Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Tough times never last

Eight years ago, I was fresh out of college and eager to start my career in marketing. My first job was an entry-level position with the provincial government. Six months later, I was able to leverage my experience and earned a marketing position within municipal government.

From there, I ended up in Vancouver, worked for a few amazing companies, moved to Europe, pursued a freelance writing career… and eventually found myself back in Vancouver where I landed an amazing job as a Marketing Manager.

The first eight years of my career has certainly seen its ups and downs, and unfortunately this is one of those “down” moments. Due to downsizing, my position – along with many others – was eliminated yesterday. So now, I find myself unemployed.

Related: How to survive unemployment

At first I was really, really sad. Which is obviously a natural reaction. I enjoyed the people I worked with very much, and the thought of not seeing them every day is hard to deal with. I know I’m going to miss the diverse, challenging work – and it’s a company I truly believed in. I also felt bad for the other people that got let go. They have mortgages and families to take care of. It’s going to be difficult for everyone. Then I became angry – but angry at myself, and that was the wrong emotion to have. I kept thinking about what I could have done differently, and whether I just didn’t work hard enough in the year I was there. I felt stupid and useless. But truthfully, there’s nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening, and getting laid off isn’t a reflection of my skills as an employee either.

It’s been a tough 24 hours as I tried to process what happened. Lots of tears and frustration and pep talks. But that’s life. There are bound to be tough times, but it’s how you deal with those situations that defines you and makes you into a better person. Most of you know that I’ve been laid off before by a company, so I know what to expect. I know the roller coaster of emotions that comes along with losing your job, but most importantly I also know that I always come out of situations like this stronger than before. BF said if there’s one thing he’s learned about me is that I’m resilient, and my mom reminded me that, even in this poor job market, I’m still employable. I landed this last job within 4 days of arriving home from Germany. Not that I’m expecting that kind of result again, but despite how bad I feel now – just a day after this has happened – I know that unemployment won’t last forever.

As for my finances, of course this changes a lot of things. I’m eligible to collect Employment Insurance, so I will be applying for that after I receive my last pay cheque and severance pay (2 weeks). I’ll have to suspend my RRSP/TFSA contributions and long-term savings goals until further notice, and I have my Emergency Fund if necessary.

Related: Can you feed yourself for $100/month?

So that’s that. I’m going to work hard every day to prove to myself and my future employer that I am a skilled and valuable asset to any team. I’m going to stay positive, stick to a routine, and start networking. I am good at what I do, and there’s a company out there waiting to hire a person just like me. I know it. :)

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. says:

    I know I’m not your favourite person but just wanted to say I feel for you and I hope that things get better :)

    • says:

      Also Krystal you should apply for EI the day you are unemployed, NOT the day you receive your final pay. Doing so could result in a delay in your benefits being processed. I was recently on Medical EI myself and it took 5 weeks to get my payment which is a long time when you aren’t working!

      • Krystal Yee says:

        Yeah I applied for EI today, but won’t get my record of employment until I receive my last paycheque next week. The first time I was on EI, it took 11 weeks to get my first payment, which is ridiculous. Here’s hoping the wait is way less than that!

  2. Danielle says:

    Sorry to hear this, but from all the years I’ve followed your blog, I’m sure your bout of underemployment won’t last long. :)

  3. Alicia says:

    Sorry to hear that, Krystal. But you have the right attitude for sure. I wish you good luck in the job search, and perhaps if you have a little bit of extra time not eaten up by job searching you could increase the freelance side of things for a bit more money coming in?

  4. Addison Cash says:

    Sorry for your loss. I’ve been laid off before, so I can definitely relate to your feelings of sadness and anger, however, your positive attitude will no doubt be helpful is getting you back on your feet quickly.

  5. Sorry to hear about the recent job loss. Hang in there and things will get better. You’re a great writer and I’m sure you have lots of skills to offer any employer. And a great attitude. Things will get better and you’ll be back on your feet soon

  6. Nelle says:

    Sorry to hear that, Krystal. I was laid off last year and it was a really dark time for me, but from where I am this year it has been a really positive thing. It can be so hard to see the forest for the trees, but you are a tough person with a great work ethic.

    It’s great that you are jumping back into the job hunt right away, but it’s also OK to honor those feelings of loss and hurt (as you have in this post).

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Thanks Nelle. Glad to hear that you came back from your layoff with a positive attitude. It can definitely be hard, and this is still really new. But I’m hopeful. :)

  7. Sorry to hear about your job loss. Still, you’re extremely employable so I am not worried in the slightest that you will bounce back!

  8. Cassie says:

    Stay strong! I have no doubts that you will come out of this better off. :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    As someone who was unemployed about this time last year, You should be applying for you EI today. They will take your final pay and your severance pay plus any vacation into account. Once that is used you will then start your 2 week waiting period. Hence it takes 5-6 weeks to be able to get your first cheque.

  10. Kara says:

    Oh ack. I’m so sorry!! I’ve been laid off before, and it’s never fun, whether expected or not.

    Good luck on the job search!!

  11. Money Beagle says:

    Sorry to hear about that. You’ll bounce back into something different.

  12. NZ Muse says:

    Oh Krystal, wish you all the best and am POSITIVE this won’t last long.

  13. Sarah says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your layoff. I can’t believe they would get rid of the Marketing Manager – are they just not doing marketing anymore, or outsourcing it? It makes no sense to me. Good luck!

  14. Jasmine says:

    I’ve been laid off and so has Vic (two years ago, we were laid off at the same time for almost a year!)… and he’s going to be laid off again in April (>_<) so I feel your pain. You are awesome though, so this is going to just be a minor bump in the road. Keeping my fingers crossed for you

  15. Krystal, I’m very sorry to hear about your job loss. It’s important to stay positive. Think of this as an opportunity to find a new job that drives your passion. I’m sure there are many companies looking for a superb writer like you. If there’s anything I can do to help, please reach out to me.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I know its hard to process right now. Give yourself some time. You never know this may turn into a great opportunity elsewhere.

  17. I’ve followed your blog for ages, so I definitely remember when you found yourself unemployed before. You found something bigger and better then and I’m sure it will be the same this time around. Maybe this could be a sign that you should give freelancing another shot?

  18. Nicole Wilkinson says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about you being laid off. But, having read your blog for a while now, I know you’re a hard worker, and that kind of work ethic will make sure that you find a new job that suits you soon enough. Keep up the positive attitude and I just know you’ll do fine.

  19. Chafien says:

    With over 100K networth, you shouldn’t be worried at all lol…

  20. SP says:

    I know how much you were enjoying your job and I’m really sorry to hear this. It is a loss, even if it will lead to a new opportunity for your career. Good luck in the job hunt – I know you’ll find something great!

  21. jolie says:

    wow that certainly is fast – informed and done in one day. You are one of the most resilient people I know, and good things are going to come your way. Doesn’t make the reality of this news any less easy to handle. The next company is going to be darn lucky to land you.

  22. Bet Crooks says:

    I’m sorry to hear your news and I agree the rollercoaster of emotions can be very draining. Fortunately, you’ve kept your skills sharp and your freelance abilities provide some backup, so you are better positioned to get through this than many people I know.

    Here’s hoping you’ll be one of those people who says a year from now, “actually the best thing that ever happened to me was when….”!

  23. I would like to also offer my sympathies along with the rest of the commenters. I’ve never been laid off before, however I’ve quit a lot of jobs without having something lined up and I know how frustrating it can be, being unemployed. I feel like I have been there WAY too many times.

    Kudos to you for remaining positive. It’s not an easy thing to do. Hopefully as this door closes, another door of opportunity will open for you soon. Best of luck to you in the job hunt!!

  24. That sucks. Really. :( Are they offering you any compensation? I’m sure a new job will be along before long.

  25. Trang Phan says:

    Positive attitude. I like you already. As long as you know unemployment is a temporary thing then keep moving forward to pursue your dream.

  26. Sorry to hear this Krystal, but you have a great attitude, you’re very capable, and from your writing I can tell you are goal driven and focused. You’ll be up and running in short order, but you’ve also had the foresight to prepare for things like this with an emergency fund and by keeping your network alive. I hope others learn from your great example and prepare for these inevitable bumps in life.

    I’ve been laid off several times in my career (company restructuring/downsizing/offshoring, startup going under, etc.), and while it is upsetting and life-changing, it is also a great opportunity for self-reflection and renewal and making a refreshing change in direction. (Perhaps after a few drinks! :) )

    It does help to realize that while it can feel VERY personal to you, from the business side it is usually considered “nothing personal” and “just business”, and thousands of us have this experience at some point in our lives. As you mentioned it hasn’t been the first time for you, and (sad to say) in the long career you have a ahead of you it may not be the last. But it is life, and we will find a way to handle it and move on to better things. :)

    We’re rooting for you!

  27. I’m very sorry to hear about this Krystal. I too was laid off a couple of years ago and it’s tough even when you know your planning is probably going to make things work out. Those of us that are planners don’t deal with any type of uncertainty like that very well. It rocks the boat even though you have anchored it down extremely well.

    I’m wondering how you are going to be able to collect EI while having a bunch of freelance income and side income coming in as well. Won’t that make collecting EI difficult? I thought I looked into it before and it was quite a hassle.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I’ll have to claim all of my freelance/side income through EI, so that will mean my EI payments might be smaller, and that’s fine by me. When I filed for EI the last time, the process was fairly straightforward in terms of submitting weekly income.

  28. kruggle says:

    I have been reading your blog for a while now and have been wanting to post. I didn’t have an account and didn’t want to sign up for one so I never ended up posting. HOWEVER, after I read this post, I decided that I MUST sign up and post.

    I feel really, really bad for you. You are a hardworking girl who tries to achieve many goals and you have definitely inspired me to do the same. I have learned to look at my finances more closely and to consider looking into multiple investment options. I can’t imagine how devastated I would be if I had all these goals planned out and then they were forced to be put on hold for whatever reason.

    Tough times really don’t last. I will keep checking your blog, so don’t give up!!

  29. Katie says:

    This example of gross personal over-sharing is a prime example of our generation’s narcissism. Digusting.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Hi Katie – thanks for your comment. I see blogging as a way to share and be a part of a supportive community. I’m sorry that you feel that it’s “disgusting,” but the great thing about the internet is that if my blog and what I write about isn’t for you, there are a million other sites out there that you can go to.

    • Katie – really? I’ve read a lot of oversharing in my day, and this post is not an example of it. Krystal lost her job (like many of us do) and she’s sharing her experience. That’s the point of blogging. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  30. Oh no! I always say that getting laid off is the best thing one can do for their career. It’s hard to leave a job while you’re still working there and “happy” but ultimately you are now a free agent. You have time to determine what really matters to you and go find a job that probably will pay even better. I know it REALLY sucks right now (esp if the lay off came out of the blue) but you’ll get through it and I bet you’ll end up with an even better gig. Don’t do what I did when I got laid off and mope around. Enjoy this time (hey, when else in life will you have time off when you’re not supposed to be working?) Use the time to apply for jobs, of course, but also try to enjoy it. There isn’t enough free time in life as it is, and you can have fun doing things that don’t cost a lot of money (go hiking, read a book ALL DAY, learn to cook better, etc.) If you try to spin this as a positive you’ll be able to look back and be glad you had the time off. :)

  31. Dear Debt says:

    Your attitude is incredible and will get you everywhere. Seriously, I’d be crying in a corner having a pity party for at least a week before I could write about it. You are stronger than me my friend :) You are hard working and talented and this is just a phase. I’ve totally been there and it does seem like forever sometimes, but as you say, it doesn’t last.

  32. Natalie says:

    Stay strong Krystal. I know no matter how financially prepared you are, it is a really traumatizing experience for everyone emotionally. Because it really puts you down and felt like you haven’t done enough to secure your job position. Sometime things happened regardless how good you are.

    You will find a job i am sure, for now just stay strong and continue to look ahead and don’t look backward.

    You are awesome!

  33. Clare says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this but I’m loving your positive take on it. You’re an inspiration to me, as always.

  34. ellesirk says:

    Best of luck on the job search! Your blog is an inspiration :)

  35. Fehmeen says:

    Sorry to hear about your job, and I can safely say that keeping a positive attitude will help you the most. Lots of people take up courses to add to their CVs when they are unemployed, and you always have this blog to rely on for income. Wish you the best!

  36. Vanessa says:

    I’m sorry to hear this Krystal but I know that you’ll hop back up onto your feet soon!

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