Back when the 4-hour Workweek book came out, I interviewed Timothy Ferriss by phone before the book hit the bestseller list and he started getting calls from every media outlet. We talked about how so many people blow a golden opportunity by getting laid off, getting a fat severance check, and…sitting around the house depressed instead of setting out for a change of scenery. “That’s a perfect opportunity–what are you sitting at home for?!” Ferriss asked. “Take advantage of this gift of time!”
The U.S. Labor Department reported a week ago that 51,000 U.S. workers lost their jobs in July, which was the 7th straight month of job losses. Various news reports said, “That has never happened before without the economy falling into recession.” What’s a recession mean if you’ve lost your job? A painful few months (at least) before you find another job unless you have built up a fantastic network of people who can help you out or you are a star in your field who should have been the last to get the ax.
So just skip the recession. You heard me—leave. Come back when this has all played out and you can ride a new wave of job gains instead.
No matter who is in office or what problems are playing out in the financial markets, there are always boom times and slumps. In the boom times, it’s easy to get a job, to get promoted, to get a raise, and switch jobs at will if your raise gets turned down. You look like a genius without even trying. When there’s a national bust time, you lose a lot of control and you’re at the mercy of your company’s fortunes and the general job market.
If you were laid off with no severance pay, going traveling is tougher I admit. If you have no savings and no skills you can apply to work overseas (like teaching English) then you’d have to borrow money. But what are you going to do at home if it takes you months to get a new job? Probably borrow money. At least you could cut your cost of living by 2/3 by spending your time in one of the world’s cheapest destinations instead.
If you did get a package when you were shown the door, what are you waiting for? Sublet the house/apartment, buy a one-way plane ticket, load up on a few long-term travel books, and head to Latin America or Southeast Asia. If you go overseas for a while, you will spend far less, have a much more interesting life, and actually learn a lot without even trying. Come back when things are starting to turn around and you can start fresh.
And if you’re in Europe, sock this advice away for when your s&%# hits the fan a few months from now. Things are not as bad as in the U.S. there yet, but it’s obvious that this storm is crossing the Atlantic soon. It may have already touched shore in the UK…