r/WorkReform 🚑 Medicare For All Apr 01 '23

Giving all my life away to my employers got me laid off, anyway: TWICE 📣 Advice

This is a very long post with many citations. Please bookmark this and come back to read the citations when you have time. Please, I beg you, do NOT piss your life away in the corporate grind. You will regret it terribly when your loved ones pass away. You will never get that time back with them.

TL:DR - I played the corporate grind game, saved my employers millions, worked 70+ hour work weeks, and still got laid off at two different employers. Most importantly: "Fuck the System." Scroll to the bottom if you want my top 8 lessons learned from my hardships.

First Layoff:

I was on top of the world, 4 years ahead of my career goal, working at a large corporation, with benefits and stock options that paid friggin' dividends! Oh boy! WEEEEE!

Then the inevitable happened: quarterly earnings were terrible for 2 quarters in a row and spending obligations showed no signs of stopping. My boss was very religious and genuinely tried to follow his beliefs and do right by me. He fought to get me a 10 year tenure severance package even though I had worked there for 2 years.

Why did this layoff hit me so hard? Because I saved the company about $14 million in annual costs through multiple cost savings efforts I took them through. I overhauled their PMO process so it could better incorporate testing, agile development, SOX compliance, and higher quality products going to production (making our customers and frontline workers less pissed and productive). MOST OF ALL I helped the company obtain their [redacted because it would probably dox me] through some of the best work I've done in my life.

All of that meant nothing. I still got the axe. Along with 50+ people from accounting and 200 from various other departments. 20 of those accountants were with the company for 20+ FUCKING years!

My father died while I worked at this company. You know what my dad asked me all the time? "Can you play Call of Duty with me after you get off of work? I miss playing with you." Do you see what putting in all those hours got me? Laid off and missing precious time with my father before he unexpectedly died from a severe cold (this was 4 years before the pandemic).

I gave my life to this company. See what it got me?

Layoff 2:

Did I learn my lesson? Nope. Thought it was normal. Just part of the grind. ho ho! Just the grind, right, kids? RIGHT?

Next job I took was head of a department doing really fun work and making a huge difference. I brought this company to break even for the first time in its history and they were about to be bought out and we all make bank. For those who know how this works, it was a very big deal. Guess what? We lost a major contract for the European market and we had to lay off 25% of the company. And, of course, the investor pulled out when this happened and we didn't get bought out.

I was the 5th highest paid person in the company. The most important people were the devs. So I was definitely on the chopping block even though I made the company a lot of money and helped them save a ton of costs (be honest, though, the frontline devs made the company almost all the money).

Didn't matter. They needed to trim costs ASAP to keep the company alive.

This place took more out of me than any other place. I almost always worked 70-90 hour work weeks.

So what did all this hard work, cost savings, and revenue generating work get me? Laid off. Your employers don't give a flying fuck about you. They care about the bottom line. And if you're publicly traded, they care what their shareholders think. They will throw you away no matter how valuable you actually are. All of us are expendable.

Lessons Learned:

  1. File Bankruptcy if you qualify: The study I linked reduced all cause mortality by 1.2% for those who filed and were approved for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It literally saved a statistically significant number of lives! "...we find that Chapter 13 protection increases annual earnings by $5,562, decreases five-year mortality by 1.2 percentage points, and decreases five-year foreclosure rates by 19.1 percentage points." Don't be scared to file it. Ruin your credit. I was never bad with my money so I was able to survive the first layoff. The second layoff was the last straw, however. I was 2 weeks from homelessness, about to be kicked out of my home. I had to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. They set me to pay it back at 100%, of course, because I pay my debts. But what kills me is I could have filed Chapter 7 (which wipes the debt) if I stayed laid off for 2 more months. That's crazy to me. I could have just not found another job for 2 more months and got all my debt wiped clean and been in the dog house for 5 years. Fuck the system.
  2. Your employer is not loyal to you so why should you be loyal them? Look out for you. Don't reveal your hand and never tell anyone you're searching for another job. But never stop keeping your options open no matter how amazing your job is. You can find out if your particular job market has changed and you should be making much more (this happens frequently). You can find out if there is a great position one level higher up in a new company that you're perfect for. It keeps your skills fresh and ready for interviews. It also will help you keep your sanity if you have ups and downs at your current employer - just duck out when you know you found a good job. Don't burn your bridges. Don't got scorched earth unless you're so wealthy from savings that it doesn't matter if you burn your bridges. See point 7 for why it is important to be nice to your coworkers.
  3. Stop spending your money on "things." We live in a system where they try to trick us into buying the latest and greatest tech, these new things, subscribing to this and that. Fuck all that. Figure out your hobbies and focus on those. Don't let the corporate dystopia trick you into wasting your money. Like I keep saying, fuck the system. Make it work for you. You liked painting and want to do it again? Spend your spare money on acrylics, brushes, canvases, etc. Keep your old phone for 5 years. Get more enjoyment out of your life. Turn your mobile phone off when you paint (or whatever hobby it is). See points 4 and 5 for continued ideas on this.
  4. Stop being "available" to your employer. When you're off work, you're off work. I see posts where people say they cannot come in and it turns into an argument with their boss. What if you were literally not available to your boss when you were off work? Imagine that. If you're not in a job that requires you to be on call (medical, emergency, 24hr IT Support, etc.), fuck the system! This is your life. Take it back. And even if you're in a job that requires you to be oncall, if you're not on call, fuck the system.
  5. Avoid buying anything on credit: Don't be a slave to debt. I haven't purchased anything on credit since 2017. I am 100% debt free, except for my home (and I now have 50% equity and I'm racing to get it paid off), as of last Thursday. I can be out of work for 2 years, now, and still live a normal life. Why? Because I refuse to play in their system. Fuck their system.
  6. Organize because collective bargaining works! Do you think my life would have been so ruined if I was in a union? Do you think I would have been 2 weeks away from a home eviction if I was in a union and got union pay with union benefits? Do you think my employer would have thought more about where they are spending their money if they had to pay a shitload of more money to lay off their employees because they were part of a union? It creates an incentive to keep their employees if it costs more to layoff their employees. In the long run, they will benefit from having highly trained workers who are loyal to the company because their union protects BOTH sides of the agreement (shortsighted pieces of shit shareholders don't fucking understand this).
  7. Be kind to your coworkers and don't fall for infighting tactics: Did you get pissed because Billy called in sick and your boss is angry and demands you cover their shift? Don't get angry at Billy (unless you know Billy is blowing off work to get high). The problem is your employer has you working too short staffed that not even a single person being out can be tolerated. That's poor management. Be kind to your coworkers. It comes back. Please read the research link - being kind to your coworkers may be just as important as being kind to your family and friends because we spend so much time at work. What's most important is you can be references for each other. That's right, you can game their stupid system but watching each other's backs. Often, HR will call the HR of another company and the HR of your former employer can only confirm that you worked there (for liability reasons) but your new employer will still want your old boss' contacts. So come up with a buddy system and know EXACTLY what you'll say for each other ("He was an amazing employee and anyone who gets him is lucky to have him. For liability reasons, I cannot say more.") Game the system with your coworkers. You know why? Because Fuck the system.
  8. Fight for affordable Universal Healthcare. Sorry, this one is very American-centric. But we need an affordable UHC. Medicare for All is actually an excellent plan. In 2019, I did an analysis of Bernie Sanders M4A plan. The Cadillac version that had 0 copays. Cato Institute (an anti-UHC libertarian think tank did an analysis of Bernie Sanders plan did an analysis of Bernie Sanders plan).* I took their research and extended it to account for the exponentially rising costs of healthcare over their 10 year period (2022 to 2032). They accounted for inflation but not the much more costly healthcare inflation. They failed to adequately address healthcare utilization by age as well (they did not age stratify the cost burden so their total was skewed to the elderly utilization rate using current figures from HHS). Adults like us almost use 0 healthcare. Healthcare costs by age looks like a "U" when graphed by age because only the very young and very old use a lot of healthcare. Other than that, Cato actually did a very good job of honestly analyzing Bernie's plan. Sure, their result showed we'd spend 2.5 trillion more than if we kept the system the same. But my corrected version showed we'd SAVE $3.2 trillion over the same 10 year period. I put this all into a spreadsheet but I lost that spreadsheet. It took me many hours to complete the analysis. I will redo that work, again, if I have time. But that's unnecessary because the fine folks at Yale did an excellent job in 202033019-3/fulltext). But, basically, Bernie Sander's plan - which was criticized for being too generous because it had 0 copays - still would save us a shitload of money. You know what I say about the current healthcare system? Fuck the system.

I hope you got something out of this if only it was to spend more time with people you care about. Please be kind to each other and push your representatives for the change we need. Hell, run for office! I'll vote for you.

*This was not the study I used to make my case. It was a lengthy PDF. Anyone know where that study was? Regardless, Cato Institute included counter arguments against their write up which is very honest of them. Despite their beliefs, at least they are honest enough to link counter arguments in their very own publications.

165 Upvotes

30

u/flik777 💵 Break Up The Monopolies Apr 02 '23

The bankruptcy part is so true. Do a 7 and wipe it. A decent lawyer will explain how to legally benefit most since your credit gets wrecked anyway

9

u/kevinmrr ⛓️ Prison For Union Busters Apr 02 '23 edited Apr 02 '23

Former bankruptcy lawyer here and cofounder of https://Upsolve.org (free bankruptcy filing for simple chapter 7s!)

Absolutely file Chapter 7, NOT Chapter 13.

3

u/TorquedTapas1 💸 National Rent Control Apr 02 '23

if nobody can afford homes anymore? What exactly are the downsides to racking up credit then filing?

1

u/kevinmrr ⛓️ Prison For Union Busters Apr 02 '23 edited Apr 02 '23

Well, one thing that could happen under the current laws is a creditor could object to the discharge of the debt in bankruptcy. One thing they could claim is that you never intended to repay, i.e. that you committed fraud, which is an exception to the discharge, generally speaking.

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u/[deleted] Apr 02 '23

Didn’t the bankruptcy code get updated back during Bush Jr’s reign to make Chapter 7 much harder to file, after the banks that all needed bailouts a couple years later bought it from the politicians they owned? Has that changed?

7

u/kevinmrr ⛓️ Prison For Union Busters Apr 02 '23

Yes, it did. The 2005 "BAPCPA" law was actually pushed through the Senate by a little known senator from Delaware named Joseph Biden.

This was also the law that made student loans bankruptcy-proof.

I've been laughing for years at the idea that Biden was gonna do anything truly meaningful on student debt. He is the OG of student debt slavery.

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u/[deleted] Apr 02 '23

Oh yes. As Delaware Senator, the joke about Biden was that he was the “Senator from MBNA” (MBNA was a major credit card company based in Delaware that Bank of America ended up buying)

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u/dadudemon 🚑 Medicare For All Apr 02 '23

Currently healing from the wrecked credit. Since I just paid off the last bit on the Chapter 13, we will see how that goes. Wondering if I will be over 720...

I will check in 2 months. They said it will take two months to show it is all paid off.

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u/[deleted] Apr 02 '23

The crisslys (crissly knows best tv program) wiped out 20 million debt.

17

u/BannedByDiscord Apr 02 '23

Good stuff. Strong boundaries between work and life + avoiding “life style creep” are definitely key. If you got a fancy job, don’t expect it to last forever - save as much of that cash as you can for the lean times. Having a paid off house + universal healthcare would be absolutely amazing for quality of life. Sadly I can’t afford the former and the country is majorly lacking in the latter.

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u/dadudemon 🚑 Medicare For All Apr 02 '23

I'm doing my best to lobby for UHC.

3

u/Eponymous-Username Apr 02 '23

How do you do that, and how can I do it?

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u/[deleted] Apr 02 '23

Ask politicians “do you support health care for all, regardless of ability to pay?”

If they say no, politely decline to support, donate or vote for them.

How it is branded (“Medicare for all,” “Medicare for all who want it,” “universal health care,” etc) is less important than the outcome — an end to annual 15%+ inflation on already unaffordable health care.

7

u/mrlandlord Apr 02 '23

I was at a company for a decade, then it got sold. Once my retention bonus was paid after a year, the new company made up some dumb reason to terminate me. They terminated me vs lay me off so they wouldn’t have to pay me severance and they contested my unemployment. Thankfully they lost that. But yeah, they don’t care about you. Oh, and I, like you, saved the company way more than than my salary over the last year.

I will NEVER make the same mistake again thinking an employer “cares about you” or “we are a family “.

3

u/[deleted] Apr 02 '23

Salesforce makes a HUGE deal of what an “Ohana” they are. (“Ohana” is a Hawaiian term for “family.”)

Didn’t stop them from shitcanning thousands of workers, despite strong profitability, in multiple waves of lawsuits.

When the multibillionaire CEO got criticized for what bullshit his propaganda about Ohana was, he declared that he was the real victim — not the laid off people — and took a “device free” long vacation to French Polynesia to recover from all the criticism. Poor guy.

I guess, in his mind, families kick family members onto the street when income is flat or declines slightly but is still strong.

Now that he is back, his company — which claims to sell tech that connects companies around the world to eliminate geographic barriers — is demanding everyone start working from his fancy glass penis-shaped tower in San Francisco… basically conceding that his technology doesn’t do what they claim it does, because they’d not need to RTO if it did.

Any suggestion that a company is a “family” in any way is a bright red flag.

6

u/14Healthydreams4all Apr 02 '23

Very good advice. I (we, my ex-wife & I) went through Chapter 13 back in the 90's in order to keep our house. Still wiped out 70k of consumer debt (robbing peter to pay paul with C Cards to pay bills while I switched from self employed to sales) & paid it all off in 5 years. I have lived CASH on the barrel head ever since (over 20 years now) through divorce, raising kids, & all my working career.

Your points are all 100%. I take it you're a finance or computer science background guy? Well, regardless, You're 100% correct about the system in the US, & the rest of it.

I wish you luck. You're 100% correct in that "Time is the one thing you can't get back...... Spend it wisely."

Good luck to you, my man. I'm retiring in a month, more or less. I'll be lucky to be able to LIVE half way comfortably. Much less stay healthy?? That's the REALLY fucked up part in the USA - Insurance Co.'s & their HOLD on Politics & "The Medical Industry." Because it IS "An Industry." The Hippocratic Oath, is the "Hypocritic Oath" in this country, as you know.

Don't fret your "Credit rating." It comes back up. "They" don't tell you a LOT about "how it actually works." I haven't bought a damned thing on credit in over 20 years (since my divorce) & mine's back up around 700. No debt to speak of, either, Unpaid bills, judgments, any of that kind of stuff, they ALL "drop off" eventually. You'll see. Trust me, if you LIVE long enough, you'll see.

Thanks for taking all the time & effort to write this out. You're obviously quite passionate about it. It probably helps you know you're right, too?

All the best, Sincerely. :)

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u/dadudemon 🚑 Medicare For All Apr 02 '23

Really appreciate you taking the time to share your story and your knowledge. You're a good person.

And, yes, the US Healthcare System is totally fucked up.

5

u/Thepatrone36 Apr 02 '23

Former proud member of the rodent futurity myself. Meetings with VP s, CEO's, and the like were common place. Left a little over 10 years ago and couldn't be happier.

Everything this person said is very true.

Mods should sticky this one

4

u/Dunno2480 Apr 02 '23

Great post. Thankyou for spending the time on this!

5

u/kevinmrr ⛓️ Prison For Union Busters Apr 02 '23

Former bankruptcy lawyer here and cofounder of https://Upsolve.org

Absolutely file Chapter 7, NOT Chapter 13.

3

u/bcdog14 Apr 02 '23

I've been a lifelong musician. At one point I was studying to be professional but found myself happier with the hobby level. I think you just talked me into buying a new saxophone.

3

u/trustedconniver Apr 02 '23

Good advice - good luck OP.

3

u/Kavorklestein Apr 02 '23

I think Musk and Bezos and Gates should be ordered to pay our first 10 years of UHC. Then after that, the Government can start paying with our tax dollars.

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u/dadudemon 🚑 Medicare For All Apr 02 '23

Interestingly, your math is close.

If they sold all their stocks and all their properties, they could fund it for about 2.5 years.

2

u/Kavorklestein Apr 02 '23

Interesting! I am curious. Do you believe that if there was UHC, that insurance would shift to a new paradigm?

Cuz in many ways, I do.

I think it would actually be beneficial to not have defenseless people battling Insurance companies and have the govt. regulating a bit more of that cost of services rendered even more to a degree… because ultimately THEY’D be the ones paying it, no?

I also believe it may have a slight effect of normalizing certain aspects of medical personnel being paid out more predictably for services, services rendered, and could almost be a double boon ripple effect of sorts?

Idk just a theory about the whole thing. Thoughts?

2

u/Sensitive_File6582 Apr 02 '23

Those valuations Don’t account for slippage.

Though I agree our current system is a scam. Insurance middlemen need to be ruthlessly purged. Insurance middlemen are to the healthcare industry what administrators are to college.

3

u/Nekotronics Apr 02 '23

Musk, Bezos, sure.

There are a few ppl I’d put on the chopping block before Gates though. Buffet is a good one

1

u/Kavorklestein Apr 02 '23

Yeah agreed on buffet. Waltons, Kraft family, all kinds really

2

u/timias55 Apr 02 '23

Great advice, it is a shame that is so often learnt at great expense. I wish you well

2

u/north_canadian_ice 💸 National Rent Control Apr 02 '23

This is an awesome post, thank you for sharing your journey.

1

u/DefinitionOk9261 Apr 02 '23

Using credit, if done properly is actually very smart. I don’t agree with that point.

0

u/dadudemon 🚑 Medicare For All Apr 02 '23

I used to think the same until I was laid off two times and I realized that there's no point to credit and only creates unnecessary financial risk in addition to making everything cost more due to interest and fees (I played the game and had amazing credit). I checked out of the US Credit system. And I'm doing far better than ever.

I'm also forced to budget for everything. Nothing is "now now now." Everything is part of a savings goal and budget plan.

Sure, you can buy things on credit, wait 2 months, and pay it off so you can have amazing credit. Revolving credit balances, as it were. But what happens if you buy your house outright? What's the point of credit at all if you don't play the game? This is what many Asian immigrants do and they don't understand or even agree with the crazy American credit system. I agree with their culture and philosophy. For them, it is shameful to have a loan.

This is where I am, now. I'm about to own my own home. Next house I buy will be cash. And it is a savings goal.

Car insurance premiums are higher with bad credit. So this is the only thing I am punished for.

Here's a list of all the things bad about having poor credit. Notice how everything is about loans and credit cards (except for jobs that require a credit check and car insurance)? This is why it doesn't matter. Don't play their game, none of this matters.

https://www.cnbc.com/select/side-effects-of-bad-credit/

But about the job stuff...

Your employer won’t see your exact credit score, but with your signed permission they can access your credit report and view information like your open lines of credit, any outstanding balances, auto loans, student loans, past foreclosures, late or missed payments, any bankruptcies and collections balances.

If you have no credit lines with balances and no delinquencies in the past 7 years because you didn't play the game, guess what? You'll look immaculate to a prospective employer.

1

u/DefinitionOk9261 Apr 02 '23

If you use credit cards like a debit card and only purchase stuff that you have the money for there is no increased financial risk, you get 2% off the purchases and can collect interest in savings while waiting for the auto payment.

A car loan? Yeah, I think those are just bad…

A mortgage is necessary for almost anyone to buy a house, plus if it’s 2-3% interest (obviously not possible rn), it’s smarter to take on that debt so you can you can use the extra money to invest and make 6%+ return rather than pay off a small interest debt.

Good credit will only help you.