MainStreet.com has done an interesting series of vignettes on the varied ways that people have made the most of their layoffs.
In The Upside of Unemployment, you'll read about:
* A Michigan woman whose pregnancy coincided with her layoff. She ended up enjoying an "extended maternity leave."
* A commercial real estate analyst who used his unemployment benefits and severance to help launch his own organic beer, something he'd already been working on nights and weekends. When his company began a round of layoffs, he recognized the opportunity and asked to be laid off because he knew he needed to devote more time to ensure the success of his side business.
* A Des Moines woman who discovered that both she and her children would be eligible for a free year of schooling at her local community college due to her reduced income after layoff.
* Newlyweds who decided to leave their jobs together and travel the world. They took the money they received from their wedding, along with what they'd saved for a new house, and went on an extended honeymoon, figuring they didn't really need a house just yet.
* A former Lehman Brothers investment banker who chose to use his free time after a layoff to write a book: about his old employer.
* A former Goldman Sachs employee who joined a gym after her layoff and went from a size 16 to a size 6. She approached going to the gym, she said, like going to a job.
* A woman whose layoff occurred at a time when her mother was very ill and went into hospice care. Having no job meant that she was able to sit with her mother daily without the stress of worrying about her work backing up at the office and she was able to focus on being with her mother in her time of need.
* Another man who used his severance to travel. He earned money by blogging about his travels at http://www.NoDebtWorldTravel.com.
These are all wonderful examples of people who were able to pursue their personal interests, test their entrepreneurial skills or devote more time to family. While there is usually an element of risk involved in trying something new without a steady paycheck to back you up, many of those quoted in this story held high-paying jobs and relied on what were probably hefty severance packages to finance their pursuits.
If you were laid off this week, could you afford to indulge in long-held dreams like travel, or would you have to focus on mere survival?
Unemployment's Silver Lining
February 8th, 2010 at 11:25 pm