Employment status: laid off and loving it.
That's the mood of a small but vocal group of employees caught in the job cuts roiling firms from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
Getting fired is normally one of the biggest crises of a worker's career. But the strange incongruity of today's job market - where the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 1969 in January, even as tens of thousands of people were laid off from big tech companieslike Google, Microsoft and Amazon - is making it easier for employees who find themselves out of work.
They're taking a more relaxed view of unemployment, regarding it as a way to escape from positions they didn't like, spend more time on hobbies, and eventually line up better opportunities.
Take 26-year-old Bobin Singh. He says his first reaction after receiving a layoff notice from his job as a social media producer at an esports company in Los Angeles was a sense of "jubilee." Now he's focusing on freelance video editing, especially for short-form videos on TikTok.
"My New Year's resolution was to work less to have more time to do passion projects," Singh said. "Then I got a three month severance, so I was like, 'The universe is listening.'"
Similar sentiments are showing up in new data, particularly among younger workers. Nearly 20% of Gen Z and 15% of millennials said they would be happy if they were to be laid off today, according to a survey conducted by the Harris Poll for Bloomberg News last month.
Of course, comfortable layoffs are a privilege. Even with a financial buffer, losing a job can feel terrible, and those without an emergency fund fare even worse. Still, for some, the strong labor market is removing the anxiety of getting fired. The ratio of job openings to unemployed people hit a near-record high of 1.9 in December, the latest month for which data are available. And more than half of recent hires found their new roles within a month, according to data from ZipRecruiter, an online job search and recruiting company.
Usually, there's a gap of weeks or months between a layoff and the start of a new job. For Josh Lumley, both came in the span of a single LinkedIn post.
The 43-year-old recruiter from Georgia was laid off from Amazon Web Services on Jan. 18. But he had already quietly started looking for a new role in December after he heard rumors that job cuts were on the horizon. He was hired by a smaller company shortly before the layoffs were announced, and started the Monday after.
"By the time I knew my job was getting cut, I was glad to get laid off," he said. "I feel like I'm a good fit on the new team I'm on now."
Employment crises can help people take new risks or embrace changes they may never have otherwise considered, said career coach Rana Rosen.
That happened to Casey Clement, a 47-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, who was laid off from GameStop in July. The former director of product management had built a long career at firms like Lowe's, Sprint and Cellular One. In all those years, he'd never been let go.
He'd also never considered joining a consulting firm. But that's what he did after a LinkedIn post he wrote about his layoff went viral, leading to dozens of career conversations and seven job offers.
"The layoff kind of forced me to look at different angles and look at different opportunities," said Clement, who now works at Method, a strategic design and engineering company where he gets to focus on solving problems for a range of companies.
Sometimes the stability of a job - the " golden handcuffs" of retirement plans, stock vesting and high salaries - can prevent people from taking risks, said executive coach Michael Wenderoth. A layoff can nudge them into uncharted territory that may prove more rewarding than their previous career.
Juliana Redden initially felt a sense of loss when she was let go from a large tech company in November. It didn't help that a serious relationship was also ending. One way she coped: by booking a one-way ticket to Guatemala.
The 29-year-old ended up taking part in a program that offered free accommodation in exchange for work in reception at a hostel. She used the opportunity to travel alone, something she'd never done before. Redden ended up exploring the country's caves and Mayan ruins while meeting friends from around the world. It gave her a new sense of perspective that she said made her more confident. When she returned, she was able to start a new job she'd landed at Peloton in New York City.
"I experienced all of this loss," she said. "But at the same time I just accessed so much freedom in my life."
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)