Facing The Layoff Fear: Hubby’s Confidence Hit A New Low

The news

Yesterday morning, at about 10:30 AM, I was breastfeeding Baby F2 while watching a Vietnamese drama.

Basically, I was enjoying life and killing time with a baby attached to me pretty much most of the day.

Suddenly, I got a message from Mr. FAF on Google Hangout:

Mr. FAF: I just met with my boss.

Me (Thinking it was just another weekly check-in): Ok. What did he say?

Mr. FAF: I need to find a new team. He said I’m not a good fit for the current team.

Me: Are you ok? Do you want to talk on the phone?

Mr. FAF: No. I’m ok.

I could hardly believe what I just saw. I was in denial for a few seconds.

Then reality started to sink in. I felt like I had just been struck by lightening.

I froze.

Suddenly, I just couldn’t think straight anymore.

I felt like I was lost, disoriented, and scared.

It was actually a feeling I had experienced years ago when I finally decided to leave a doctoral program.

I felt like a lost soul, not knowing what would happen to me and my life. Then, I tried to gather all the coolness I had left and messaged back:

Me: It’s ok. Just find a new team like your colleague did. People change teams all the time. Don’t worry too much. Just stay focused and start looking for a new position.

Mr. FAF: I am. I’m ok.

Mr. FAF didn’t say much. He didn’t freak out like what I had expected. Maybe he tried to stay calm to not freak me out. Maybe he saw that coming like what he had been telling me all along.

Either way, I felt like my own boss had just sat me down and told me I was being laid off. I tried to console Mr. FAF:

Me: It’s ok. I still have a job (which I didn’t even know I would be able to keep after returning to work post maternity leave).

Mr. FAF: He said he wasn’t firing me. But I need to join a new team.

Related: How Fearing Layoffs Affects Our Financial Plans

Mixed feelings

We ended the conversation on that note so that Mr. FAF could return to work. After that moment, I just couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

In my mind was a furry of uncertainty, fear, guilt, and confusion.

I was uncertain if Mr. FAF could find a new team. I was scared because we just had a baby, and him not having a job would put a huge financial strain on our budget.

I felt guilty for buying all those baby products on Amazon. I should just saved the money for an emergency like this. And I was confused as to what I could do to help.

I’m on maternity leave and have taken over most of the housework so that he could focus on his work. Maybe I should try to be more supportive of him.

In a nutshell, I felt like Mr. FAF was getting fired, and that I was also getting laid off although that wasn’t the case.

RelatedHow We Keep Our Monthly Expenses At $2,200 With A New Baby (sans Mortgage & Daycare)

Feeling inadequate

The day went by without either of us bringing up that topic again. I didn’t want to distract Mr. FAF from his work. Mr. FAF probably didn’t want to worry me or was dealing with his own internal turmoil.

Later that day, when Mr. FAF got home, he came into the kitchen where I was preparing dinner and told me he felt really depressed. Then to console himself and me, he said, “But it’s ok. I knew it was going to happen.”

I told Mr. FAF that it reminded me of the time when I was dropping out of the doctoral program. But I felt so much happier after I felt and never looked back.

Mr. FAF then told me he had talked to a colleague who had left the team. His colleague still works at the same company but now likes his new team and feels so much happier than before. He has never regretted leaving that team.

To be fair, the team is great. Mr. FAF said he just didn’t feel like he fit in, and the work was not easy either.

Before we went to bed, Mr. FAF told me that his self-confidence was at an all-time low. I tried to cheer up him, saying that it’s just a challenge in life all of us have to face at one point.

And then Mr. FAF started apologizing to me:

Mr. FAF: I’m sorry.

Me: For what? (I kinda knew he was apologizing for disappointing me and probably for feeling inadequate as a husband and a dad – aka the breadwinner of the family).

Mr. FAF: For everything. I am a loser.

Related: What To Do When You Feel Like A Loser

Deep down, I felt bad for him. I knew what he was going through. I could guess how he felt. He felt that he was letting our kids and me down.

Disappointing the ones that you love is probably one of the most guilt-ridden and demoralizing self-inflicted feelings one can have.

And when those loved ones are little human beings (our kids) who depend on you both financially and emotionally, that feeling is even more exacerbated.

I just told him everything would be ok. That night, Mr. FAF revised his resume and reached out to the recruiters who had contacted him for interviews. He’s preparing for the next chapter in his life and in our lives.

Related: Our Plan To Move Out Of DC

A sense of security

Mr. FAF told me that one good thing in our plan so far is that we’re almost paying off the mortgage.

In fact, we are scheduled to pay off the loan from the bank by the end of this year 2018. But we also have some loans from our family that would take us at least 6-7 more months to pay off.

If Mr. FAF gets laid off, at least we can delay paying the loan to our family and won’t have the bank foreclose on our house. And we will be able to live on my income until he can secure another job.

I’m also glad that we didn’t have the down payment for the $600,000 house we saw a while back. If we had bought it, we would be under so much stress just to pay the monthly mortgage payment while fearing a loss of income.

RelatedThat Time We Wished We Had $150,000

Conclusion

We agreed that we wouldn’t tell our parents about the news since it would just make them worried. I know our situation is not that bad. Maybe we’re just overreacting.

But the fear is real. And layoffs can happen anytime.

It’s a bit scary to me to think that our happiness, confidence, and sense of security depend on someone else’s decision.

Being told that we are not good enough or not a good fit for something feels like a rejection and a confirmation of all the self-doubt and self-deprecating thoughts we have about ourselves.

Mr. FAF has been coming home looking depressed and telling me he likes like a loser for the past few months. Now he got a final push from his boss to look for a new team and possibly a new job.

Mr. FAF has a couple of interviews lined up. And his father is here to help out with our baby and housework so that he can focus on preparing for those interviews.

I thought we were secure with two full-time jobs, but our future continues to be uncertain…

Related:

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The Pros & Cons Of Being A Female Breadwinner

What’s It Like Being Married To A Software Engineer?

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19 thoughts on “Facing The Layoff Fear: Hubby’s Confidence Hit A New Low”

  • That sucks to hear. However, just like you said, Mr. FAF needs to focus on some of the positive outlooks.

    I think self esteem and future career outlooks are something that many others struggle with, especially since employment is not really a sure thing anymore.

    Hope things turn for the better and that he’ll find a better fit elsewhere if he decides to transfer to another team.

  • I’m so sorry to hear this. I hope everything works out okay. I’m sure he’ll find a new team that is a great fit.

  • I sympathize with your husband. I’ve been there before. I had always been very successful in every job, but then I hired in at a new job and was assigned a manager that I hadn’t interviewed with, and we never connected. She felt I never met her standards and I felt her expectations of me were unattainable. The nine months I worked there were the absolute worst of my professional career. The good news is that I ended up at my current job, where I’ve now been for over 12 years, and I quickly regained my self-confidence. It really is important not to dwell on not having a good fit where he’s at now. That happens. It’s happened. The important thing now is to find that fit that will show him as the great team member and performer that he has been and will once again be.

  • I would not worry about this at all. Your hubby has a golden degree. He could throw a dart on the map and find a job anywhere in the US in this economy. I have a CS degree too and have been laid off quite a few times.

    The first time I was laid off was at the peek of the subprime mortgage crises in 2009. We are always a single income family. I got a bit panicked. But we had no kids and a solid 2 year worth of emergency fund. Back then, it was extremely hard to find a job and I watched my co-workers laid off one by one. and then my turn came. We survived fine. Frugality is key. Now we do not feel a thing about layoffs.

    Layoffs are like the stress tests that the Fed conducts on the banks in the US from time to time.

    I think walking away from that big house purchase is perhaps one of the best decisions you guys have made. That thing would be a double edged sword hanging over you guys neck for a long long time. I personally like the stock market better than the real estate. The stock market in the US beats the housing market by a wide margin based on the historical data.

  • Thank you for being so open and honest about what you and MrFAF are facing as a family. I know everything will be ok, but I can understand the feelings you’re both having. Sending positive vibes as always <3

  • “It’s a bit scary to me to think that our happiness, confidence, and sense of security depend on someone else’s decision.” That is what you said but you need to think about that some more. If your happiness, confidence and sense of security depend on what your husband’s boss decides then you are living a dangerously fragile existence. My boss never had a shred of control over my happiness and confidence. If he was stupid enough to ever think about firing me then it was going to be his loss, I knew I’d be fine. Confidence and happiness are choices you get to make and nobody on this planet has the power to make you feel anything at all. You decide how you feel so why give that guy, who cares nothing about you at all, that kind of power over your life?

    • You both make good points. Disappointments can certainly affect your mood and over a long term that can affect your outlook.

      But you both are sort of saying the same thing in regards to how employment can be tenuous. I think that’s why a lot of people start to seek financial independence. So that external factors like job loss have a smaller domino effect on other aspects of your life.

  • I remember the time an old boyfriend called me at work and told me he had been fired. It was the second time it had happened in a year, so I felt extra helpless.

    I’ve been at “easy” jobs where I was not a fit, and I had to realize that it wasn’t anything personal against me, and that there were other companies out there that WERE a good fit. It definitely was an ego bust that I wasn’t good at everything, but the bad company only paved the way for me to find a better place. Plus, Mr. FAF has in-demand skills, so I’m sure he’ll be able to find something new fairly quickly.

    And think of all the saving that you have done in the background. You’ve got this!

  • Sorry to hear. It is going to be hard to tell you everything is going to be ok when there are babes in tow. But it will be due to low employment rate. Deep breath and keep trucking along

  • I am much older than you (58.5 ) and at the height of the recession, I lost my job. I had already been cut back in income by 39% so I knew it was coming. I was not a good fit. This is difficult to write, but it is really what happened. I was the only female and divorced. All the others (4) in my position, were white married church going males, from the town, with solid political connections. I knew that the grant money had dried up, and put financial pressure on my boss. He actually said to me, you can move easier than anyone else. Uhmmmm no, I was a single divorced parent, with a mortgage, one kid still in high school, two in college, and the other one I also helped out with (I have four kids). So, I got the ax. I moved two hours away. Four months later, I found the exact same position, making the same as my original salary. This was a very diverse office, and I fit in totally. I have been here seven years. Mind you, I never changed how I performed I work. I did the exact same thing at this job, as I did at my old job. The only difference is that I was praised for how wonderful my work was, and how hard I work.I am soooo much happier at this job. I am going to retire sometime within the next three years. This blimp at work is not a reflection on your husband and his work ability. He will find a better place to work, because it sounds like the current place sucks.

  • Good luck with the job search! Finding a new job is part of the corporate culture now. Mr. FAF will just have to get used to it. Once he goes through a few of these, he’ll get disillusioned about the engineering career and want to retire early like me.
    My tip is to find a boss he likes. That’s very important today.

    • Hopefully, her hubby does not get to that disillusion stage too quickly. Otherwise , it would be a long long grind. ahead. It is important to build the life you want and save for it.

      I agree with you that having an awesome boss is way more important than a few more bucks. I have seen quite a few posts on Reddit about high income earners leaving for less pay and less stress.

  • I just want you to know that you and Mr FAF are not alone. My spouse and I went through something very similar (and I suspect it’s with the same company too), and it caused us an extreme amount of stress over the course of about six months. I personally feel that the toxic culture combined with their “hire and fire” strategy of that company was the real reason why it ultimately did not work out. It had nothing to do with capabilities or skills. Please tell Mr FAF that his experience is not unique and that he should not take it too much to heart. My spouse experienced the same huge drop in self confidence at work and felt much better after finding other opportunities. I hope Mr FAF seriously considers going elsewhere to a company that actually values and invests in their employees and provides a better internal culture.

  • So sorry to hear this. I hope everything works out. I think it’s good that you’re keeping a positive outlook. It sounds like you are in a decent position to handle this curveball, but it sucks nonetheless. You are both in my thoughts.

  • Sorry to hear about Mr. FAF’s workplace travails. Not fun. The good news is that Mr. FAF’s boss gave him some time to adjust. He didn’t just say, “Sorry. Things aren’t working out. Goodbye.” The other good news is that FIL is in town to help out on the home front. This will give Mr. FAF the space to reflect and rededicate himself to finding his best fit at the company. If it’s any consolation, I’m pulling for Mr. FAF. He’s a good man and he’ll turn this unfortunate situation around. Cheers.

  • Nothing wrong with changing teams!! My hubby had to change teams once too – it’s actually kind of a hack…change teams a lot = delay layoff. Don’t worry, it’s not your hubby. Amazon has a harsh environment so changing teams is basically what A LOT (if not most) people stay at Amazon 🙂

  • Definitely sobering stuff, but it sounds like there’s a good chance that finding a new team will fix the situation. Still, I see how it could feel demoralizing to be told you’re not a good fit.

    I hope his interviews go well!

  • I have a feeling everything will work out OK for him! Why? B/c he has your support, and he is in a field that is in high demand. Fit can be fixed with a new company or group.

    The economy is tight, and I’m confident he will land on his feet.

    Best, Sam

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