Don’t Quit Your Job Until You Read This Book

How to engineer your layoffHave you thought about quitting your job? The economy is still not good and a steady paycheck is a precious commodity these days. However, there must be some reasons as to why you might want to quit. I left my six figure salary job in July and I haven’t regretted it yet. After 16 years, the job was no longer the right fit for me and it was time to move on. Unfortunately,  How to Engineer Your Layoff by Sam @ Financial Samurai came out 2 days after I handed in my two week notice. While I felt that leaving was the right thing for me to do, I left without a severance package and the book could have helped with that if it had come out earlier.

Is quitting better than getting laid off?

Most people think that quitting is better than getting laid off. I guess it’s better to be the dumper than the dumpee, but is that really true? The end result is the same – you won’t have a job anymore. If you can get laid off and collect a severance package, it is better than quitting and walking away with nothing. Of course, every situation is different and if you need to quit now, then do it. This book is most useful for someone who has 3 months to 2 years to work on getting laid off.

Sam also points out the ideal layoff candidate:

  • Someone who has worked at their job for three or more years and over 10 years in the industry.
  • Someone who has good relationship with his/her superiors and co-workers.
  • Someone who is financially ready to face months or years of no income.

If you fit this description and have time to work on getting laid off, then How to Engineer Your Layoff will be very useful for you.

*If you want to buy the book, use the code “saveten” at checkout to save $10.

HR holds the key

One of the most important points Sam raised was to befriend your Human Resources (HR) manager/representative. I was an engineer and did not know any HR person in my company at all. I never had to interact with them throughout my career and it would have been useful to get their sincere assistance. HR represents the company so they won’t do anything special for you; however, if you know them well, they might be more willing to work with you on various options and at least tell you what to expect.

Before I left my job, I tried to see what kind of severance package was available.  I talked to my HR rep and she told me a severance package was not available for me. I worked in this company for 16 years and had good annual reviews for 15 of them. My last annual review was not great and I expected it. The HR rep said they only lay off someone who had several bad reviews. I’m guessing at least 2. I would have had to stay until April 2013 to get a bad review before trying to negotiate a layoff package. My industry is also doing better and there have not been many layoffs in the last few years. If this had been 2008, it would have been easier to get a severance package. I also would have to endure 9 more months of working there. Sam talked about how to positively engineer your layoff without having a bad review and this would have been helpful while I was working.

You can see that I did not have a clear idea of how to get laid off from my company.

  • How many bad annual reviews do I need? How bad does the annual review have to be? What happens if I don’t do anything at all for a year?
  •  I did not know if there is a layoff coming up. I guessed that there weren’t, but I could have been wrong.
  •  Whether or not I could have a good working relationship with an HR rep. He/she could have helped me navigate the layoff process. Or not… Who knows… Sam gives some good tips on how to engage HR and build a good relationship with them.

The KEY is to build a relationship with HR, your boss, and co-workers. Don’t focus on the performance reviews like I did.

A lot of great tips

This is just one chapter in Sam’s book. Here are some other chapters that would have been useful for me.

  • How to lay your cards out for your boss
  • What to look for during severance negotiation
  • How to make yourself redundant/a dead weight so the company will want to lay you off.
  • Case studies of people who successfully quit. Sam coached about a dozen of people through the layoff process and most of them were successful.
  • Why you shouldn’t quit/get laid off. Last minute devil’s advocate check list.
  • And more…

Here is the bottom line.  How to Engineer Your Layoff cost $97. If you are thinking about leaving your job and have the time to implement the layoff strategies, then you need to at least read his book. $97 sounds expensive for an ebook, but you could be walking away with a $4,000 severance package like Lana the bartender instead of nothing. The high end of the severance package that Sam helped with was $500,00 for an investment banker (very impressive.) $97 is peanut comparing to any kind of severance package and it’s worth it to learn what Sam has to teach. This book is for anybody who wants to retire early, change career, go to graduate school, or simply take a hiatus.

If you have any questions at all, let me know and I will try my best to answer them.

Follow this link to buy the book –  How to Engineer Your Layoff.

If you want to buy the book, use the code “saveten” at checkout to save $10.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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28 thoughts on “Don’t Quit Your Job Until You Read This Book”

  1. Great post and very enlightening for me. I have been telling myself for years, I have to quit this job I hate and actually started working on an exit strategy over the last year. I had a few options lined up, even had another job offer from another firm. I was about to resign 3/16 but then all of this coronavirus happened. I feel like now the outbreak is pretty much doing the work for me in terms of “engineering”. My question now is, do I sit and wait for the call (I feel it is imminent) or move first and offer to be laid off? How does one do this in the new world of working from home?

    • If you have a good relationship with your boss/manager, I’d give them a call and talk confidentially.
      You can tell them, you’re burned out and offer to train your replacement if needed. Try to be helpful in any way you can.
      You should ask what the layoff plan is. They’ll probably lie about it, but you can still tell them to put you on top of the list.
      This might save one of your coworkers from the first round of layoffs.
      Good luck! Nice timing and I hope you get some kind of severance package.

  2. Someone who has worked at their job for three or more years and over 10 years in the industry. – YES!!
    Someone who has good relationship with his/her superiors and co workers. – YES!!
    Someone who is financially ready to face months or years of no income. – YES!!

    Great post. I was hired at my job right out of college and it’s been almost 10years. Not a challenge anymore and politics in the office has really put a damper on things. If I don’t pick up the book, the plan is to tell my employer in January that I plan to leave and kindly give them 2 month notice. It will be a shock to them and not sure how they will respond! Any thoughts?!

    • You should get the book. A severance package would really help with your cost of living for quite a few months.
      Personally, I would just give them 2 weeks notice. 2 months is a long time. I guess it depends on your relation with your employer and coworkers.

    • Keep in mind that to qualify for Social Security or Medicare requires 10 years (40 credits). So might as well stick it out if near 10 years. Medicare is still obtainable, but premiums get steep under 30 credits.

  3. I am not planning on quitting anytime soon but I am extremely curious about this book. It is on my list to read (whenever I finally get time to do it.) When you quit there is nothing to be offered in my place. When you are laid off, some severance packages are offered. Most of the time they are not too bad but they are not good enough for me to take that step.

  4. I have to check out the ebook when I get some money to afford it-currently have a few other obligations on my plate at the moment. It looks like an interesting one to check out.

  5. Just bought and read this book last week. Insightful and a pleasant surprise, because it contains actionable information. My own situation is complicated. I am like a piece of gum on my employer’s shoe; they can’t get rid of me, though they attempted twice to lay me off. My skillset is not easily replaceable, and my employer’s clients have come to expect my availability. The problem is, the amount of paid client work is right on the cusp of profitability (i.e. 30% billable time). I am in a situation (finally!) where I am looking forward to leaving the workforce (in my 50s, with a non-working spouse and a low overhead).

    Sam’s examples, and real-life assumptions (don’t count on much appreciation through investment, and manage risk) have been a great help. I do not have to quit, but would like to. There won’t be a severance, but Sam’s book actually explains the advantages of simple unemployment benefits. This chapter, alone, was well worth the price of the book. I’m a lifelong student of the subject, and as a new reader to Joe’s blog I am greatly enjoying reading about his journey. His blog is how I found out about ‘Financial Samurai’ and this book. Thank you both.

  6. I think a lot of it is timing. Its a whole lot easier to get laid off and get severance if the company is cutting heads rather than hiring. I have a friend who had a recent bad review. When we had to cut staff in the group he would have normally been sent to the internal job pool but since he had that bad review he was instead terminated. Unfortunately the only way to get that termination was if the department or company as a whole was already cutting staff. So if they weren’t cutting staff getting laid off would have been more work. Normally one bad review wouldn’t have done anything except get you no raise that year.

    • Jim, did your friend get severance at least?

      It definitely is “easier” to get laid off in a job cutting environment. However, what I explain to folks who are willing to listen is that it’s not just about the environment, but about relationships, life, and knowing your own powers as an employee.

      There’s A LOT more that goes on to getting laid off than just where we are in the cycle.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


      • Yes he did get severance. I believe severance packages are standard procedure at my company assuming you’re not fired for some sort of illegal act or severe violation of rules or something.

        I work at a very large company and from what I’ve seen the HR folks stick by policies pretty consistently. But knowing those policies and how HR applies them would certainly help someone looking to leave with severance.

  7. Great review Joe! Unfortunate that the book came out too late for you, but your health is really more important than the severance. I mentioned to Sam before I actually engineered my own lay off back in 2009. Lay offs were running rampant. I had been there for four years and had great relationships all around. I decided to be proactive and do something rather than wait for the axe to drop. It worked out well, but I didn’t fully take advantage of all of Sam’s tricks so I probably left some change on the table.

    • I think the timing is very important. In 2012, my company is hiring like crazy. We already went through our big layoffs over the last few years. It’s more difficult to get a severance package in this environment, but Sam’s book could have helped.

  8. I guess I’ll have to read this book at some point even though it does not apply to me. It just sounds a bit shady to me that you would intentionally perform poorly at your job with the intention of taking as much money as you can. I’ve never worked for a big company and maybe I would feel differently if I did. As an employer, it has taken a huge toll to deal with employees who have tried to work every angle to their advantage. It has cost me quite a bit of money to deal with employees who aren’t there to do their jobs. I realize it’s like apples and oranges a bit, but this just sort of rubs me the wrong way.

    • Kim,

      Please focus on the 3 key points in Joe’s post:

      Someone who has worked at their job for three or more years and over 10 years in the industry.
      Someone who has good relationship with his/her superiors and co workers.
      Someone who is financially ready to face months or years of no income.

      These are the positives and foundation one should focus on first.

      The book is not about encouraging people to before badly. It’s about empowering yourself with knowledge as employees have much more power than they know. The second is building the right strategic relationships.


  9. Honored for the book to have been reviewed by you Joe! Sorry I was not quicker in coming out with it.

    If any readers have any clarifications or small questions they’d like to ask, I’m open to answering.

    Best, Sam

  10. All major companies have a short term disability policy. It seems that you would’ve qualified under stress leave which would allow you to stay at hime for a few months. Then when you come back some of your skills will be rusty, which adds to your stress level and your performance. That will get you closer to a bad review. Did your company have a 6 month mid year review?

    In my company the poor peformers go on stress leave for 6 months, return and underperform for three months, and then receive a year severance package. Since performance is subjective many companies offer severance so that you don’t sue. Consider it a strategic default on your career.

    • I went on a stress leave for 3 months and didn’t want to continue when I came back.
      We didn’t have a mid year review this year so I would have to stay another 9 months to get a bad review and then push for a severance package. However, I feel like I already put it off long enough so I just quit. My health was deteriorating and the severance package isn’t worth another 9 months of feeling terrible.


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