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My Week: Why Bad News (Lay-Offs) is Good News (For Entrepreneurship)

April 7, 2009

Tuesday was a sad day at the start-up where I’ve been working for the past nine months.

Though I saw it coming for many weeks, I never anticipated how emotional, and personal, the loss would feel. Most of us non-builders, including product managers like me, were sorrowfully told to pick up our things and say goodbye.

I should have been sadder – most others seemed to be. I was sorry to part ways with my respected coworkers, now beloved friends, but, inside, I was ecstatic.

Am I going to look for another job? Am I going to call back the recruiters who’ve been leaving me voicemails?

I don’t think so.

I’ve worked since I was 14 and have loathed every single job I’ve ever had. Yes, this includes bagging groceries at Larry’s Market, and ringing up cosmetics at The Body Shop in the mall. But, it also includes the job I had playing with toddlers with developmental disabilities at UW, and the job I had on trail crew in the North Cascades. It includes working the weekend weddings at Stanford Memorial Church (ok, that one was kinda cool), and being a research intern to the famous Helen Stacy. It includes manual labor on French farms, and babysitting triplets in San Carlos.

The loathing even includes Google.

In the waning days of my job at the start-up, I finally realized that I am just not cut out to work for anybody BUT MYSELF.

And, lots of twentysomethings I’ve talked to in the past months are telling me the same thing.

“I’m going to do my own thing for a little while.”

“Jack and I are working on a project together.”

“I’ve got some friends at this start-up…”

Aside from the push toward self-discovery, the REALLY good thing about being laid off is that now’s a great time to start your dream project.

A quick Google search for “new companies during recession” turned up this highly relevant CNN Money article:

Your Next Business Forget the recession.

What's up with the grammar in this headline?? Still, I get it... recessions aren't all bad!

Funny thing is, the article is from 2002, but is just as relevant now as ever.

Here are the reasons you CAN start businesses during this recession:

1. Leaner, meaner ideas. Recessions make the idea market more competitive, no bubbles, only really good stuff gets through. Things that cost too much to run, or don’t prove themselves to be a profitable, are less likely to be worked on. The ideas that are more likely to be worked on are those with a proven profit model and are easy to scale.

2. Perks (and collar-n-leash loyalty) diminish. When finances go south, your company will probably not be as awesome and supportive to you as you’d always expected. In turn, your loyalty to your company, and your attachment to comfy perks, may wane. This could be just the push you need.

3. Free money! If you get laid off, you’ll get severance and unemployment to last you for a bit while you incubate your business.

4. Free talent! During widespread layoffs, lots of spectacular talent is jobless, and otherwise unoccupied, making it a great time to forge partnerships.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2009 10:54 pm

    So shall I preemptively lay myself off? Sounds awesome :P


  1. Today's Layoffs | Today's Layoffs

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