Surviving a layoff: 2009 vs 2014


Wow. It’s been five years since the dark days of that first layoff. I looked back in my archives to check the dates, and promptly got depressed reading the posts I wrote back then (and embarrassed at my typos etc – I should really fix them up).

But things are very, very different today than they were back then. Let’s see:

We have enough to live off

Today, I’m working full time and can support both of us for now. In 2009, I was a strung-out, neurotic, hot mess of a final-year student barely holding it together as it was, and definitely not earning enough to support two people. I don’t remember what my savings account looked like back then, but I know the balance was a lot lower than it is today.

We were blindsided

Well, not totally – the pessimist in me felt like this was all too easy, too good to be true (and kept holding off blogging about his new job, apparently for good reason). However, emotions aside, realistically, this was a shock.  Sales can be cyclical, though, and much like the ups and downs of life on commission, I was aware that stability might be not guaranteed. And logically, the newbies are usually first to go.

Back in 2009, T’s hours kept getting cut back and the company was clearly struggling;  in hindsight maybe he should have jumped first, but then again…

The economy is in a totally different place

Will 2014 be a rockstar year for NZ? I think that’s a little over-optimistic, but things are looking up overall.

Back in 2009, it was all turning to shit, so even if T had cut loose of his own accord, it would most likely not have done us any good.

T is in a different place, too

While he’s changed industries since 2009 and so doesn’t have, say, another 4-5 years of accumulated relevant experience, he DOES have more experience overall – and more confidence. By the time I got home on the day of reckoning (he waited until that evening to tell me rather than upset me halfway through the workday, bless his heart) he’d already applied to multiple jobs and reached out to various people.

Back in 2009, he had less work experience, fewer contacts, and was facing a tougher economy. It’s definitely a much better time to be job hunting right now.

How equipped would you be to deal with a layoff (your own/your partner’s) right now?

A Life in Balance

19 thoughts on “Surviving a layoff: 2009 vs 2014

  • Reply Cashville Skyline February 24, 2014 at 09:41

    So sorry to hear about your layoff! I was laid off in 2007 and I know how devastating it can be. Your attitude is amazing, though! I’m definitely a lot better equipped to deal with a layoff now than I was in 2007. I’ve got a lot more savings and more skills. It definitely wouldn’t be as traumatic now as it was back then.

  • Reply Financial Samurai February 24, 2014 at 15:11

    I like your optimism! You are right, 2014 is very strong compared to a horrible 2009.

    I think you guys will be fine. Best of luck.

  • Reply Nell @ The Million Dollar Diva February 24, 2014 at 15:43

    I’m sort of going through this right now, as my boyfriend was laid off a month ago from a job in the car industry. We don’t live together yet, but it’s a reminder about how precarious the traditional job market can be. He’s still looking for work, so it might end up being that I have to help support him or curtail our travel plans (really hope not!).

    I’m building my freelance business and the more I think about it, the more I feel that freelancing can be more secure than a regular job. Just build up the client list so that if one goes, there’s still plenty of other paying clients.

    Hope it all works out for you both.

  • Reply La Tejana @ Debt Free Tejana February 24, 2014 at 15:56

    I think I would be able to for the sole fact that I live with my parents and have no bills. I could go full time at my side job (waiting tables) and probably make 2,500 a month. Nothing fancy, but it would keep me going (and paying on my loans) while I looked for something else.

  • Reply Sense February 24, 2014 at 17:59

    Oh no! Poor T (and you). It is awesome that he had already started reaching out mere hours post-layoff, though. What a great attitude, and what a star!

  • Reply Emily @ Urban Departures February 25, 2014 at 13:50

    Sorry to hear about the job loss. It’s never easy to deal with the financial disruption, but good on your for your optimism. You survived a worse economy with less savings; this time you’re older and wiser and more experienced.

    My husband lost his job in 2008. A month after we married and returned penniless from our honeymoon. I don’t know how we got through it- optimism and, perhaps, rose coloured glasses from being newlyweds?

    Anyway, good luck to T on the job hunt.

  • Reply Debt and the Girl February 25, 2014 at 15:01

    I like your attitude. I hope everything works out for you both. Good luck to you!

  • Reply Sally @ TinyApartmentDesign February 25, 2014 at 16:34

    I know you two will rally! We’ve both gone through job losses, though I’ve been more steady in my work than my guy, I’ve also left several jobs during our relationship. It’s tough when you feel like you are carrying the weight of two people, but I find it helps to talk about it, uncomfortable as it is. The nice thing is feeling like you are moving towards better jobs and learning and approaching work differently. I’ve been all about being more strategic at work and for my partner, really encouraging him to not think of himself as always an employee and always working for a boss. Ah to be the boss…

  • Reply Alicia February 26, 2014 at 01:07

    I agree that you’re very optimistic, which should serve you and T well during this period. He seems very determined to have applied for jobs within hours!

  • Reply Daisy @ Add Vodka February 26, 2014 at 17:52

    Is T, by chance, in trades? I find J, who is in trades, used to constantly being laid off and hired and laid off.. ugh. It’s a roller coaster. He found a lot of stability over the past few years and I think it was more of a product of where we lived back then, but it’s exhausting, draining, and stressful. I’m sorry you have to deal with this!

    • Reply eemusings February 26, 2014 at 18:34

      Not anymore – as I mentioned before, he’s moved into sales.

      Thanks, it’s a pain but that’s life eh!

  • Reply Jon @ Our Fine Adventure February 27, 2014 at 05:49

    We have enough savings that we would be OK for quite a while in the event that I got laid off. A lot of those savings are earmarked for other goals (like travel, or a house), but obviously we could recalibrate if needed. Sounds like you guys are at least in a good place for something like this!

  • Reply Deia @ Nomad Wallet February 27, 2014 at 23:26

    Wow, you’ve been blogging for a long time. I have a couple of angsty blogs that are lost somewhere in the interwebz. They’re better off there, where nobody can identify me as the writer.

    I want to say “hang in there, it’ll get better”, but it seems like you’re in a good place and don’t need it. Love your attitude!

  • Reply The Asian Pear March 1, 2014 at 13:07

    Poor T but I’m sure he’ll bounce back. On a side note, T reacted really positively after the layoff. Applying to jobs on the day of. Props to him.

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  • Reply Amanda @ MoveLoveEat March 12, 2014 at 15:47

    I’m so sorry to hear about T’s Layoff. I love the positive attitude you are taking about it though! And that he is being proactive about getting back into the workforce.

    We would cope pretty well for up to a year if either or both of us were laid off, we are both considering a reduction in our hours given we aren’t that fond of our jobs and want to focus on new career paths yet have no time to do those in our current roles. It has been a long road of saving to get in this position though and I imagine a few months of being unemployed I would be starting to fret about getting some income coming in. It’s always better to see those savings going up instead of down! And I really want an overseas trip which isn’t possible on diminishing savings 😉

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