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Severance FIRE? #metalayoffs
Hey FAANG Fire,
I have some personal news to share. Although in retrospect it appears as though I was foreshadowing this all along.
Regardless of what happens next month. If this is my last vest of Meta stock, then that'll be the end of this chapter.
But regardless, it's been a good nine years.
-A quote from my 9 year Metaversary reflections
I had my alarm set for 4am this morning. I grabbed my laptop and checked my outlook while sitting at the kitchen table in the dark. I hit refresh a few times to make sure it was syncing. Then it came through at 4:07 am. “Unfortunately you’ve been included in today’s layoff.”
I then proceeded to Meta’s internal Workplace, sent messages to my team, posted a customary badge photo, and shared some final thoughts with the Meta FIRE group that I was likely too active in.
Right after hitting post… my access to workplace was gone.
I am sharing here some of what I wrote:
I’ll make this quick since I am not sure when my workplace access will get cut off.
I have always been very focused on FIRE, being frugal, and found the core tenets of the FIRE movement simple, and easy to follow. Add to that the incredible privilege of working at a place like Meta for 9 years and I am closer to my financial goals than I ever thought possible.
Sure, I moved the goal post further away a few times. I initially thought a $60k per year would be enough to live off. Then $75k… then I had a kid and it tossed a lot of my old assumptions out the window.
It also made it easier for me to really think about “What is Enough”. This is something I would encourage you all to think about as well. You are at Meta. That is a good thing. Accept the privilege and capitalize on it. The true greatness of FIRE is the optionality that it gives you. You are standing on third base with 0 outs, you don’t need to be trying to hit homeruns with every at bat.
The financial aspects were the easy part. Don’t forget about the “why” behind your FIRE.
Am I actually FIRE now?
I think I could be FIRE in nearly any city other than the one I am currently in (San Francisco). But I am happy here. My 5 year old daughter starts kindergarten in August. My wife is also happy with her current job. I am not sure what is next. I am looking forward to spending more time with my daughter this summer and figuring out my why.
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Severance FIRE is very much a real thing. Popularized by Sam Dogen of Financial Samurai who even sells a book “How to Engineer Your Layoff”. It is all about negotiating a sizable severance as you close in on your FIRE goals to maximize your exit.
Unfortunately, in my case, my exit today was not part of a masterful plan to FIRE into the sunset. Although perhaps it is just semantics — Severance FIRE, Severance FIREd? FIRE Fired? In any case I am not ready to hang my keyboard up just yet, particularly if I want to stay in the Bay Area longer like I am currently planning to do.
How Am I Doing?
I have had a number of people message me to check in and see how I am doing. In a strange way I am almost relieved. Relieved that the three months of uncertainty has finally come to a close.
What I do know though is that thanks to my emergency fund and focus on FIRE I am not stressed about the financial side of things — and Meta’s generous severance certainly doesn’t hurt on that front either not to mention the benefit of a working partner.
Honestly, I don’t know what’s next. I am ok with that. I have plenty of time to figure it out.
Now I have a new set of challenges to nail down. I am writing newsletter right now from my work laptop that will be locked down in a few hours. While on a hotspot from a phone that will cease to work in a few weeks. So my first order of business re-learning how to buy a phone and get my own cell phone plan. Then getting a laptop (which is annoying needing to do anytime, but particularly annoying when it is just a few weeks from an Apple event).
I also wanted to say thank you to you all. I am really thankful to have you all here. The kind words of support have been a very bright spot on what would have been a gloomy day.
To my fellow co-workers who were impacted, don’t hesitate to reach out. We have the unfortunate but fortunate benefit of being the 4th wave of Meta layoffs and can build off all the learnings from those in prior rounds (and make sure you are in all the ex-Meta facebook groups).
For the next few months it looks like I’ll have more time to write too! Send over any topics you would be interested in.
A few on my list:
Financial Steps I am Taking During my Warn Notice Period
Avocado FIRE deep dive
Updated “New Grad to FIRE” Guide or at least a refresh consolidated into 1 page
Refreshed City FIRE Analysis
DINK → Finances with Kids
Reproductive Benefits across FIRE
I also suddenly have a very open calendar available for 1:1 FIRE coaching. (If you were just laid off, just shoot me an email, and we can grab some time).