weather the storm. Good Luck. Love your blog.
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Adrienne said...

I work in academia so...no. It's pretty much impossible to get "laid off." Even firing someone is a hassle...generally speaking they just encourage you to start looking elsewhere but you are secure until you find something.

We are suffering budget cuts though. We need to cut 200K from our department's budget. It sounds like a lot but we get so damn much anyway. Things like going to conferences are out. HR pretty much bribed most of us to take the cheaper health care option. But overall the tuition and gov money keeps coming, our financial people are just being paranoid.

Susy said...

I don't know anyone to get laid off yet. Mr Chiot's and I are a little worried about the current economic situation since we're self-employed. We've spent the last 6 years saving as much as we could and developing multiple income streams so I think we'll weather it OK.

Anonymous said...

MY husband's company (hi-end retail) had some layoffs and slary rollbacks across the board. Depending on the success of the holiday season, more cuts are sure to come.

I'm in advertisng and so far my company has been stable. But I'm getting that funky vibe where people stop making eye contact with you (I hear that's one of the signs that you're on the block). God, I hope I'm not on the block.

Caroline said...

The layoffs hadn't really hit Australia yet (except in car parts manufacturing), however last week a friend who works for Citigroup in Sydney just lost his job. Now it's starting to hit home over here.

I heard the other day that Citigroup is now worth less than the Commonwealth Bank (an Australian bank)!

Anonymous said...

I recently got laid off from my marketing job. I lost my job along with 4 colleagues who held the same title. I thought finding a new job would be fairly easy so I took 3 months off before starting my job search. However, with the severe downturn in the economy, finding a new job is turning out to be a lot more difficult than I imagined and I am very scared.

H said...

I have two friends who have been laid off. One of them is fine as her spouse makes enough money for now. The other one is also married but was the main breadwinner so is concerned about finding a job soon.

I'm also very concerned about being laidoff. I have a good cushion of savings but I don't know how soon I'd be able to get a job. I'm in law.

frugal zeitgeist said...

I would be very surprised if we got to the end of the FY without a layoff. I should be okay, but I will probably lose one of my team members if it comes to that.

kkc said...

I know many people who got let go in investment banks and hedge fund. As for myself, I have never been so worried....

Beyond The Horizon said...

I've been lucky to have just started a new job, and have my fingers crossed that we won't see any layoff's in our office.

And I got in just in time! The week that I started, the company announced a hiring freeze across the board. I've also heard rumors that our parent company will be laying off thousands in 2009, but my colleagues are sure our office is safe. Like I said, fingers are crossed.

Neko said...

I have a few friends at AIG who are worried about loosing thier jobs.

And then there is also talk everywhere about comapnies discontinuing 401K matches. this is scary because companes will experience professional flight and difficulty hiring new people if that occurs.

- Neko

Anonymous said...

So regarding LayoffGossip.com the site looks interesting, but they could make it a bit easier to navigate? What do you guys think?

Sherry said...

We've had many friends and family lose their jobs. My Dad, who worked for Bear Stearns, lost his job this past Spring and hasn't been able to find a new one since. My Mom, who works for ML, will be staying on for a few more months before her department determines the fate of her employment. And we've had quite a few friends in the financial sector lose their jobs as well.

These are definitely scary times. Although my husband and I feel relatively secure, we are still worried. My husband's job is secure, but the bonus (a large portion of his usual salary) is not. My grad student stipend is secure ($31K), but I'm very concerned about how competitive the job market will be when I start interviewing in a year.

Bitty said...

My son, a commercial construction foreman, lost his job. No one is hiring; in fact, they're laying off, so he may go back to school. He can probably hunker down with various family members until the storm passes. Assuming it does. But do I want to support him? He's 30, without health insurance, and he has cashed in his 401k to get by.

His girlfriend, a single mother, works for Merrill Lynch. Ouch. I'm most worried about her because she was a stay-at-home mother for a long time and hasn't had this job very long. I don't know how long one must work around here to qualify for unemployment bennies.

I'm insecure about my job, but that has in large part to do with departmental politics not at all related to the economy. I teach college, but as an instructor, not a tenured professor. Furthermore, the economy is impacting our school tremendously because here in Florida we have no income tax, and a big part of state funds comes from tourism. While no income tax might sound fabulous, every time there's an overall problem with the economy, people don't take Florida vacations and we go into an extra-special economic tailspin.

So I feel insecure about my employment on two different fronts, and I have put off buying a new car and other purchases. This doesn't help the economy one bit, but what can any of us do?

Anonymous said...

Where do you people live that they have jobs available and are no lay-offs? I obviously need to move there and relocate my whole family there.

Me and my fiance have both been layed-off and out of work for 2 months now. We have been living on unemployment which is basically no money at all. I have applied for over 100 jobs, I have a college degree and lots of good work experience. I have been on a few job interviews but nothing good has come out of it. The places that have offered me a job are paying virtually nothing after you take out the cost of gas and other expenses.

I have 3 family members who have also lost their jobs. One has had their home forclosed on them and another has been evicted. Both of them were in jobs that were supposed to be secure.

At this time of the year when there are people out there that need more than me it is very sad to see. I see so many more homeless people standing on street corners with signs asking for help. When I pass them I do give them a couple dollars or change whatever I have on me. I have no money but I do have a place to live right now and little money for food so I feel I need to help out others. Then we have the people who make millions and won't donate a dime. I understand, you made that money you deserve it. Or why cant they go out and get a job. Well considering most of them sleep on the streets and live in rags, it's a never ending circle. I can see how hard it is to live.

So please get your heads out of your asses. And I hope all of you that are so happy will go through some misfortune just to see what its like to live paycheck to paycheck. Worrying about your stupid $12 late fees. And transferring your money to high interest accounts, why don't you help out people that are less fortunate. You don't have to give money-donate food, your time at shelters, clothes anything. Stop being so selfish!!

Moody said...

I have two friends who lost their jobs. And a friend of a friend actually lost his life because of the crisis. The poor guy was some kind of financial analyst and he was responsible for a huge portfolio that he failed to manage well in the crisis. They fired him on the spot. He was very upset, and died of a heart attack two days later. There is no "direct" connection between his death and layoff, but everyone I know blames the layoff. Horrible, horrible story.

Anonymous said...

My old officemate said it the best, "I have lived my entire life in a recession". And he is 81.

Anonymous said...

I was laid off about a month ago - I worked in financial services, and we all know where that's heading.

Its tough out there. I've applied to DOZENS of jobs, and gotten two interviews so far.

Anonymous said...

As a JFK based United flight attendant 2000 - 2005 I saw my fair share of furloughs and 'involuntary time off'. When I had a job I didn't know when I'd lose it, and when I didn't have a job I didn't know when I'd get it back. I remember when the first furlough was announced, approximately 2 weeks after 9/11. I was so angry at the terrorists for taking a job I loved, and was convinced I'd be without food or a roof over my head within a month. Well, I made it through what was nearly a total of a year and a half (on $190 a week in unemployment + $500 a month in outside income) without any huge adjustments in lifestyle, and this is living in NYC!

While there were moments of feeling overwhelmed what it really taught me was not to be afraid of the 'worst case scenario', to take more risks to follow my dreams because even if I failed the bottom wasn't as bad as I thought, and to never put all you eggs in one basket (job).

Today I have a very small (all cash, no credit) business, work part-time in retail, and swallow my pride to take every reasonable odd job that comes my way. I'm happy, accept that my situation can change at any moment, and do what I can to be prepared.

Last week I was out with some friends who all work for the same luxury golf resort which had just laid off 30 of their coworkers earlier in the day. Over $10 cocktails they were agonizing about their own fate and the way in which their coworkers were called in one by one and told by management that they would be let go with generous assistance and severance packages. I just wanted to say "then stop buying $10 cocktails, and just be thankful that a human told you you were out of a job and not the ticker across the bottom of CNN"! I think so many of us need to grow up, start living below our means, and stop acting like anything is owed to us from anyone but ourselves (ie friends, family, employers, the government).

I wouldn't change my layoff experience for the world.

joboutlets said...

I have a very close friend, who graduated from Harvard. Worked for ML for over 8 years, last year he's laid off too. OMG, now the banking industry is badly hurt, how long it would take for those financial background like him get back to the job market. Banking jobs are not there as much as before

Anonymous said...

Please report layoffs at layoffmaps.com
or pass this link to someone who has lost his/her job.
thank you