Author Topic: Take severance or wait and see?  (Read 2451 times)

MrsPennyPincher

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Take severance or wait and see?
« on: November 26, 2019, 04:25:13 PM »
Looking for advice from wise people on this board...
I work for a large software company and work has lately been a drag. This morning, our HR department sent out an email seeking volunteers for a ‘voluntary separation’ program. The terms are
rather generous - I would get over 30 weeks of pay, plus 6 months of ‘COBRA allowance’. Question #1 - does ‘COBRA allowance’ mean  the company will pay for our COBRA insurance? Question #2 - should I take the offer? We are nowhere near our FI number, but got FU money. If I take the offer, I want to take a sabbatical of sorts, rather than plunging right into job search. My concern is, first, I might like it so much, I’d never want to get another job. Second, as a woman in high tech, and one above a certain age, I might have a legitimate problem finding a new job when I need to. Please help me with this dilemma - or better, tell me I can have a sabbatical and everything would be ok!

JLee

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2019, 04:28:47 PM »
Do you think you can find an equivalent job within 30 weeks? What's the market like for your field? Do you have a significant other with income so you could sustain yourselves if you were not hired after 6-12 months passed?

mozar

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2019, 04:36:55 PM »
Based on what I've heard from other people the first separation packet is the most generous. Each round gets worse and worse until the company is sold or shut down and everyone is laid off.

MrsPennyPincher

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2019, 04:45:23 PM »
Do you think you can find an equivalent job within 30 weeks? What's the market like for your field? Do you have a significant other with income so you could sustain yourselves if you were not hired after 6-12 months passed?
I might be overly optimistic but I feel I can find a similar job if I want to. The job market for my field is good, the only problem might be that proverbial sex/age discrimination (prejudice). Also, DH works,
although his pay is about 1/2 of what I am currently making.

robartsd

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2019, 05:13:03 PM »
Looking for advice from wise people on this board...
Question #1 - does ‘COBRA allowance’ mean  the company will pay for our COBRA insurance?
This is a great question to follow up with HR about. I'm sure they can explain it and show you the terms in writing.

Second, as a woman in high tech, and one above a certain age,
I can understand concerns about getting another job in the field may be difficult. Neither age nor gender should be factors, but that doesn't mean they wont be. I would expect age more than gender to be the challenge in tech. In your situation, I'd probably decompress for about a month. Whatever you choose to do, I hope you end up in a better job. Good luck.

mistymoney

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2019, 05:34:56 PM »
Take it and run.


Dave1442397

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2019, 05:40:36 PM »
I would take it. The job market in the tech field is the best I've seen in years. I get hit up by LinkedIn recruiters on a regular basis.


Chrissy

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2019, 05:54:47 PM »
The job market in the tech field is the best I've seen in years.

Agreed.  Also, opportunities like this don't come along very often! 

COBRA allowance could mean a lot of things... partial reimbursement, full reimbursement, lump sum... but probably not continuation of coverage.  Find out.

the_fixer

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2019, 07:44:22 PM »
I would take it but I would skip the sabbatical, I would start looking for a job today and when you get that sweet sweet payout you just accelerated your Fire date by a huge amount.

This has the potential to be a game changer...

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TomTX

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2019, 06:19:34 AM »
Take it and run.

++

Update your LinkedIn, polish the resume, let your network know that you are likely to be available in a few months. Make sure to direct enough into your 401k to max it out.

Once you get the severance - you can keep the job hunt low key for a month or two, but don't let it go too long.

acepedro45

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2019, 07:25:13 AM »
I recently went through the same exact decision - it was even called the "voluntary separation" program at my work. Similar terms...for me about 6 months pay. I am also making about 2x my spouse's salary with a very comfortable cushion saved but not FI money. I don't have to worry as acutely about the age discrimination stuff (and definitely not the sex discrimination stuff as a privilege-card-carrying white cis-bro.)

I decided the mustachian route was to take the offer. Best case I get paid double for the 6 months - other posters have already pointed out that it's a very tight labor market. Worst case I become a stay-at-home dad for awhile. Even years away from the workforce is totally doable and I'd enjoy it.

Before this offer came along, I was already thinking of making a career move to alleviate what you call "drag." I figured that since the company was willing to pay me gobs of money to do something I already wanted to do on their schedule, I should take them up on it.

I am still months away from my separation from MegaCorp, but have had some encouraging nibbles on the new job front.

Good luck with your decision, but I think it makes sense to go for it! If you're going to take a career gamble, bet on yourself.

Raenia

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2019, 07:31:49 AM »
How close are you to FI?  Can you survive on your husband's income if it takes longer than expected to find a new job, or if your new job doesn't pay as well as your current job?

I'd probably take the severance package, but it's worth having a good talk with your husband about where that will leave you financially, and the options if you aren't able to find a good job right away.

bbqbonelesswing

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2019, 09:12:16 AM »
Take the money and run!

Villanelle

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2019, 09:58:30 AM »
I would take it and run but not give myself more than a couple weeks of "sabbatical" before you start actively looking.  You had been planning to continue working, so you aren't really worse off if you go to work at a new place the day after you leave the old place.  But taking that time costs you a lot of progress on the FIRE journey, and if you struggle to find a job, it could be catastrophic. 

You can always see if, when you get an offer, the new place is willing to wait at least a couple more weeks before you start. 

What does your spouse say?  Is he on board?

six-car-habit

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2019, 11:20:30 AM »
 If MrsPennyPincher took the voluntary separation offer , would she still be able to put in a claim for unemployment insurance thru her state ?

 My first thought would be no, since she would not actually be fired / let go....

 My wife had sort of the opposite situation happen years ago. The Company was bought out by another company, and all the "back-office" work was going to be handled at the purchasing companies headquarters [ in another state ] . It made no sense for us to move. A "let-go" date was set. Then the merged company offered a several thousand dollar 'bonus' on top of regular pay if she and one other person would stay for an extra 2 months beyond the "let-go" date - to help the transition. She stayed the 2 months extra, than was let-go, than filed for unemployement insurance, which she recieved.

the_fixer

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2019, 04:21:54 PM »
If MrsPennyPincher took the voluntary separation offer , would she still be able to put in a claim for unemployment insurance thru her state ?

 My first thought would be no, since she would not actually be fired / let go....

 My wife had sort of the opposite situation happen years ago. The Company was bought out by another company, and all the "back-office" work was going to be handled at the purchasing companies headquarters [ in another state ] . It made no sense for us to move. A "let-go" date was set. Then the merged company offered a several thousand dollar 'bonus' on top of regular pay if she and one other person would stay for an extra 2 months beyond the "let-go" date - to help the transition. She stayed the 2 months extra, than was let-go, than filed for unemployement insurance, which she recieved.
Not in the states that I have lived in but I am not sure of the rule in all states.

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MrsPennyPincher

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2019, 06:38:45 PM »
I don’t believe I would qualify for unemployment since this offer is for people to leave voluntarily. This is one of the reasons I am on the fence with it. Another reason is that the spouse, sadly, is not on board. We could perhaps survive on his salary alone but only with a lot of belt tightening, beyond the comfort level. The gap however is not that big, and could be bridged with pretty much any job, not necessarily a  ‘good’ one such as I have now.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2019, 08:13:07 PM »
I think one big question to answer is “do you think you could survive the layoffs that will surely follow?”

As a woman of a certain age (as am I), you are likely more expensive (and more experienced) than some of your peers. If you are seen as a top performer and you have management support, then your chances seem like they could be good. But if you don’t have leadership standing up for you, then your “time on the island” could be cut short.

You also may want to ask yourself “do I want to live in the post-lay-off company.” I’ve been through major layoffs twice. Survived them both. Gots tons of work dumped on me both times. Wound up quitting both times...cuz the post-lay-off world really sucked.

So, taking a package has implications, but not taking it has implications too. Be sure to analyze both.

Good luck!


TomTX

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2019, 05:44:23 AM »
I don’t believe I would qualify for unemployment since this offer is for people to leave voluntarily. This is one of the reasons I am on the fence with it. Another reason is that the spouse, sadly, is not on board. We could perhaps survive on his salary alone but only with a lot of belt tightening, beyond the comfort level. The gap however is not that big, and could be bridged with pretty much any job, not necessarily a  ‘good’ one such as I have now.

Your spouse seems to have a fantasy idea that your current job will remain unchanged, stable and high paying.

That is unlikely. The company is already cutting.

Take the money and run. The economy is hot. This is a perfect time to look for a new job.

the_fixer

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2019, 07:15:00 AM »
Yep and yep to what tomtx and tuskalusa said.

Been there and done that, company offered voluntary layoffs, then came the next round and on and on with each one getting a lower payout.

In the meantime my workload went up and up while morale went down and stress went up over and over.

I wish I had taken the the first package and not lived through several stressful year before I finally could not take it anymore and found a new job.

Especially in this market, I would be looking now and if you can double dip winner winner.

Maybe your spouse is worried that you will take the package / sabbatical and not go back or be able to get a job and everything will be on them?

 I would suggest that a discussion about the reality of what the job is going to look like with your spouse and the fact that it might become toxic or you might be let go and how that would compare to making a proactive move from a position of power now VS the uncertainty of what is coming.


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« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 08:25:10 AM by the_fixer »

Aegishjalmur

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2019, 12:40:16 PM »
Looking for advice from wise people on this board...
I work for a large software company and work has lately been a drag. This morning, our HR department sent out an email seeking volunteers for a ‘voluntary separation’ program. The terms are
rather generous - I would get over 30 weeks of pay, plus 6 months of ‘COBRA allowance’. Question #1 - does ‘COBRA allowance’ mean  the company will pay for our COBRA insurance? Question #2 - should I take the offer? We are nowhere near our FI number, but got FU money. If I take the offer, I want to take a sabbatical of sorts, rather than plunging right into job search. My concern is, first, I might like it so much, I’d never want to get another job. Second, as a woman in high tech, and one above a certain age, I might have a legitimate problem finding a new job when I need to. Please help me with this dilemma - or better, tell me I can have a sabbatical and everything would be ok!

I would assume the Cobra allowance means they cover the Cobra premium, which is a huge plus but I would email HR and ask that directly.

I would probably take it and use some of the time off to get training/certificate/education in another field I am interested in so that when I decide to go back I have more options.

If you enjoy it too much to want to go back to work (at least full time) I would try to figure out how to make a part time job work.


Villanelle

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2019, 12:53:17 PM »
Would your spouse be on board if you skipped the sabbatical part and promised to take the job search as seriously as possible?


Buffaloski Boris

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Re: Take severance or wait and see?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2019, 05:32:09 PM »
Normally I’m the contrarian. Not this time. I look at the notification as evidence that the company is having some issues and anticipates downsizing. Those who stay on will either be laid off at a later date or will get to take on the extra work of those who have left. Neither alternative would sound appealing to me. Especially given that the US economy is going great gangbusters. The time to make hay is when the sun is shining. The sun is shining. I’d be starting a job search Today.