Should I stay or should I go? -- job layoff

My department is being eliminated and my dob is disappearing on November 17. I have known this since July 24, and have been applying for other jobs, so far without luck.

My company’s “displacement” policy is that I have two options by the November deadline. I can leave and take a severance package worth two weeks pay for every year of service. In my case that would be 14 weeks, plus the payout of my accrued leave, which would be just a little over another 4 weeks. They would do this payout as a continuing paycheck – 7 checks, plus a single check for all my accrued leave. This adds up to about 12K net. Continuing my health insurance under Cobra would cost me about $240 per month.

The other option would be to continue working there, on “general project assignment” for six months, while I continue to look for a full-time job, inside or outside the company. They would continue to pay my health insurance during that period, and continue to pay my hourly rate. But they don’t guarantee 40 hours per week – if work is not to be found I will sit unpaid at home, though even in that case they will continue to pay my health insurance.

And – if I take the “project work” – the severance package is off the table, whether or not I find another job within the company within the 6 months.

Several managers and VPs have assured me that they will “find me something” – I’m valued and smart and personable and blah blah blah. But they haven’t yet found anything in two months. Some of my other displaced co-workers have had offers made, and then rescinded or changed.

The strongest arguement I’ve heard for staying is that you’re in a better job hunting position when you have a job than when you don’t – you have some options, and it looks better to potential employers than being unemployed.

OTOH, who am I kidding? I don’t really have more options because I will not be in a realistic position to turn down ANY real offer.

I have also asked HR to get me trained for some particular jobs that I know will open up in the next year. But, my current job doesn’t need that training, and no one is willing to make the mental leap that they could save a valuable employee by getting training for me now that I don’t need now. So, while I have inquired about this training several times, not just recently but over the past couple of years, the answer has always been no.

Personally I think this answer is kind of a slam-dunk and that I should take the money and split. But-- my emotions are all mixed up in this, and some other less biased input may help.

If you have any further questions that would help you give better advice, please ask.

FWIW, I agree with you, take the money. On the one hand, you’ve got a guaranteed 12K. You pay your own health insurance, but $240 is the cheapest COBRA I have ever seen. You know what your schedule is going to be like (wide open) and you can use all that time to look for another job, network, whatever.

On the other hand, you’ve got a “job” which may or may not actually result in any work, much less consistent work, so you may get anywhere from your current income to nothing at all. If you do work, you can’t look for other work during those hours. You’d save $240 a month, but that wouldn’t mean much if you have little to no income beyond that. They’re also not willing to train you for a job that would actually give you hours of work.

So, realistically, if your choice is sit at home with money in the bank, or sit at home with possibly no money at all, what do you want? If you sounded more positive that they’d be able to keep you working, my answer might be different, but it sounds like you’re pretty sure they’re not going to have much of anything for you.

Also FWIW, even if I saw it coming I was never able to find a job in the time I had before getting laid off. I didn’t get the idea that people were refusing to consider me because I was unemployed – for one thing, the economy stinks and everyone knows it. Layoffs shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. For another, you will have no one to give notice to, so you can start immediately upon hire instead of 2-4 weeks later. If you had a guaranteed job/income I’d say stick with it until you find a new one – it’s just easier to survive when you have cash flow – but you don’t.

Someone might try to lowball you if they notice you’ve been out of work for a while, but as far as I’m concerned, if they’re going to be that crass, I’d have no qualms taking the job if I had no better options, and continuing to look for something better to move to. But I’ve also never gotten a new job that offered less than my previous one (full time jobs, anyway, I have waited tables and temped as ‘filler’). YMMV.

Take the money. Enjoy the holidays. January is an excellent month to look for jobs as the holidays are over and all the jobs that have needed to be filled for the past few months get filled.

Take the money. Live on it for a while, then if you haven’t found work file for unemployment, which is about 65% of what you were making. This is still a better deal than the contract work offering, because they could only give you five hours a week and you could do absolutely nothing about that, whereas unemployment pays you the equivalent of a 30 hour a week part time job but you have 100% of your time available to job hunt. Although it’s usually true that you’re more employable when you still have a job, with the economy the way it is nobody’s thinking that way anymore and layoffs are happening in all strata of society so there’s no pejorative view of it right now.

I work at a hospital and it owns a big chunk of a health insurance company.

Take the money & run. As said before, take it easy till January.

If you go there will be trouble, if you stay it will be double.

I say take the money and run. I would be less motivated to find something else while I stayed. You’re better off taking the money and being able to divert 100% of you time to finding something new (after a suitable holiday)

From a strictly monetary view, you are better off staying unless you think you will spend more than about 50% of your time not getting paid.

On the other hand, the intangible is that you will have cash in hand, will have made a clean break from your job and can focus on finding a new one.

While it’s better to have a job while looking because you have a bit more leverage, it’s also very difficult to look for a job (ie taking off time to interview, research etc) while you are working full time. With time off, you can focus 100% (really about 20%, the rest if occupied by going to the gym, watching TV, playing XBox and surfing the web) on your job search.
Also, a friend of mine was given a similar choice. A package now (worth about a years salary, over six figures) or work for a period of time and then package. So he took the work but they kept extending the time. Eventually the company was bought out and told everyone “no one is getting let go and your severane packages are now void”. Man he was pissed.

A bird in the hand is better than one in the bush.

Take the $$ and run.

One of the companies that I deal with had a similar deparment dissolution back a few months ago where people were offered the severance or the “special projects” option. Almost everyone took the money and ran. Those who have stayed have been jerked around so badly and on such a regular basis that they would now kill to have even a portion of the severence available.

Taking the special projects thing is akin to being moved into the basement like Milton in Office Space. They’re just going to hope you eventually move on bloodlessly and solve their problem for them. Never believe management when they start harping on how good you are and what an asset you are and blah blah blah. If they really considered you a big asset your future would have been secured long before the department you’re in went ass up.

I agree with this, except that I wouldn’t wait to file for unemployment - you should do that on day one, because it takes a while to start coming in.

My daughter went through a similar experience about 7 months ago. She was one of the few who chose to remain until the end. She did remain and she was rewarded with a new position. If there is any chance of that happening for you, I’d stick around.

I got screwed doing this about 20 years ago. I filed while I still had money coming in, but my benefits were limited to six months. And the first 3 months I had too much income to get the benefit payment, and those 3 months didn’t get added back on to the tail end of my benefit period. So I only actually got unemployment for 3 months, and was pissed as all get out.

So…what do you do, and are you willing to relocate? :slight_smile: I work in healthcare IT, and we are always looking for people with the right skills, esp. those with healthcare experience…