Have I Been Given a Great Opportunity?
As of the middle of August I find myself standing on the wrong side of corporate downsizing. I cannot say that it was a surprise. I was very well aware of the thinning of the bottom line due to the economic recession and knew that layoffs were imminent. As such I had been preparing myself for it but nevertheless I can’t help but feel the sting of getting fired, I mean “downsized”.
|“The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
I now need to regroup, take inventory of what I have to work with, look at my options and figure out an action plan. Most importantly I need to figure out if this corporate downsizing has given me a great opportunity.
|“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”
- Henry Ward Beecher
Thankfully, I had prepared myself for this by following all of the advice I have written about in Wealth Steps. I have a six month emergency fund, I budget to make sure I live within my means , and thank goodness I had started a side-business in real estate investing .
In a situation like this I have to be even more careful with my budget & personal finances. I feel very lucky that I had recently sold my first “flip” and walked away with a good profit from that deal. This will provide enough to cover living expenses for the next couple of months. On top of that I got the standard severance agreements from my corporate downsizing so that will help.
When unemployed, other than the obvious lack of income, the next most pressing problem, specially when you have a family, is health insurance. I am eligible for COBRA which means I can keep the same plan I had before my corporate downsizing but now I get to pay more for it. Fortunately the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) pays 65% of the monthly premiums which leaves me to foot the bill for the other 35%. Not great at a time of reduced income, but better than no insurance.
|“ If you're going through hell, keep going.”
- Winston Churchill
Somehow all of the above facts and my unintended preparation must be responsible for me not succumbing to the fear that is usually associated with the loss of security as a result of corporate downsizing. Much to my surprise I am feeling very calm and somehow “relieved”. In my About page I wrote about my first experience with unemployment and it is from that experience that I learned my lesson to ”hope for the best, plan for the worst” .
I know that the most pressing issue is “getting a job” but strangely enough right now I have no desire to do so. Let me explain…
For a long time I have not been sure if I am a good fit in Corporate America. I know I can do the work and do it well, I have built a good resume and have a good, employable background. But the passion has never been there.
Satisfaction, yes, passion, no...
Click here to find out one way to pursue your passions...
On the other hand for about 2 years now I have been dipping my toes in real estate, this website and other projects. I can spend hours reading, writing and learning about everything I write here and my only regret being that I don’t have more time for it.
What if this was my opportunity to pursue real estate and this website on a full-time basis?
|“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain
|“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there’s love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”
- Ella Fitzgerald
Although I am not new to challenging myself – I firmly believe that is the only way to grow – I don’t take on challenges where my family’s well-being might be compromised. Right now that is not a pressing risk but it still sits in the back of my mind.
| “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward, it is not a compliment to say it is brave.”
- Mark Twain
I know we have all heard the stories about the guy that was a victim of corporate downsizing, started a company in his garage…fast forward ten years he is a gazillionaire and loving it! As much as I would love for that to be me what I am realistically doing now is basically trying to ask a better question.
I don’t want to just ask, can I do this? But ask, how can I do this? Who do I need to know? What do I need to do? What resources, training, tools, and knowledge do I need? Who do I ask? What kind of system and processes do I need to create? What do I need to accomplish? How would I know if it’s working or not? Where do I go for help?
|“ Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
- Robert Frost
So what is my action plan?
- Draft a business plan for a full-time real estate investing business
- Update my budget & personal finances to use as little of my emergency funding as possible
- Work every morning to create great and valuable content for this website
- Workout six days per week
- Buy two excellent properties by November 1st
- Volunteer at two local professional organizations – one real estate related, one career related
- Use my wealth management resources to create a financial plan for investing, rebalancing and asset protection during this time
- Keep my tenants happy, it would not be good to loose them now
- These are fun times - it could be much worse – enjoy them!
Lessons I want you to take away from my corporate downsizing experience:
- Do not rely on a job for financial security, rely on yourself
- Be prepared, you can get axed after a round of corporate downsizing no matter how “valuable” you think you are
- Having an emergency fund is a given… (I have hammered on that enough already) Have a garage sale, sell stuff on e-bay, start a website, trade stocks, do freelance work, get a part-time job…anything, but create an emergency fund.
- Always be on the lookout for something better, have your resume up to date, never stop networking, keep your resume in job boards.
- Have you started a side-business? What are you waiting for?
Yes I know what you are thinking…what if I can’t do it? What if I fail?
Then I guess I gotta go and get a job…
|“ It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
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