Getting Laid Off – No More Excuses

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“I just got an invite for a Friday afternoon meeting with my career counselor [like a mentor] and the H.R. director,” I said to my wife.

“Uh, oh. It is never a good thing when H.R. is invited to a meeting.”

It was actually scheduled for the last day of the month too. I wouldn’t have been so nervous except that a good friend of mine was laid off only weeks before me. He was on vacation when he got a similar invitation. When he saw that H.R. was invited, it was the kiss of death.

“I’ve been laid off…”

The call was fast.

I made a little small talk with the H.R. director since I knew her from years back when we would recruit at colleges during their career fairs. My career counselor spoke up and delivered a pretty concise script.

The main points:

  • My position has been eliminated.
  • The new organization didn’t need my skills.

I could argue the points above, but the results would have been the same.

But it turned out that I wasn’t too sad about being laid off – it’s a good thing!

We don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way! Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!

– Peter Gibbons, Office Space

I didn't work at Initech, but it felt like it sometimes. Photo credit:

I didn’t work at Initech, but it felt like it sometimes. Photo credit: Stephen C, @ flickr creative commons

Why is this a good thing?

I believe this is great overall. While it is exceedingly exciting and equally terrifying, I am certain that in a year I will be better off personally and professionally.

I thought about it a lot, and if I look at the “successful” people in my industry that are 5, 10, or 15 years ahead of me, I don’t see happiness. They look pretty miserable and seem to be letting their most productive years pass them by.

I am reminded of the story in the 4-Hour Work Week of the fat bald man in a red mid-life-crisis-BMW convertible. The fat bald man is so bored with life that he succumbs to buying the red BMW.

If I wanted to be ranked in the top 5 to 10% of the company, I would need to bang out 60 hour weeks over and over again, work weekends, and holidays. In fact, I have done this and have still not been one of the so-called “top performers.” If you aren’t a top performer, then your raises are nominal at best and when adjusted for inflation are reductions in pay. Raises don’t even keep up with inflation.

It is good because I don’t have excuses anymore. I own my own destiny.

When things go well, then I can rest assured that I am the reason.

When something fails, I own that too.

I owned my success and failure before too, but it didn’t seem like it. I could always make excuses about corporate politics or the most recent reorg.

To Be Continued…

Instead of updating my resume and getting another corporate job, I will be making a go at entrepreneurship full-time.

No more excuses.


What about you?

Have you been laid off? Let me know in the comments, and tell me about it. I would definitely appreciate it!


About the Author: Doug Cunnington is the founder of Niche Site Project. He shows people how to create Affiliate Sites using project management and a proven, repeatable framework. Doug loves creating systems, using templates, and brewing beer (but usually not at the same time).

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  • sam podmore

    Being retrenched was the best thing for me (once I got over the shock)..I decided to give a year of my life to working for an NGO and that was 4 years ago.. I might not earn the executive salary any more but the job satisfaction and passion for my work can not be measured. I work reasonable hours, spend time with my family and I get to make a real difference in so many vulnerable lives. No more running for planes, living in hotels and missing out on family life… I am a better person

    • Sam, Thanks for the comment! It was a big shock… Traveling full time is no fun at all so I bet you are way better off with the NGO.

  • Eric Carrell

    Good, honest post, Doug. Sorry to hear you were laid off, but I’m very excited for you. I think this change will yield great results. Cheers.

    • Hey Eric, thanks man. I think you’re right – This will be a great change.

  • Best thing that will ever happen to you Doug. (might take time to sink in though)

    You now have the time and freedom to do whatever you like plus even more motivation because you have to replace an income.

    Did this just under 1 year ago. My company is 1 year old next week and I have never looked back. I have since invested in several other ventures and things are going from strength to strength…

    Two tips I would give you…

    1. Believe in yourself and your abilities…
    2. Take action – you already have…

    Best of luck.


    • Hey Gary, thanks for the encouragement! Most people that go out on their own say the same thing about getting laid off…

      “Best thing that will ever happen to you…”

  • Renee

    My husband was laid off after 10 years with a computer company. We had started a side biz about two years before that and when the lay off happened, we decided it was time to go full-time as entrepreneurs. We haven’t looked back (occasionally, just to check and make sure our business is consistently out pacing his old meager paychecks, and it has been 😉 ) It’ll be a tough first year, but get your wife’s emotional support and you’ll be further ahead than ever in no time… with much better “job security”.

    • Hey Renee, Thanks for the comment. I bet it will be tough adjusting, and it HAS been so far. It sounds like you guys are doing well with it!

  • Art

    Fantastic news! You have the talent, knowledge and heart to be your own boss and create your own reality. You just needed a little extra motivation. I haven’t worked for anyone else for around 40 years and would not have it any other way. And the commute from the bed to the office takes 60 seconds. Love it. You can do it!

    • Hey Art, That is the right reaction! Thanks for the encouragement! I think the motivation is perfect for me right now…I am ready to move on a bunch of new ideas. (I will just target one or two though… 🙂 )

  • Hi Doug,

    I think this is a blessing in disguise and I am sure you think the same. Think about how much more free time you have to work on your business and do other things you like.

    I am fully expecting you to make the best of this situation and crush it. Best of luck my friend 🙂


  • Hey Doug

    So you were pushed off the ledge a little while before you were ready to jump… but you’re in a good position. You are MUCH more prepared for this than some others would be.

    Can I take this chance to recommend this talk from Alan Watts.

    As well as building your empire make sure you spend some of your new found free time to stop, smell the roses and appreciate all the good things you’ve got going on ))

    All the best

    • Hey Alistair, Thanks for the comment! I actually wasn’t quite ready, but you know, the time never seems quite right to make an uncertain move. That’s pretty much a lot of being an entrepreneur so I need to get used to it!

  • Tao


    I feel it coming in the winds of change for me too. Not sure I will be able to handle it very well though.

    • Hey Tao, Good luck!
      I know a few friends at other companies that were on the chopping block. We are in that expensive, middle-management layer where it can save the company a lot of money.

  • Hi Doug, Excellent News – Well Done! Allowing the shackles to fall off and embracing the future you want to create is the best thing anyone can ever do. More freedom, more impact, more Doug – yipppeeeeee!

    • Hey Quinn,
      Good to hear from you! Thanks, I am excited about the opportunities ahead of me!

  • Hi Doug,

    I’ve never been laid off but I have been let go. That was 22 years ago and I’ve owned my own somewhat successful company since then. I’m now looking to branch out and do more over the internet. I really appreciate the time you take with your blog posts. Best of luck in your new ‘job’.

    Looking forward to hearing more from you about this new adventure!

    • Hey Beth, Thanks for the comment. You’re another data point for the bright future that should be ahead of me. Thanks!

  • Congrats Doug!

    Been there, it stings for a moment but really it’s just liberating. And you are better off then 99.9% of people who have been laid off because you aren’t griping about it and because you have built a collection of assets that you can now double down on.

    And no more TPS reports!

    • Thanks, Brandon. We definitely had our version of TPS reports. 🙂 I certainly had 8 bosses.

  • Hey Doug,
    Now u have all the time!! Great timing.

  • Proud of you for keeping the chin up and the optimism turned on high.

    Not that fretting would change anything… But I know I’d be sure to waste a couple of days chewing my nails and worrying.

    Keep moving forward. It won’t be long until the old job is just a bad dream. I

    I’m starting 2 new case study sites. Wanna race?

    • Thanks, Quinton! I may waste a day or two hiking this week…but no nail chewing. 🙂

      2 Cases studies?! Whoa…

  • Great news for you now: Full Time Entrepreneur!
    I have pretty much set the end date when company will let me go as well. 4 Month to go for me. But I have a feeling it will be sooner 🙂

    Work hard and you will be where you want to be!


    • Hey Yaro, Thanks! I feel pretty good about it all.
      4 Months will come on you fast! Congrats for setting a date.

  • Well – only in this industry people congrats you for being laid off 😛

    Anyway, good luck with whatever you’re going to work on Doug.

    • Hey Tung, thanks! I see the same trend…entrepreneurs definitely see the advantage.

  • Kent Faver

    Sorry to hear about this Doug – but your attitude is inspiring!

  • I’m not gonna even say that I’m sorry Doug, good for you – as you said – no more excuses 😉 All the best mate.

    But, do you think that being open on the net and sharing your internet marketer life online could force your employer to make such and not another decision?

  • I have been let go (laid off) before, and it can be really stressful at first. There is the mad rush to find another job, to search for meaning in the life change, and to prop up the ego after being let go. What I did was write a little about it and then organize my thoughts into a small book. It was helpful in giving me a direction for my energy and thoughts. Also, it got me thinking about how to recover emotionally… and it got me motivated to start a freelance company for myself. That was 2014, and it was one of my favorite years of work ever! I hope you can focus on the positives and move forward with excitement about the possibilities ahead!

  • Hey Doug,

    This is quite shocking post from you ! Again, I see through this whole thing with a different lens.

    What ever happens in our life,it doesn’t just happen. Things happen because we attract them – either positive or negatives (yes, the law of attraction theory).

    And whatever happened in your life during past 2 years isn’t a just a coincidence. You were attracted towards entrepreneurship may be from the beginning, and these niche sites or other experiments you are doing are again no coincidence. If not niche sites, you would have discovered something else.

    Because, there is an intentional reminder for you from the universe, telling your inner self that you have unlimited potential and make it big in becoming your own boss, better yet – have no boss.

    So, keep the cubicle memories with you ,I know it’s hard to forget the scrums and sprints 🙂

    Keep doing great work, keep experimenting (remember, internet entrepreneurship is like a bubble. It can rock your world upside down if you play with just one card. ). Build a great site that shines like a star and doesn’t shatter from the jitters of search engine rankings.

    It does take time and sometimes feel like shooting in the dark, but it pays off for sure.

    My 2 scents. Take care Doug and all the best 🙂

  • Sorry to hear about your layout Doug, hope the difficult times have passed now and your entrepreneurship dreams are flowering now. I agree with others. Having a supportive wife is the best blessing you can get in this world.