Wednesday, November 08, 2006

At a CrossRoads: I've Been Laid Off

I was sitting in my cube, checking some blogs, and fixing some embedded systems code (my day job is an embedded systems Engineer). Then my boss comes to my desk and asks me if I have a minute to chat with him. Ok, so we walk past his office (1st bad sign - private chat with a boss, but NOT in his own office) and into a meeting room with the HR lady (2nd bad sign, my boss wants to chat with me with the HR lady present). Instantly I started getting nervous and fearful.

And that's when my boss said the L-Word. I have just been laid off.

I've been laid off once before, but even having the prior experience of knowing what it was like didn't make the pain or shock any easier. Sure, there's a token severance pay, but my full-time position with my company will, with absolute certainty, no longer exist as of Dec 1/06.

My job was comfortable, way too comfortable, and I knew it - employee stock options, employee stock purchase plan, full medical/dental coverage for my wife, my daughter and I, group retirement savings (RRSP) plan, re-imbursement of monthly Internet fee, flex hours, personal laptop (officially for business use). If I choose to find another similar engineering position, it will have similar benefits. How do you choose to leave a job with all these kinds of benefits?

The only scenario where I would knowingly choose to give up a comfortable job like that was if I were trading it for a better opportunity to do something for which I have a greater passion. Trading for a Living comes to mind.

I have tried use this trading journal to prepare myself for the day when I would feel comfortable choosing to Trade for a Living, but that day has come too soon (and not by choice), and now I am fearful, uncertain, and full of doubt.

Full of doubt as to whether I will be able to earn enough profit from Trading for a living to be comparable with an Embedded Systems Engineer's average salary.

Uncertain as to whether I should pursue trading for a living as an alternative to looking for another engineering dayjob.

And last but not least, I am fearful - the safety net of a regular, stable, and reliable paycheck would be removed, and I fear I would fail as a full-time trader.

Should I risk all the fear, uncertainty and doubt to explore my greater passion to trade full-time? I don't know, I can't think straight any more.

I am going for a walk to clear my head. Any advice is appreciated.


Andrew755 said...

Guess what, I was in a similar situation to you. I was doing a job that I really didn't like though, and it wasn't what I wanted to do....and I had been working on an acting career and investing. I realized that things weren't going to last long at that job so I saved every penny I could.....and learned everything I could about trading.And for the past year and a bit that is what I have been doing.

Sometimes what you are fearful of doing is what is best for you. It depends on your personality....and willingness to learn new stuff.

I'm only 26 but I love what I do.... it has provided me with many opportunities I wouldn't have had with a 9-5.

Good luck

Tyro said...


That's rough, man. Life-changing decisions are much easier when you make the decision :)

I'd say take a breather for a couple days to let the shock wear off before making any decision. See what the wife says since you're gonna have a hard go of things without her support.

If you've got the bankroll and confidence, trading can work. (I hope. What the hell do I know?) But we're not in a crazy bull market so if you start trading this year or next or in five years you won't miss much. The market will always be here for you.

If you decide to go back to work, why not post a mini-resume? I've still got friends in tech and can ask around to see what jobs are like. If you have a wife and kid then it's harder to flip corporate life the bird until you've got a proven track record.

Good luck with your decision.

zbs said...


Sorry to hear the news. I may soon join you in same situation. As Tyro said, your decision would depend on your bankroll and confidence, also your family support. Unless you already have at least 3 years trading experience and be consistent profitable, my suggestion is to find another job while keep trading in the early morning. 3-year would give trader enough chances to go through bear/bull/sideway market.

Another thing is that you now can get more support for your trading business from your family as you will never worry about layoff when your trading business success.

Good luck!

Phileo said...

Thanks everyone for your comments, it was much appreciated!