Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Budgeting for Layoffs?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the preparation-for-living-without-a-paycheck dept.

186

The Waxed Yak asks: "After reading the Slashdot tech worker unionization story, I started wondering: What are other IT workers doing to prepare for potential layoffs?""We're all at risk of it, be it from actual layoffs or loss of employment for other reasons. My personal approach has been to live off about 1/3rd of my earnings and bank the rest, even though that means living in a hovel and driving an older car. Worst case scenario, I get to retire early.

I recently became completely self employed, which has made it all the more important to save. I understand many Slashdot readers have families to support, so they don't have the same option for savings that I currently enjoy. As I hope to have a family to support in the near future, I would be interested in tips or techniques to prepare for this situation. Judging by the posts in the unionization thread, many of you are dependent on a steady income to provide for their families. Hopefully this thread can provide some ideas for them as well."

cancel ×

186 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Question or Comment??? (3, Funny)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15326960)

The Waxed Yak asks "When I did work for someone else, I saved 2/3rds of my pay, but since I'm now self-employed, I'd like to really brag", "what guestion do I have to come up with so I can say so on Slashdot?"

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

The Waxed Yak (548771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327364)

I'm sorry if I came off that way. I'm really just financially paranoid. When I say I live in a hovel, I mean it. While most of my colleagues have $300k+ houses, I bought a $50k house, 500sq feet. I drive a 14 year old car. I live *really* cheap, because I'm financially paranoid. I've seen enough of the "I've been laid off for 3 years" stories that I want to be prepared for such a situation. I guess my comment about saving money was meant to be my contribution to the thread, and I'm sorry if it came off as bragging. I'm just wondering if there's an alternative to self imposed deprivation.

Now that I'm self employed, I don't make any more than I did before. In fact, when you take the "self-employment tax" into account, I make less. I've traded my security in exchange for ownership in what I do. Now that my security is gone, I'm interested in what other people are doing to safeguard themselves. I'm hoping I (and others) can learn something from this thread to increase quality of living without sacrificing security.

So, if you're through with cheap jabs that are an attempt to be modded up for humor, please contribute something constructive.

Thanks, The Waxed Yak

If you're self-employed, you're not laid off. (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327427)

Now that I'm self employed, I don't make any more than I did before. In fact, when you take the "self-employment tax" into account, I make less. I've traded my security in exchange for ownership in what I do. Now that my security is gone, I'm interested in what other people are doing to safeguard themselves. I'm hoping I (and others) can learn something from this thread to increase quality of living without sacrificing security.

I'm also self-employed. You budget just as you would if you were employed by any corporation. You sock away what you can every month. So it's not a paycheck every two weeks. You still live on a monthly budget, don't you? Put away what you can above your monthly budget. Once you have a few grand in savings (not checking), look into CDs or other forms of investments. Just as you would if you were employed by someone else. You were doing that, right?

Really, I don't understand why you're asking. The parent may have been flippant, but what are you looking for? Validation of your self-employment?

Re:If you're self-employed, you're not laid off. (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328467)

If you're self-employed, you really should be looking into doing a SEP to save for retirement. The big benefit is that money you put in your SEP is pre-tax. You can usually put away quite a bit more than you can in a normal IRA. It's also a pretty simple form.

Avoid the simple-IRA, because it's not simple and the SEP is usually a better deal.

Roth IRAs are a great way to save your post-tax income for retirement since once you retire, all the returns remain untaxed.

Both of these are better than doing just CDs unless you need the money for retirement.

Re:If you're self-employed, you're not laid off. (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328625)

Roth IRAs are a great way to save your post-tax income for retirement since once you retire, all the returns remain untaxed.

For now. Who knows what the economic conditions will be like, and might require, by the time we retire.

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327539)

So, if you're through with cheap jabs that are an attempt to be modded up for humor, please contribute something constructive.
What?!? 'cheap jabs' on Slashdot, one wouldn't think of such a thing. Seriously, 2/3rd of your submission details how great you are, now, 70% of your reply does the same. Good for you, like many (but not all) Slashdotters, I'm very happy for you.

You know I've heard the stories about 3 year layoffs, frankly I've always thought "what the hell were they doing for THREE YEARS". The self-employment tax [irs.gov] is basicly your contribution into the Social Security Potsy scheme and is 'only' assesed on the first $94,000 of income. Most people like to bitch about it because it seems larger than SS, but for regular employees the company is charged the other half (any accountant with a sharp pencil knows that's a real cost). It just keeps people from skirting the regressive middle class tax, by either claiming to or actually working for themselves.

What would I do, well, live off of the layoff money (if any), then unemployment (as an employee I pay into unemployment insurance [1.5% of income I think]), while I look for work, and try to build a business while I'm at it. I have no money saved, but I do have a fair amount of credit left!. Like many here I'm a programmer, but this is my second career, I would go back to the first if I had to, but my real hope is to build out the 'billion dollar idea' which I have had for a couple of years now (I'm kinda working on it now, with a quite weekend).

While your ability to save money is really awesome, it already sounds like you live like you were laid off already. However it's most likely that I'm just really really jealous and more than a little impressed (if it's true* [*standard internet disclaimer]).

Re:Question or Comment??? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328618)

...into the Social Security Potsy scheme...

It's Ponzi scheme [wikipedia.org] . Anything concocted by the Happy Days gang came much later.

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327584)

I sympathize with your financial paranoia. I've become convinced lately that networking and being a good schmoozer are what let people keep their job in tough times -- qualities that are usually absent for a geek. You have to look out for number 1.

It's good that you have savings, but also consider diversifying your portfolio. If it's all in dollars, your might be screwed by the people in charge -- massive budget deficits, trade imbalance, outsourcing manufacturing... The dollar may not be worth as much in the near future as it is now. I would recommend looking at putting some money in other currencies as a hedge. Maybe Euros, Yen, Yuan... I'm not really an expert here, though.

You might be having the last laugh if your friends who have 300k+ houses encounter a 'market correction'. It would be a sad situation in general, but nontheless, look out for #1.

Re:Question or Comment??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328641)

You might be having the last laugh if your friends who have 300k+ houses encounter a 'market correction'.

Who cares, unless you need to turn it over quickly. (Or were one of those poor suckers that stretched themself thin with an interest-only loan, expecting to refi in a couple of years with all that equity.)

Besides, around here, the hovel is the $300K house.

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327996)

I'm sorry if I came off that way. I'm really just financially paranoid. When I say I live in a hovel, I mean it. While most of my colleagues have $300k+ houses, I bought a $50k house, 500sq feet. I drive a 14 year old car. I live *really* cheap, because I'm financially paranoid. I've seen enough of the "I've been laid off for 3 years" stories that I want to be prepared for such a situation. I guess my comment about saving money was meant to be my contribution to the thread, and I'm sorry if it came off as bragging. I'm just wondering if there's an alternative to self imposed deprivation.

To me it came off more as self-justification more than bragging: You feel some bizarre need to explain to people why you drive an old car and live in a hovel, justifying your lifestyle, while simultaneously taking a jab at those who choose to live otherwise. I've known people in real life like this, and honestly they were entirely intolerable -- if they ever found out about anything you've done (such as gone on a vacation), or anything you've bought (seeing a new TV at your house), they immediately launch into a subtle jab that it was fiscal irresponsibility. "What if..." they ask, "the entire financial market collapses, bird flu erupts, and inflation goes haywire! That television purchase could have been used in an offshore banking investment!"

That guy living in a the 300K house probably bought it when it was 200K, and can easily liquidate it at a huge price advantage, barring some sort of huge house collapse (which would be more a worry with a $900K house). Leased cars are similarly easy to offload, possibly at a small cost. I think you're a little unreasonably smug.

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328039)

I've always had it in the back of my mind that I could get hit in a layoff, so we have been *very* anal about keeping about 6-months of living expenses tucked away. I figure I could find a new job within a month or 2, so 6 months is a worst-case scenario. This is 6 normal months, not 6 months of complete shutdown (cancel everything but the car payment, house payment, and utilities bill).

I've never understood people who get laid off for 3 years... they've got to have either unrealistic salary expectations or are one of those bubble people who went from being a Wal-mart cashier in 1997 to being an "HTML programmer" with 15k pre-IPO options at some fancy web startup, and after being laid off as the market cooled to the point where monkeys were no longer being hired for programming tasks, they couldn't find another identical job. *shrug*

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329280)

I've never understood people who get laid off for 3 years...

Dude, it just happens. I graudated college in 2002, just after the tech bust and just after 9/11. I had a *LOT* of job experience already due to working through college (3 and a half years), and I did not get a *real* job until 2005. Almost all of my friends were in the same boat. I knew fully accredited teachers delivering pizza... Once a friend who tried to help me get a shitty sysadmin job at a bank -- he said there was nothing he could do when they recieved 1200 applications. Thats how bad the market was.

My point is, that if you can't imagine being unemployed for 3 years, you haven't seen some really hard times. Which I hope you never have to see, and I never have to see again.

Re:Question or Comment??? (1)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329318)

As someone whose been through some really hard times ... Id like to offer you this advice:

The best thing you can do to make yourself recession proof is to keep your skills sharp, and make yourself extremely valuable to your customers. I am a "Software Architect" and I do consulting on the side... What I *DON'T* mean doing, is being an ass and hiding source code, and trying to lock in customers and what not... What I do mean is, become the guy that the VP calls whenever theres trouble.

Yes you still need to sock money away, but the root of your problem is you don't have confidence in *YOUR* ability to provide value to an employer/customers.

Re:Question or Comment??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327707)

Personally, I'm a frugal guy like the poster and save about 2/3 of my after tax income. Living this type of lifestyle gives me a sense of independence and accomplishment. My paranoia partially came from being unemployed for 2 years, but it is very liberating not being a slave to your posessions. Maybe the chicks don't dig my '94 Camry, but I don't give a shit. At this rate, I'll be millionaire at 40 and dating hotties 15 years younger than me.

My biggest peice of advice for those of you who want to save your money... Don't get married and don't have kids until you're wealthy enough to live off of your investments, then go for it.

Me personally (3, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15326962)

Right now I'm a machine operator @ Sealy components. It's a mechanical job. Yes I'm a geek, but I like mechanics too. There's 2 things a people will always have (relative speaking, let's not nit pick here): an automobile and computer.

Also, no matter how automated a plant may get, there still needs to be a person to fix the machine when it breaks.

Okay so my point is to always have a back up plan to fall on. You have more interests, I'm sure, than just computers. Capitalize on them. Wheather it be mechanics or landscaping or whate have you.

In the last James Bond movie to feature Q: "Never let them see you bleed, and always have an escape plan."

Me personally-Maytag. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327432)

"Also, no matter how automated a plant may get, there still needs to be a person to fix the machine when it breaks. "

You wouldn't happen to be the Maytag repairman? Seriously, two things to keep in mind. One as things become more reliable, less repairmen are needed As things become more reliable, the less they break, and the more time you spend twiddling your thumbs Heaven help you if machines start fixing themselves.

"Okay so my point is to always have a back up plan to fall on. You have more interests, I'm sure, than just computers. Capitalize on them. Wheather it be mechanics or landscaping or whate have you."

Life as a drifter sounds nice. Thumbing your way across depression-era America. Wanna buy an apple?

Re:Me personally-Maytag. (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327619)

Where did I say drifter? I said it's good to have a back up plan in case something doesn't work out. That's just common sense planning.

Other fields (5, Funny)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327046)

Work on your smooth pimp game, round up a stable of hos, and watch the money roll in with a modicum of effort.

Sure, pimpin ain't easy, but that don't make it hard.

Re:Other fields (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328309)

No, no, no, it goes "pimpin' aint easy, but it's necessary" etc etc

Budget (3, Interesting)

daeg (828071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327077)

I'm in a two-income no-kids (DINK) situation. I'm still paying off student loans. We live very comfortably but I have a strict 20% to retirement rule. For the past two years (roughly) we've been putting 30% into general savings. We could reduce it easily since we both work in very steady industries (him: high rate commercial insurance, me: television station). It is nice to know that just on the general 30% savings one of us can be without work for years and we'd never have to tap retirement. BTW - I'm 22, He's 30. Still a long time until retirement and our health care costs are quite low.

However, as such, that money is invested quite aggressively. I make stock purchases that tend to be risky. Of course, it has paid off even in the short run, with the 30% savings pushing near 45% annual gain (not including additional cash put in).

I'd rather live modestly for a long period of time than live well and spend a lot only to lose a job and have to risk moving back to a frugal lifestyle.

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327462)

quit your job, if your making consistent 45% annual returns then your in the wrong biz. Even the best traders would kill for that. Either youve been very lucky or your full of shit.

Re:Budget (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327495)

Very lucky is all. I tend to invest in generally low price stock (not penny stocks). One company I remember in particular nearly tripled in value in less than a day when they announced they were getting bought out (a small mining corp of all things). I've also lost a lot (relative) on a few things. I don't think my "strategy" would be viable on a large scale, otherwise I would probably try it at least for a while. I also got in relatively fairly early on the Google thing and sold high.

Besides, I enjoy my job.

Re:Budget (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327568)

I was going to ask for tips too, seeing as investing in the stock market seems to be the only way not to be a "low income" worker these days, unless you're born rich.

What means do you use to trade stocks, something online I take it?

Re:Budget (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327633)

I'd rather live modestly for a long period of time than live well and spend a lot only to lose a job and have to risk moving back to a frugal lifestyle.

This has been my approach, pretty much my whole life. Even though my family had a pretty good income when I was growing up, my parents both grew up as WWII-era working-class kids with stereotypically frugal Dutch parents. So they taught me not just to live within my means, but within within my means.

At times I've made pretty good money myself, but I've never let increasing incomes entice me to spend (much) more; instead I save more or invest more. I've only borrowed money when I absolutely had to for cash-flow reasons, with a plan in place to pay it off in X months: I did it for the first car I bought, and for my last year of college... that's it. (I should have made an exception for buying a house; even though I've had good reasons for putting that off, renting for 20 years has been my biggest financial misstep. But for any purpose other than college or a house, long-term debt is just plain stupid.)

Understand that I'm not talking about living in self-imposed poverty. In fact, because I've always had money in the bank, I've been able to buy new cars a couple of times... for cash. Not status cars, just good value cars (e.g. Honda Civic). Same with my apartment: nothing fancy, but I like it. To hell with cable; network TV offers several hours of decent entertainment per week, for free. Cooking is way cheaper than restaurants or even fast food. A five-dollar bottle of wine gets you just as drunk as the "good" stuff. To say nothing of how far FOSS and used gear stretches one's data-processing budget.

The end result of this kind of "keep it simple stupid" living is that when I've found myself out of work (twice, for a total of a year), all it took to adjust to living on unemployment benefits or savings was to put my occasional self-indulgent purchases on hold. "Sorry, but that antique three-year-old computer is going to have to last you another year or two, and you'll have to rent the LOTR Trilogy Extended Edition for a weekend rather than buy it." No biggie.

Live simply, and living is simple.

Re:Budget (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328038)

I'm in a two-income no-kids (DINK) situation. I'm still paying off student loans. We live very comfortably but I have a strict 20% to retirement rule. For the past two years (roughly) we've been putting 30% into general savings.

However, as such, that money is invested quite aggressively. I make stock purchases that tend to be risky. Of course, it has paid off even in the short run, with the 30% savings pushing near 45% annual gain (not including additional cash put in).

In other words, you are fooling yourself by mixing terms - because you have 30% of your income invested, not saved.
It is nice to know that just on the general 30% savings one of us can be without work for years and we'd never have to tap retirement.
Only if you continue to be lucky and have your investments turn out so well. Am unlucky streak could leave your investments valueless and find you without savings. If one of you loses your job at that point - whoops! Tapping into retirment becomes your first option rather than your last.

As an aside; I find this confusion between investments and savings common among youngsters lacking financial education.

Re:Budget (1)

LukeCrawford (918758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328141)

are you arguing that an investment in dollars is safe?

Re:Budget (4, Informative)

Money for Nothin' (754763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328170)

Actually, there is a very good reason why investment and savings are considered to be the same thing: it's because they basically *are* the same.

Look into how a bank makes loans, and what it does with your money when you "save" it with them. They don't keep it locked in a vault for you, like money under a mattress; they loan it back out to people, and pay you out of their fractional reserves when you come calling.

In essence (and I'm glossing over a lot of my Monetary Policy class in college), the bank is making an investment on your behalf. They charge a higher interest rate to the loan recipient than they pay you to keep your money "saved" with them -- this is how banks make a profit.

I mentioned being paid out of the bank's fractional reserve. Because the bank has loaned-out money to people (businesses and individuals), it doesn't have everybody's money at the bank -- it's out being spent by somebody else who thinks they can turn a profit and pay back the bank with the money they make. What happens if everybody goes to the bank and demands their money back, and the bank doesn't have enough available -- i.e., what happens if you see a bank run? Your bank borrows what they need from other banks. Worst-case scenario, they go to the "bank of last resort", a.k.a. a Federal Reserve bank. The Fed waves a magic wand (seriously, it is not transparent enough for anybody besides the Fed to know precisely what they are doing), buys/sells bonds through "open-market operations", and as necessary, creates new money -- which causes inflation. In essence, if the Fed can't handle a bank run (the last time this happened was just prior to the Great Depression, and in fact, is considered by most economists now to be the reason the Depression was as bad as it was), we're all hosed. That said, since the Depression, it has handled some monstrous ones (including Russia's failure to repay its bond commitments, which led to the decline of the Ruble, causing the collapse of some big-name financial firms like Long-Term Capital Management [wikipedia.org] ). (OK, I'm not glossing-over as much Monetary Policy as I thought I would...)

Here's a dirty little secret about the FDIC, which insures the money you "save" at the bank: the FDIC only insures about 1-2% of the nation's fractional reserves. Hence, no matter how you slice it, If another Depression-style bank run occurs, we are all fucked.

In truth, savings and investment are considered more-or-less the same thing by economists today, because in the end, they *are* the same thing.

Yours,

A youngster who "saves" in mutual funds... (and in a high-rate savings account, and only what is necessary for paying bills from a checking account. Most of my savings are in my 401k for retirement though...)

Re:Budget (1)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328474)

Here's a dirty little secret about the FDIC, which insures the money you "save" at the bank: the FDIC only insures about 1-2% of the nation's fractional reserves. Hence, no matter how you slice it, If another Depression-style bank run occurs, we are all fucked.

In truth, savings and investment are considered more-or-less the same thing by economists today, because in the end, they *are* the same thing.

Point taken, but there's still a difference between savings and investments; with investments, you can lose your shirt even during the good times if you pick the wrong stocks or the wrong combination of stocks.

Of course, the correct blend of savings/investment/retirement fund will depend on the risk profile of the person whose money it is...

Re:Budget (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329192)

you can lose your shirt even during the good times if you pick the wrong stocks or the wrong combination of stocks.

That's the whole point of diversity. Losing everything in a diverse portfolio without major economic trouble is extremely unlikely. (It boils down to the law of large numbers)

Re:Budget (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328761)

Actually, there is a very good reason why investment and savings are considered to be the same thing: it's because they basically *are* the same.
No, no financial professional considers them to be the same. (The slicker elements of the of the financial profession like to blur the line - because they make commissions off of investment churn, and none off of savings.) The risk v. reward ratio is, to put it mildly, extraordinarily different. (Not to mention tax issues.)
In essence (and I'm glossing over a lot of my Monetary Policy class in college), the bank is making an investment on your behalf. They charge a higher interest rate to the loan recipient than they pay you to keep your money "saved" with them -- this is how banks make a profit.
In essence, there is no functional difference between a bottle rocket and a Minuteman III at that level of generalization. In reality, they make investments (on the behalf of the account owner) - and pay a fixed and predictable sum on a liquid balance. (The return on investments on the other hand is unpredictable, and may even be negative, and liquidity is a variable.) Functionally, there are multiple difference between investments and savings - and you cannot ignore those differences in your financial planning.
In truth, savings and investment are considered more-or-less the same thing by economists today, because in the end, they *are* the same thing.
From they ivory tower point of view - I imagine that's true. From here outside the walls of the tower, it simply isn't.

Re:Budget (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329186)

The return on investments on the other hand is unpredictable, and may even be negative, and liquidity is a variable.

If you invest in equity, sure. There are fixed rate investments, like bonds - they have a very predicate return. There is a risk of default, but that's just equivilent to the risk of your bank not having enough money to give you yours back (the risk is higher, certainly, but that's true throughout the spectrum of investments - higher return requires higher risk).

A savings account is just a low-risk investment.

Re:Budget (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329574)

Banks take your money, loan it out at 8% or 9%, then use the profits to pay you 1-2% interest on that money.

I think it's a misnomer to say that the banks are making loans on your behalf. :)

Re:Budget (1)

Money for Nothin' (754763) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329863)

Heh, well, given their yields (loan interest rate - savings interest rate) they employ, I suppose that's a fair point. :-)

Re:Budget (1)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329546)

You, sir, are sounding very much clueless. But to give you the benefit of the doubt, please categorize the following financial vehicles as "savings" or "investments", and explain why.

* Stock market
* Mutual funds
* Treasury bonds
* Fifty shares of GOOG
* Fifty shares of SCO
* Bank account
* CD
* Real Estate
* Blackjack
* Under the mattress/buried in the backyard
* Paying down debt
* Gold/Silver/Yttrium

As of now, you've done nothing to clarify the distinction between savings and investments, except to imply that any money you invest may as well be flushed down the toilet, from a financial planning perspective.

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328668)

I'd rather live modestly for a long period of time than live well and spend a lot only to lose a job and have to risk moving back to a frugal lifestyle.

Then again you may get run over by a bus tomorrow. You should always live well (enough), because any day may be your last.

two-income no-kids (DINK) situation

And that would be "dual-income..."

Re:Budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15329719)

3.5 years ago, my girlfriend and I were laid off from a call center, it was moved overseas (she was billing, I was dba) and it's been rough ever since. Her health has always been poor and has taken a turn for the worse, she's currently filing for disability so we're living off my salaray plus some help from her mother.

I worked stock in a supermarket for a year until I landed my current job, operations at a transcription company. Pay is good, better than the call center but now we're being bought by an overseas company and I suspect my job will be on the chopping block again.

I took a hint from PJ at http://groklaw.org/ [groklaw.org] and took online paralegal classes. Will have to downgrade my income while I build up some experience in a new field (after 20 years in computers) but it will give me more options.

the best thing you can do right now. (2, Interesting)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327078)

is figure out how you can live with 50% of your income and 50% of the resources available to you.

Hide your money (1)

slindseyusa (942823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327494)

"As I hope to have a family to support in the near future, I would be interested in tips or techniques to prepare for this situation." Seriously, hide some of the money you saved and don't let your wife know how much you make. They always want more. They will suck you dry (and not in the good way that makes you smile).

Give up (2, Interesting)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327101)

What are other IT workers doing to prepare for potential layoffs?

W-4 employment, along with nearly all IT "skills" is obsolete. Companies and the people who manage them no longer have the huevos to employ people. They would much rather shirk their responsibilities to the communities they insist on shoving their products at. They want it all for free. They want free access to free markets with free labor and free equipment, free buildings, free services and free use of all the infrastructure necessary for them to stuff their own pockets at everyone else's expense. Oh, and if you're about to reply "taxes," save it. Businesses pay no taxes other than sales, which is actually paid by the customers.

When asked, they will screech "free markets" and "capitalism" and "being competitive in the global marketplace" which are all euphemisms for "ram tall dollars into my pockets and fuck everyone else." "Sell the seed corn," they say. "We don't need the farm after I'm done shoving cash into my pockets." Of course all the people who depend on that farm so they can eat? Well, fuck them. They should go retrain so the next asscrack lying piece of shit can have a chance to fire them.

We, as a society, allow corporations the LUXURY and PRIVILEGE of being able to operate as corporations in exchange for certain benefits to society, among them the creation of JOBS and CAREERS and the availability of products and services. Business, naturally, is trying to fuck society by keeping the quo and not exchanging the quid, precisely the same way they are unfairly refusing to honor the original deal in the copyright laws. The reason is because they want everything for free.

Business wants free labor. If they can't have that they want slaves. If they can't have that they'll just fire everyone and close the store/factory/whatever. Profits are more important than not fucking over their neighbors and customers. When people question their hiring decisions they screech "marketable skills" without ever actually explaining what those are. Yet another scam and another lie from a bunch of rat fuck lying cheat phone-flipping asscracks.

Best way to prepare for a layoff is not to buy into the scam of W-4 employment. It's a fucking scam.

Psst (1)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327238)

W-4 is the withholding form. "W-2 employment" is probably what you're looking for there. :)

Re:Give up (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327264)

Wow, you must had a bad experience somewhere (maybe a few somewheres).

Sorry to hear things didn't work out for you the way you wanted. Still, the hyperbole is a little over the top in your post. What you said applies to a lot of places, but not all by far. That's the free market at work, you know. Employees generally get a choice where to be employed (unless they're useless, of course.)

I'm kind of assuming you'd rather have the government mandate some form of working conditions that are acceptable to you, so you could just sort of slide into a place and be comfortable. Am I far off base?

Re:Give up (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327613)

Sadly, the GP's set of experiences and opinions is hardly unique.

I myself have been employed at several places where if they could have chained me to the desk, they would have. The only reason that they didn't is because those pesky laws regarding wage and working conditions kept them from doing it.

The US isn't run by the federal government. It's run by the people who get the government elected.

Re:Give up (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327748)

I certainly agree that the experience isn't unique. I won't work for large corporations because of the terrible experiences I've had. What I came to realize is that I need to stay a little closer to the entrepreneurial spirit that keeps this country running, stick with smaller companies, and try to keep myself as independent as possible.

The US isn't run by the federal government. It's run by the people who get the government elected.

Considering the small parts of the government I've experienced as a contractor, I think a strong case could be made to say no one is running things at all.

Re:Give up (1)

mobiGeek (201274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328059)

I myself have been employed at several places where if they could have chained me to the desk, they would have.
...yet you continue to work there?

Land of the free??

Re:Give up (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328930)

I myself have been employed at several places

yet you continue to work there?

From his use of the perfect tense (indicates a completed action in the past), I'd conclude that no, he doesn't.

Re:Give up (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327955)

Still, the hyperbole is a little over the top in your post.

It's reality. I had one boss that wasn't a fucking liar. One.

Employees generally get a choice where to be employed

Sure, and since they'll be fired every six months, they'll get to exercise that choice over and over again.

so you could just sort of slide into a place and be comfortable

Yeah, I'd like to just "slide" into a place with a pile of qualifications that would blot out the sun. Sure. Anyone who wants more than a temp job wants to "slide" into a place and be "comfortable." Comfort defined as the ability to make consecutive electric bill payments on time. For some reason people think it's good for a person to lose their job every six months. It's good for people to live in constant financial stress. That's the free fucking market, right?

Re:Give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327674)

> along with nearly all IT "skills" is obsolete

Huh???

Ok, if you're some "MCSE" or "web programmer", maybe.

But "all IT skills obsolete".... come on, be real. There's HUGE demand for good programmers these days. If you have more than a trade-skill level knowledge, if you know ring-0 from your ass, if you know how stuff works at a nuts and bolts level, there is plenty of work out there. The problem I see is that 95%+ of the people who *think* they know how things work at a nuts and bolts level, really have no clue when you get right down to it. They learned Java or Perl and a little Win32 and think they're god's gift to the industry.

Yes, those people might be hurting these days.

But I'd say there's more demand now than when I got into the industry in the late 70's. I had an easier time finding a job when my last company shut down ~6 months ago than I ever did before.

Re:Give up (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327936)

There's HUGE demand for good programmers these days.

As long as they're willing to work for shit in a perma-temp job with no benefits, sure.

Buy a home on those jobs? Not a chance. Be in Chapter 11 so fast it would make your head spin. Used to be able to raise a family on just about any full-time job. Now you're lucky to keep a job a year, if that, and then it's back to the want ads for another entry-level no benefits steerage-class slave assignment at temp wages working for some motherfucking rat asscrack lying cheat hairpiece phone-flipping mouth-fulla-bullshit salad-bar ordering upfuck crotch-sucking asshole.

If you have more than a trade-skill level knowledge

I knew eight programming languages. Couldn't rent a job with a coupon. Businesses never explain exactly what skills they want, because if they did, it would prove they were fucking liars.

Re:Give up (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328258)

There are plenty of very good jobs with benefits, etc. You just have to choose the right companies. Pick a company that has been around for at least 10 years. Start-ups are nice, but they are not particularly stable. Pick a company whose products you use. Pick a company that is public and whose stock has done reasonably well over the last two or three years. Anything that meets these criteria should be at least a decent job.

A little secret for you: the HR department's primary purpose is to weed out anybody who doesn't really want to work at the company. If you want a job, see if you can find out who the hiring manager is and drop that person a note directly. If they won't tell you, find a way to meet someone who works at the company you want to work for. They will be able to find out who the hiring manager is. Email that person.

Once you have successfully circumvented the great HR firewall, getting jobs is easy. As long as you just deal with job web sites and stuff like that, you're pretty much guaranteed to remain unemployed. Well, not quite, but pretty close....

Oh, and one last thing: job advertisements always dramatically exaggerate the required skills. They claim to be "minimum" skills required, but in most cases are actually an ideal set of skills, many of which are just "nice to have" skills, many of which are unlikely to ever exist in the combination listed, and many of which are complete fabrications by HR staffers who don't really understand the position.

Don't be turned off by jobs just because you don't meet the listed qualifications. If you think the job is well within your skill set, it probably is. Apply anyway... but again, not through HR, since they will just pick resumés using keyword searches and yours won't match the keywords. Don't waste a single minute dealing with HR, and if a hiring manager insists that you should go through HR, find a different company. Seriously.

Re:Give up (1)

rhendershot (46429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329170)

>>If you think the job is well within your skill set, it probably is

If you *think* it is, it probably is not.

The *last* thing a job seeker should do is send an uninvited correspondance to a middle manager. Getting someone on the inside to speak for you or to break the ice is one thing. As a hiring supervisor, I'd toss anything that didn't match up to a public job posting or referral or came from our internal email system as a current employee. And if it was a phone call? I'd forward to HR with barely a comment.

My job descriptions generally *understated* the required skills. My boss's and my philosophy was that drive and ingenuity more than made up for specific experiences . Some skills were absolute and they were portrayed as such.

I hardly know what to say about your concept of HR. They have the resources to answer phones, verify initial matches, check references, etc. They do a lot more than notice someone who is uncertain. Most job seekers are uncertain. For their part they have to know some detail before they can imagine life at your company. That's natural. To extend your metaphor; you know how we treat unauthorized invasions across our firewalls, right? ;)

Re:Give up (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329424)

There are plenty of very good jobs with benefits, etc. You just have to choose the right companies.

There are plenty of lottery jackpots. You just have to pick the right numbers. People keep saying "there are plenty of good jobs." But it's bullshit. Sorry.

Anything that meets these criteria should be at least a decent job.

For six months. Then it's a layoff.

A little secret for you: the HR department's primary purpose is to weed out anybody who doesn't really want to work at the company.

No. An HR department's primary purpose is to weed out anybody.

Once you have successfully circumvented the great HR firewall, getting jobs is easy.

Amazing we managed to build an economy without HR departments for 170 years, isn't it?

Oh, and one last thing: job advertisements always dramatically exaggerate the required skills.

No shit? You mean they are motherfucking liars? Never would have guessed.

Re:Give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328259)

> long as they're willing to work for shit in a perma-temp job with no benefits, sure.

I don't know what reality you are inhabiting, but nobody I know is in that position. They seem perfectly able to buy nice houses, good cars, etc. Getting filthy rich? Nope. But certainly a perfectly comfortable life.

Of course, they are good at what they do.

> I knew eight programming languages.

The worth of an engineer is not measured by the number of languages known. Some of the best engineers I've worked with over the years were really just on top of *one*. Heck, not sure I'd claim much more than 1 at the moment either - two tops, the rest too rusty to count. But somehow it's always been perfectly OK.

What matters is whether you are useful. If you're not, well, naturely you'll find your opportunities on the meager side. If you are, nobody cares what or how many languages you know. Those are just tools, and it's assumed you'll learn them as required.

The good news is that there are like a zillion things to get good at. It might be being an expert at computational fluid dynamics, or coming up with new ways to model electromigration, or being an expert at creating new compiler optimizations. There are probably many thousands of others. The point is, nobody is going to offer you a job because you "know 8 languages".

Trust me on this. I've never claimed more than about 2 or 3 languages on a resume, and have always made it clear I'm just an expert at one, but don't seem to have the troubles you allude to. What matters is that I am very good at a particular useful thing. Knowing a language is not, in and of itself, useful. It's a means, not an end.

> want ads for another entry-level no benefits steerage-class slave assignment at temp wages working for some motherfucking rat asscrack lying cheat hairpiece phone-flipping mouth-fulla-bullshit salad-bar ordering upfuck crotch-sucking asshole.

You know, I'm beginning to see why you are in the position you claim to be in.

I don't think it's a problem with the industry.

But hey, don't listen to someone like me who might try to offer advice from his own experience. Better just to bitch - that's sure to work. I seem able to find perfectly good jobs and I'm trying to offer useful advice. It's totally up to you whether to listen to it. Being good at ranting is not going to get you a tech job.

Re:Give up (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329485)

I don't know what reality you are inhabiting, but nobody I know is in that position.

Must be nice living in a perfect world.

They seem perfectly able to buy nice houses, good cars, etc.

By stealing opportunity from other people, firing them, taking away their benefits, paying slaves to make products sold at 500,000% markups. Sure.

Of course, they are good at what they do.

So am I. In fact, I'm better at what I do than they are at what they do. I'm also smarter than they are. Managers hate confident people, because confident people don't put up with being lied to and fucked over. So the confident people don't get hired. Simple. Right?

The worth of an engineer is not measured by the number of languages known.

Of course not. See, this is the easiest (and most dishonest) way to disqualify someone. Simply move the bar. If they know X, then Y is the qualification. If they know Y, then X and Z are the qualifications. Therefore, no matter what you know, you're not qualified, and they can ship the job to a $4 a day temp somewhere and spend the difference on "nice houses, good cars, etc." and "certainly a perfectly comfortable life."

The point is, nobody is going to offer you a job because you "know 8 languages".

Good. I didn't ask for one.

You know, I'm beginning to see why you are in the position you claim to be in.

Oh good, so you've worked for motherfucking liars too?

I don't think it's a problem with the industry.

Sure it is. It's a problem with all business. Business is about "stuff my pockets and fuck everyone else" now.

Being good at ranting is not going to get you a tech job.

I didn't ask for a tech job. I gave up on tech jobs a LONG time ago, not long after being laid off by, you guessed it, a motherfucking liar.

Re:Give up (1)

karmatic (776420) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328291)

This is probably going to come off as "flippant" to you, but I'm genuinely curious. I'm a programmer as well, with a number of languages. I did the 80-100 hour (no overtime, of course) wage slave number, and finally quit because it was intolerable. Man can not live on Powerade and Hot Pockets alone (I tried).

If you know 8 languages (presumably fairly well, that's about the number I'm at, depending on how you count the C derivitives), why don't you go into business for yourself. I realize it's the new mantra for why crappy work conditions are OK ("... but you could start a company..."), but in all seriousness, why not?

I finally sat down and realized a number of things. First off, what I really do is solve problems with computers. The language sometimes matters when interoperating with other people's code, but for the most type it's the solution that's important. Two, for every problem I solve, someone else has the same (or a very similar) problem. Three, software (and other IP) is the one industry where the cost of production beyond the first unit is effectivly _zero_. So, given that everyone has problems, there is a large opportunity available to someone who can solve problems (as opposed to the aforemention rat lying cheat salad-bar orderer, who just hires developers to do it for him).

Write the software once, for a client. Do it at a decent discount, in exchange for retaining ownership of the code. When you are producing "solutions", rather than "products", the companies are a lot more willing to do so (at least in my experience). They'd rather save the money. Sell it again, and again. Every new job you do increases the number of products you have to sell (and gives you flexibility to combine projects for even more functionality).

Now the downside to this is that you are, in fact, competing with some guys from third-world nations, who will work for very cheap rates. You can't beat them on price, and you wouldn't want to, at least not on the first sale. So, to compete, you will need to offer something that they can't, or won't. After you sell the first copy of a project, you can cut prices to below the cost of production. If the indians haven't already made one of whatever it is, they can't beat you on price.

I know this works, because it's what I do. I earn American level wages, despite very heavy competition from overseas and my peers. I offer what they can't - personal service, a sales department (me) that speaks English, an extensive code library. I usually have a functional demo of whatever it is they are looking for. This is easy to do; I found out people who need my products beforehand, and I approach them. My products also often include features (Search Engine Manipulation, intrusion detection, very effective caching with good scalability) that the Indians simply can't provide.

In other words, I provide the product my customers need, from an American, better, faster, and cheaper than people in third world companiess can (unless they too wrote whatever it is I'm selling). It's not a hard sale to make. I've carved out my niche (search engine manipulation, cloaking, crawling sites that don't want to be crawled, etc.), and it does well. If it dries up, people will still have problems. I can adapt.

So, the questions I have are:
1) If you can program well, why don't you choose to work for yourself? Uninsurable (too fat/diabetes)? Too much risk (as opposed to a job you get fired from in 6 months anyway)? Couldn't manage to sell $0.50 gas to a Hummer owner?

2) If you do feel it necessary to work for someone else, why don't you diversify your skillset (I never had a shortage of job offers as a Unix Admin who could program, even if the jobs were long hours. The pay was decent, too.), or move. For a "HTML Programmer", there aren't too many jobs since the bust, but for a competant person, there are plenty of jobs, at least where I live. Somehow, I doubt that Mesa, Arizona is the only place in the country where a competant programmer can find work.

Re:Give up (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329442)

why don't you go into business for yourself.

Now there's an idea!

If you do feel it necessary to work for someone else, why don't you diversify your skillset

"Diversify your skillset" is a scam designed to distract people from the fact they are being fucked out of their careers.

Re:Give up (1)

EllF (205050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328392)

Good on you for knowing so many programming languages. Work on your attitude a bit, and perhaps someone will want to hire you. I turn down about a dozen candidates a month -- and rarely is it for lack of technical skill. Most of the folks who interview with me mumble, stutter, and babble their way into another interview with another company. Technical prowess is fine, but give me a motivated, intelligent, personable candidate any day. I'm not concerned about your lack of PHP knowledge if you can learn, want to work, and have a good enough attitude that I feel that spending 10 hours a day near you will be a mututally enjoyable situation.

Re:Give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328711)

spending 10 hours a day near you

If we're talking 2-hour lunches every day, why do I have to spend that time as well with you? If we're not, you couldn't afford me.

Re:Give up (1)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329453)

Work on your attitude a bit, and perhaps someone will want to hire you.

Typical middle management attitude: suck my ass and I might listen to you.

Most of the folks who interview with me mumble, stutter, and babble their way into another interview with another company.

Because if someone has a speech impediment they should go hungry. What, do they think they are entitled to a job or something? I mean really! Who the fuck do they think they are!?

Technical prowess is fine, but give me a motivated, intelligent, personable candidate any day.

How about someone who is smarter than you?

Re:Give up (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327767)

have the huevos to employ people.

The eggs to employ people??

Re:Give up (1)

FigWig (10981) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327995)

Yes [wiktionary.org]

Re:Give up (1)

samdu (114873) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328142)

"We, as a society, allow corporations the LUXURY and PRIVILEGE of being able to operate as corporations in exchange for certain benefits to society, among them the creation of JOBS and CAREERS and the availability of products and services. Business, naturally, is trying to fuck society by keeping the quo and not exchanging the quid, precisely the same way they are unfairly refusing to honor the original deal in the copyright laws. The reason is because they want everything for free."

We also tax the baJEEZUS out of them and don't allow them a vote. Corporations, besides being a necessary "evil" are made up of people. They're not nameless, faceless entities. And they get screwed almost, if not more, than they end up screwing. Until you've run your own business, you don't have a frame of reference to make comment on the situation.

Re:Give up (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328602)

In the US, corporations have effectively become tax shelters that allow the owners to pay much less in taxes than the average lower- or middle-class person. I remember very well the taxes portion of my high school economics class, which, using the data straight from the US Gov't, showed a continual decline in the tax revenue from corporations and the upper class.

Also, I do not see how an entity made of paper and ink should be allowed a vote in any government.

Re:Give up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15329438)

You're right, corporations can't vote as citizens can do. Why vote when you have campaign contributions, PACs, industry associations, and lobbyists to push your interests in the halls of government? I suggest you set aside the Ayn Rand blinders and take a wider view of the world.

That's hardly off topic (2, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329545)

Who gave the Libertarians all the MOD points?

Hell, I've got mucho karma, so I can afford to tell it like it is. :)

The whole reason people have to save up so much money is exactly because of what cubicledrone said.

And to the idiot who said all cubicledrone wants is a Government guaranteed job, that's horse shit. I'm a Reagan Republican, I believe a man should work not live on welfare. You Johnny come lately laissez-faire rabid dogs that call yourselves Republicans today, want to snatch every job known to man away from the hard working AMERICANS who made this world great and whose fathers fought and died to keep the free market alive in the face of the Communist threat.

The evil empire after WW-II was communism. Now the evil empire is rampant corporatism that has fraudulently masked itself as 'capitalism'. It's nothing more than robber baronism and the world owes me profits but I don't owe anyone anything-ism.

I'm sick and tired of you irresponsible "greed is good, social responsibility is communism" anti social hermits living nice and safe and comfortable in your mommy's basement posting these bogus Slashdot armchair cowboy stories about how you save 2/3 of your income to prepare for layoffs. That's hog wash and most of us readers know it.

What some readers do not know is if most of us saved the way the author of this story saves, there is an economic consequence to this that is very well demonstrated in economics and is a mathematical certainty. Saving a huge portion of your money means, typically, you're putting it in a bank. That means you're not buying anything. That means businesses are making less money because of lower sales. Your bank is investing that money overseas, no longer investing in the US, but even if they were investing in a US company, you aren't buying anything from that company so their sales are going down. When millions of Americans are saving for a rainy day, that means the company inevitably feels the loss in sales tangibly, and that means they will start closing stores and laying off. That is a mathematical certainty in economics. Again, what bank is going to take your savings and invest in them when their market is shrinking and consumers are saving and not buying?

Such large numbers of people saving for a rainy day will create a mathematically certain problem - businesses will close due to depressed consumer spending. (Consumer spending is over 60% of the economy's vitality, folks.)

This is not exactly like people stuffing money into their mattresses in the Great Depression, but the effect will still be the same: consumers save like mad, businesses close due to the inevitable collapse in spending, more jobs are lost, more people stop spending, and a death spiral occurs. A depression is then very hard to avoid.

What America needs is a lot of increased savings, but what we REALLY need the most is to grow our way out of this mess. We need more jobs, and higher paying jobs, and more stable job security for people with children to look after. No, you free market drones living in your mommy's basement, chasing the moving cheese is NOT good for a person with a family. It results in kids having to move away from their friends, and a gypsy lifestyle that no street grunt or child psychologist alike will ever say is a good thing. You may think job security is evil but that just tells me you do not have children whose constantly changing needs forces you to need a job that is always there so you can concentrate on being a good parent and not have to go to your do-it-yourself 'extreme skills upgrade 101' class every night. Ever wonder why all those punk assed rich kids out there are doing drugs and getting themselves into trouble (often at the expense of others)? It's because of their absent parents that are living the dream world you anti job stability people envision: working constantly and paying more attention to their job competitiveness than to their kids. Go ahead and argue with me about it - I just hope you don't run into one of these people's neglected brats and learn the hard way what I'm telling you now.

we IT workers are the most advantageous (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327109)

when it comes to layoffs.

Especially programmers, designers, web developers, or any information technology service or counseling / technical support, anything that can be performed remote :

We have the internet.

When you get laid off, even in the u.s., you have the chance to put your resume & experience in a post titled 'experienced ..... looking for work/taking on projects' and shortly you get many inquiries.

Sure wages are not that high, comparable to when you work full time on-site.

But then again, a hourly $15 should be enough thinking you are working from home ? or from a remote site on vacation - hell, practically anywhere in the world.

Our professions are the most suitable for the internet - no surprise, as we are the ones that built it.

That might not seem enough, a mere $15, however there is no limit as to how many projects you can take on or at the same time how many hourly paid jobs you can manage - handle 3 simultaneous work, get $45 in total - no contractor will object to you as long as you handle their work fittingly. That is something you cant do while working on-site : work on someone elses stuff for an hour, get busted, youre in trouble.

I understand that many have families and people to support, and quite a many have become accustomed to rather high living standards.

So what ? if we lower our standards a bit in such times, we can work anywhere, anytime.

And note that, not having a profession that is required to be registered, unionized, guildized etc nowhere in the world, makes us capable of working ANYWHERE.

Too high taxes in u.s. ? Move to some other country where you are allowed to live in, just start working there. Its that simple.

On top of that, many countries will be pleased to have more it workers.

Unionization, regulation and etc are not to our advantage, but to our disadvantage. Keep in mind that organisations always fail to represent the masses they set out to represent - because only the rich, powerful & influential enough can spare enough resources to get on the helm of any of them. Then the result leads to manipulation and molding of the related masses to some other power's interest, and that generally becomes the industry bosses.

So far so good, were not mine workers, we can easily find ways to sustain ourselves, heck, even prosper (we are always free to use our skills to set up our own job, and we can do it with minimum capital) whenever we get laid off.

Maybe we are not that safe always, but, for the first time in the world history maybe, we have more freedom than any profession member had on the face of the world.

Re:we IT workers are the most advantageous (1)

LanimilbusLE (793833) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328217)

Our professions are the most suitable for the internet - no surprise, as we are the ones that built it.
claims_of_creating_the_net++;

Re:we IT workers are the most advantageous (4, Insightful)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328585)

Unionization, regulation and etc are not to our advantage, but to our disadvantage.

A quick look at the history of the 20th century as compared to the the rest of human history would instantaneously prove you wrong. The 20th century saw the most regulation and unionisation in human history. It also saw the greatest period of social and technological growth the human race has ever seen.

Too high taxes in u.s. ? Move to some other country where you are allowed to live in, just start working there. Its that simple.

That may be possible for a multi-lingual 25 year old with no family or friends. How about the other 99% of the population? I've lived in 3 other countries apart from the UK and I'm telling you right now, it's not "simple" at all, and I didn't have a wife and children to relocate as well.

Re:we IT workers are the most advantageous (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329028)

As for unionization, the past history is not sufficient to judge their value in the case of it - never before in the world history there has been much flexibility and communication and networking than internet is offering. we are not local, we are global.

As for families, having a family and roots is ALWAYS hard whether you are unionized or not. What will happen if a plant closes and union gets a deal elsewhere ? Youll move, as a family and thats it. Whats the difference ? At least , in it field, you dont have to answer to no union, and you can work from home, and get MULTIPLE jobs. You cant do that with a union.

Re:we IT workers are the most advantageous (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329563)

the internet and improved communication technology at the end of the 20th century, so had no influence on the main part of it. Try again and this time read the whole of the history of the 20th century.
You have a weird idea of unions if you think you have to answer to them, and being a union member would have no bearing whatsoever on how many jobs I would be able to take, not that I would want to take MULTIPLE jobs when one job should pay enough in the first place. I do have a life, family and friends, I've got no interest in working 18 hours a day 7 days a week.

Re:we IT workers are the most advantageous (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329593)

It is odd that you are proposing the objection about the unions, and their irrelevancy to telecommunications industry, to ME, as i have not proposed any idea close to it. Somebody else said that, unions being a milestone of development in the 20th century and they would help the it field too, so I suppose you should direct your objection to him/her.

As for multiple jobs, having a union that FORCES the industry to make them pay more for a job does not mean that you will be able to get the job. In such situations industry prefers to lay off employees, reduce the number of them and make them work their full pays' worth, sometimes overusing them

As for 'not answering to' the union, that can change, and such changes did happen in history. Also, not all the unions are alike, not all unions are like yours. There are unions that can limit where you can work and where you can not, and can limit your mobility instead of boosting it in terms of geo location.

May I suggest a subscription to... (3, Funny)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327146)

Backwoods Country Magazine [amazon.com] so you can learn to make it when they shut off your electricity and you are forced to use your 1/8th of an arable land that used to be your lawn to grow corn on and hunt neighborhood cats.

Re:May I suggest a subscription to... (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327549)

You may be joking, but people aren't putting their lawn space to a great enough use. We have all sorts of room to be growing hemp [illegal in the USA sadly, but makes food, paper, rope, clothing], peas, peppers, onions, and fruit bearing trees that would feed our neighbourhoods nicely, and aren't even an eyesore. It's just a myth that someone needs a lawn to look sucessful. Grass is for cattle, gardens are for people. Oh, and wild rabbits would be better eatin' than cats.

Live now or live later? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327269)

I've seen many people, especially Americans, worry about their retirement. Nothing wrong about planning for the future, but somehow I get the impression that some people are living in a way that says "suffer a lot - suffer now - and when you retire, you'll be fine". Some people never make it old enough to retire, and some who do, are so much wasted that they can't really enjoy the retirement anyway. Some hard earned life savings have turned out to be totally useless when called upon.

So, think what you invest in. Not only in terms of money, but life in general. Even if you don't have kids (that's a completely different story, which I will not go into), you can put money in a bank, or you can spend it to something you really value. If worst comes to worst, you still have the memories of sailing around the world, or climbing that mountain, or visiting that faraway place. No economic hardship can take that away.

Of course I don't recommend just burning your money away the fastest possible way, that would be stupid. But do not postpone living until you are too old to do it!

-H

Re:Live now or live later? (1)

vanye (7120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327341)


Live fast, die young might be bad, but its not as bad as live slow, die old.

Of course I'm going for the live slow, die young to maximise my misery (I'm English).

richard.

"Be prepared." (2, Interesting)

Deagol (323173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327320)

I live in Utah, where long-term food storage is (to put it mildly) a big thing. I'm not LDS ("Mormon" to you unlearned gentiles), but my family has taken to putting away food as part of the rainy day fund. A couple of years ago, I took a year off. I cashed in the pre-tax retirement fund my employer was contributing to, and lived off of that (for the most part). It wasn't much -- about $30k after the 20% withholding, most of which was used to pay off a small loan (some remote land). My salary before my little sabbatical was about $53k/yr. The food storage we had on-hand helped to stretch the remaining $10k, which also had to pay for a mortgage and a hefty truck payment. Having a milk cow and chickens also helps the food go a long way, too. :) Had I not had the truck to pay for, we could have easily coasted along for 2 to 3 years.

While one can't go wrong with having money in the bank (or a fund) earning interest, my family's philosophy is to reduce monetary need first then put money away. I recently downgraded my job from $45k/yr to ~$17k/yr, and our standard of living hasn't suffered.

One poster on this thread has mentioned she doesn't wish to "risk" being forced into a "frugal" lifestyle. Our take on things is live frugally by default and you live with much worry in the long run.

Re:"Be prepared." (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328197)

I live in Utah,

I live in Silicon Valley. I can't just pick up and move to a rural area just because it's much cheaper -- I wouldn't have a job. Cows, chickens... the absurdity of half the population of the USA (the ones who are city dwellers) with farm animals, aside from where one would put them. Also, taking a job for $17k/year would be suicide in any big city. And taking a year sabbatical? Congratulations. For %99 of all jobs that would mean not having a job to come back to.

Your scenario, while it works for you, is not doable for most. You started out with money. You even took a long unpaid vacation. You chose to take a huge salary cut. You own a house, and enough land for livestock. You're already ahead of the curve. Most people start out way, way, way behind the curve, and many never catch up.

I'm currently digging myself out of a hole. My wife has a huge pit from past medical bills that she's trying to climb out of. We don't own a house, and I'm not sure we'll ever get there. We're definitely not going to commute 3 hours one-way just to own a house.

You know what? You own a house. Get out of here. If the rest of us were so lucky... Sell your house, and come live here. My rent is probably more than your mortgage.

Re:"Be prepared." (1)

dasunt (249686) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328717)

You know what? You own a house. Get out of here. If the rest of us were so lucky... Sell your house, and come live here. My rent is probably more than your mortgage.

Many times, it is not 'luck' that leads to financial success, but hard work and sacrifice.

We spend money on what we want and what we need. A few people want savings, so they "spend" some of their money on savings (to varying degrees).

Your scenario, while it works for you, is not doable for most. You started out with money. You even took a long unpaid vacation. You chose to take a huge salary cut. You own a house, and enough land for livestock. You're already ahead of the curve. Most people start out way, way, way behind the curve, and many never catch up.

I've noticed that a lot of people complain about having no savings, yet drive newer vehicles, eat out alot, have large apartments/homes, afford a full cable package, and buy a lot of gadgets. While I don't advocate living like a pauper on beans and ramens in a studio apartment, I do think it is possible for most people to scale back on their spending and build up some savings.

Just my $.02

Re:"Be prepared." (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329101)

You misunderstood that other post. She doesn't want to have to lower her standard of living because of a job loss and plans accordingly. That's not any different than what you are talking about.

Re:"Be prepared." (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15329130)

I live in Utah

I'm sorry.

A few key things (3, Informative)

roc_machine (314714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327335)

- Keep my resume up-to-date. Most resumes you do will be custom tailored for a potential employer, but keep a generic one on hand and update it.
- Know what's going on in the job market. For me, that includes jobs in my hometown and network management (netcool, concord, cisco, etc) jobs anywhere in North America.
- Apply for jobs even if you think that it may not be a good fit for you. At least it provides good experience in writing a resume and cover letter, and possibly interview experience as well.
- Keep a minimum balance in a bank account, say $7000. These are emergency funds, and I think being laid off counts.
- If your company has a share ownership plan, get out if it, or at least make routine transfers out to another account. If the company is considering layoffs, there is a good chance they are not performing well, and that includes stock price. The last thing you want is to be hit with a double whammy of being unemployed and seeing your retirement income evaporate.
- Whatever training you can get at your current job, take it.
- Lastly, try and stay positive. Enjoy life to the fullest outside of work.

Re:A few key things (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327846)

Apply for jobs even if you think that it may not be a good fit for you.

For the love of god, please stop wasting your time... and mine... with this.

My boss and I are are trying to hire someone, and the majority of the resumes we're getting are for people who obviously don't fit what we're looking for. They don't even bother lying to us to make it look like they are. Listen: We're not that desperate. We're not going to hire someone who just might theoretically be good at what we need after several months of retraining and a few years of on-the-job experience. We're going to hire someone who actually has the qualifications we're asking for. If you deep-down believe in your heart-of-hearts that you'd be a good fit for the job, despite a resume that suggests otherwise, then please go ahead and make your case. But if you know that you're not a good fit, then rest assured that we'll figure that out too. And if you get "lucky" and we don't figure it out until after you're hired... you lose, too, because we're all going to be miserable about that mistake until you're gone. If you want interview practice, at least stop wasting the time of people who'll never hire you, and instead interview with people who might actually want you, even if it's not the job you're dreaming of... at least that way there's a chance that you'll avoid the repeated ego-pounding of constantly be turned down, and maybe you'll get lucky and pick up an interim job you're (over)qualified for.

Re:A few key things (0)

cubicledrone (681598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327986)

We're not going to hire someone who just might theoretically be good at what we need after several months of retraining and a few years of on-the-job experience.

Of course not. Unless you're hiring research neurosurgeons or astronauts, I really REALLY doubt it takes "years" of on-the-job experience to do whatever the job is. But then, businesses can't be bothered with training people. That's someone else'e responsibility. Make the rest of society pay for it because we want perfect employees for free.

At half price.

Re:A few key things (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328953)

Unless you're hiring research neurosurgeons or astronauts, I really REALLY doubt it takes "years" of on-the-job experience to do whatever the job is

Maybe that utter cluelessness is why no one will hire you. The beginning of wisdom is understanding what you don't know, and it sounds like you're not there yet. The irony is that it usually takes experience to grasp why experience is important.

Sorry, kid, but there are a lot of jobs where just being well educated and highly motivated don't cut it. I'm not hung up about someone having done this specific job before; I'm prepared to spend a lot of time showing a new employee how we do things. But if I have to explain to him the difference between pliers and a wrench*, he isn't qualified. And if I have to babysit him because he hasn't driven around the block enough times to understand why we look both ways before making a left turn into traffic*, then I might as well continue doing the work myself.

*metaphor; not literal example

wasting time (1)

rhendershot (46429) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329092)

Apply for jobs even if you think that it may not be a good fit for you.

For the love of god, please stop wasting your time... and mine... with this.
Poster should probably have said "perfect fit" instead. I agree there's no sense to wasting time at either side of the desk when the applicant lacks core skills. However there are two scenarios that going ahead with a resume submission makes some sense. 1) Most skills are met fully/exceeds and one or two are not. 2) Skills are met fully/exceeds but experience is within 65-85 percent of stated need.

Few job postings present any prioritization matrix since that's wordy, probably not well understood on the hiring end, and probably dynamic in nature. So needing 3 years of C++ and 5 years of Java today may well be 5/3 next month. Perhaps java and C++ are required. Perhaps any object oriented experience would suffice.

If you're getting what you consider an inordinate number of bad submissions, I suggest to you that your statement of requirements might be lacking. Few job seekers will find any value in wasting the time to create the submission when it is clear to them they have no chance whatsoever. I'm sure Microsoft draws an exceptional amount of submissions and I'd offer to you that means you need to be especially adept in your job requirements. And there are the total noobs who find it necessary to push any possibility since they have no experience to speak of. But for the rest of us, we try to match our skills, experience and interests as closely as possible. Really.

Job Seekers: Companies no longer "keep you on file". Don't submit in the hopes that some other opportunity, heretofore unpublished, will be recognized as the Perfect Fit to your resume or that in the near future "something will open up". Won't happen. Employers today want a pre-packaged solution and tightly control resources.

Employers: Please understand that our first experience with you is your statement of need. Help us to know if we have a shot. Our situations vary greatly. Nobody out here is perfect in every way. We know that. You know that. Ambivalence on your part invites us to "peel the onion". There's a correspondence to ambivalence + interest level and the number of resumes you'll receive.

tverbeek: While I agree with most of what you said, an ongoing problem is an indication that there is a false assumption such that the proposed solution is inaccurate.

Re:A few key things (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327889)

"Keep a minimum balance in a bank account, say $7000."

I like to follow the general rule of thumb: first accumulate six months easily-liquidatable assets. That is, six months of your current salary. Then, acquire two years of non-retirement assets--of your current salary. When you get fired, you won't continue to consume income at the same pace. However, you will have a rough guess as to how long you can coast . . .

Some would consider $7k one-month's assets. It's probably good to have a month in your primary bank account as part of those six months. My wife and I put ours into a money market fund.

Keep your skillset up to date (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327945)

Don't rely on your current job skills to take you to your next job - if you are a Foxpro programmer, you probably won't have much use after your current job. Do the nerd thing and have some home geek hobby - whether it is setting up the family using LTSP or making a beouwolf cluster of Furbies - doing something currently interesting or highly technical will help to show you are not a one trick pony to any future employment committee.

Or for another example - I work in the non-profit sector in a rural area, we regualrly go through contractors (were' too cheap, or they move) many that we see moved up from the valley and seemingly only know thier jobs whether it be microcoding or whatever and not much about what 'we' need which io this case is business computer troubleshooting (workstations, networks, dbs, etc) either that or they have a major enlish or attitude problems (techie-vs-rest of the world)

If you are good at what you do (REALLY good) you don't have a problem, if you are only good at that you do (and at only that), then you may have a problem.

Over here, it's mandatory (2, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327454)

In theory, I could rely on the system. When I get laid off, my employer has to give me one month of payment to get rid of me, and I am entitled to 80% of my wage for 6 months.

Usually, plenty of time to find a new job.

Retirement is taken care of, too, so that's, at least in theory, no issue either.

Still, I try to spend no more than 1/2 of my income. Being able to rely on the system is nice. It gives you a sense of security. Not relying on it gives you a feeling of independence, though.

Re:Over here, it's mandatory (1)

Balun (773120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327879)

I am doing the job search thing and having being going to various employment places for help and advice. One very interesting statistic has been that it that about 1 month/$10k salary to find a new equivalent job. For example, if you made $60k last year as a developer, it should take you about 6 months to find a new job as a developer making $60+k/year.

You don't need to save a whole months salary. Figure out how much you really need to spend each month to keep up you home. Sit down and evaluate everything you spend money on. Dial back on the utilities as much as you can. Don't renew subscriptions. As another poster mentioned have some food stored away for that much time as well.

Also don't be afraid of taking a minimum wage job. It will only be temporary but how long could you last if you had to on a minimum wage job?

Finally, budget for a brand new interview outfit: top-to-bottom everything--from a suit to shoes and socks to a watch. It might be overkill or it might be just enough. Think of it as a job search emergency fund, sort of like a home appliance fund enough money to replace a major home appliance at any time.

Every 6 Months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327575)

You can sometimes tell if a department is going to get the axe if their computers aren't being replaced on schedule. Maybe that department X is forced to use Windows 2000 and IE5.5 should be a clear sign, but it's not to them.

I keep nicey-nice with former employers in case I need some extra work or even a temp job. Nothing like randomly appearing when things are good and giving them some extra knowledge to keep things friendly for when things aren't so good.

My resume gets updated and resent to the major job sites every 6 months.

Investment (1)

diakka (2281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327643)

So what are the best resources for us engeineering types to learn about investment, stocks etc.?

Re:Investment (1)

hazem (472289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328530)

I've learned a lot by listening to Clark Howard: http://clarkhoward.com/ [clarkhoward.com]

He has a lot of general consumer advice, but he often talks about investments and saving for retirement.

In general:
1) save in your company 401k/403B, etc up to the point where your company matches
2) then save to the max you can in a ROTH IRA
3) then save more in your company 401K since it's pre-tax
4) invest additional money in something like mutual funds. Pick ones with no-loads. You'll probably do well with an indexed fund like an S&P500. He often recommends vangaurd and tiaa-cref. BUT never invest in something you don't understand, no matter how good it sounds
5) retirement savings is always a higher priority than saving for kids education. There are tons of ways for a kid to get an education paid for. There are few ways to fund your retirement.
6) use a credit union if possible - lower fees, better service, with few downsides
7) pay off all your credit cards and don't keep balances on them. Consider if you already have $5,000 in credit card debt at 17%, every dollar you put in is "earning" the same as a 17% investment

For specific advice about stocks and such, you probably need a "more advanced" source of info. But, Clark is a good start and his advice is probably good enough to cover most people's needs - since few have savings and most have lots of debt - and stocks are the last thing they need to be thinking about.

He has a pretty good book, I think called Clark Smart.

prioritize-future proofing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15327687)

Future proofing, identifying actual needs and necessities instead of wants and toys. Cover the needs first, not theoretically, *cover them*.

  What will you still be needing in the future if you get nailed with a layoff (or loss of personal business) or the economy itself gets so bad that there are millions and millions of you in the same boat at the same time? (this could happen if the world switches to the petroeuro over th petrodollar, it could happen *fast*), or say the expanded war in the middle east starts to not be restricted to the middle east, stuff like that. Think worst case, plan for that, anything better keeps you in the gravy.

Well, what do you really NEED?

You need a home-check you got that, one you can afford-but is it paid off completely, so all you need to come up with is utilities and taxes? Priority. If it is paid off that is a HUGE worry off your shoulders if the income dries up.

What's nice to have every day? Why food is nifty! As in further down the thread, how extensive are your basic food stores? How long can you live without going to the store? Do you have an extensive working garden, or maybe an attached combo solar room/heater/greenhouse deal? I know my parents and grandparents made it through the depression because they had a big garden and chickens, and gramps hunted rabbits on my dad's side and on my mom's side they had a farm and her uncle was the local sheriff, so they got a few perks.... There was very little money, but they got by, primarily because their lives were so arranged that they didn't really need money. Folks in the city just stuck because they actually needed money for every aspect of their lives were hurt much worse overall..

You are on the computer, that means you use electricity. Electricity=ultimate geek good. We need it, gotta have it, too dang important to do without, correct? So...how much do your produce yourself, and is it paid off yet? Grid power you rent, means you will always need cash for it and never pay it off, with absolutely no price guarantees-other than most likely it will keep going up, and they will want that bill paid-and they don't care if you have been laid off or are unemployed otherwise. they get real antsy after the first month skipped payment.. They-don't-care. So, how big is your at least backup sized solar rig? Wouldn't it be nice to have a paid off minimum guaranteed supply of electricity to always count on, something that won't require a monthly bill? You don't have to go whole house unless you want to, but a one circuit deal-say enough to run the computer and some lights and the furnace blower- is affordable right now, and you can pay it completely off. Use the grid while you got it, the solar stuff is a nice one room UPS system you can always run your critical stuff on, and in a pinch, you can live with just that amount. useful for brownouts, blackouts, storms, etc as well. (I can almost guarantee once you have a smaller but practical sized rig you WILL be looking at whole house, it is *that neat* once it is up and running. Gives you this marvelous feeling of freedom to completely pay off one critical utility debt-and still have the utility!)

I'm a geek but live at the low end of the US economic scale. Some is voluntary, ssome was forced from an accident I had. Stuff happens.so, although I don't have your savings in dollars, I am past that on the "necessities" part, because I know I can't count on dollars always being available in any good sized pile. So, same as you, only older vehicles. No payments, just occassional repairs, and being a geek, I have tools and I know how to use them. I get new tools every month, always find a use for them. We grow a ton of our own food, I mean a ton, eat a lot fresh and can a lot.. We heat primarily with wood that I cut myself, but also use *some* propane, and that is purchased in the middle of summer when the prices are cheapest, and the prop guys will rent you a tank *cheap* as long as you buy some from them regularly. You can store a LOT for not that much money, 500 gallon tanks are quite common outside of urban areas. that's a lot of heating and cooking potential to keep squirreled away for the future, and it don't go bad.. Stored food, we got the mormons beat, I have well over two years of simple food stored *always* now,we store what we eat and eat what we store, and I have always stored food since I was a teenager and went through the mother of all blizzards that wiped out our area and shut everything down for weeks. Weeks. this was well before a lot os snowmachines out there, a lot of folks starved, some froze in our area. Back then it didn't matter how much money you had, you weren't going anywhere, and if you didn't have food, tough luck, too bad. Luckily we had enough food, and I was able to scrounge enough for the fireplace (although woodstoves are *much* better mileage wise, that is what we had then). That stored food and being able to go get wood for heat (no oil deliveries, ran out of heating oil-whoops!) after our little token pile got used up stuck with me. That's how we made it through OK while a lot of locals didn't. Made a big impression on me even then how critically vulnerable we all are for everything to be up and working. Remove one key element, just one, and it is as if the whole thing is broken. And that was then, it is worse now. You dump the grid in an area and stuff about comes to a halt, no cash machines or registers working, gas pumps at the station don't work, etc. cold weather, your furnace isn't coming on, even if you have piped in natgas. Stuff like that, electricity and water are the real big kahunas and as a nation our weakest link for most people, so if you have that covered on-site-, at least to a good partial level, you are miles ahead. We store some water in clean barrels, have a working well, and several good ponds nearby. I would not rely on government supplied water in any emergency, to easy to have it borked.

Anyway, think like that, get that sort of "mindset". It's just common sense stuff once you really grok what the necessities are that you will ALWAYS want, irregardless of the money supply.

    Now, welcome to the wonderful world of practical preparedness, or "survivalism", because this is really what you are asking-how to survive when the "normal" ways of doing things cease to exist for you-because of whatever reason, that part doesn't matter, it is the "cease" part that matters and is what you are talking about.. It's not even all that strange, it's a commoin sense and cents approach to having tangibles insurance, that's all.

    You have paper and electronic insurance policies, but how many people have immediate in-hand and on-site tangible insurance for this or that? Can be a job layoff, bad illness, local big storm, geopolitical events-it doesn't matter. If you have your basics covered, paid off, owned, stored, used and rotated,etc,you will be a lot better off, it is that simple.

Security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15329528)

The main item you missed here is security.

You can stock up all you like - but it only takes on person with a gun to take it all away from you. This, besides not owning my own home, is the reason I haven't gotten into this type of defensive arrangements. However: I agree with most of what you say. I just won't start down this path fully until I can actually keep what I build.

Never take vacation (2, Interesting)

Ratbert42 (452340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327902)

At my old company, nobody ever used vacation time until they were forced to. Since the company would pay it out if you were laid off, it was the only severance package most people had.

Always have enough money to walk away (1)

FrenZon (65408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15327954)

Someone smart once told me that in addition to savings, you should always have enough money spare to be able to walk away from your job and last you until you get a new one. This ranks as some of the best advice ever given - it gives you, especially while you're young, just that little bit of extra confidence to stand up for yourself and to push back on management, which I've found leads to a better feedback loop between you and your managers, removes 'silent grumbling', and has (in the past) lead to a far more enjoyable workplace.

So don't budget for being laid off, budget for freedom.

Re:Always have enough money to walk away (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328014)

Someone smart once told me that in addition to savings, you should always have enough money spare to be able to walk away from your job and last you until you get a new one.

In addition to savings? That doesn't make any sense to partition savings into specific purposes like that, and the whole premise of savings is to deal with such a rainy day for most people.

Re:Always have enough money to walk away (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15328786)

I heard it was called (and this is not inflammatory, I'm quoting) "fuck you money". Money for the explicit and sole purpose of replacing your regular income for a few months, to give you the freedom to say "fuck you" to your boss at any time.

Re:Always have enough money to walk away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328235)

just that little bit of extra confidence to stand up for yourself and to push back on management

Little bit of foolishness is what it is. I was young and stupid and tried that. It got me put on projects by myself.. projects were eliminated, I was fired.

If you like your job, keep the silent grumbling, and kiss up. Make your boss happy. Otherwise he/she'll just look to get someone else. If you don't like your job, then find another one and move to it.

It's great that you have a job where the higher-ups are reasonable, but your exception is not the rule.

Emergency Fund (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15328020)

My financial strategy is:

  • Max out my allowed 401k and Roth IRA distributions. The 401k can't be used until you reach a certain age, but you can withdraw Roth IRA contributions (but not earnings on those contributions) at any time.
  • I am single and live alone. I live in a miniscule, but cheap, condo that I own. This helps me save pennies to build my future home, as well as build an emergency fund. I am currently able to put $12k/year towards savings, in addition to the retirement contributions.
  • When I determine what I have available to me for a down payment on my future home, I take into account that I also need an eight months of expenses set aside, in case I lose my job or hit some other financial setback. In addition, I keep eight months of current expenses in a money market fund; I invest additional money in stocks and index funds.

Regardless of your financial fears and goals (layoffs, significant home repairs, retirement), I think the keys are living frugally and saving aggressively. Don't be a complete miser, but if you can save a decent chunk of money every month then you should be able to survive financial setbacks with little difficulty.

Here is another perspective (2, Insightful)

earthforce_1 (454968) | more than 8 years ago | (#15329337)

There was a time when I put tried to save every cent I could - pay down the mortgage, maximize my retirement savings, etc. So what happened? An expensive divorce from a rather greedy ex-wife and most of my savings were depleted. (I was within 2 years of being completely mortgage free at the time) Now I take a more fatalistic attitute - work hard, but live more for today and try to let tomorrow take care of itself, because I may not be around to see it. (I am a type 1 diabetic, which cuts my life expectancy by an average of 15 years anyway) If you die with a million dollars in the bank, you don't get to spend it in the afterlife.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?