Author Topic: Bittersweet Job news  (Read 33430 times)

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Bittersweet Job news
« on: September 24, 2015, 07:52:45 PM »
The bad: came into work this morning thinking it would be another day in the office. Boy was I ever so wrong. It started off with a coworker walking by my cube with an HR person, while my lead and I were discussing an issue, and briefly saying "It was nice working for/with you. I just got laid off." Then the carnage was unleashed... we kept hearing news of multiple people in my group getting the axe. It was as if the entire team I'm on was dissolving before my very eyes. My manager who originally hired me when I used to work at the same division a long time ago also got the axe, and I felt compelled to help him pack up and walk him out. After saying my goodbyes, I teared up briefly walking back into the office. Considering that this is one of the worst things that can happen barring violence, they had to also do it at the worst possible time of day - starting in the morning. I guess they figured they needed the whole day because the HR people are all from out of town, so they probably wanted to swoop in and not extend the visit to more than one day. By lunch time, virtually all the leads except for a few were axed from my immediate group. And several others in other groups suffered the same fate. As if that weren't enough, they held a short 10 minute meeting at lunch, telling us about how they're "transitioning" our product to be supported and developed between China and Canada. Sounds like keeping our office in SoCal was too expensive. But good luck supporting a product that brings in over a billion dollars of revenue.

The bittersweet: I got called in to meet with one of the directors and an HR person. They basically gave me advanced notice that my "target termination date" is next June (2016). So while there's some reprieve that I'm "safe" for that time being, it still sucks, and I still resent that a ton of coworkers on my team were let go. It's the worst feeling ever and I feel checked out already... just another great reminder that the company is loyal to nobody. Anyway, they offered a $35k bonus *if* I stay through to the end of my termination date (it feels so weird having to reference that as a date) in addition to 20 weeks of severance (though I have no idea what the severance pay would be). Sounds pretty good out of the gates, but I really don't know if I can (or would be willing) to stick it through given everything that happened today and also in anticipation of some crazy-low morale and coworkers leaving in droves...

The company as a whole had layoffs like this in the past and at a couple different locations in the US. We only *heard* of how crappy it was but now we're in the middle of one ourselves so we can totally empathize. And I hate how PC management has to be about it all, referring to this time as a "transition" period... just call it for what it freaking is: a major round of layoffs and eventual closure of this branch. People aren't stupid, and everyone is going to talk about it whether or not you want them to... I guess they're hoping to get the best of both worlds: squeezing every ounce of knowledge out of the key people before dumping them for cheap labor.

As I mentioned, I felt checked out the moment they let go of my manager. I don't know if a $35k bonus + 20 weeks of severance (after a 9 month commitment of working through low-morale and a crappy work environment to-come) will be enough to convince me otherwise to stay. My lead was trying to give me the glass half full perspective in that I could "prove" my value and possibly retain my job or move into a different role blah blah blah. At this point, I'd rather prove my value to someone who actually wants to hire me... rather than to prove myself again to some company that is ready and willing to dump me by X date.

I don't know, what are your guys' thoughts?  Time to move on? Prior to this, I was content with the company but also not crazy-happy about them. But I never really resented my job until today...
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 07:57:05 PM by jplee3 »

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8360
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 07:59:55 PM »
I would certainly start looking. When you get an offer, the severance package can be part of the negotiation. DH delayed a job change in order to vest in a pension plan. The hiring company was very understanding about it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9841
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 08:08:13 PM »
Wow.  That's rough.

I hope this doesn't sound callous to you/insensitive to what your colleagues are going through, but if you are at all open to living in China this might work in your favor -- they will need people who understand how the US side of the business was managed if they are going to navigate this successfully.  If you could get a great expat package (including housing, school fees (a ways out for you guys, but important to negotiate up front), good global insurance (Cigna is great), home leave, etc) this could potentially be a great opportunity for you.  Just something to throw out there as a possible way to make some lemonade out of this rather large crate of lemons.  Of course not everybody is willing/able to consider a move to China.  I lived there for 13 years, though, so if you want insights (good and bad), let me know.

I believe 20 weeks severance typically means they pay you what they would have if you had worked an extra 20 weeks past your termination date, as long as you stay that long. 


jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 08:53:05 PM »
I would certainly start looking. When you get an offer, the severance package can be part of the negotiation. DH delayed a job change in order to vest in a pension plan. The hiring company was very understanding about it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

So it sounds like the suggestion you have is to look and interview now but try to find a hiring company who would be willing to delay hiring me until next June?! That's quite a long time from now... not sure who would want to do that.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 08:56:42 PM »
Wow.  That's rough.

I hope this doesn't sound callous to you/insensitive to what your colleagues are going through, but if you are at all open to living in China this might work in your favor -- they will need people who understand how the US side of the business was managed if they are going to navigate this successfully.  If you could get a great expat package (including housing, school fees (a ways out for you guys, but important to negotiate up front), good global insurance (Cigna is great), home leave, etc) this could potentially be a great opportunity for you.  Just something to throw out there as a possible way to make some lemonade out of this rather large crate of lemons.  Of course not everybody is willing/able to consider a move to China.  I lived there for 13 years, though, so if you want insights (good and bad), let me know.

I believe 20 weeks severance typically means they pay you what they would have if you had worked an extra 20 weeks past your termination date, as long as you stay that long.

That is an idea, but I feel like they would want someone in a mgmt position who would be willing to do that. Since I'm only a senior technical level person, they'd probably just write me off as replaceable (once the knowledge transfer is complete). In fact, that appears to be how they're treating everyone in the office (which is a big mistake IMHO because there are a quite ton of smart people there who probably, if they wanted to, could easily land a job at Google, Facebook, Apple or any of the big tech giants). Anyway, it might be something to ask if I'm toying with the idea but at this moment I don't think it's something we would consider; I think this would be hard logistically and on my wife too. Of course, she speaks some Mandarin so it wouldn't be *that* bad but she has no desire to move there.

pbkmaine

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8360
  • Age: 63
  • Location: The Villages, Florida
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 09:02:47 PM »

I would certainly start looking. When you get an offer, the severance package can be part of the negotiation. DH delayed a job change in order to vest in a pension plan. The hiring company was very understanding about it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

So it sounds like the suggestion you have is to look and interview now but try to find a hiring company who would be willing to delay hiring me until next June?! That's quite a long time from now... not sure who would want to do that.

No, sorry, wasn't clear. My suggestion is to interview now and when an offer comes up, use the severance in the negotiation. (Also, it could take you a while to find a job you like.) Just make sure the hiring company knows you have these golden handcuffs. It could sweeten the deal.

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8932
  • Location: Canada
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2015, 09:14:25 PM »
Agree with pbkmaine, start interviewing now, leave for something good that has a future.  Who knows what kind of hell/squeeze your current company will put you through between now and June, because they figure the golden handcuffs have you trapped. Will they grind you so hard you break down and quit just before your target date?  Totally possible.

You have a new baby so you 1) want to work someplace decent so you're not consistently unhappy during this great time in your family's life, and 2) know you have a situation arranged with paycheques coming in for the foreseeable future (unless June 2016 was your FIRE date, or close to.)

Sorry for the sucky day and depressing situation. At least you have a job while you look for your next thing.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2015, 09:54:32 PM »
Sucky situation.

You could just suck it up and stay in your position until June, knowing you will get $35k plus 20 weeks of pay (more than a third of your salary). Depending on your costs, after the separation you could live a while on that while looking for a job. Take a sabbatical.

Or, you could suck it up through the end of the year and not worry about looking for another job, knowing you have 6 months until June next year to find something. Enjoy your holidays and all of the extra days off surrounding them. Don't put in any extra effort at work, but do your best on your tasks with a positive attitude. Then after the new year starts, begin looking for new work. Ideally you can start around March and let any potential companies know you have the golden handcuffs until June. This may be the best plan because companies don't tend to hire much over the holidays at the end of the year.

But if you are really pissed off at your company, then start looking for a new job right away. Apparently your company has let go of a lot of people and then kept some around to do the work that was necessary to transfer jobs overseas. You can take your revenge by thwarting their plans and not being able to rely on you for this transfer. By you finding a new job, you can create a pretty good epic FU money story for us to read about in the Epic FU money stories thread http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/epic-fu-money-stories/.

LAGuy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 317
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 09:57:10 PM »
I'm going to take the opposite point of view. I'm at a company now where we've been waiting for the layoff axe for what seems years. Yet we keep limping along. I'm just sticking around waiting for the fat retention bonus and severance. Should it happen, I'll then take some time for a sabbatical. In the meantime I just totally kick it, cruise the web, take 3 hour lunches and maybe work for 2 or 3 hours if that. For me, it's a pretty sweet deal since I work in a technical job that's in demand. Pay is good, but it's not much of a career so I don't need to worry too much about extended time out from the work place or gaining new skills or any of that stuff.

So, if you're working a "job" like me, consider just sticking around and belly up to the gravy train. If, however, it's more of a career that you can't or don't want to take a break from, then yeah take this time to find something new.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 09:58:41 PM by LAGuy »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 11:24:12 PM »
I'm going to take the opposite point of view. I'm at a company now where we've been waiting for the layoff axe for what seems years. Yet we keep limping along. I'm just sticking around waiting for the fat retention bonus and severance. Should it happen, I'll then take some time for a sabbatical. In the meantime I just totally kick it, cruise the web, take 3 hour lunches and maybe work for 2 or 3 hours if that. For me, it's a pretty sweet deal since I work in a technical job that's in demand. Pay is good, but it's not much of a career so I don't need to worry too much about extended time out from the work place or gaining new skills or any of that stuff.

So, if you're working a "job" like me, consider just sticking around and belly up to the gravy train. If, however, it's more of a career that you can't or don't want to take a break from, then yeah take this time to find something new.

LOL! Difference in this case is now that they've already gone through several rounds of layoffs, there's more scrutiny on those who are still around... they don't screw around with the division I'm in - you've gotta get your chit done so slacking off too much will be even more noticeable with less people around. Now that we're short at least one person on the team, I imagine my workload and expectations will be increasing too. The biggest 'shield' for us was my manager who got let go though - they had to filter pretty much everything through him and he had the best gauge on what the team could/couldn't take on. Now that we don't have that, I don't have the same confidence I do as before. We'll see how the environment is for the coming weeks, but I think those of us who are left are under the gun. In a sense, they do need us for the knowledge transfer, but at the same time they've already shown us that we're dispensable. As far as this being a job or career, it's just a job for me. And it somewhat strays from the career I'm more interested in. Earlier on I was involved more in what I was interested in primarily because my old lead was a really good manager. Ever since he moved on to bigger and better things, my current lead just doesn't have the same perspective that I like - he's more technical and seemed to like to keep his team in a cage without really rallying for our personal growth much.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 11:28:02 PM »
Sucky situation.

You could just suck it up and stay in your position until June, knowing you will get $35k plus 20 weeks of pay (more than a third of your salary). Depending on your costs, after the separation you could live a while on that while looking for a job. Take a sabbatical.

Or, you could suck it up through the end of the year and not worry about looking for another job, knowing you have 6 months until June next year to find something. Enjoy your holidays and all of the extra days off surrounding them. Don't put in any extra effort at work, but do your best on your tasks with a positive attitude. Then after the new year starts, begin looking for new work. Ideally you can start around March and let any potential companies know you have the golden handcuffs until June. This may be the best plan because companies don't tend to hire much over the holidays at the end of the year.

But if you are really pissed off at your company, then start looking for a new job right away. Apparently your company has let go of a lot of people and then kept some around to do the work that was necessary to transfer jobs overseas. You can take your revenge by thwarting their plans and not being able to rely on you for this transfer. By you finding a new job, you can create a pretty good epic FU money story for us to read about in the Epic FU money stories thread http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/epic-fu-money-stories/.

I do agree with this for the benefits part especially. We just had a kid and the company gives us 4 weeks of parental leave. I'd also qualify for FMLA and the job protection that comes with it. Of course, now that the team member is gone who was to take over my responsibilities while I'm gone on leave, I'm sure it'll put more stress on my manager and team.

LOL @ the latter recommendation. If I were truly Mustachian, I suppose I'd suck it up and not make an emotional decision... unless that emotional decision results in me making at least twice as much as I make now....!!! LOL

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2015, 11:29:21 PM »
Agree with pbkmaine, start interviewing now, leave for something good that has a future.  Who knows what kind of hell/squeeze your current company will put you through between now and June, because they figure the golden handcuffs have you trapped. Will they grind you so hard you break down and quit just before your target date?  Totally possible.

You have a new baby so you 1) want to work someplace decent so you're not consistently unhappy during this great time in your family's life, and 2) know you have a situation arranged with paycheques coming in for the foreseeable future (unless June 2016 was your FIRE date, or close to.)

Sorry for the sucky day and depressing situation. At least you have a job while you look for your next thing.

Yes, this is a huge consideration considering we have a newborn. Being stressed outside of work is no bueno. Despite the apparently decent benefits I could receive should I stay through the 'golden handcuff' period, it could be at the expense of my overall health.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2015, 11:34:51 PM »
I'm going to take the opposite point of view. I'm at a company now where we've been waiting for the layoff axe for what seems years. Yet we keep limping along. I'm just sticking around waiting for the fat retention bonus and severance. Should it happen, I'll then take some time for a sabbatical. In the meantime I just totally kick it, cruise the web, take 3 hour lunches and maybe work for 2 or 3 hours if that. For me, it's a pretty sweet deal since I work in a technical job that's in demand. Pay is good, but it's not much of a career so I don't need to worry too much about extended time out from the work place or gaining new skills or any of that stuff.

So, if you're working a "job" like me, consider just sticking around and belly up to the gravy train. If, however, it's more of a career that you can't or don't want to take a break from, then yeah take this time to find something new.

LOL! Difference in this case is now that they've already gone through several rounds of layoffs, there's more scrutiny on those who are still around... they don't screw around with the division I'm in - you've gotta get your chit done so slacking off too much will be even more noticeable with less people around. Now that we're short at least one person on the team, I imagine my workload and expectations will be increasing too. The biggest 'shield' for us was my manager who got let go though - they had to filter pretty much everything through him and he had the best gauge on what the team could/couldn't take on. Now that we don't have that, I don't have the same confidence I do as before. We'll see how the environment is for the coming weeks, but I think those of us who are left are under the gun. In a sense, they do need us for the knowledge transfer, but at the same time they've already shown us that we're dispensable. As far as this being a job or career, it's just a job for me. And it somewhat strays from the career I'm more interested in. Earlier on I was involved more in what I was interested in primarily because my old lead was a really good manager. Ever since he moved on to bigger and better things, my current lead just doesn't have the same perspective that I like - he's more technical and seemed to like to keep his team in a cage without really rallying for our personal growth much.

Uh...what are they going to do if you don't put in extra effort? Lay you off?  Oh yes they already told you they would do that anyways. Worst case is they lay you off before June and you only get a regular severance. I'd say do a good job but don't kill yourself with OT and stress when your company is already screwing you and your coworkers. You have the power and knowledge in your hands. You are valuable enough that they kept you around for a reason. Use your FU money wisely and don't let them overwork you.

Be kind and hard working, but set your boundaries and act with confidence.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 11:39:06 PM by Daisy »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2015, 12:22:28 AM »
I'm going to take the opposite point of view. I'm at a company now where we've been waiting for the layoff axe for what seems years. Yet we keep limping along. I'm just sticking around waiting for the fat retention bonus and severance. Should it happen, I'll then take some time for a sabbatical. In the meantime I just totally kick it, cruise the web, take 3 hour lunches and maybe work for 2 or 3 hours if that. For me, it's a pretty sweet deal since I work in a technical job that's in demand. Pay is good, but it's not much of a career so I don't need to worry too much about extended time out from the work place or gaining new skills or any of that stuff.

So, if you're working a "job" like me, consider just sticking around and belly up to the gravy train. If, however, it's more of a career that you can't or don't want to take a break from, then yeah take this time to find something new.

LOL! Difference in this case is now that they've already gone through several rounds of layoffs, there's more scrutiny on those who are still around... they don't screw around with the division I'm in - you've gotta get your chit done so slacking off too much will be even more noticeable with less people around. Now that we're short at least one person on the team, I imagine my workload and expectations will be increasing too. The biggest 'shield' for us was my manager who got let go though - they had to filter pretty much everything through him and he had the best gauge on what the team could/couldn't take on. Now that we don't have that, I don't have the same confidence I do as before. We'll see how the environment is for the coming weeks, but I think those of us who are left are under the gun. In a sense, they do need us for the knowledge transfer, but at the same time they've already shown us that we're dispensable. As far as this being a job or career, it's just a job for me. And it somewhat strays from the career I'm more interested in. Earlier on I was involved more in what I was interested in primarily because my old lead was a really good manager. Ever since he moved on to bigger and better things, my current lead just doesn't have the same perspective that I like - he's more technical and seemed to like to keep his team in a cage without really rallying for our personal growth much.

Uh...what are they going to do if you don't put in extra effort? Lay you off?  Oh yes they already told you they would do that anyways. Worst case is they lay you off before June and you only get a regular severance. I'd say do a good job but don't kill yourself with OT and stress when your company is already screwing you and your coworkers. You have the power and knowledge in your hands. You are valuable enough that they kept you around for a reason. Use your FU money wisely and don't let them overwork you.

Be kind and hard working, but set your boundaries and act with confidence.

Good point..... my lead was being a bit optimistic about the whole thing. I don't know what his situation is and whether he also has a target termination date but he did say that he went through something like this at an old company (and when he had a first newborn). Ironically, despite him telling me to work hard and try to prove myself etc, he told me that he found a new job elsewhere after his company told him they were letting all of them go that coming summer hahaha. I don't know, this is a lot to process and today was mentally exhausting. Hopefully 'survival mode' kicks in; usually when that happens I'm pretty determined. I haven't interviewed in a while though and I always hate the process but it's a necessity at this point. Yea, at this point I think it's time to revert to bare minimum with them. In the meantime, I really need to pick up on and develop the skills for the stuff I'm more interested in (web app/software security). It's hard to load up on courses and doing that stuff now that I have a kid though. I was studying for the CISSP (security cert) but once the kid came it's been sitting on a back-burner.

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5314
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2015, 07:23:26 AM »
It sounds like you had a really big emotional day.  Probably best not to make any decisions right now…just let it sit for a while.  Personally I'd play it both ways: I'd plan to stay whilst refusing to get sucked into crazy expectations regarding workload, and I'd start to  think about options for other work. I'd try not to let my anger over the recent events drive my actions:  I'd go for what suits you best personally. If you can stick it 35K + 20 weeks sounds good.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2015, 08:01:49 AM »
The good news is, it's Friday and you have tons of time to make a decision. I think you would be best served just focusing on your family this weekend and come back to thinking about it on Monday. Having a newborn is tough emotionally anyways, I'm sorry to hear that you have this additional stressor. But really, you have tons of time. The baby might be walking in June!

Guses

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 917
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2015, 08:20:21 AM »
In theory, can they lay you off earlier (say May) and not pay the 35K$ or the extended severance?

What is stopping them from dangling the carrot and giving you the stick when they get what they want?

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2015, 08:33:40 AM »
In theory, can they lay you off earlier (say May) and not pay the 35K$ or the extended severance?

What is stopping them from dangling the carrot and giving you the stick when they get what they want?

That's my concern... they have the right to terminate my employment earlier if they want to. Telling me about all these benefits is great and all but at the end of the day, I'm still not going to trust them 100% at this point, seeing what they did to my friends and coworkers.

rmendpara

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2015, 08:36:55 AM »
Seems like a very fair offer since they know the company will be downsizing. They also gave you about 9 months notice, so plenty of time to think.

Do you have to accept/reject the June'16 contract, or is that just an incentive with no commitment on your part? 35k plus 5 months pay (if your base salary is 80k, let's call it another 30k = 80 * 20/52), that's a huge bonus for staying through June. So, $65k at the end of June? More/less depending on your base salary...

Not sure exaclty what you do or how employable you are, but based on what you said, it seems you could easily get a new job next summer and also collect a big fat check at the end of June. Of course, you could job hunt now, and take something sooner if you don't think you can handle the stress of staying through next year.

If it were me, assuming:
1) I thought I could start job hunting in Mar-Apr and get a job starting in Jun
2) I could handle the stress/discomfort of knowing I won't have a job past Jun
... then I'd take the deal and be happy for a big bonus next year, plus getting a new job!

Another thing to consider, if you are a key employee, or one of few people left, you can negotiate the "severance agreement" they offered you. Maybe ask for $40 or heck, $50k if you agree to stay on through June? The worst they could do is say no and stay at $35k. They could also lay you off now, but that just means they would pay you 20-week's of pay as a severance benefit now.

Seems like a good deal to me, assuming your skills are in reasonable demand.

rmendpara

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2015, 08:39:30 AM »
In theory, can they lay you off earlier (say May) and not pay the 35K$ or the extended severance?

What is stopping them from dangling the carrot and giving you the stick when they get what they want?

That's my concern... they have the right to terminate my employment earlier if they want to. Telling me about all these benefits is great and all but at the end of the day, I'm still not going to trust them 100% at this point, seeing what they did to my friends and coworkers.

It's not about trusting them. If you "accept" the deal, you will sign a contract with them to stay through June in order to get $35k bonus plus cash equivalent of 20-week's salary.

It's not an under the table handshake deal that they can back out of.

Also, you can write it in the contract that they must pay you through June plus the incentives they mention if they decide to lay you off early... like February.

Look up "severance negotiation" online and you'll see some helpful tips. Google search, Quora, and Askamanager are some quick places to start.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2015, 09:14:21 AM »
Seems like a very fair offer since they know the company will be downsizing. They also gave you about 9 months notice, so plenty of time to think.

Do you have to accept/reject the June'16 contract, or is that just an incentive with no commitment on your part? 35k plus 5 months pay (if your base salary is 80k, let's call it another 30k = 80 * 20/52), that's a huge bonus for staying through June. So, $65k at the end of June? More/less depending on your base salary...

Not sure exaclty what you do or how employable you are, but based on what you said, it seems you could easily get a new job next summer and also collect a big fat check at the end of June. Of course, you could job hunt now, and take something sooner if you don't think you can handle the stress of staying through next year.

If it were me, assuming:
1) I thought I could start job hunting in Mar-Apr and get a job starting in Jun
2) I could handle the stress/discomfort of knowing I won't have a job past Jun
... then I'd take the deal and be happy for a big bonus next year, plus getting a new job!

Another thing to consider, if you are a key employee, or one of few people left, you can negotiate the "severance agreement" they offered you. Maybe ask for $40 or heck, $50k if you agree to stay on through June? The worst they could do is say no and stay at $35k. They could also lay you off now, but that just means they would pay you 20-week's of pay as a severance benefit now.

Seems like a good deal to me, assuming your skills are in reasonable demand.

They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:20:14 AM by jplee3 »

humbleMouse

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 298
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2015, 09:20:05 AM »
Sounds like a great situation to me.  I would kill for a $35k bonus and free 20 weeks PTO!!

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2015, 09:24:49 AM »
Sounds like a great situation to me.  I would kill for a $35k bonus and free 20 weeks PTO!!

It sounds nice up-front... if you're okay working at a place where everybody suddenly hates working there and you end up taking on other peoples' duties who left I guess. I still wonder about this - if I continue to go bare minimum with them and they try to pile work on but I say "sorry that's not my job duty" as drawing another boundary, I'm pretty sure they could consider that 'not performing' and terminate me. If that happens, bye bye to the $35k... I guess severance would be OK but it would still feel like I just wasted my time being there if I make the $35k part of the end-goal and end up getting let go sooner. Since there's no guarantees per the 'offer' I received that still makes this very up in the air. I think that in order to get the full bonus, I'll probably have to work my rear off.

LAGuy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 317
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2015, 09:26:59 AM »
Sounds like a great situation to me.  I would kill for a $35k bonus and free 20 weeks PTO!!

I know! Me and my coworkers sit around daydreaming up scenarios that play out just like this. You've totally hit the golden ticket, man! This is probably just your first time dealing with a layoff situation. It sucks for your coworkers, but it sounds like your employer probably took pretty good care of them. You've got to make your decisions based on what's best for you and your family - not out of loyalty to your laid off colleagues.

If you really score, they might need to extend your layoff date! If so, really stick it to them for another fat bonus!

happy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5314
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2015, 09:27:58 AM »
Quote
They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)

Ah, see this would make me worried. No guarantee of anything really. All you know  for sure is that you won't have a job past June 2016. I wouldn't trust them either.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2015, 09:30:17 AM »
Seems like a very fair offer since they know the company will be downsizing. They also gave you about 9 months notice, so plenty of time to think.

Do you have to accept/reject the June'16 contract, or is that just an incentive with no commitment on your part? 35k plus 5 months pay (if your base salary is 80k, let's call it another 30k = 80 * 20/52), that's a huge bonus for staying through June. So, $65k at the end of June? More/less depending on your base salary...

Not sure exaclty what you do or how employable you are, but based on what you said, it seems you could easily get a new job next summer and also collect a big fat check at the end of June. Of course, you could job hunt now, and take something sooner if you don't think you can handle the stress of staying through next year.

If it were me, assuming:
1) I thought I could start job hunting in Mar-Apr and get a job starting in Jun
2) I could handle the stress/discomfort of knowing I won't have a job past Jun
... then I'd take the deal and be happy for a big bonus next year, plus getting a new job!

Another thing to consider, if you are a key employee, or one of few people left, you can negotiate the "severance agreement" they offered you. Maybe ask for $40 or heck, $50k if you agree to stay on through June? The worst they could do is say no and stay at $35k. They could also lay you off now, but that just means they would pay you 20-week's of pay as a severance benefit now.

Seems like a good deal to me, assuming your skills are in reasonable demand.

They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)

In that case, time to pull out the FU money option. The company may not hold up their end of the deal. They can use almost any excuse to blame you for poor performance and screw you out of the $35k and severance pay.

I'd wait until early next year to start looking for work. Take these next few months to see how they treat you. Plus, you can take advantage of the holiday days off and get paid for them instead of quitting now. I find in the tech world not much hiring occurs at the end of the year anyways so you will have a better chance to find work in January.

And when you quit, reuse their terminology they used on your coworkers and say "I regret to inform you that you have been terminated as my employer. Good luck with your plans."

Edit to add: The sooner you quit, the worse it is for the company. Once you start approaching June, at that point you would have already had time to train your replacements so they will be somewhat knowledgeable. But if you quit earlier on, the company would be desperate for your help. Actually, let's say you find another job in January. Before fully accepting a new offer, go back to your employer and tell them you have another offer. At that point your current company may try to pay up to get you to stay so that you can train your replacements.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:35:11 AM by Daisy »

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2015, 09:34:43 AM »
Sounds like a great situation to me.  I would kill for a $35k bonus and free 20 weeks PTO!!

I know! Me and my coworkers sit around daydreaming up scenarios that play out just like this. You've totally hit the golden ticket, man! This is probably just your first time dealing with a layoff situation. It sucks for your coworkers, but it sounds like your employer probably took pretty good care of them. You've got to make your decisions based on what's best for you and your family - not out of loyalty to your laid off colleagues.

If you really score, they might need to extend your layoff date! If so, really stick it to them for another fat bonus!

I've never been in this situation before directly. The company has gone through layoffs but our group has only been affected in a minor way. This time around was absolutely devastating. Yea, I'm sure they all got decent and 'fair' severance packages and what not. Maybe I make evil employers out to be even more evil than they actually are... I'm not much of a "give them benefit of the doubt" kind of guy though. Anyway, I don't plan to immediately jump ship unless I score a huge offer from a much higher profile company (which I'm quite doubtful about), but I plan to start the resume shipping process for that earlier just because those are bigger targets. Otherwise, yea I'd be in no rush to leave for something else and wouldn't want to backpedal to something I don't really want. Yea they did mention the possibility of the target date changing. I heard a bunch of people who were in another 'all-hands' meeting didn't get termination packets. There were only a few of us who weren't invited to that meeting, so I think their hedging their bets as we're the outliers.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2015, 09:37:36 AM »
Quote
They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)

Ah, see this would make me worried. No guarantee of anything really. All you know  for sure is that you won't have a job past June 2016. I wouldn't trust them either.

Exactly, if you read between the lines it sounds like they're saying "you can't qualify for the bonus and severance if we fire you at will, sucker!"

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #28 on: September 25, 2015, 09:42:54 AM »
Seems like a very fair offer since they know the company will be downsizing. They also gave you about 9 months notice, so plenty of time to think.

Do you have to accept/reject the June'16 contract, or is that just an incentive with no commitment on your part? 35k plus 5 months pay (if your base salary is 80k, let's call it another 30k = 80 * 20/52), that's a huge bonus for staying through June. So, $65k at the end of June? More/less depending on your base salary...

Not sure exaclty what you do or how employable you are, but based on what you said, it seems you could easily get a new job next summer and also collect a big fat check at the end of June. Of course, you could job hunt now, and take something sooner if you don't think you can handle the stress of staying through next year.

If it were me, assuming:
1) I thought I could start job hunting in Mar-Apr and get a job starting in Jun
2) I could handle the stress/discomfort of knowing I won't have a job past Jun
... then I'd take the deal and be happy for a big bonus next year, plus getting a new job!

Another thing to consider, if you are a key employee, or one of few people left, you can negotiate the "severance agreement" they offered you. Maybe ask for $40 or heck, $50k if you agree to stay on through June? The worst they could do is say no and stay at $35k. They could also lay you off now, but that just means they would pay you 20-week's of pay as a severance benefit now.

Seems like a good deal to me, assuming your skills are in reasonable demand.

They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)

In that case, time to pull out the FU money option. The company may not hold up their end of the deal. They can use almost any excuse to blame you for poor performance and screw you out of the $35k and severance pay.

I'd wait until early next year to start looking for work. Take these next few months to see how they treat you. Plus, you can take advantage of the holiday days off and get paid for them instead of quitting now. I find in the tech world not much hiring occurs at the end of the year anyways so you will have a better chance to find work in January.

And when you quit, reuse their terminology they used on your coworkers and say "I regret to inform you that you have been terminated as my employer. Good luck with your plans."

Edit to add: The sooner you quit, the worse it is for the company. Once you start approaching June, at that point you would have already had time to train your replacements so they will be somewhat knowledgeable. But if you quit earlier on, the company would be desperate for your help. Actually, let's say you find another job in January. Before fully accepting a new offer, go back to your employer and tell them you have another offer. At that point your current company may try to pay up to get you to stay so that you can train your replacements.

I'm also wondering how I could leverage the FMLA protected leave in this case. We can get up to 12 weeks of leave protected by the state. Of course, only 6 or 7 of those weeks would be paid/partially paid. I get 4 weeks fully paid between work and state should I take this option. And then 2-3 weeks of partial pay from the state. I can decide to take the remainder of the time unpaid but it'll also be protected. I'm not sure what that protection entails but I know I can spread the time out and use it 1 week at a time if I want. Not sure if it's worth taking advantage of the FMLA through the unpaid period during this time though.

LAGuy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 317
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #29 on: September 25, 2015, 09:44:21 AM »
Quote
They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)

Ah, see this would make me worried. No guarantee of anything really. All you know  for sure is that you won't have a job past June 2016. I wouldn't trust them either.

Exactly, if you read between the lines it sounds like they're saying "you can't qualify for the bonus and severance if we fire you at will, sucker!"

I don't think I'd worry too much about them screwing you. Sounds like they're a company with pretty deep pockets. They're not going to want to risk lawsuits. Just work your 8 hours, do a reasonably good job, and then leave it all behind at the office. With a bunch of the managers and leads gone, sounds like there's nobody left to ride you. And if there is, they're probably in the same boat as you and have one foot out the door as well. Nothing wrong with shopping the resume though. Just tell them what's up, and you probably have a good chance of somebody making you an offer starting after your June termination date.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #30 on: September 25, 2015, 09:54:45 AM »
Quote
They didn't make me sign anything or ask me to go home and think about it and come back and let them know... the offer packet just states "as an incentive to continue your employment, you will be eligible to receive $35k..." blah blah blah and that the condition to earning the bonus is that I "continue to devote my full time and best efforts through the release date" - also, there's a clause stating that this offer isn't intended or should be read as creating a contract for definite term. So employment is at will and either side can terminate employment at any time. This probably gives them more reason to let go of me earlier for "performance reasons" or whatever. So I still don't feel I can trust anyone there at this point in time. Even my lead... part of me thinks he knew *something* was coming and was probably told to keep quiet, considering he's the *only* lead left on our team of 20-30 people (he and 3 or 4 others were direct reports to my manager - all of them except for him were let go...)

Ah, see this would make me worried. No guarantee of anything really. All you know  for sure is that you won't have a job past June 2016. I wouldn't trust them either.

Exactly, if you read between the lines it sounds like they're saying "you can't qualify for the bonus and severance if we fire you at will, sucker!"

I don't think I'd worry too much about them screwing you. Sounds like they're a company with pretty deep pockets. They're not going to want to risk lawsuits. Just work your 8 hours, do a reasonably good job, and then leave it all behind at the office. With a bunch of the managers and leads gone, sounds like there's nobody left to ride you. And if there is, they're probably in the same boat as you and have one foot out the door as well. Nothing wrong with shopping the resume though. Just tell them what's up, and you probably have a good chance of somebody making you an offer starting after your June termination date.

Yea, again this is a "benefit of the doubt" thing that I'm not good at doing and can be paranoid about lol. I can tell my lead is stressed out too probably wondering what's going to happen to him and if he'll have to fold a ton of people into the group now. Who knows... all I know is most of the people in the company seem to be staying longer-term. There's much speculation of them just closing the office down though - already, the place isn't filled to capacity and they've cut even more people, so it seems like it would be extraneous cost to keep the building (unless they plan to expand the teams out again lol).

For FMLA, does anyone know what the provisions are once you're back at work? Can they fire you the next day you come back to work? Or is there a period of time where your employment termination is hands-off for any reason. E.g. What if I took unpaid FMLA in May to "protect" the bonus and severance, come back in mid-June, and then wrap things up until my 'release date' - could they still somehow screw me over? Or could I pull that off? Is it worth it? For a month and a half of my salary, I lean towards saying yes IF I could do something like that.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 09:57:03 AM by jplee3 »

snogirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #31 on: September 25, 2015, 09:58:43 AM »
My sister went through this. 
FWIW she did stay on till the end (about the same as your timeframe) for the bonus & the severance & is in a much better place today.
Though I didn't experience it first hand, I did see what she went through dismantling a very successful scientific laboratory.
She had been with the company for about 18 years.  Many of the employees double that in longevity.
I wish you the best in your situation.  Sorry this has happened.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #32 on: September 25, 2015, 10:17:16 AM »
Are others offered this deal (or a similar one) as well?  Are they all aware they could terminate you in May for failure to perform and not have to pay out?  Maybe time for some collective discussions on the topics, and then negotiate with the company to get in writing that they must pay out the bonuses if they terminate you early. 

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #33 on: September 25, 2015, 10:24:52 AM »
Are others offered this deal (or a similar one) as well?  Are they all aware they could terminate you in May for failure to perform and not have to pay out?  Maybe time for some collective discussions on the topics, and then negotiate with the company to get in writing that they must pay out the bonuses if they terminate you early.

LOL, HR explicitly told us not to discuss our termination packets with other employees... of course, that's not going to happen in reality - people are going to talk to each other, and maybe not share the specifics but they will talk about what they are comfortable with sharing (which still goes against what HR wants). And I don't know what recourse there is if we were actually to try to 'counter' the company as a group - it could potentially make things even worse and get all of us fired immediately.

LAGuy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 317
  • Age: 45
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #34 on: September 25, 2015, 10:25:35 AM »
Are others offered this deal (or a similar one) as well?  Are they all aware they could terminate you in May for failure to perform and not have to pay out?  Maybe time for some collective discussions on the topics, and then negotiate with the company to get in writing that they must pay out the bonuses if they terminate you early.

Yeah, I don't think now is the time to start a collective bargaining campaign...

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #35 on: September 25, 2015, 10:32:35 AM »
Are others offered this deal (or a similar one) as well?  Are they all aware they could terminate you in May for failure to perform and not have to pay out?  Maybe time for some collective discussions on the topics, and then negotiate with the company to get in writing that they must pay out the bonuses if they terminate you early.

LOL, HR explicitly told us not to discuss our termination packets with other employees... of course, that's not going to happen in reality - people are going to talk to each other, and maybe not share the specifics but they will talk about what they are comfortable with sharing (which still goes against what HR wants). And I don't know what recourse there is if we were actually to try to 'counter' the company as a group - it could potentially make things even worse and get all of us fired immediately.

Oh man this company is pissing me off more and more now. Of course they don't want you to talk to your fellow workers. They NEED you. They probably assume some of you will quit before June so they figure some of you are expendable. They've probably kept back more people than they needed knowing there will be further attrition. But if you all band together, then they are screwed...because they NEED you to train your replacements.

How specialized is the technology you are transferring? How good is the existing documentation? If only your group of people is knowledgeable then you have a lot of power in your hands because if you all band together and threaten to leave if not promised this payout, then their plans to train offshore people will fail and the transition will take much longer and they will lose money. If not so specialized and/or there is good existing documentation and the replacements can easily learn the technology then you have less power.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2386
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2015, 10:35:31 AM »
Are others offered this deal (or a similar one) as well?  Are they all aware they could terminate you in May for failure to perform and not have to pay out?  Maybe time for some collective discussions on the topics, and then negotiate with the company to get in writing that they must pay out the bonuses if they terminate you early.

LOL, HR explicitly told us not to discuss our termination packets with other employees... of course, that's not going to happen in reality - people are going to talk to each other, and maybe not share the specifics but they will talk about what they are comfortable with sharing (which still goes against what HR wants). And I don't know what recourse there is if we were actually to try to 'counter' the company as a group - it could potentially make things even worse and get all of us fired immediately.

At the moment, you have legally binding promises that are easily dodged.  It sounds like they need some (though perhaps not all) of you for this transition, so if you truly did get collective action going, it'd be hard for them.  On the other hand, if you're a ringleader, it's easy to terminate you and hope that nips it in the bud and the rest don't speak up.  Maybe don't try to officially agitate but it still wouldn't hurt to comment to others that "I'm worried because I heard they could just terminate me in a few months and they wouldn't need to make good on any promises."

That's not discussing a specific package, which they've told you not to.  It's very general.  (Note, it may not be legally permissible for them to forbid this type of discussion as protected free speech.  You could look into it and also whether they are prohibited from retaliating by firing you.  There was another thread on this a bit ago I think.)  It's also suggestive that someone else is the point person, not you (and yet, still truthful as you heard it here!).  But, it serves to warn your colleagues, so they aren't caught unaware.  And it might raise enough awareness to push the company into more concrete and binding promises.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2015, 10:40:18 AM »
Are others offered this deal (or a similar one) as well?  Are they all aware they could terminate you in May for failure to perform and not have to pay out?  Maybe time for some collective discussions on the topics, and then negotiate with the company to get in writing that they must pay out the bonuses if they terminate you early.

LOL, HR explicitly told us not to discuss our termination packets with other employees... of course, that's not going to happen in reality - people are going to talk to each other, and maybe not share the specifics but they will talk about what they are comfortable with sharing (which still goes against what HR wants). And I don't know what recourse there is if we were actually to try to 'counter' the company as a group - it could potentially make things even worse and get all of us fired immediately.

Oh man this company is pissing me off more and more now. Of course they don't want you to talk to your fellow workers. They NEED you. They probably assume some of you will quit before June so they figure some of you are expendable. They've probably kept back more people than they needed knowing there will be further attrition. But if you all band together, then they are screwed...because they NEED you to train your replacements.

How specialized is the technology you are transferring? How good is the existing documentation? If only your group of people is knowledgeable then you have a lot of power in your hands because if you all band together and threaten to leave if not promised this payout, then their plans to train offshore people will fail and the transition will take much longer and they will lose money. If not so specialized and/or there is good existing documentation and the replacements can easily learn the technology then you have less power.

The technology is relatively specialized but is starting to phase out as "legacy" despite the billion dollars in revenue it brings in for supporting long-time customers who have been using it. It's basically a backup product, so there are quite a few long-time customers whose data we're holding hostage (essentially... LOL). Banding together is a good idea *only* if you can trust everyone. At this point, I'm wary of the key players and who their loyalty & allegiance is to. If we were to start a coup of sorts, and just one person is a defector, it could be disastrous in some way, shape or form. The documentation is probably sufficient but with products like this, there's still a lot of back-end knowledge. Case-in-point, the support team is *constantly* busy supporting customer issues etc. I've been on some of these escalations and customers are pretty clueless. And there are quite a few cases where the support guys have to escalate upwards. To have the innate ability to troubleshoot issues on this particular platform is an understatement... the guys who are able to do this are wizards. Not sure how easy it is to replicate and knowledge transfer that sort of ability/skill/knowledge.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #38 on: September 25, 2015, 01:05:11 PM »
More updates... it sounds like my lead is getting promoted to the position our manager was in, because they let go of all the other leads besides him. It would make the most sense.


rmendpara

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 602
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #39 on: September 25, 2015, 06:15:52 PM »
Even if your employment is "at will", most companies will not fire/lay off without severance. The reason? When you sign your severance agreement, and if the company pays you whatever you agreed to, then you also agree to not sue them (in more words, but that's the jist).

I would ask the questions you are wondering about directly to HR, so you understand what you are signing and what you are agreeing to do and what they are agreeing to do.
- Does signing this mean I am not allowed to quit early?
- Does signing this mean you can fire me early and I will not be paid 35k plus 20 weeks pay?

for #1, I think you can quit at any time, but you won't get the payouts. For #2, they would probably have to still pay you severance (I'm guessing 20 weeks pay), but probably not the staying bonus of 35k. Again, ask and clarify anything you sign your name next to!!! If you don't understand, then don't sign.

It is perfectly reasonable to ask questions. Also, don't just take their answers. Make them point out in the agreement where it says what you are talking about so you understand.

Noodle

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #40 on: September 25, 2015, 10:17:29 PM »
I'm sorry. Lay-offs are wretched for the people who are let go, of course, but also for those left behind. As to what to do next, there's no need to decide right now even though it probably would feel good to have a plan. See how it goes in the new landscape, and start looking around for new positions. If you get an offer, evaluate it against X more months plus $35,000 and see which looks better. Rinse and repeat until you either run out the clock and get the severance or have a new job. And honestly, I get that right now your employer seems completely unreliable and suspicion-worthy, but I wouldn't put too much emotional energy into worrying that your employer will do you wrong and somehow you won't get the 35K. The worst possible scenario here is that they keep you nearly to the end and then let you go, and you don't get the staying bonus. So...you have a steady paycheck coming in while you're networking and resume polishing and then you get the standard severance. You're still better off than the folks who got laid off today.

NorCal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 746
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #41 on: September 25, 2015, 10:38:50 PM »
I'm sorry to hear this.  My condolences.

My recommendation is to start looking for new work now.  Two years from now, the most important thing in your life will be whether you're working in a job that you're happy with (or at least don't hate).  This is more important than $35K.  By looking now, you are generating options.  You can always say no if the change isn't worth $35K.  And you never want to be in the situation of taking a job because you have no other choice.

I also recommend getting that $35K in writing.  You don't even know that the HR person who promised you $35K will still be around 9 months from now.  That will clarify their obligations to you, and your obligations to them.

Several points on the documentation (no, I'm not a lawyer, so don't treat it as legal advice):
1.  You don't HAVE to sign anything.  Anything you sign will be giving up your rights in some way shape or form.  However, severance money will likely be conditional on your signature.  Just be sure you're comfortable with whatever you sign.
2.  Even if you do agree in writing to stay until June, you still have the right to walk out the door any day and never come back.  Anything else would technically be slavery.

I am unfortunately going through something similar at my company.  I'm the finance guy running the Excel models on who's going to get laid off.  It will be a significant part of the company.  No one knows yet, so I have to act like nothing is going on.  Talking to my friends that have no idea it's coming is pretty depressing.

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3009
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #42 on: September 26, 2015, 01:19:25 PM »
Quote
When you sign your severance agreement

It may be that the OP doesn't sign anything. I recently was laid off with severance and there was nothing for me to sign. Just "here's the package, you can leave now"
I think companies have realized they give people unnecessary leverage when they ask someone to sign something.

I would leave as soon as possible.

TomTX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3609
  • Location: Texas
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #43 on: September 26, 2015, 07:05:54 PM »
Start looking for a new job (with better pay) today.

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2123
  • Location: Florida
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #44 on: September 26, 2015, 07:46:46 PM »
Two things:

1. This is the time to work hard on that certificate you want/need in order to get a job in the area you like best.

2. Polish up your resume, talk a deep breath and consider staying put until January.

How long will it take to get that certificate?

Forget about your current job - it is already gone. In essence, worst case scenario, you or they change their mind and sever ties before June 2016. So make good use of that time, get that certificate while you still have a paycheck.

You will be fine, don't run scared, it is only a job, not the end of the world. You are young, skilled and have every motivation in the world to succeed - so go for it.
Look at it as a gift - shift your perspective, this layoff is giving you the opportunity to go for what you really wanted to do. You no longer have anything to lose, but everything to gain.

Like some guys already mentioned - this is the stuff you dream about, 35K is a golden opportunity - so use the time to your advantage and remember this is only temporary. Anyone with a 35K motivation can hang in there for a few months. Don't lose sight of what you really want to do.



Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #45 on: September 26, 2015, 08:04:26 PM »
Keep your head about you, but also realize that they can terminate you at any time.  Having been in this situation before, and watching morale disintegrate around me, there is usually a patently unbalanced shift of power.  I know they didn't force you to sign anything, but I was forced to sign saying I'd be a great employee, wouldn't bad mouth the company, blah, blah, blah.  Oh, and couldn't discuss my severance package.  So it's golden handcuffs/indentured servitude.  If you get a better offer, go.  If it's unbearable to be there, don't do it for the gravy train.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #46 on: September 27, 2015, 12:22:39 AM »
Two things:

1. This is the time to work hard on that certificate you want/need in order to get a job in the area you like best.

2. Polish up your resume, talk a deep breath and consider staying put until January.

How long will it take to get that certificate?

Forget about your current job - it is already gone. In essence, worst case scenario, you or they change their mind and sever ties before June 2016. So make good use of that time, get that certificate while you still have a paycheck.

You will be fine, don't run scared, it is only a job, not the end of the world. You are young, skilled and have every motivation in the world to succeed - so go for it.
Look at it as a gift - shift your perspective, this layoff is giving you the opportunity to go for what you really wanted to do. You no longer have anything to lose, but everything to gain.

Like some guys already mentioned - this is the stuff you dream about, 35K is a golden opportunity - so use the time to your advantage and remember this is only temporary. Anyone with a 35K motivation can hang in there for a few months. Don't lose sight of what you really want to do.

What I'd really like to do is take advantage of my paid paternity leave (4 weeks of it), and at the very least also my 2 or 3 weeks of partial disability pay through the state. As far as taking full advantage of the FMLA job-protected leave (which would be 5-6 more unpaid weeks on top of the paid leave) I'm not so sure though - my job would be protected to a certain extent I think. Doing this could disqualify me from the bonus if they decide to change my job title or whatever (which they could do and then decide to lay me off after that to avoid the $35k payout). But it seems like I'd at least be protected in the sense that they'd definitely have to pay be severance and wouldn't just be able to fire me straight out.

My wife is currently on leave and plans to go back in November, so my original plan was to take my leave through mid-November through at least the rest of the year and possibly into January. I suppose that would make sense to do if I want to take that route. And if that's the case, I'm not sure I'd want to jump ship just yet. It seems like a better option to do it this way and to take advantage of my current benefit...
« Last Edit: September 27, 2015, 12:24:18 AM by jplee3 »

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3009
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #47 on: September 27, 2015, 11:02:31 AM »
So you could take the 2 and a half months leave starting in November, and if after you come back after some period of time they fire you before June, who cares? You will have had a bunch of time off. And if they don't fire you then stay.
I say use all your leave which is a benefit you are owed, instead of sitting at work, twiddling your thumbs nervously. They can fire you either way.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #48 on: September 27, 2015, 11:11:23 AM »
Not a lawyer here, but I think that FMLA stuff you are suggesting is tricky. After all, they are only keeping you around to train your replacements and you are useless to them on FMLA leave. I know you think you are protected and all, but what do you gain with that? Don't you forgo pay while on FMLA? I'm not an FMLA expert either but had looked into it myself for potential parental health issues.

I think by going on FMLA you can kiss your bonus and possibly severance goodbye. What's the difference between quitting and going on FMLA if you are not getting paid anyways? If you want to take time off with your newborn, why not just ask to get laid off now along with the others? At least you will get some severance.

jeromedawg

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2931
  • Location: Orange County, CA
Re: Bittersweet Job news
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2015, 11:17:11 AM »
Not a lawyer here, but I think that FMLA stuff you are suggesting is tricky. After all, they are only keeping you around to train your replacements and you are useless to them on FMLA leave. I know you think you are protected and all, but what do you gain with that? Don't you forgo pay while on FMLA? I'm not an FMLA expert either but had looked into it myself for potential parental health issues.

I think by going on FMLA you can kiss your bonus and possibly severance goodbye. What's the difference between quitting and going on FMLA if you are not getting paid anyways? If you want to take time off with your newborn, why not just ask to get laid off now along with the others? At least you will get some severance.

Yea, I'm not 100% sure about it either so I'll prob end up not taking it... at least the additional 6 weeks where it's unpaid. But as far as the paid/partially paid benefits, I want to take advantage of those. And I've already discussed taking *that* time off with my lead, and this was well before all the events that transpired on Thursday, so I think he'll be understanding about it... if not, then that'll just give me more motivation to get out of there. But at least I'll have gotten that benefit out of it.