i just lost my job. 5 reasons why i’m not worried
I just joined the 147,000 people who got laid off in the Silicon Valley area. This is a situation that has been going on since late 2022, so I was surprised to find myself among this number just recently. The moment I was called into that meeting, my heart was pounding really hard inside of my chest. After the call was over, I waited for days to feel anger, sadness or even disappointment at myself. All I could feel was relief, which is something that I did not expect at first. Here are 5 reasons why I’m not worried.
During the pandemic, I moved from Germany to the US and got myself a full-time WFH job for a tech company that never forced us to go back in person. I never met my employers in person, and I never stepped foot in the office. As a marketing analyst, I only had one hourly meeting per week, and I was trusted to do my job without any supervision, which I was incredibly grateful for. As long as I could stick to the California time zone, and have a consistent quality output, there was no micro management involved.
becoming a digital nomad
What did I do? Forego having a home to save money and travel full-time. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive parts of the world to live in. Given that my salary was officially under the poverty line, I would have struggled to make ends meet if I stayed there. I have lived and traveled all around the world since 2005, but have always picked bases to travel from. I wanted to see what traveling full-time would be like, and this job finally allowed me to fulfill this dream. I traveled extensively around the US for a year with this job, then decided to go abroad.
As a full-time traveler and digital nomad, I was spending much less than I was making. I would save and invest the rest. My travels took me across the three Americas, around Europe, East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Whenever I would visit a country where I could not work from for legal purposes – like Afghanistan, Venezuela and Syria, I’d take unpaid time off work. My supervisors were flexible. I am in a privileged position to have no debt so this was a luxury I could allow myself. My extensive international experience allowed me to perfect the art of digital nomadism. I was living in a state of exhilaration. I was loving life.
But as dreamy as this all sounds, I was exhausted. Mentally, I was thriving. Physically, I was on the verge of collapse. I fell ill a few times in countries where I had no knowledge of the local language. I was juggling a full-time job, with full-time travel, freelancing, content creation and working on personal projects. I knew that I had to make changes soon before I crashed and burned. And then, thinking that I had survived the layoff purge in Silicon Valley, I was brought back to Earth. In the first week of May 2023, I got laid off with no severance pay. The US has the worst labor laws of all wealthy nations in the world, so this did not come as a surprise. So why am I not worried?
Hey there, and welcome to Go Global with Sibu! I’m a global citizen that has been living and traveling around the world since 2005 – all through budget travel, scholarships, study/work and living abroad opportunities. I share everything I’ve learned over the years here – to prove to you that you don’t need money or privilege to enjoy everything that this world has to offer.
REASON 2: SIDE HUSTLES
I am a firm believer of side hustles. The point of side hustles is not to overwork yourself, but to ensure that all of your eggs are not in one basket. Even if we aim for salary increases at our 9-5, these are not always achievable. Sometimes we struggle to make ends meet. Sometimes we just want to be able to spend, or save more. The most viable way to increase your income is to start offering your skills on the side. Whether it’s through a part-time job, or on a freelance basis, this will allow you to build experience and a portfolio. If you lose your main source of income, you always have others to fall back on.
It is a common misconception that this takes a certain skill set. This could not be further from the truth. The possibilities are endless. You could become an Uber driver, or sell crafts from home. There are customer service jobs available in almost every main language that exists, and this could all be done remotely. Data management and simple editing only require knowing how to use a computer and a good grasp of the language required. Fiverr and Upwork are great platforms to get started. I was already freelancing before I lost this job. I will continue doing this and finding new clients so that my working hours match my previous income.
Reason 3: Financial management
I have taken many decisions along the years that have saved me from being in debt. I went to university in China for my Bachelor’s degree because it was more affordable than all the other choices I had at the moment. My tuition fee was $3000 USD/per year. My living expenses were around $400 USD per month. While this may not be affordable for people with a weak currency, or where education is free, it was an incredibly accessible price in the English-speaking world.
I have always lived below my means. I am frugal and know how to live well without spending much. Luxury and flashy items are of no interest to me. I believe in purchasing things that will actually be used, not left around and forgotten. Even when I did have a base, I would rent it out if I was gone for an extended period of time to save on living expenses. I also do not have any credit card debt. Lastly, I have an emergency fund to use if and when a situation like the current one I’m in ever happens. It just has. Even if I decided to do nothing for the next 6 months, I would be completely fine.
Reason 4: Geoarbitrage
Geoarbitrage is the act of moving to a place with a lower living cost while keeping the same income level. This is one of the best ways to achieve financial independence. I no longer have a steady income level, but moving back to the US or to Europe while I look for new clients or a new job would not be a wise move, in my opinion. Even if I did have a lease or a mortgage, I would find a way to have someone cover those expenses while I lived elsewhere.
I have not settled anywhere in the past 3 years, and I have moved from one location to the next every few weeks. I do this in places where my dollar will go further, or where I can take advantage of platforms like Trustedhousesitters, which provides free accommodation in exchange for petcare.
I am fully aware of the fact that I live a very privileged life where the only responsibility I have is to take care of myself, and I can do this anywhere in the world. Having two of the strongest passports in the world, from the US and Poland, also adds to this privilege. My intention would not be to sit at home, even if I had one. I am originally from Costa Rica, and I understand how difficult it can be as a woman of color to see the world the way that I have. I intend to continue using my situation to my advantage, for as long as I can.
Reason 5: Opportunity to explore new options
Settling for less can be relatively easy if you’re in a comfortable position. I am guilty of this. With the job that I just lost, I was making much less than I deserved. But I had flexibility and the means to travel the world, so I settled. It was fulfilling my immediate desires, but not my long-term goals.
Over the past two years, I have been working on a number of personal endeavors, some of which have led to making additional side incomes. One of them is a passion project that is actually on its way to becoming a new company that I’m co-founding. I do not know what the future holds, or if any of my projects will succeed, but I am excited to have more time to myself to explore these new options. If all else fails, I know that I can always go back and get a 9-5.
Coping Strategies for Dealing with Job Loss
This is not the first time I have lost my job. I’ve also had situations in the past where I was struggling to make ends meet. This is no longer the case, but I do understand the frustration. And in my opinion, one of the most dehumanizing aspects of job seeking is handling rejection after rejection. This is absolutely draining, and I am personally not looking forward to dealing with it again.
Here are some quick tips for dealing with job loss:
- Breathe: It happened. There is nothing that can be done to get it back. Do not expect to be in a constant state of positivity and optimism. That is not normal. Allow yourself to feel sad about it. It is a grieving process for many, after all.
- Be patient: There is no way to speed up time. We sometimes expect to make a comeback immediately, but these things take time.
- Cut down on costs immediately: Eating out, shopping, subscriptions – all of these expenses add up. Make a list of all your major expenses and look for ways to cut these down. This is only temporary.
- Think outside of the box: While you’re looking for employment, look for other ways to make money. It may not cover all of your expenses, but I am a firm believer that “some is better than nothing”.
- Learn new skills: Have you always wanted to pursue new things but never had the time to do so? I already gave you a few recommendations on where to begin. Is there anything you’re passionate about, or that you know would increase your value in the job market? The “YouTube university” is also a great place to pick up some skills.
- Reach out to others: LinkedIn and personal connections have never been more valuable. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Let others know that you’re looking for employment. We all know how valuable referrals can be and you never know who might be able to lend you a helping hand.
- Take baby steps: every single day you’re going to be closer to getting what you want, if only you make the effort to do so. One application per day, for example, might not seem like much, but taking some action is better than none. Consistent effort pays off.
My future plans
I will not sit around and do nothing for a few months, even though I could. Yes, I am a bit anxious about how things will pan out but I have officially decided not to look for a new job or new clients until the end of the summer. I’m flying out to Africa shortly, and I will spend my summer working on my projects from there. These specific flights had already been purchased. I decided not to back out on my plans. If I had known I was going to get laid off, I would have flown to Asia instead.
My freelancing pays well, better than my full-time job did. However, I do not work enough hours to cover even a third of what I was making before. In order to focus on more immediate projects, I’ll take this risk and deplete some of my savings. Temporarily, of course. I will reconvene with myself at the end of the summer and decide what to do then. Last, but not least, I am looking forward to taking 40 weekly hours off my workload. I love my life, but it is physically exhausting. I am excited to see what this summer will bring. And most importantly, to share it with all of you.
I have been told over the last few years that I am very optimistic. I don’t know about that. What I do know is that there are always ways to make things work, you just have to go out to look for them. I hope all of these tips, along with my personal story, helped you out. I know how frustrating this process can be, and I’ve shed a good amount of tears in the past over the job seeking frustration. I haven’t even shed one this time around, which goes to show that things can definitely improve over time. If you have any questions or comments, just drop them here below. And if you’re going through a similar process, I’m sending you a big hug. I promise that this will all be in the past one day, and you’ll be surprised at your resilience and perseverance
Hi, I’m Sibu! A global citizen, foodie, and fan of everything that this world has to offer. You’re on the right page if you want to:
- learn how to take advantage of free international travel opportunities
- move abroad at some point. Temporarily or permanently!
- travel smartly by stretching your money, and your mind!
I have been traveling and moving around the world since I was a baby. And when I was 17, I had the opportunity to move to China on my own. And I took advantage of it. That’s where my journey really begins. I didn’t have a lot of money, but my priority was to travel. And I made it work.
Through trial and error, I’ve managed to travel to dozens of countries around the world. I left “home” on a one-way ticket 16 years ago, and I haven’t stopped since. And no, despite what people might think, there are no rich parents, s()g@r d@ddy or hidden boyfriends funding all of this.
I’ve worked and studied abroad. I’ve dealt with visas, job hunting and trying to make ends meet and I have learned so much along the way. I’ve also found ways to travel for free. And I’m using this page to pass on my knowledge, because as cheesy as this sounds, I truly believe that most of the world’s problems could be solved through travel. We are not as different from each other as we think we are. And while I know that travel isn’t accessible for everyone, my aim with this page is to help you make that trip, or move abroad, happen.
So come along. I’m so happy to have you here. And Go Global with Sibu.