Thanks For The Layoff

BusinessWeek ran an essay from a woman who was laid off just before Christmas last year where she takes an attitude different than what you see most of the time:

“This layoff may be one of the best things that has ever happened to me…It saved me a fortune on child care and the kids will forever remember it as the year we spent three days building the best gingerbread house ever….John, while severance would have been really nice, the gift that you gave me was an abundance of quiet, contemplative time to decide what to do with my life. Not a career, not my time, but my life. I hired a career coach (a tax-deductible job search expense, I thought to myself). I started a workout routine, and I wrote my day-to-day experiences down for myself as a way to order my thoughts…

“We cook food that looks like the way it naturally grew. I have more peace of mind than I can ever remember. I’m reading books for fun; I’m indulging in hobbies and spending time with friends and family. I’ve reconnected with old friends and I volunteer with causes that are important to me.

This is the most rewarding period of my life, ever.”


Granted, writer Jessica Ward (who has since launched her own freelance writing business in Seattle) had a husband in the workforce and presumably a cash cushion to let her take this time. For people without those luxuries, unemployment is terrifying. But that doesn’t diminish the value of what Ward did: stop and think about what she really wanted to do.