Lay offs . . . where? I still can’t find a parking spot!


shopping and economyI have a couple friends who were laid off before the holidays. Companies across the map (well, namely in my home state of sunny Michigan) sent their hardworking employees off with a 6-week package wrapped in Santa paper. Nice timing, Corporate America.

They were just some of hundreds who were cast out of auto-related companies: suppliers, supporters, distributors, advertising agencies. Just in time to spend their last paycheck on a kazoo for new years. The mockery ensues.

And one would think that with the resulting and impending holiday shopping budget cuts, tumbleweeds and hollow winds would replace shoppers at the supposed ghosted local shopping spots.

So why can I still not find a parking spot at Target?

So with that in mind… Honestly, why am I three cars deep in Row Y of a shopping mall in a town where gross percentage of workers have been laid off? And more importantly, why are these people shopping the after-Christmas sales for totally unnecessary ornaments and garland? Is that clearance snowman fleece warm enough to offset the cold when your heat’s shut off? Don’t get mad, it’s just a question.

But, dare I say it, if I’m jobless in Detroit the day after Christmas, the only place you’re going to find me is on I mean, I hate to try and stall your efforts at reinvigorating the economy, but a 75%-off reindeer sweater isn’t going to solve the problem. Unless it’s for an interview – um, it better not be for an interview – shouldn’t we be holding onto those dollars like a toddler on a pant-leg?

I don’t know; maybe I’m conservative. I know I have a lot of gall talking from my cushy office chair in a cube I’m still allowed to come back to 5 days a week. But the fact that I’m hanging onto my job for dear life doesn’t stop me from being prepared should I not have one. We’re taking precautionary actions in the event that further lay offs WOULD come to our collective household. Call me Ebenezer, but I’ve already spotted the three toys my daughter hasn’t yet played with and I’ll tell ya what… If the Hannah Montana Guitar, Biggest Littlest Pet Shop and Bratz Globe don’t get some serious love within the next seven days, you better believe they’re taking a one-way flight back to the North Pole.

Choo-Choo! Here comes the excuse train, and it looks like Santa’s driving!

I’ve heard a myriad of excuses for people postponing their job hunt. Yes, I said the ‘job hunt’. No, not postponing the ‘work start-date’ until after the new year, but postponing the job search itself. My question: Do we think finding a job is going to be that easy? Do we think there are so many jobs available that we can put off even looking for one? Let me clarify: Even your local Starbucks Baristas are being let go, forced to strap on the snowshoes and mush to the next after-school job spot.

Granted, I’m not exactly Mrs. Go-With-The-Flow. I can’t really wrap my head around the whole ‘come what may’ idea or the ‘have faith and the money will come’ notion. I believe in taking action, taking all necessary steps, which is why it’s difficult for me to understand why anyone would deliberately put their job search on hold until after the holiday season. And yet, some have. There’s a movie that comes to mind: Fun with Dick and Jane, Columbia Pictures, 2005. Dick’s company, Globodyne, takes a nosedive and he and scads of coworkers are pressured to find work and fast. But of course, there’s one major company hiring and nearly Globodyne’s entire former staff has to compete for the same interview spot.

In this job market, that’s kind of what we’re talking about. And still, the excuse train is huffing full speed into the new year. I don’t care if you’re scarred by the lay off, or if you wanted to take the Christmas holiday off any way so you’re going to just avoid the possibility of work until the 1st. Frankly I don’t think it’ll be that hard to avoid work at all, because frankly there aren’t enough positions available to go around. So if you’re not first to market, you might be taking a longer Christmas vacation than you’d hoped.

We love you, Mrs. Hannigan

So listen, I hate to be all ‘Mrs. Hannigan’ here, but it’s high time to grab yourself by the ear lobe, drag yourself over to the laptop and revise the resume. Call some companies today. Make nice with the Human Resources Staff and get the email addresses of people who matter. Because honestly, your former coworkers probably already have. And for the love of all that is wealthy, keep out of the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot and steer your excuse train clear of the Christmas Clearance. Commit to avoiding superfluous spending until you get a paycheck from your future company, not your past one. Don’t wait until January 5th to get a handle on an open position, because in this market, that position won’t wait for you.

Photo Credit: Stoichiometry

About Author

Joshua Dorkin

Joshua Dorkin (@jrdorkin, Google+) founded when he saw a need for free, trustworthy information about real estate investing online. Over the past 12 years, Josh has grown the site from self-funded hobby to full-time job and passion. Today, BiggerPockets brings together over 600,000 members, housing the world’s largest library of real estate content, iTunes’ #1 real estate podcast, and an array of analysis tools, all geared toward helping users succeed.


  1. A lot of us have been scratching our heads as we watch our friends, family and the American public, in general.
    A lot of denial going on, jobs, but especially with the whole American way of life.
    The American “dream” needs to change.
    Go a head, ask one of those shoppers if they think “credit”
    means that it is their own money.
    We can blame Busch and the government, Wall Street, banks, job market but there is another big important piece, and you found it.

  2. I agree in general, but particularly with the comments concerning postponing a job search. It’s insane to do so in any economy. Every one I have ever known who took a few months “vacation” after losing a job wound up spending a lot more time on the search itself.

  3. Great post! I know that if I were to lose my job, I would begin the hunt right away. In addition, I’d probably get a temporary job at a nearby grocery or department store until I could find something more permanent. Nothing is beneath me when my family’s fundamental needs are on the line (and my wallet is thinning)! The last thing I would do is tap my savings and retirement plans.

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