Just Laid Off. Where to Go from Here?

Updated on June 25, 2010
K.H. asks from Merrimack, NH
17 answers

Hi Moms,

I am looking for some support, and definitely welcome positive stories from people who relate. I was laid off this week from a job I had for almost 10 years. I was really close to my team and my boss. Although I didn't love the work I was doing, it has definitely been part of my life for a long time. I'm finding it really hard to emotionally get past the "I was chosen as someone who is replacable". In some respects I am happy b/c I'll be able to spend more time with my kids (at least in the short term), but I'm overcome by sadness at the same time. Does anyone have advice for getting over the ego hit of a layoff?

I really haven't told many people about being laid off, and my mom wants to know when I'll start telling people. To be honest, I'm not purposely withholding info, but I don't feel like getting on the phone and saying "hey guess what? I'm unemployed". I already told my sister-in-law b/c she works at the daycare my kids go to, and I'm planning on pulling the kids out of daycare for at least the summer. Although I know she was trying to be supportive, her comments ("Is there really much in your field? You probably won't be able to get a job as flexible as your last one b/c it is a tough market.... How long can you manage not working? Are you canceling your vacation this summer") actually made me feel worse.

I have a pretty close family. My parents and 4 siblings all live locally. I know it is my decision (mine and hubbies) on whether or not I go back to work, but I feel like my family is all going to way in on what I "should" do.

If I do stay home, it is going to be an adjustment for both my children and me. Does anyone have any suggestions for making the transition as easy as possible? My 5 year old's social network is entirely driven through her daycare provider. I will try to set up some playdates with her friends, but it definitely won't be the same as seeing them everyday.

I am also looking for some tips on being more money savvy. Since we have been a dual income family, we have often shopped out of convenience (wanted to preserve as much quality time with the kids as possible) and not always shop for the best deal. Now I am wondering how to go about knowing which items to buy at which stores and how to spot a great bargain. Obviously I know to stock up on bulk things etc, but it seems overwhelming to gather pricing info on everything all at once. Any suggestions or tips on how to do this piece mail?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can provide!

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I appreciate all of the encouragement and tips. My husband and I are still working out the details, but I think I am going to try the stay at home route for a bit. I did get a decent severance package, and I think we can stretch that for awhile. I'm going to take everyone's advice on saving money, and have already looked into storytime at the library.

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answers from Boston on

It's not a case of "I was chosen as someone who is replacable", it's a case of "that particular JOB is replacable". Chin up. Look at this as a new opportunity. Things happen for a reason, and you'll look back on this growing experience as just a stepping stone to something so much better for you.

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answers from Indianapolis on

My best advice is not to panic and do anything that's a major change right now.

I was laid off in May, 2009 from a position I'd had almost exactly 4 years. The company all of a sudden decided that they were going to restructure the sales department, and 200 of us (40%) were gone by the end of the following week. There were "business rules", but the scarlet letter remains.

My first piece of advice: don't take your kids completely out of day care unless you know you're going to remain a SAHM. We moved ours from full-time to part-time. They were 1 and 3 at the time, and I couldn't focus on getting a new job with their needs. Also, taking them out and putting them back in was going to be a nightmare. What if their spot was taken? What if they didn't transition back in well? So, we decided on MWF to allow me the opportunity to interview and job search.

I was one of the fortunate who got back to work quickly. I was laid off 12 weeks total, but I knew I wasn't going to match my salary in an industry (pharmaceuticals) that's literally imploding on itself. I'm still in the industry, I took a corporate position with a small company at 80% of my salary, 0% of my flexibility, and no bonuses. It's been a hard transition.

I still wear the scarlet letter of being laid off. I really had stopped loving my company once they turned on their own values, but getting past why you were let go and people who didn't work as hard or take the job as seriously remained is really tough. Most of it was geographic location, but managers had input as well. Not well done.

Let people know! Start networking. You never know who may be able to help you get into an organization that will be the start of your new career. I had NO problem opening my big mouth to see if people were willing to help. I never asked outright but gladly accepted offers.

Good luck. Feel free to connect with me privately if it helps to have someone to relate to the issue. My emotions were suppressed until about 7 months later when I finally let them out, and I'm still dealing with them. Other people I know decided to take trips, buy nice cars, etc. I just wanted to get back to work as it had been a HUGE part of my life.

Also, deal with it however you need to. No one can tell you how to feel or how to deal with it. We can just make suggestions, and hopefully, your friends treat you no differently - even if you have to cut back on certain things.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Providence on

The best sites for bargain hunting/deal alerts (IMHO) are:

Stack coupons one manufacturer and one store at Target and CVS. Use coupons on items that generate register rewards at Walgreens. Shop Walmart clearance.

check out the forums at wahm.com for jobs you can do at home (if you so choose) Quicktate is always hiring (transcription) and demand studios as well.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Sorry to hear of your less than great luck. I work full time as does my husband; we have two kids and are constantly thankful for our jobs but still are strapped for money 95% of the time.

I have learned to shop at the Dollar Tree A LOT for toys, games, gift wrap, cards, cleaning supplies, novelty items, basic foods and condiments, and a few toiletries (lotions & bath stuff). I also comb the end caps of the grocery section of our Target Marketplace (also Target Greatland or Super Target depending where you live) as they have tons of food items on clearance. Ross, Marshalls, and T.J. Max are great for clothes for my kids, myself, and my husband. Ross is the cheapest of the three; they are also great for last minute gifts etc. Tips I use for saving money are:
1) I find it helps me if I take a list into a store with me of the items I am looking for or absolutely need to get and I stick to getting the things on the list. This way I am not distracted by everything else and ending up with a cartload of stuff.
2) Converting to a cash only system helps a lot too because you really think twice about pulling out paper bills to pay for things versus pulling out the magic debit or credit card.
3) SET A BUDGET and stick to it. Really map out where your money has to go and figure out a solid dollar amount you have to work with to avoid any oopses.
4) Meal plan so you have set meals and a set cost for each meal so you are not tempted to order out for food or visit restaraunts.
5) Get creative with entertainment. Red Boxes are popping up everywhere which allow you to rent a movie for $1.00 a day versus paying for a movie theater experience. The library or local parks & rec usually have great activities for families at a low cost or even free.

Best of luck with what you decide to do!

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answers from Chicago on

You are right about the hit to your ego. I was burned badly 4 years ago. In fact, in the weeks between my news and my final day, the jerk who stayed called me for help logging into one of our daily systems. He didn't know which password to use. Seriously?!?!?!? Of course, I would be the only one he could call for this question because everyone else would be scratching their heads, wondering how he was still employed. I was so angry that I had great reviews and the company left him to take my clients.

The only thing that really helped me was time. It still fires me up sometimes when I think about it, but time helped me see how my life took a new, better direction. I decided to change careers, and I am thrilled about this! I graduate in December with my teaching cert. I wish you the patience to let time heal the ego wound that you sustain at this time. You received some really great advice here. Be good to yourself.

About your kids' social network, I don't know from first-hand experience. However, my nephew turns 9 this year, and he is missing his old friends (they just moved). When he moved 2 years ago, it didn't seem as hard for him. I think your kids (5 and under, right?) will be fine with the transition. You guys will have a blast this summer!

By the way, I strongly recommend that you keep your vacation plans if you can afford it. It can help take your mind off things, and you will reconnect with your family.

Good luck!

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answers from Rochester on

I can't help with the part about being laid off.. but I think the previous poster had some great advice to not panic. Part time daycare if you're unsure if you'll stay home or not is also probably a good idea.

The part I can talk about is being a SAHM and being more money savvy. Some of it may seem extreme, but its what we do so we can live on one income. First- what its going to be like to be a SAHM. It has its ups and downs. Some days are great and are a lot of fun.. then some days are a total drag and you're bored out of your mind. Some days the kids are great, other days you'll find that the little monster side that you may not have ever met comes out! It can be frustrating, tiring and busy. Some days you'll relax the majority of the day and some days you feel like there are just not enough hours in the day. I decided to become a SAHM to our first born about a year ago and I will say that I absolutely love it and wouldn't trade it for the world. For social networking for your kids, check at your local library. They have a lot of free activities that lots of children attend. Readings, clubs, activities etc. In larger cities some theaters do mommy and me movie days, usually on sunday mornings and those are also free sometimes or very very cheap. YMCA's and places like that have low cost programs that your kids can join for camps, recreation etc. Just to give you some ideas on social networking for your kids if you do decide to pull them from daycare. You could also start going to local parks because larger parks are usually jam packed so not only can your kids meet other kids and make new friends.. but you can also make new mommy friends!

For money tips- If your husband takes a lunch to work, great.. but evaluate it. Is he taking premade foods or left overs? Left overs are great because its using food that will otherwise possibly go to waste.. but lunch meats etc can get expensive and aren't always the healthiest choice. For us, my husband watches our son on sundays so after Mass I can start cooking. I make pizza dough in our bread machine to make homemade pizzas (sounds hard, but its SO easy) and use left over veggies (toss them in a tupperware in the freezer instead of leaving them to go to waste in the fridge) and left over meet (same as the veggies, but we stick to one type of meat) to make personal size pot pies. The pies are more work, but hearty. I also use that time to make larger family meals that freeze well like lasagnas, pizzas, pies, soups (minus noodles if you're freezing it). We also now have an extensive kitchen garden. It is a lot of work, but you would never guess how much kids like doing things like that until you put a shovel in their hands and let them go at their own raised garden bed. Our son also helps me harvest veggies and takes actual interest in them and is more likely to try them. Not to mention, home grown is always ALWAYS so much better than store bought. I do some coupons, but beware with coupons and only buy things you would actually use. Don't plan your shopping list around them because a lot of them are for processed foods that are expensive and not always healthy. I usually plan our grocery trip around the store's flyers then go through and with anything that is a brand name, I'll search online for coupons. It does take some time, but when you knock 10-20 bucks off your trip, its worth it. Often if you call companies and say how much you like their product, they'll offer to send coupons (sometimes for free stuff). We budget our trips too and stick to our list AND budget. Right now its just three of us and our son is still young so we're able to get away with it being really cheap (40 bucks a week for us, we plan to bump it considerably later on). For clothes, we love thrift shops because in our area people donate some extremely nice stuff.. as in brand name clothes, shoes etc. You can get lots of great books and toys from thrift places too, just ask to test anything electronic before you buy it. People don't always make sure it still works when they donate things.

I hope some of that helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I know where you're coming from - I was laid off twice, and my husband lost his job in March. It's NOT ABOUT YOU being replaceable or not necessary! It's about job cut-backs and companies merging jobs together and making do. I'm sure they'd rather have you there so it's not personal.

More people than you can imagine are going through this so you don't need to feel embarrassed. Tell people who ask you too many questions that your finances are personal and that you haven't worked out all the details, that when you work it all out you'll be sure to share it with them (even if you won't!). It's a process and not something you have all the answers to right away. Tell them outright, if you have to, that the questions are making things even harder for you and you're sure they don't want that. Then change the subject.

Try to see this as an opportunity - not that it's easy! - and a chance to experience new things and reassess a lot of priorities. It's a chance for day trips and to develop new social networks for yourself and your kids. Your 5 year old will blossom with new opportunities, not just be missing her daycare friends! Go to free things like the story hour at the library or other things offered by your town. Find out about free-admission days at local museums or get the free passes offered by the library or some banks. If there isn't a play group, start one - a lot of libraries have bulletin boards where you can post a flyer, and some coffee shops or children's shops offer it as well. Same with the local gym if you are a member.

You can join on-line programs like "The Grocery Game" for coupons - try it first to see if the coupons are for the things you eat. You can save a ton of money this way. Read the circulars from the markets that come out on Thursdays. There are always a lot of deals designed to bring you into the market and then buy other things on top of it. So just buy the stuff on sale! Stores call these things "loss leaders" and they figure they will lose money on them but make it up in other areas. I take a sharpie marker and circle stuff that looks good. After a few weeks you will know what the good prices are. Now that you have a lot more time to really study things, you can turn it into a great education for yourself and the kids. It's a good time for the 5 year old to learn a little about money and how it doesn't just come out of an ATM machine. Try not to obsess about it - just make some inroads each day.

Turn cooking into a family activity where you learn to do things with your kids. There are some great on-line recipes and you can get some of the family-friendly cookbooks or the "5 ingredients or less" books to get you started on making things in a budget friendly way. Pick your own blueberries and raspberries in season at area farms. Eat what they have a lot of!

Buy in bulk only if you will use all those items. If it sits in your pantry for a year, it's not a bargain and you've just tied up your money for nothing.

For clothes, shop at consignment stores for good bargains. Use the library for books and DVDs instead of buying them.

I started an in-home business rather than get laid off again - you can look into that and I can give you some advice about how to weed out the good ones from the bad, the ones with the most return and least investment up front, and so on. Not sure if you are ready to go that route but it's an option to consider.

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answers from Little Rock on

Ok well this IS something I can Help with. We have our share of losing a job and being unable to work in the last 2 yrs. 2 yrs ago my husband lost his job(out of no where). We lived on our savings for 3mons. and he collected unemployment for a total of 9mons. Thank God we had that. Now as of last month I was told by my DOC that I can't work because of a illness. So I am on the roller coaster with you. "Where to SAVE?" We cut are cable down to the basic services and we have cell phones so we disconnected our home number.Start collecting coupons to save money on food and toletries. Plan your meals for the wk or 2 wks and STICK to the list unless there is a sale and have a coupon for the idem. Go shopping by yourself because you WILL spend more if the kids and hubby with you. I went threw the house and had 2 garage sales to help when money was tigher then "normal". The other thing I would suggest budget for the UNEXCEPTED such as... car repairs and dr visits ect.. Becuse if you don't it will hit you harder than it would if you planned for it.
Well I hope I helped you out in some way. Good luck to you.



answers from New London on

You've got lots of good suggestions. Really helped me too. I've never had such a hard time finding a job - and knowing it's the economy and not me helps - but the emotions are still there to work through. It is the economy!

Biggest suggestion - if you want to return to work, make that your full time job.
Keep kids in childcare if you can afford even part-time (I did that until today - now he'll be home with me all the time and then how will I get the house ready to sell? Or go on interviews?)

Saving money - learn to read unit prices and be sure the units are the same item to item (cost per pint to per pint, not to per quart, etc). That really helps to see when a bargain really is. Some times BJs, Sams, etc are a deal, and quite often local grocery store sales are better deals. When chicken is 1.99 a pound, put some in the freezer. Shop farmers markets.

Use your library for books and DVDs, not net flicks or expanded cable. It is free AND your children get an outing to the library as well.

DO NOT use your credit card. I kept thinking I would be back on my feet soon - and am not. Now I have a big debt too.

budget for emergencies - I know it's hard, but I grew up poor and those emergencies always come up and always cause a crisis.

Avoid places like Dollar Tree and Family dollar - often the items look like US company products but are inferior from China - look how many recalls for lead-loaded items, poisoned toothpaste, etc list these stores as the place where the recalled items were sold. Do NOT risk your children's health. Also, the packaging is deceptive and you don't always save money. Odd Lots and Job Lots are better places to go - if you check expiration dates. These are the same items in grocery stores, but the lots were not full cases, the packaging was updated and this is the previous wrapping, etc.

Keep networking. I just sent a broad email out - and was surprised by some of the really helpful feedback.

Keep your spirit.


answers from Salt Lake City on

So sorry to hear about your job, my husband was in a similar situation this past year. This is one of the reasons I enjoy working for myself, no one else gets to determine my worth or my salary.
Once you get past the shock it will get easier, change is never easy but most of the time works out for the best in the long run.
If you ever would like info on earning income from home visit my website and request the details at WorkAtHomeUnited.com/JOBS
I have been with the same business for over 5 years and love helping others achieve success from home.



answers from Los Angeles on

For starters dont take it personally as all employees are disposable even though its hard to understand. Its all numbers right now, I'm sure with 10 years of service it wasnt the easiest thing for them to do either.

As far as addressing your family, I think the best thing you can do is talk with your husband and make a plan with a timeframe. Figure out your finances, what you have saved and how long you will 'try' being home before considering if you need to go back to work. So that way, when you begin to address family you can present it as such, a plan! There will be minimum room for questions or critic as they will see you AND your husband got it all figured out. And when times get tough or unsure, be careful of who you share those feelings with so you dont become overwhelmed with opinions.

Yours kids will be soooo excited to have you home for the summer! Even if the novelty wears off, it'll be time to go back to school once it does. Ever consider an at home business where you can manage your own schedule? I started selling Mary Kay 2 years ago and was recently able to quit my job with Toyota. It might be a good opportunity for you to make some extra spending money if you are able to make it one 1 income...let me know if you have any questions about what I do. Good Luck, I think you're going to be ok!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Everyone is replaceable. It's true. I was laid off after almost 20 years at the same job.
My advice to you is to apply for your unemployment benefits asap then decide what you want to do. I know it's a shock. I was blindsided due to downsizing, and I was PT at the time. Two years later, I was asked back and my salary was kept the same! You never know what will happen down the road....it's not the end of the world. I know it's a shock but sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise. Hang in there.

Checkout www.couponmom.com, ALDI and angelfoodministries.com for great savings on food.



answers from New York on

Hi K., Best advice I could give you is think fast. If you want another job hunt NOW. Every month you are unemployed makes you more unemployable. employers only want to hire people who have jobs even in this recession when they know more people are out of work at no fault of their own. They immeditaly think you lose your skill set, sense of work ethic and also some backward employers assume you are unemployed because you did something wrong. I will be unemployed 1 year this Saturday. I have had a million interviews with employers had I met two years ago would have hired me on the spot. But now that the field is flooded they are looking for the cheapest way to hire people and they don't get quality workers and you will always see the same job posting come back up 3 months later. Even interviewing can be a shot to your ego. You know who you are and your capabilities and know your worth. Yet someone will inevitably tell you at the end of the interview. "Just to give you a time frame we are in the beginning stages of recruitment we are taking our time blah, blah blah you might hear from them months later that they chose another candidate but 9 out of 10 times these "employers" don't bother to even call, e-mail or mail you that you are rejected. It's painful at first. I was making 6 figures, now I get $405 a week unemployment, everyone working will tell you things are looking up, turning around and a week later that same person just left their job for a new one that you had interviewed for. Wow reading what I wrote looks like I am still angry, but when you had no choice as far as losing your job it's tough. I'll let the other posters give you their great advice on saving money, just wanted to let you know you are SO not alone.



answers from Evansville on

Sorry to hear about your recent job loss. Getting into Mary Kay, Arbonne, Avon, whatever is your desire could help you in both areas: be able to stay at home with your kids and get some extra income. I am a Mary Kay Rep and it does help out.... good luck.
If you are interested, let me know.



answers from Sacramento on

I watched my dad get laid off after over 20 years with a company in a job he loved (and to this day still talks about, even though he'd retired). My best tip is that if you think there's a chance you want another job, spread the word now. Don't wait until you've had time to mourn this job. What's the worst that can happen? You can always interview for a position and turn it down if it's offered to you and it's not quite right. Keeping going is so important ... if you give yourself down time to overanalyze what's just happened, you're going to feel worse. The busier my dad was, the happier he was.

Networking is the best way to find a new job. I know you don't want to call people to share the news, but what about a posting on your Facebook profile? An email to friends and family sharing the news and mentioning the type of job you'd want? Even people who aren't in your field may know someone who is and that person could lead to your next job.

You might also consider temporary work as a way to bring in an income, make new connections and keep your experience current. This might even prevent you from having to take your daughter out of daycare.

Best of luck to you with whatever path you choose next! So sorry about what you're going through, but maybe it will open doors to something even better -- whether it's a new job or staying at home.



answers from Lewiston on

Good luck as you go through this difficult time. I was laid off once and it's a horrible feeling. And I didn't have any kids at the time, so I'm sure your situation is much more stressful. There are so many "what if"s going through your mind. One thing that might help you in the spending-less category is a book by Jonni McCoy called "Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy". It's full of great tips for keeping more of the money that you do have. It has good recipes for things you can make at home for snacks, economical meals, fun for the kids, etc. Since your daughter is 5, presumably she starts Kindergarten in the fall, so that takes care of the social network issue, as she'll surely make new friends.

God bless!



answers from Columbus on

Sorry to hear abot your job. I can sympathize though as I was there a couple years back and my husband was in the fall. First thing you need to do if you haven't already is get your unemployment started. It can take a few weeks for it to actually start coming in.
As far as your kids, they are so much more resilient that we are. Your five yr old will adapt and I'm gonna assume she will start kindergarten in the fall? If so she will make new friends, but in the mean time do set up some playdates, take trips to the park, library, etc
Now for the saving part.... clip coupons that you know you'll use, I don't bother with ones that just seem like a good deal if its not something I typically buy. Also there are websites and many have facebook pages as well that can help you plan your shopping, find great deals (even freebies), as well as help you learn to stack coupons, and be more frugal. Some of them that I have visited are Frugal Girls, Free Sample Freak, Freebies 4 Moms, Sweet Deals 4 Moms, as well visiting specific stores / brands websites. Hope this helps some.....

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