I'm Unemployed & Coming Out The Closet

Yes, I Am Sandy

As of last Friday, I am officially unemployed with no new job to go to.  Are you panicking for me? Because I’m not.

I’m smirking as I write this post that has been months in the making while sipping on a cup of calming ginger tea.  My heart is beating loudly as if playing out a scene in The Tell-Tale Heart, but it’s at the excitement of what is to come in the next few months.  Life is beautiful, and for just this week, I took the time to stop and enjoy being alive and happy.

If you recall I resigned from one job over a year ago to take another job with a different employer.  The new job was in the field of Human Resources, something that I had wanted to do my entire career.  When the opportunity presented itself, I was hesitant at moving because I liked my previous employer a lot.  But, after speaking with my better half, I was convinced to get over my reservations and accept my dream job.

Within two weeks of joining the new company I knew that I had made a terrible mistake.  My job?  Oh, that part was easy . The office and company? That was the issue.  But, I’m nothing if not positive, so I decided that I would give the new job at least six months of observation before making a decision on leaving or going.

In the meantime, I negotiated new deals, made lots of innovations and improvements and got to know the company and my colleagues.  At the six month mark I called the VP of HR and told him that although I did not have another job, I was ready to resign and wanted to give him the courtesy of knowing before I told my immediate manager.  I also wanted to give him my analysis of the issues that existed within the department and why they were experiencing retention problems.  What followed was a 2 hour discussion on the company’s pain points and areas for improvement.  He asked me to give the company at least another six months because he too was relatively new to the company and has been working on implementing some changes and improvements.  Sensing that he was sincere, I agreed to stay.

Honestly though, I knew that it was not working but decided to stay until a project that I was an integral part of was completed.  In the meantime, I had a few great job offers which I ultimately turned down.  One position would have been soul fulfilling, but would have left me struggling financially.  Had I taken that offer I know that eventually it would be a J-O-B…as in something leaving me Just Over Broke.  I couldn’t do that to my family.  The other just didn’t grab me.

I was in the process of deciding what to do when the Financial Samurai came out with his eBook How To Engineer Your Layoff.  His article entitled, Don’t Get Fired Or Quit, Get Laid Off Instead really hit home for me.  After thoroughly reading, re-reading and reviewing New York State employment statutes, I resolved to get laid off.  I dubbed it OPERATION FREEDOM.  I decided to automate my job as much as humanly possible, especially since this particular company had been doing things in an old, antiquated fashion when I first joined.  I put in countless extra hours moving much of the HR systems into the 21st century which meant that my role wouldn’t really require a full-time person sitting in the office all day every day. [Edit: For those of you thinking that I slacked off, I did quite the opposite.  I put in 12-14 hour days on top of my 3 hour daily commute then brought my laptop home to work from home for months! My family was kind of pissed off about that.]

For the past three months I was basically doing my boss’ job (he didn’t seem to mind) while I slowly cleaned out my desk, created an alternate voice mail for when I was laid off, created an autoresponder for my e-mail for when I would no longer be there, archives things that they wouldn’t need and wrote instructions on how to do things that they would need.  Then, I waited.  And waited.  And waited.

Finally, I could feel the air around me changing.  I knew that my time would be coming soon.  When it felt like the anxiousness around me was reaching a crescendo, I figured that my last day would be last Friday.  I called up some friends to have a celebratory liquid layoff lunch with me that day.  A few thought that I was being paranoid, but I knew that I was right.  One friend asked me what I would do if they didn’t lay me off that day and I pretty much said that I would have to suck it up and take the Monday off because the waiting was killing me.  I was so mentally checked out that I could not survive another day in the office.

Lo and behold, it as my last day!  The most interesting thing was that my former EMPLOYER was shocked, shocked I say, that I knew that I would be laid off.  I told them where to find everything, thanked them for the opportunity and was out of the office, smiling and clutching my paperwork with my reference, severance and company paid COBRA as I walked out the door less than 2 minutes after being told that I was being let go because they no longer needed someone to do my job.  when I laid out all of my instructions for them to follow and that my e-mail and voicemail were both ready to go, they literally had their mouths open.  They didn’t know what hit them.  Meanwhile, I felt as if I had won the lottery. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together (ten points to the first person who gets that 1980′s reference)? Oh, and the VP who asked me to wait it out? He had left the company exactly one month before my own exit.

SIDEBAR: Is this getting too long?  Is it too much to read?  Take a break. Get a piece of fruit and come back.  I can wait for you.

Okay, so now I’m unemployed.  What will I do next?

The first thing that I did was begin looking at vacation packages to take a much needed vacation.  Because I knew that I did not plan on staying with the company, I never took time off, except for when I was in that car accident last summer.  Plus, I haven’t seen my grandmother and father for a few years so I can kill two birds with one stone.

But really, what am I going to do? Here’s the thing; I’m not exactly sure.  I’m a planner and a doer and for the first time in my life, I don’t have a plan laid out.  While I am still the sole breadwinner for my family, I’ve been working hard over the past three years or so to not let my employer be my sole source of income. I’ve told you guys multiple times that you should always have a Plan B and a Plan C or a side hustle.  I’ve told you again and again to look at multiple ways to make money outside of your jobs.  I’ve even told you to exploit your talents because someone is willing to pay for your skills.  And you know what? I’ve taken my own advice.

Every month for the past four years I’ve shared my debt reduction progress with you and for the past two years I’ve added how much money I’ve made via this blog to those reports as well.  Some months have been better than others depending on how much time I’ve had to devote to the blog.  Honestly, I’ve had very little time to spend on this blog and my blogging income reflected that.  Where I would regularly make at least $1,000, the blog’s income fell down to under $500 some months.  That’s okay because it wasn’t my main source of income.  It was still bonus money as far as I was concerned.

This blog has not lived up to its best potential because it has had a tiny part of me.  I’ve turned down multiple requests for interviews, television appearances and writing opportunities with well known companies that you have heard of.  I said “no” to these opportunities because I blogged semi-anonymously.  Although, I do have to say that a few companies like H&R Block didn’t mind.  I have never wanted my employers to be distracted by what I considered to be my hobby.  But, since I find this “hobby” to now be an integral part of my decision-making process with regards to what I will do next, I’ve decided to make a decision that I can not turn back from: I’ve decided to come out of the blogging closet.

Let me formally introduce myself.  Yes, I Am SandyHi! I’m Sandy, and this is my blog.  Well, that’s kind of honest.  Legally, my name is not Sandy.  You won’t find it on any official documents and it’s not the name by which my former work colleagues would know me.  But, Sandy feels more like my name than my official name.  It’s the name that I have been known by for my entire life.  It’s what my mother, family and friends call me.  In fact, I don’t think that most of my family even know my “real” name.  I figured that since we’re all family here, you can call me Sandy.  Any other name just would not fit.

When I met someone at a conference a few years ago, her first reaction was, “I didn’t know that you were Black.” Yes, that’s what my mother always says too. I kid, I kid.  I wasn’t offended because that’s usually the reaction that I get in my professional life as well.  Most people just don’t come right out and say it.  So let’s chat about that elephant.  Yes, I am a delightful shade of chocolate.  I’ve never mentioned it because, honestly, it’s never mattered.  The subjects that I cover are universal.  Fat, thin; tall, short; young, old; gay, straight; male, female; and whatever other point and counterpoint that can be used to separate us has never mattered to me on this blog.  It will continue to stay that way.

Would you like to know a bit more about me? I would just as readily have sashimi as I would paella or  roast beef.  My Japanese accent is as passable as my Spanish accent. My mahjong isn’t bad, but I kick major ass in pinochle and dominoes. I speed read and slow cook. I jam to Linkin Park as often as I do to Jay-Z (best mash-up album ever). I have one of those STEM degrees that everyone is so hot about these days and an MBA that needs the dust blown off sitting on my mom’s wall.  I am, in a word, a total nerd.

So, what’s in store for me going forward?  That’s a great question! Honestly, I don’t know.  Since I planned on retiring from working for anyone else at 40, I still have a number of years to go.  I would love to blog full-time, but that is not feasible for me right now. More likely than not, I will work for someone else as I put the finishing touches on my early retirement plans.  But, you should look forward to more articles and ideas from me in the upcoming weeks.  That’s the plan anyway.  If there’s anything that you’d like me to cover, drop me a line!  I’m all over my laptop these days.  After all, I AM unemployed.

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67 Responses to I'm Unemployed & Coming Out The Closet

  1. Hi Sandy!!
    Nice to meet you! I didn’t need to break for a piece of fruit because this was an awesome read. I couldn’t stop reading because I was amazed at how well thought out your plan was and how it ended.I was just talking to my Facebook fans about having a Plan B ready in case they were laid off and what they would do. Your plan B was a bit different but it was what worked for you. I think you know deep down that you will find your path in life because you are after all a doer. Wishing the best of luck in your journey and again, nice to meet you Sandy!!
    Cheers,
    Mr.CBB

    • Sandy says:

      Thanks Mr. CBB! I looked back at what I had written and realized that it was a wall of text. I figured this would be a decent opportunity to encourage my readers to get their daily servings in.

  2. A-TEAM!

    Congrats Sandy. For me when I did this, it was the most scary but also most liberating day in my life. You will soon realize as you flex your muscles in business and entrepreneurship, what was once considered scary and a big deal, while be things you do on a daily basis.

  3. Congrats Sandy! Great article. I recently left the world of banking and went into the world of corporate communications. I always blogged under the name Kristina because the bank was super strict about outside activities. My new employer encourages my blogging activities and I recently started using my real name, Tahnya Kristina. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted because I don’t have to hide behind my words anymore, I don’t have to worry if someone from my work is reading my blog and I don’t have to worry about getting fired if I get caught blogging. Great post and once again, CONGRATS! I am going to share this next Friday on the Dinks Finance roundup :-) Have a good weekend.

  4. Revanche says:

    Congrats on a nice, controlled exit. Good luck on the next stages of your adventure!

  5. Awesome! I love how you planned and planned some more. Glad the article and the book helped set up the framework for your exit.

    One thing you wrote that really resonates with so many who have successfully engineered their layoffs is, “I feel like I have won the lottery.” When you want to leave anyway and can plan for the moment, it really is like getting an awesome financial windfall to set yourself up for doing something else.

    I look forward to your new journey!

    Best,

    Sam

    • Sandy says:

      Your well-written article really planted the seed which ultimately bore fruit last Friday. I’ve never felt so free and so calm in my life. It might be age.

  6. krantcents says:

    I like your attitude! After your vacation, you just need to start networking, I have no doubt you come out better. Good luck.

  7. Alice says:

    Oh snap, you’re black??? Congrats on the layoff! Shall I it you on my calendar for the Big Pig Jig?

    • Sandy says:

      Good Lord, I’ve been trying to get there for like, what, 5 years now? I’ve got TIME and flights are cheap! And yeah, my mom was pretty shocked about that whole black thing. I had to sit her down and gently break the news to her. She’s still hoping that the chocolate will rub off.

      And yes, I have to give you credit, you DID say that I would hate the job. You were right.

      • Alice says:

        This industry is full of lunatics! We just had a “seriously???? Do you not have a brain?!?!?” incident this week Anywho, the jig isn’t until November this year, but we’ll be up in the area around the 4th of July – I’m going to the Fancy Food Show for work and decided to drag my kids up so my mom can babysit, err, I mean “bond” with the kids.

  8. tam says:

    Hi Sandy!

    Congrats! Since you don’t work at your company anymore can you please tell us where you worked? Since they now need an HR manager maybe I’ll pass along my resume! lol

  9. Glen Craig says:

    Congrats! I know you’ll work out something awesome to keep you from corp work.

    And where can I pick up my ten points for Hannibal from the A-Team?

    • Sandy says:

      Our buddy Investor Junkie beat you to it! It’s good for one extra free BEER the next time that we meet up or at least at FINCON. See you there?

  10. Evan says:

    Does this mean we get to have lunch more often?

  11. Do or Debt says:

    Awesome to read this story! I am a new blogger and just found out about your site. I think it’s sad and scary that people think the default race is white, so I am sorry people are making dumb comments!

    Also, I have faith you will do something awesome! Your blog seems badass, so keep on hustlin’!

  12. Jesse says:

    I love how your layoff came together, such a great story. I tried but my layoff never came and I couldn’t take it anymore I just had to get outa there and ended up quitting.

    Good for you though, congrats!!! Very cool :) See ya at FINCON!

    PS Love the picture you chose up top, I know that smile of pure joy and freedom.

    • Sandy says:

      I know that it sounds crazy, but I’ve never felt more FREE in my life. If I had known what I was missing I would have done this months ago. And I totally get what you said about quitting. I was so ready to GO. When my friend asked me what I would do if they didn’t lay me off, I had a little moment of panic. I was thinking, holy shit, what would I do? I probably would have quit because I couldn’t take it much longer.

  13. Sandy, I’m so happy for you! If there is anyone who deserves to have such a wonderful story happen to them, it’s you. See you at FINCON!

  14. tam says:

    Since you and your ex employer worked so well together maybe she/he will give you back your job.

  15. Mike Collins says:

    Congrats Sandy! That’s really great news and I’m glad you’re happy.

  16. Susan Harris says:

    Congratulations Sandy and nice to meet you! I love your blog and find it an inspiration and motivation to get off my duff and get busy retiring early. Always look forward to your posts! Enjoy your vacation!

  17. tam says:

    what do you think of rent to own? I know its a random question but I don’t have your e-mail address.

  18. Jackie says:

    Congrats on your layof plans coming together! And see you at Fincon :)

    (If it’s any consolation, people who haven’t seen my picture often blurt out “But I thought you were black!” when they meet me.)

  19. REad the entire article after getting the email blast. I know you will land on your feet. So let me get this straight???? Coming out of the closet??? I didn’t get that part? You are one of my blogging buddy favs :)

    Your pal, Barb

  20. Marcia says:

    Ha! A-team! I didn’t know you were black. I didn’t know you were a woman either. I guess I never really thought about it or cared, I just enjoy reading what you write.

    How you got yourself laid off though, that is fascinating. I enjoyed that whole story.

  21. Awesome story Sandy. And I love the way you tell it. You have such a way with words, I was feeling my heartbeat increase in anticipation at certain parts.

    Very cool that you were able to use influence from Sam’s article and book and parlay it into exactly what you wanted. I can only imagine how wonderful it must feel.

  22. Congrats – This was definitely not too much writing, and I would actually love to hear even more about it. How did you “just know” when the layoff was coming? I would be super curious about more of those details!

  23. Wow, you are amazing. That is fantastic!

    And go Financial Samurai. It’s really neat to see how that advice gets implemented.

  24. Pauline says:

    Congrats on getting out of the closet! I left my job three years ago after 6 months or so of planning, it felt soooo good going out the door for the last time! I hope your new life is awesome.

  25. Eric says:

    Congrats Sandy! Loved reading that story. Getting to know you over the last couple of years, I am not shocked that you decided to take this route. I am so happy for you that you were able to do it.

  26. Andrea says:

    Hi Sandy, I enjoyed reading your story, and I did not need to take a break. :-)

  27. Woohoo! I’m super excited for you (and a little jealous). ;)

  28. I actually like being laid off because it’s a great time to reflect and reasess your next move!

  29. Tammy says:

    Congrats Sandy (I never knew your real name until I was in my teens)!! Operation Freedom was a success!! Now who am I suppose to have lunch with? :(

  30. debthaven says:

    Congrats Sandy! You orchestrated this so well!

    Something similar happened to me several years ago, but unlike you, I did not initiate it. My job moved, I then had an insane commute (1 3/4 hours each way). The company was doing badly, and offered a great payout to people who lived over 60 min away. I took the payout, and planned to take six months off.

    But then I got greedy. I decided I wanted a year off. I have four kids, I was approaching 50, and I had never had a year “off” in my entire life.

    It worked out, I succeeded in “reincarnating” myself in another profession. But I should have stuck to my original plan of six months off.

    Best of luck to you!

    PS. Now that you have more time, can we please have an update on the rentals?! We have rentals too. I’m the poster who had the very, very trashed rental several years back.

    • Sandy Smith says:

      Thanks for the kind words! I’m not taking long off, believe me. I wish that was an option.

      I do owe an update on the rentals, don’t I?! I will take care of it this week, only because you asked.

  31. Sicorra says:

    Congratulations Sandy! I think that is wonderful how you successfully engineered your own layoff on your terms. You are such a creative person. I will always remember the very first post I read on your blog titled “Make Money From Me Right Now!”. I thought, wow, this gal is very smart and innovative. Hope you enjoy your time off and get to spend time with your family too.

  32. cjb says:

    Hi Sandy!

    What a GREAT post! I’m so glad you were prepare and I’m betting there are great things to come, your just needed a little break.

    What a fantastic attitude and love your comment of being a nice color or chocolate. I just found you but you are definitly going to become one of my new reads because we all need positive and happy people to encourage us in this journey.

    Thank you for being you!
    Celeste

  33. luxuryoption says:

    What a fabulous read…and wonderful outcome!!! I’m new to your blog, having just discovered you on Budgets are Sexy. Nice to find a new friend!!

  34. Congratulations! You should be proud of your graceful exit from your job and excited for the unknown ahead of you. There’s nothing better than a fresh start, especially when it’s necessary and hard earned.

  35. Fig says:

    You are so freaking awesome. Congrats on your layoff!

  36. Buck Inspire says:

    Congrats Hannibal, I mean Sandy! Wait you’re black? Just kidding I saw your awesome talk on video. Fincon Ignite? You speak so well. Too funny! Congrats on your freedom and I know you’ll land on your feet. I just finished Sam’s book too, great stuff eh?

    • Sandy Smith says:

      Yes, that was me at FINCON. Next time will be so much better! I didn’t actually read Sam’s e-book. I read the post and did my own research from there. I’m cheap, remember?

  37. Kate Horrell says:

    Hi Sandy, welcome to the world of the unmasked! I look forward to seeing what happens next in your adventure.

  38. christie says:

    Hi: this is my first time on your site. I think it will be tempting me all day to sit down and read the whole thing!
    Did you buy your rental in a 401k roth IRA ???? Or did you take money out and pay the tax ? I’d love to figure all of that out. Apparently, the laws will be changing later this year to have a roth 401k … Later on, I would love to have a paid for house in a Roth. That could be sweet!
    ~ C

    • Sandy Smith says:

      Hello and welcome! I actually borrowed money from the 401K to buy the house. I’ve been learning more about holing property in a retirement account but I need to research tax implications and the ability to offload the house, etc. The more I learn, the more I’ll share. Continue reading!

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