The current recession is like nothing ever experienced since The Great Depression. The semi-conductor industry is getting hit hard and I’m concerned that I could loose my job. It was the beginning of January that my employer said they will not need to cut jobs. At the end of January Intel announced plant closures and layoffs.
I can only speculate but I think these closures were going to happen at some point. They are just occurring earlier than were originally planned. Intel had already been slimming down for the last several years. The 1000 lay offs in the manufacturing sites were a surprise and maybe they were expecting those position to be eliminated though attrition. The site I work at is reducing 100 to 200 people.
A little over two years ago Intel cut jobs here in Rio Rancho when they merged factories and elimated the 200mm factory. This happened when the economy was booming. Then, I was very unprepared to loose my job. I had significant debt, little savings and no plan in the event that I lost my job. That was a very stressful time because the whole process lasted 6 months and I didn’t know if I would have a job or not. In the end, it turned out to be a whole lot of drama for nothing as I was never at risk for losing my job.
That whole ordeal taught me a lesson and I decided that I never wanted to be in that position again. Since then I have cut all my debt except for my mortgage and have started saving and building an emergency fund (I still have a much more to save before I make it to a years salary).
The economy seems to be getting worse. I fear Intel will have no choice but to cut more jobs to remain profitable as semiconductors sales drop. I could still get redeployed, the fancy term Intel uses for “we eliminated your job but if you can find another job in the company go for it. There aren’t any.” What happens If I do get laid off? Business Week says Albuquerque is one of the best cities to ride out the recession. I’m not sure I believe that and have started to plan for long term unemployment, a year or more.
Besides my savings I won’t be immediately without money. Not only do I have accumulated vacation and absent time that I can cash in, it’s very likely I will received at least three months of severance pay, maybe more due to my long service with the company. After the severance pay runs out I could draw on unemployment for a while. I have company stock and although it’s lost significant value in the last few months the stock sale could produce enough money to live off of for several months. Finally I could pull money from my 401K if I absolutely needed cash.
I will need to cut costs where I can. A few of the major expenses I can think of:
- Good bye satellite tv. Ironic since I will have plenty of time to watch it. I may replace it with a much cheaper Netflix plan, if I find I have time to watch movies. I still have my Apple TV and uh… bittorrent.
- I might eliminate the data plan from my iPhone. If I find I am at home most of the time I don’t see why I would need it much. I won’t eliminate my internet service. I already have a fairly inexpensive plan and using the internet will be needed for job searching.
- Since I won’t be at work, I will stop going out for breakfast and lunch. I will need to monitor my food budget much more closely. Now I buy whatever I want without much regard for costs. Maybe I will become one of those extreme coupon clippers.
- My 1997 Ford Ranger is paid for and in good conidion. I recently reduced the insurance on it. Assuming I’m unemployed for more than a few months, I would plan to ride my bike around town to reduce the chance that my truck would have problems. If I did have problems with my truck I am more than capable of making repairs myself. I could pay for repairs with a credit card and make the minimum payments if I had to have someone else fix it.
- I’m not sure there’s much room for reducing energy costs. I already have the thermostat aggressively controlled by the home automation computer and I don’t use that much energy by myself.
- Today if I want something, I put it on my credit card and buy it. If I want to travel somewhere I go. I do carefully budget these expenses so that they are paid for at the end of the month. It is pretty easy to do when I have steady income. If I get laid off and a new iPhone comes out, it’s going to take quite a bit of will power to not buy it.
If I am unemployed, I am not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself. In fact it’s an opportunity to get some things done that I haven’t had time to do.
- I have bunch of junk that I need to sell and or donate that I haven’t been able to sort out.
- I have a number of projects around the house I can work on that cost little or no money. I also can scour Craigslist for materials.
- I have my iPhone and Mac OS programming to practice.
- I will be blogging a lot more.
I think there will be some jobs out there, they just wont pay nearly as much as what I make now. If I have to I will work for minimum wage at the local pizza place. I could survive off that little money and still make the house payment. Who knows, I might actually enjoy it.
Unlike the last time I went through lay offs, I am not stressed about loosing my job this time. Sure it won’t be easy and it helps that I don’t have a family to care for. I will have to make some lifestyle changes. I have a plan and I am prepared for what ever comes along.