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My Laid-Off Life

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No. 7: Igor Gavrilov
Age: 30
Job: Fixed-income salesperson, Citigroup

As soon as I got a tap on my shoulder from my boss, I knew it was coming. He took me off to the conference room. They tell you that it’s not something that they want to do, that it’s something that’s handed down to them. We knew there would be layoffs in November. We don’t call it layoffs; we call it a “reduction in force” because it sounds better. It’s usually only to lose the deadweight, but this year it was a mixture of everything. Even though I knew that one in seven people were going, I didn’t think it was going to be me; I’d been with Citi for nine years. I have nothing but good memories from the job—that’s why I was there for so long. At some point, though, none of that matters. It’s your time to go.

My wife was incredibly upset. “How are we going to move on? How are you going to be able to find a job?” I thought she was going to take it better than that. The first couple of days were pretty bad—she was in shock—but then she realized that I could cook. I’ve been making anything with fish, anything that requires you to put actual work into it. I almost burned down the kitchen last week; the dish didn’t go as planned. There was scalding oil on the walls, the ceiling, the floor, everywhere. I learned from my mistakes; I won’t do that again.

There are other people who’ve been let go, and they’ve learned to cope with it. They get up in the morning and move on. But after I left the conference room, the realization hit me that there’d be no paycheck coming in.

We’ve become more aware of what we spend. We looked at our cable bill to see if we could cut something, but you can get one channel for $30 and you get the whole package for $40, so it didn’t make sense to cut there. We’ve stopped going out to eat as much. I was taking classes at NYU for an M.B.A. in quantitative finance—Citi helped by offering tuition reimbursement. I may cut back on classes now. NYU is a very expensive university—it’s something like $5,000 a class.

But overall, I’m comfortable with the way things are. Getting laid off was not my best-case scenario, but there’ve been some great things that have come out of it. I can pick my son up from school in the afternoon, play with my 1-year-old daughter, and have breakfast with my wife. I’ve had the chance to unwind. We may be in uncharted waters as far as the economy goes, but I’m not getting desperate. Given my qualifications and my experience, I think I’ll be able to get back into it.


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