Discover more from FAANG FIRE
The Severance Chronicles: Week 1
Hey FAANG FIRE,
It has officially been 10 days since I was laid off from Meta. I have received such an outpouring of kindness and support from so many people this past week. Thank you again, it means a lot to me, and has been motivating me to put more time into this newsletter.
A big welcome to the >1,000 new subscribers, I am glad to have so many of my former coworkers here! I already have multiple partially finished posts that will continue to drive towards my goal of helping more FAANG workers be able to FIRE. Please share feedback with me over the next few weeks as I iron out the financial focus areas and hone in on the right cadence.
For Paid FAANG FIRE Subscribers and 1:1 FIRE Coaching Clients I will be hosting a live FIRE Office Hours on May 9th. Invites and reminders will be sent out next week. Thank you again for your support.
Severance Week 1
I am technically still a Meta employee during the 60 day WARN period (90 days in New York). This means that anyone who has yet to contribute to their 401k is still able to as long as you are receiving your usual paychecks. It is important to note that PTO and severance payouts are not eligible wages that can go towards 401k contributions.
Speaking of New York, those who were let go in May should also be eligible for their August RSU vests! This only applies to those in New York, and according to the New York Labor Department, only those assigned to the New York office. Enjoy that extra vest, New Yorkers.
The friendly NY Labor Department also let me know that my plans to move to New York ahead of the layoffs in order to qualify for the additional vest wouldn’t fly since I would need to be assigned to the office and not just be a remote worker in New York. Oh well, it was worth a shot!
I am working on a more detailed post outlining how to optimize your severance period but in the mean time much of what I wrote in “Financially Optimizing a Mid-Year Job Change” applies. The only immediate additions I would add are to be sure to optimize for having an emergency fund. It may not be as easy to land another job particularly one in the same compensation bands as FAANG.
On a personal note, my 5 year old daughter’s pre-school had a half day on Thursday, and Friday, and Monday off for an extended long weekend. On top of that she has had a pretty rough cold that has kept everyone in the house up at night and meant she needed to stay home from school sick on Tuesday. All of that to say, the first week without work has not really given me a glimpse of what time off might actually look like. I am hoping next week proves a little more chill.
Key Severance Period Highlights and Learnings So Far
Got to take my daughter to her movie theatre experience! At noon on a Friday no less! Little Mermaid was great, she loved it. I only wish they would have cut Prince Eric’s song in favor of keeping the song “Les Poissons”.
Went to the Apple Store to scope out buying my own cellphone and computer. Walked out experiencing my first feeling of dread after being laid off. Having to last-minute buy a phone and a laptop just sucks.
Went to Costco and bought an unlocked iPhone and Mac Mini knowing that their 90 day return policy could give me more time to figure out what I actually want to buy. I really just want a cellphone to hold me over until the iPhone 15 comes out and I can never need to worry about lightning cables again. I have also concluded that I need a laptop and more ram… hoping for an Apple refresh next week.
Signed up for a great $20 per month cellphone plan with T-Mobile that is special for current and former Meta employees. 90% of the way through releasing and porting over my cell phone number off my work device. I currently have two numbers…
Updating my estimated Total Comp including severance details. I’ll share more details about how I updated my dashboards to incorporate this and the publicly shared details of Meta’s severance package. I am estimating that my Total Comp will be 25% lower than anticipated… which isn’t too bad considering it assumes $0 earned for the next 7 months! I mean… sure it goes to 0% for 2024, but who’s counting (I am definitely counting). Note: This excludes my partner’s comp which covers our expenses and allows us to continue to save.
Applied for Unemployment. This is very state specific. But according to the California Employment Development Department “WARN pay is not wages for unemployment insurance purposes and does not affect the claimant's eligibility for unemployment benefits.” This will provide up to $450 per week for 26 weeks. Any income earned will subtract from the $450 received. That gives me a personal goal to try and earn $450 each week to challenge myself to not use it. If you are eligible I would definitely apply. Your employer has been paying into this your entire working career and if you are eligible, use it. Other states may require that you wait until your WARN pay stops before applying.
Audited all my benefits to make sure I am not leaving anything on the table. Realized that I can use my “Backup Child Care” benefit to cover 10 days of my daughters summer camp (you should have 15 days total but her pre-school runs partially through July). I will have 1 pair of sunglasses to pick up through my VSP benefit.
Started learning how to play chess. Learned to defend against the scholars checkmate after the 15th time.
Happy to go into more details on any of these points or if you have any questions just let me know.
Bonus Comic. I’ll work on my avocado drawing skills.