Can Losing Your Job Mean Finding Happiness?

October 11, 2007

What goes through your head when your boss stops by your cube and asks, “Do you have a minute?” As you follow them into the conference room a little voice in the back of your head wonders if the impromptu meeting will end with you being escorted out of the front door without a job.

I remember when we had a “Reduction in Forces” a while back; if you were pulled into a conference room it meant the end of the road.  People were led out of the office with their personal items in a box and tears on their cheeks.

Being Fired Stinks
I’m sorry to say Lazy Man had a rough day yesterday. I don’t know how it went down but I picture a somewhat similar scene.  I’ve never been delivered the bad news myself and I never want to be in that situation.  Although I’m a bit disenchanted with corporate America and often times fed up with my job I’d prefer to leave when I’m ready, rather than an abrupt flush down the toilet.  You work so hard to get ahead it really takes you by surprise when the company says thanks for playing, there’s the door.

Do Secure Jobs Exist?
In today’s society many “secure jobs” are only one bad earnings report away from an unemployment check.  Since at-will employment works both ways you never know what tomorrow will bring. I have a cartoon tacked to my cube wall where a younger boss says to an older man, “You’re the best there is at something we don’t need done anymore”.  The myriad of reasons a company might let you go can be a little nerve-wracking to think about.  Of course, it’s good to wrack those nerves so that you can be prepared in the event you do lose a primary source of income.

After Losing Your Job
Now that we’ve covered the negative, lets talk about the positive.  After the shock of being let go wears off, you automatically start to think about what’s next.  You look at life from a different perspective since certain assumptions and obligations no longer exist. As Lazy Man said:

“I’m a lot happier than I thought I’d be.  In fact I’ve never felt so free. This could fade or get old, but right now, it’s new and exciting.”

I have a good friend that lost his job unexpectedly several years ago and in hindsight it was a pretty good career move.  He went onto bigger and better things and found the job he really wanted. Of course it doesn’t happen like that for everyone.  It may be that you love your job and your life’s a mess after you’re fired.  It’s for times like those that we should try and be financially prepared for a layoff.

On the other hand sometimes we just can’t make ourselves let go of a “secure” job even though we’d really like to and losing it actually turns out to be a good thing.  Other times, we’re not wanting to leave but a layoff turns into new opportunities or a new direction in life.  If your job vanished into thin air tomorrow, what would you do?  Would losing your job help you find happiness?


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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8 Responses to Can Losing Your Job Mean Finding Happiness?

  • Lemuel Jopio

    Losing my job was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Since losing a managerial position at a software company (a job I also hated), I was able to build up own my home-based business to a level where I now make a very good living.

    Plus, My wife and I got married this year and we also bought our first home. All of This would not have been possible if I was still stuck in that dreaded cubicle, acting like a “yes” man to my former boss.

    Now, I’m my own boss and I only answer to myself. I’ve never been happier. By the way, all of this happened within the past year.

    Yes, losing your job or being fired should not be seen as a negative at all. In the long run, you’ll only get stronger mentally. And with smart work and determination, you’ll become a lot more happier and successful by moving on.

    I’m sure glad it happened to me!!!

  • Robert

    Plonkee is confused because on this side of the pond we don’t have terribly generous ways to get rid of people. 🙂

    How a company fires / lays off an employee varies widely by the company. Some categories of employees will get severances depending on the type of job and the company, but it’s the company’s call. We don’t have anything in the way of the redundancy programs. I am not sure if that is government mandated or industry standards but I remember being quite amazed at the hoops my company went through went getting rid of a UK-payroll employee.

  • PinoyTech

    We recently had to layoff people from my office. As I delivered the message of retrenchment to them, they cried. I cried but I did not show it to them.

    It wasn’t anyone’s fault. The layoff was because of economical reasons.

    I hope they find happiness though in finding the right job since I doubt they’d be sitting around the house.

  • Lazy Man

    You got the scene almost 100% right. The delivery of the news was dead on. There were no tears and walking out with a box of my stuff.

    Towards Plonkee’s point, I did receive severance which was equal to 2 weeks pay.

    There should have been written or even verbal warnings and that’s one of the many things that my company admits it could have done better.

  • Mark from Smart Investing & Money Management

    I’d prefer to leave when I’m ready, rather than an abrupt flush down the toilet

    Look out for signs, constantly evaluate your position in the company and be ready to move. It takes courage and readiness but it’s always better to make your own decisions rather than have someone else make a decision for you.

    – Mark.

  • plonkee

    Don’t you people have notice periods? At my place of work there is a minimum one month notice period on both sides. Often if you are made redundant then you’ll get more time (and help getting a new job).

    If you are asked to resign, then you might be escorted off the premises but they still have to pay you for the rest of your notice period. Being fired is a bit difference but you can only be summarily dismissed for gross misconduct any way, otherwise there are written warnings and so on.

    I’m certain that everything will work out for Lazy. I have to admit when I read his post, I did double check my emergency fund, especially as I haven’t got a well paid spouse to support me.

  • The Financial Blogger

    I agree that losing your job stinks. However, it gives you a special opportunity to look at your life, at your career and decide if you want to keep on heading this way or change things a little. Sometimes, we don’t have enough courage to quit and change our life even if we don’t like our job. When you are laid off, you have no other choice but to get back on track and the right moves.

    I find that when you actually quit your job, it is definitely for more happiness. I wrote about how I quit my first job while I didn’t have anything that was waiting for me:


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