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Now that the "when" and "how" of your departure is agreed upon, it's time to answer the larger question: what will you get in return for your years of loyal service to the company and for parting on relatively good terms?

  • Your employer may use a preset formula to determine the amount of severance pay they're willing to part with. For example, you might get a week's salary for every year you've been with the company.
  • If the employer sees you as a "special case," you might just be able to get past the usual policy. You just might be rewarded for your years of dedicated service to the company if you ask for what you deserve (once again, if you don't ask for what you want, you certainly won't get it).
If it's impossible to bypass the formula, then you might have room to bargain for other privileges and perks that would help you feel more financially secure. For example, you might ask your employer:
  • For several extra weeks of vacation pay (remember that you're already legally entitled to be paid for any vacation you haven't taken).
  • That you be allowed to apply for other jobs within the company.
  • Permission to use the company's resources - such as your office, the photocopier, and computer - to hunt for another job.
  • To pay for additional training.
If outplacement support wasn't part of the proposed severance package, you might ask the company to assist you in finding a new job. If you have been offered outplacement support, you can ask that it be open-ended; that is, the support will last until you've found another job, regardless of how long that takes.
  • Your company might have a severance pay policy that depends on your rank in the company or on the whims of your employer. In that case, there's no reason why you should jump at the parting package your employer initially proposes, any more than you had to accept whatever salary your employer first suggested when he or she first offered you the job.
  • Additional money and perks may be available for you - if you speak up.
When your employer describes your severance package for the first time, respond by thanking him or her.
  • Ask for the proposal in writing.
  • Request another week to review your financial position.
  • Insure that your employer signs the proposal, so there can be no dispute later.
  • Assess your needs, offer a counterproposal. You just might be surprised to find that you and your employer can come to terms on your terms. And it never hurts to try.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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