I was reflecting today on the past two and a half years since I was laid off from my job as a proposal manager for Granite Construction Company. I’d been there for just about eight years when my job was eliminated.
When I was told that I was being laid off, I was actually pretty happy about it since I’d been thinking about ways to quit for about a year. They actually did me a huge favor because what followed has been an evolution of sorts for me both professionally and personally.
The Usual Questions
When you think about getting laid off your mind automatically diverts to a scarcity mentality and you begin to formulate questions, such as:
- How will I pay the rent?
- How will I afford health insurance?
- How soon can I buy a second motorcycle?
Yes, that was an actual question I asked since my employer was very generous in my severance package. And I actually did buy another motorcycle. 😆
However, operating with a scarcity mentality only pushes you further into negative thought patterns and that never does anyone any good.
However, over the past 30 months, I’ve experienced a good many benefits from living and working on my own terms, some of which were expected, but many weren’t. The ones I expected were things like, more free time, eating when I wanted, etc. But the unexpected benefits are what surprised me most of all.
The 16 Most Unexpected Benefits After Being Laid Off
1 – A more relaxed mind: Since being laid off, I lead a much more relaxed life. For example, I’ve discovered the peace of early morning reading while sitting in bed having my first cup of coffee. I’ve learned to listen to the world as it awakens. I was too rushed in years past to notice it.
2 – Drinking coffee at Starbucks from ceramic mugs: Paper cups from Starbucks, Peets Coffee & Tea, or any other coffee establishment are really a poor environmental choices. These days I get to sit for an hour or so and enjoy my latte macchiato (that I’m convinced is made from crack…not that I know that…anyway…) as I catch up on email, Facebook, or Google Plus. It’s a nice change and it’s good for the planet.
3 – Enjoying the grocery store: When I shop now, I go to the supermarket mid-morning when only those without a day-gig can leisurely peruse the store perimeter for the best bargains and the freshest foods. I always shop the perimeter first and the aisles second. It’s a wiser way to shop. The mid-morning routine is more relaxing and the store is less crowded.
4 – Learning to cook better food: As a result of taking my time shopping, I’m able to plan better meals, select fresher ingredients, and take my time to cook in a healthier way. I used to rush home, rush through a quick dinner from a frozen entree or some other convenience food, and then wonder why I fell asleep on the couch of in the chair. I feel better and I’m healthier.
5 – Uncrowded beaches and roadways: When I was first laid off, I lived two blocks from the Pacific Ocean and walked there each morning with Sir Buddy, Lord Protector of the Realm at my side. It was uncrowded and so were the roadways. I could make nearly any trip outside the rush hour windows and not feel in a hurry or rushed by drivers late for work.
6 – Not having to rush anywhere: I no longer have to rush anywhere. Unless I’m running a time-sensitive errand, which is rare, I’m on my own schedule; I can take lunch whenever I want and not have to worry about getting back in an hour. It’s so much better.
7 – Listing to music at will: I’m a musical person. I don’t refer to myself as a musician, but I like having music playing during the day while I write, even in my motorcycle helmet via a bluetooth communicator with a boom microphone and speakers in the ear wells. (No annoying loud sound systems forcing my musical tastes on the world for me.) When I lived a nine-to five office life, I had to limit both the musics and the volume. Yeah, this is better.
8 – Not having to respond to 100 emails each day: I get far less email these days and it’s glorious! In-box zero used to be just a pipe dream, but today it’s my daily reality. I still check my email on my iPhone each day and I’m still surprised that I don’t get much of substance; most just blogs and newsletters to which I’ve subscribed. In fact, today a customer emailed me and it took me a whole two hours to become aware of it. I felt bad, then I realized that was pre-layoff thinking. I took care of the issue in good time and she didn’t complain.
9 – Dating during the day: I have a friend that I sometimes meet for coffee during the day. It’s a nice change to actually see other people during the day that aren’t part of my business or have an agenda. Day dates, even coffee dates, are really cool! Who knew!
10 – Becoming even more minimalist: Before I was laid off I had too much stuff, too many clothes, too much crap. Now I have 38 items of clothing and not much else. It feels so much lighter and that feels good. It’s also good for the planet and for those who are using my old possessions.
11 – Wearing only what I really enjoy: As I mentioned, I now have few items of clothing. I prefer it that way. It’s simpler knowing what I’m going to wear from day to day. Like Mark Zuckerberg and President Obama, I tend not to vary my uniform; it’s one less decision to make. I also have a one-in / one-out rule whereby if I add a few items, and equal number of items need to be donated to the thrift store, sold, or sent to the landfill – a rare occurrence.
12 – Buying Less: Since I lean in the direction of minimalism, I’m acutely aware of what I buy and the resulting weight of each purchase. As a result, I buy and consume less. When I moved away from the beach, I donated nearly all of my belongings and vowed never to be in that place again. So far, so good.
13 – Afternoon motorcycle rides: This a luxury that absolutely refuse to give up. In fact, when I was offered a full-time office job I turned it down and stated that it was due the firm’s lack of pro-motorcycle policies as my reason. OK, I’m kidding but that would have been great! 😆 Somedays I take an afternoon ride in the hills above San Jose, where I now live. It’s full or horse ranches and cattle pastures. It’s better this way.
14 – Realizing that my success is totally up to me: When I was employed, I blamed the man, the management, and anyone else I could point to for my lack of happiness. But I realized that it’s totally up to me now. If I want to earn more money, I work smarter and create more products and services that people tell me they want. If I want more time off, I take it. If I want to see someone, I go see them. I no longer have to inform anyone about my whereabouts.
15 -Making money while traveling: As I’ve mentioned before, this is the whole point of working from anywhere. If you’re still accruing vacation, you’re in a corporate prison. You are subject to the rules and regulations set up my senior management and you love as a indentured servant. The freedom to go where I like, when I like, and with the ability to generate revenue no matter when I return, is the best reward of all.
16 – Writing posts like this instead of arguing with engineers: If I never again have to write another proposal, it will be too soon. Choosing what I write, what I teach, who I work with, and how much I get paid is a far higher quality and more rewarding life than the one I lived prior to getting laid off. Life is good.
Working from Anywhere Rocks
Is this a life you’d rather be living? I can tell you that it beats a corporate nine-to-five any way of the week. 😎