Negotiating Your Exit m22.jpg

There's a final similarity between leaving and joining the company. When you've been terminated, you're often in as strong a position to barter with your employer as you were when you were hired. Before you accepted employment, the company was anxious to create a desirable environment and bring you into the fold. Now, as the end of your relationship with the business approaches, your employer may be eager to help you bring your mutual association to a dignified close.

Of course, your "severance leverage" depends in large part on the company you're leaving. We've all heard of the mass layoffs in which firms pass out pink slips, engage their security personnel to accompany people to their cubicles to clear out their desks, then usher ex-employees out the door - all within twenty minutes. Even employers who don't engage in such Draconian actions may have severance policies that are seemingly set in stone, and expect you to accept what you're offered without a murmur.

But even rigid companies can bend rules for individuals under certain circumstances, and this happens more often than you might expect.

  • Employees who were high-ranking or valued members of the team might negotiate a stronger package by reviewing the details of the severance agreement at home before signing it at a later date.
  • Employers might also selectively increase termination benefits to individual employee's if they can demonstrate the need
  • Smart employers know that a terminated employee treated well is less likely to turn into a problematic former employee.
  • If your employer wants you out the door badly enough, and it would please him or her to have you part amicably and without stirring up the waters, you just might have some bargaining power, no matter what the company's policies.
  • Ask not, get not. You'll seldom get anything above and beyond what your employer initially hands you unless you ask for it, so it's up to you to take the initiative and name your terms.

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