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Boss Conversation - Advice Needed
Old 06-08-2015, 02:19 PM   #1
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Boss Conversation - Advice Needed

To retire 'officially' from megacorp one of the requirements is to be age 55. I meet all other requirements but am only 53. The only real benefit is subsidized retiree healthcare to our corporate Cadillac plan. It's not an awesome subsidy. But it is something, plus it's a good overall plan. In light of the uncertainty with ACA in general, I like the idea of having this option.

I'm frustrated with the seemingly arbitrary age 55 rule. At this point I'm pretty much FI. I'm ready to quit. Here is my question. What do you think of the following strategy?

I'm thinking of telling my boss I'm burned out and desire to leave. But I do not wish to leave since I'm technically not eligible to receive the retire medical coverage. And then ask him to see if there is anything he can do to get an exception in my case. Otherwise the choice is fire me (which would be financially awesome cause I'd get a severance), put up with a knowingly burned out and unmotivated VP of an important IT area for two years, or allow me be eligible for the retiree medical and have me retire.

I have a good relationship with my boss although I believe such a conversation would take him by surprise.

Is this too risky? Does it come across as trying to threaten megacorp? Or is it a reasonable request based upon circumstances as I hope it would come across?

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

Muir
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:25 PM   #2
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How much clout does your boss have?
That seems to be the main issue IMHO.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:27 PM   #3
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How much clout does your boss have?
That seems to be the main issue IMHO.
I should have mentioned that. He is the CIO. He is an executive. So, he has a great deal of clout. But this is an HR related matter and sometimes those can take on a life of their own.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:33 PM   #4
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In most Megas that I have experience with it seems unlikely that an exception will be granted because they will not want to set a precedent where they might be forced to offer exceptions to others in similar circumstances.

Can you downshift to a lesser role with lower hours, pay and stress for a couple years?

I downshifted to 50% time and it was wonderful and I would have considered staying but I would have had to wait out 6 more years rather than 2 more years and I decided that 6 years was too much.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:40 PM   #5
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Do you have another true reason you can add your request? Such as I have high pressure, migraines, stomach issues. Or some family obligation that might come into play?


There might be some exceptions for cases like that and would be better received by the boss and HR, instead of using the term burnout. You can ask that way first continue on with the burnout if you really want to get out.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:47 PM   #6
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Another option may be to take a leave of absence. While on leave you are still officially an employee but of course you won't be working.

However, I suspect you can't go on leave for 2 years but it might be possible to cover 6 months - 1 year.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
In most Megas that I have experience with it seems unlikely that an exception will be granted because they will not want to set a precedent where they might be forced to offer exceptions to others in similar circumstances.

Can you downshift to a lesser role with lower hours, pay and stress for a couple years?

I downshifted to 50% time and it was wonderful and I woudl ahve considered staying but I would have had to wait out 6 more years rather than 2 more years and I decidd that 6 years was too much.
+1
With such policy issues, HR usually reigns unless there are a medical issue or a broader downsizing in the works when some employees are bridged. And HR in mega corps usually has a low tolerance for policy exceptions for such individual situations.
Others have posted suggesting a downshift to a less stressful role. Another option to be explored is a leave of absence (unpaid) for say 6-9 month. They can fill your existing role, and you could come back to a project role for the balance of the time to get your 55 goodies.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuirWannabe View Post
To retire 'officially' from megacorp one of the requirements is to be age 55. I meet all other requirements but am only 53. The only real benefit is subsidized retiree healthcare to our corporate Cadillac plan. It's not an awesome subsidy. But it is something, plus it's a good overall plan. In light of the uncertainty with ACA in general, I like the idea of having this option.

I'm frustrated with the seemingly arbitrary age 55 rule. At this point I'm pretty much FI. I'm ready to quit. Here is my question. What do you think of the following strategy?

I'm thinking of telling my boss I'm burned out and desire to leave. But I do not wish to leave since I'm technically not eligible to receive the retire medical coverage. And then ask him to see if there is anything he can do to get an exception in my case. Otherwise the choice is fire me (which would be financially awesome cause I'd get a severance), put up with a knowingly burned out and unmotivated VP of an important IT area for two years, or allow me be eligible for the retiree medical and have me retire.

I have a good relationship with my boss although I believe such a conversation would take him by surprise.

Is this too risky? Does it come across as trying to threaten megacorp? Or is it a reasonable request based upon circumstances as I hope it would come across?

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

Muir
Give him your "2 year notice" now? With the stipulation that if they find that great guy soon, you'll be happy to give them a few weeks to get him up to speed before you leave, but the only condition is that you want the "55 and over healthcare".

He'll know you're wanting to leave and really could leave at any time and leave him hanging, but at least this way, you've given him a running start. Almost like a severance package, but you're trying to do the right thing? Just a thought.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:50 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=pb4uski;1602039]In most Megas that I have experience with it seems unlikely that an exception will be granted because they will not want to set a precedent where they might be forced to offer exceptions to others in similar circumstances.

+1
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:52 PM   #10
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Agree with pb4uski - the bigger the company, the less likely any exception will be made. And if it is a mega (say, more than 20K employees), then I'd say your odds are pretty much zero. Same happened to me right before I left - they offered a nice severance to anyone 55 or older. I left at 53. Checked with HR, and it was an absolute no-go.

That being said, heck, I'd approach him. You just shouldn't come across as threatening (well, I can stay, but I'm not going to be happy about it, grumble, grumble). Also, it will likely be a pure HR issue.
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:29 PM   #11
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... the bigger the company, the less likely any exception will be made. And if it is a mega (say, more than 20K employees), then I'd say your odds are pretty much zero. ... Also, it will likely be a pure HR issue.
+1 to this. As a VP and GC of a couple of public companies, one of which was large-ish, I can validate this view. Unless it is an unusually progressive place, the senior HR, legal and accounting people will be a Greek chorus of 'no' to your boss if/when he tries to go to bat for that, unfortunately.

Your best bet may be a downshift role or perhaps sabbatical to get you part of the way there.
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:46 PM   #12
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Unless there are other VERY pressing & solid reasons for extended leave request consistent with existing company policy, I would strongly advise saying nothing and continuing your w#rk. That HI seems like a HUGE reason to keep on until 55, and an equally big reason for megacorp to let go someone not fully committed to the operation. Ten years prior to Medicare is a big cone of uncertainty for decent HI (i.e. affordability, coming ACA 'tweaks', etc.). And I would bet that the next 2 yrs could mean more $$ in retirement package (pension, other bennies for "full" retirees).
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:53 PM   #13
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Real risky IMO. A lot of folks at mega's about your age are in the same situation, just hanging on for something like sub. healthcare.

I was a vested differed retiree from both a Megacorp, and a vested differed retiree from a Megacity this year. The megacorp, if you were 55 at time of separation or on medical leave at age 55 , you got FREE Cadillac healthcare, including spouse. One day short and you got 0.

With megacity, it is a 4% subsidy per full year of service, vested differed retirees get same deal. very fair.

I left Megacorp at 40 with 19 years service, get 0 megacorp medical.

The people who run mega and it's retirement plan have nothing against you and others similarly situated, but have a duty to the company first. Part of the ability for mega-corp to offer the sub. retiree healthcare is knowing not many new hire's will ever make it there.That is the raw reality.

In $ how much is the subsidy worth per mo ?

If you are burned out you prob. would be justified in seeking a medical leave. Go to your health professional first before discussing with the boss or HR. Take a leave if you can, for as long as you can, then come back to work for a bit. You might just make it to 55.

My 2 cents worth
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Old 06-08-2015, 03:56 PM   #14
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I agree with the others, a big company will have steadfast rules and almost no chance for any exception. However, the suggestion for a part-time role or sabbatical sounds like it can get you to the end age 55 goal and might keep you happier? I would pursue the part-time role with your boss and maybe he can make you a project mgr for specific task or something similar?

If a little dishonest, you could claim an ailing parent/in-law and need to take time off to care for them. Not sure what proof employer may require or what rules to get back in time to retire shortly thereafter.
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:07 PM   #15
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In most Megas that I have experience with it seems highly unlikely that an exception will be granted because they will not want to set a precedent where they might be forced to offer exceptions to others in similar circumstances.
+3. And they won't change it for exactly the reason ski mentions, they shouldn't IMO. Getting subsidized Cadillac retirement HC benefits at any age is unusual in the private sector these days (and getting scarcer), and extremely generous at age 55 IME, asking for an exception to include a 53 yo employee is asking too much IMO.

With what little we know, I'd consider it too risky. But only you know how your boss might react, you might be able to talk with him about your burnout without "surprise." But if you do show your cards, I'd be perfectly honest, don't angle to be terminated with severance, and don't make up or exaggerate any health, family or other circumstances - not accusing you of anything. IME the best you can hope for is a realignment of duties or change in your assignment (might be a salary reduction, but you're willing to forego salary now) to make it easier to handle two more years. Win-win maybe...
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:26 PM   #16
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Thanks for the replies. Couple of points of information to address some of the comments.


My megacorp is a privately held company. Around 4500 employees. So I do think HR flexibility is possible although I've no idea if it would occur. In my 26 years here, I've seen some things done that demonstrated flexibility and others where they held on principle. So, it's difficult for me to predict.


The subsidy is not amazing. It's difficult to tell exactly how much it's worth cause the manner in which it's structured is an amount all retirees pay for health coverage period. What is nice is just knowing I've got the coverage to a plan I'm familiar with that is high quality. DW and I are both quite healthy. But still, it's nice to have the security blanket in the health care arena these days.


The part time idea is a good idea to help penalty kill the remaining two years. However, I doubt it's an option for my particular job situation. Still, a good idea to potentially ask should I decide to proceed with this conversation.


If I have the conversation, I will choose to be honest. It's been a good company to me and I'm not bitter. Just oh so ready to leave and kiss it goodbye.


Muir
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:27 PM   #17
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Adding a contrarian view. I saw some exceptional packages given to VPs that were downsized (at their own request) compared to what the directors and below got. Mind you it was on the context of other layoffs - but the deals involved medical, cash (multiple years of salary) etc. Since you're a VP... If there are layoffs in the future you might be able to negotiate a sweeter deal than the general workforce.
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:01 PM   #18
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Our Magacorp offers up to a 2 yr "Pre-retirement LOA". Here is the high level guidelines & rqmts. I know a few who have done it and my friend did it for his last 6 months at 54.5.


Please note: This is not medical or family leave. Those have different guidelines.


Cheers.


Leave Description
A Preretirement Leave requires executive-level management approval and must be consistent with company and organizational business needs. A program/functional organization director or executive-level designee will not approve a Preretirement Leave unless:

  • You are currently eligible for retirement under a company-sponsored retirement plan or will be eligible within two years of the Preretirement Leave start date, and
  • You have 10 years of vesting service on the Preretirement Leave start date.
Preretirement Leave lasts up to 24 months and may not be permitted by certain collective bargaining agreements.
A request to work outside the company while on a Preretirement Leave will be at the discretion of the senior Human Resources executive of your business unit. You may not work for a competitor while on a Preretirement Leave. Any employment outside the company while on Preretirement Leave without authorization will result in the leave being converted to termination of employment.
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:23 PM   #19
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Congratulation! You have a nice problem.

No matter how it goes you will fine
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Old 06-08-2015, 05:36 PM   #20
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.....you could claim an ailing parent/in-law and need to take time off to care for them. Not sure what proof employer may require or what rules to get back in time to retire shortly thereafter.
Our HR department has stringent documentation requirements for employees requesting Family Medical Leave to care for family members. Signed notes from doctors (at regular intervals) are required. I think shading the truth on this could be very dangerous and counterproductive (even putting aside the ethics of it for a moment). OP does not want to get caught "fabricating" an illness for a family member in order to benefit from FMLA. At least where I work, that would be grounds for immediate dismissal.

Just my two cents.
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