Meet Mike

Mike Sixel, Founder of Laid Off Better Off

Mike Sixel, Founder of Laid Off Better Off

Why I Started Laid Off Better Off

I got laid off from a job I planned to be at another 5-7 years. After that, I thought, I might be ready to retire a bit early. I was working on a huge project, one that might take that long to complete! It was a project I had helped sell to the company as a good idea, one that I really believed in. But, I got laid off just before the first really big wave went live.

I thought I’d be really depressed, but apparently I wasn’t all that happy there. It was almost a relief, really. Except the money part, and the part where I felt like I had let everyone down. Oh, and the part where I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do next….

Because I was pretty sure I didn’t want to go back to working with HR and leadership on communications and change management again. And I definitely didn’t want to do financial analysis again. Having watched and worked with project managers, that wasn’t an option to pursue either. I did really enjoy product management though, and also helping to transform how IT and business (why are they “separate” all the time?) worked together through Agile. I also really like the strategy work I’ve done at several places. So those last two things were real options to consider.

Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I spent a lot of time thinking, now that I was (involuntarily) free from working for a bit of time. I wrote a novel (which I hope to update and publish some day). I skied, read books, cooked more than I had in years, and explored new options for making money. I went for a lot of really, really, long walks. Sometimes those walks were all about thinking about the future, sometimes they were just ways to relax and not think so much. I took a part time job doing product management, and I  worked on my resume and got lots (ha, that was originally a typo, as in “lost in advice”) of advice.

Eventually I came to the conclusion, that for now anyway, I wasn’t ready to go back to work in an office. So, I looked at a lot of options, and I still don’t know what I want to do to make money. My wife and I had a great experience when looking at franchises, and she ended up buying and running one. But I wasn’t sure we could afford two franchises right now.

I’m going to keep writing fiction, but the odds of that making money are low. I’m going to keep going on walks and hikes and skiing and golfing, but those aren’t going to make me any money either.

I’ve always told my kids, and others, that I wake up every day hoping to make the world a better place. I haven’t always succeeded, that would be ridiculously impossible. But I keep waking up, and keep working on helping the world in some way (big or small) be a better place. I’ve had ideas in the past for ways to help the world, and to make money doing so (not a lot, just enough, whatever that is). So, in an attempt to help others, I’m launching this site. We’ll see how it goes over the next year….

If you are interested, you can read my notes from when I got laid off, some of the stuff I documented about being an author, and follow my journey of starting this business by reading my timeline.