How My Job Layoff Transformed My Views about Money

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How My Job Layoff Transformed My Views about Money

How My Job Layoff Changed My Views

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

As my boss called me out of my office, we started walking downstairs to HR. Not many words were said (what can you say in that situation). Although he didn’t say it at the time, I knew what was happening, I knew I was being laid off. I was escorted to a conference room where the Vice President and HR representative were there to talk about what was happening. I admit it; their lips were moving but I didn’t hear a word they were saying. Come on…I was being laid off!

In 2014, I was laid off from my engineering job. I was with the firm for 8 years. Being young and naïve, I never thought that a lay off would happen to me. It was scary and surreal to think that my only source of income was done…over…FINITO! How was I going to pay my bills? When will I find another job? We were a two income family that depended on my paycheck.

It was one year before I found my next corporate engineering job. Yes, a year, and it was my choice. When the dust settled and the panic of being laid off went away, my thoughts and views about money completely changed. Not getting a paycheck was not the end of the world.

How My Job Layoff Transformed My Views about Money

Living on Less

Let me start by saying we had a fully funded emergency fund by the time I was laid off. I refused to completely deplete our savings because of this set back so I started cutting our budget. I was surprised at how much less we could live on. Before I was laid off, we dined out a lot…I mean A LOT! It was hurting our budget. Of course, I couldn’t see the hurt because we had the money, we could afford it, so why not…right?

After cutting and reducing some bills and expenses, I removed $2,800 from our budget that was unnecessary spending. $2,800!!! Even after that huge cut, we couldn’t live on my husband’s paycheck alone. We still an extra $1,100 each month to live comfortably. And by comfortably, I mean still having money for fun things like family outings, vacations, and hair appointments.

Freelancing is Real

All my life, I was taught the only way to make money was to have a job. Being laid off from my job automatically meant no money for me…right? WRONG? I started freelancing to make up the $1,100 we needed every month. I was my own boss and it was great! Technical writing and business finance consulting was my bread and butter. I formed lasting relationships with some of my past clients.

If you have been laid off and you are looking for part-time, or even full-time, income. I recommend freelancing. We were still able to take vacations and have nice date nights thanks to my freelancing.

For more about side jobs, read Side Hustles I Have Tried that Actually Make Money

Decluttering was Awesome

We all have stuff lying around the house that we don’t use anymore. If you are like me, it is probably in a closet or attic that keeps piling up. Guess what, that stuff is worth money and may be useful to someone else. So what did I do?  I sold it. Yep, got on Craigslist and Ebay and sold it. Old electronics, baby gear, and books funded our long weekend trip to Atlanta. Not only did we get a vacation, but it was nice to have my closet back J

I’m not saying sell everything. Just sell the stuff that you are not using or don’t need such as old cell phones and computer parts. You would be surprised what people will buy.

Getting laid off from my job taught me that being laid off was not the end of the world. Although the initial shock of not having a job was scary, I made it. Having an emergency fund definitely helped hold us over until my freelancing gigs picked up. Since I was not in a rush to find a job, I was able to wait for a job that was right for me and my family.

I am happy to say that I am back in the corporate world after being laid off for a year. I found an engineering job that I enjoy and I work part-time around my family’s schedule. Without going through my lay off, I would have never discovered the unnecessary spending we were doing or learn that there are other ways to make money.

What life event changed the way you view money?


  1. This was a great post! I was slowly dying inside at my job. I honestly felt like being laid off was a much-needed wake-up call. It forced me to focus on things that were important. Also, it reaffirmed my desire to invest in myself and create my own escape route. I started my own business because we all need to have more than one job these days. However, when you invest in yourself you can rest assured that it won’t be in vain.

  2. Not that your layoff was a good thing, but it was great reading that you already had an emergency fund in place and you were willing to cut back your budget and do freelance work as well. My husband’s layoff definitely changed the way he viewed money. It happened before we were married and he didn’t have an emergency fund. It happened about a tear after he finished college. So he had to move back home. His story and my own brush without having a job for a couple of months made me realize that debt isn’t something to play around with.

    • Thanks for sharing you and your husband’s story! Being debt free definitely helped during my layoff. I didn’t feel the pressure to accept a job because I needed money.

  3. Jing says:

    I think the most surprising thing about being laid off/unemployed (there have been multiple periods in my life where this has happened) was how many expenses were “needs” during employment became “wants/don’t really need/don’t even want”. Though unemployment is crazy stressful, it really shows how resourceful and capable we are at hustling — this has proved true for me every time at least 😛

  4. OMGF says:

    I was recently laid off and beyond the initial shock I have been 100% at peace with it. In fact I’m actually excited about not having a full-time job. Why? Because of that fully stocked emergency fund. I know it’s there if I need it, but I also believe in my hustle and ability to bring in income without having to be an employee. Nice to see that you were able to make such good money freelancing. It is my goal to do the same.

  5. Wonderful story, Nicole! Your story illustrates the power of having an emergency account! It was also cool to see that you were able to make money freelancing while waiting for the right opportunity to come available. Keep up the good work.

  6. This is exactly why, regardless of your plans to retire early, living on less and saving as much as you possibly can is never the wrong answer. Not everything in life is up to you, but it is up to you to decide what you do with it.

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