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Old 03-07-2014, 06:31 PM   #21
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Find a job on a project that is likely to be outsourced to India. Add in telecommuting, part-time work, and working on a team that was in a remote plant rather than HQ led to my being visible to my HQ-based director only as a candidate to be laid off. As the project dwindled down, others saw the signs and asked to be transferred to more leading-edge technology projects that were more visible. I offered to stay behind as long as I could could continue to telecommute, and went part-time as things dwindled more. I always provided my customers with the very best support, in overtime if required. When it came to filling out TPS report type work (see the "Office Space" movie), I passed, or at least took my time and did it with minimal effort. My manager knew what I wanted but didn't want to go that path because he thought it'd turn ugly between us when he tagged me as bottom 5%, but when he had to send my project offshore and I said I wasn't interested in learning new tricks, he gave it a try. He wrote up a performance improvement plan, I read it and saw it was done professionally, and signed it with no comment. The only part of the plan I did was a skills transfer presentation. My director got credit for cutting a headcount, my co-workers avoided being the target, and I got a 3 month package. I left with my pride and reputation intact. If someone thinks I should've been fired, they are welcome to their opinion, but my package came pretty cheap to mega corp for a smooth transition and I never cheated them on anything important. I just molded myself into a dinosaur.
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Old 03-07-2014, 08:52 PM   #22
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Dilbert readers refer to this as following the Tao of Wally...

I always admired Wally's career goal: To work himself into a position where he had no effect on anything. :-)
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:06 PM   #23
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While I would probably take an early out package if offered, I will not turn into a lowlife slacker to force the issue. Why work your entire adult life to take this path at the end. Of course it's easier to be above it all when your FI.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:19 PM   #24
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Even when I stopped caring about what I was doing, stopped feeling like my work was useful or meaningful, and stopped caring about making Megacorp and its massive shareholders a lot richer even when my pay was frozen for the last five years, I could never half-ass a job. If I'm going to have a job, I'm going to do my best every time.
I'm only somewhat in the same camp here. When I was younger, I was a lot more unrealistic about how much effort I was willing to put in to make up my "best effort" on a job. That saved many projects, but cost me many nights and weekends. I'll never be in the group that intentionally does a lack luster job, but I'm going to draw the line at 50-60 hours and the occasional all nighter. No longer will I take on any project and do whatever it takes (excessively hard work) to get it done. Megacorp never appreciated it and the sacrifice wasn't worth it.

Maybe that's why they want younger workers in my job, because they haven't learned to put reasonable limits yet.

I haven't worked anywhere that any of these intentional layoff tricks would work. Anyone who tried them, or who just was that way without trying, will end up on a performance plan and if they fail to correct the problem, gets pushed out. When we push people out there is no severance and if the company can manage it there is no unemployment. These end up as termination for cause, not layoffs. Definitely a bad idea to try, even if it weren't such a bad idea for other reasons.
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Old 03-07-2014, 09:49 PM   #25
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Really. What regulation/law governs that, I'd like to read it. I've heard of laws requiring X days notice for RIF, severance, benefits and other stipulations, but never a limit on numbers. I did find a statute in MA law that defines a plant closing as a RIF of 90% or more of the workforce.
I'll try to find it; going by memory. Had to do with trying to make companies pay extra for putting too many on unemployment. Trying to stop massive hiring and layoffs in boom/bust/boom businesses.

My co. would lay off X% of the force but IIRC, if you went just one person over that amount you got hit an extra X% penalty on the co's future unemployment tax. Seem to remember for us the number of 114 people before the penalty kicked in.

So we'd layoff X -1 person, then wait several months and then do it again. We eventually went to using a lot of contractors instead, as our business had very wild swings.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:42 AM   #26
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I haven't worked anywhere that any of these intentional layoff tricks would work. Anyone who tried them, or who just was that way without trying, will end up on a performance plan and if they fail to correct the problem, gets pushed out. When we push people out there is no severance and if the company can manage it there is no unemployment. These end up as termination for cause, not layoffs. Definitely a bad idea to try, even if it weren't such a bad idea for other reasons.
While I don't doubt this is true in some smaller companies most megacorps with which I'm familiar are deathly afraid of wrongful termination lawsuits. Generally in all but the most egregious cases a slacker will be laid off rather than fired just to avoid the risk.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:51 AM   #27
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Sometimes getting fired for cause can allow you to collect unemployment. For example, I was once fired for standing up to a sadistic bully boss. I liked my job, but I had to save my self-respect. I got fired for cause (refusing an order) but the unemployment folks decided I was wrongfully terminated, so I got unemployment. I'd rather have kept my job, with a normal boss, but....
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Old 03-08-2014, 02:32 PM   #28
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Sounds like the unemployment office did the right thing. Many of the "fired for cause" I saw were ordinary workers doing ordinary jobs, but once they were on the list, every single deviation from working hours was documented and written up. If they had ten tasks, whichever one they didn't finish was cited and written up. In a professional environment with open ended expectations, there's always something someone could ask for more, and with selective vision there's always some deficiency to cite and document. When the file got fat enough, then terminated and those rarely got questioned by unemployment. They should have been.
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Old 03-08-2014, 04:25 PM   #29
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When the file got fat enough, then terminated and those rarely got questioned by unemployment. They should have been.
It's not the job of the unemployment office to go through files and question terminations for cause. It's 100% the responsibility of the terminated individual to appeal the rejection of his unemployment compensation claim and thus cause a hearing to occur.

At least in Illinois, unless the "for cause" justification is extremely strong, such as fired for well documented absenteeism or theft of company property with eager to testify witnesses, the terminated employee almost always wins. I've been through dozens and dozens of these.......

OTOH, employees who you would think could never collect unemployment compensation frequently do. Example: hot blooded young male employee meets love of his life on vacation, is drunk for 11 straight days and never returns to work. Doesn't call, doesn't write, just doesn't come back. Employer attempts to contact employee for several weeks with no success. Employer terminates employee. Employee files for unemployment compensation. Employer requests the claim be denied because employee was terminated for cause. Employee appeals. At the hearing, employee says that his supervisor was verbally abusive and he was afraid to have further contact with her. There is no evidence of this supervisor ever having been "abusive." Nevertheless, unemployment compensation is awarded to the employee who collects for 99 weeks while pretending to be doing a job search. He also is successful in collecting vacation and holiday pay claiming that his absence did not consume vacation time since he was actually fleeing from abuse.

To OP: If you can't be officially "laid off for lack of work," then talk to a labor attorney. He/she can tell you which "terminations for cause" appeals are almost always won in your state. Follow instructions and pay the attorney his/her fee to represent you at the hearing (if you employer bothers to deny your claim, few do). The odds of collecting are greatly on your side and the attorney's fee will be a tiny percentage of your compensation.

Good luck.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:39 PM   #30
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This is a very interesting thread. I did not read the Gervais Principle all the way through, (but I certainly will), since it picks my interest and really makes sense.

I think most of the one's I have seen, (working for the Feds), that have managed to work their way to a reasonable non-working outcome manage to go the "disability route". I have seen several people work the system like that to get what they want. Most of them don't get along with others anyways to be accomodated. Who wants that when they can get the disability? Of course there's also the "Minority" route. That's always a good one...

I was always one of the clueless...that did my time and saved and invested.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:40 PM   #31
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I think I rather quit and leave versus going half ass as I think it would take too much energy.

I've found more contract or consulting assignments to be W2 base. After 6 months or so, if the assignment ends, I've been told I can apply for unemployment. I was thinking of doing this after my current job.

Work 6 months or so, assignment finishes, ride unemployment until that ends before looking for the next job. That might be my ESR option.
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:40 PM   #32
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I should add that I did my best *within limits*. In particular, I increasingly refused to accept more work when I already had more than I could reasonably do in a 40 hour week. When I was fearful of losing my j*b, yeah, maybe they could have whipped me with fear to take all the work and put in 50-60 hours (for no additional pay), but once I reached the point of corporate apathy AND our "numbers" indicated a layoff was no longer going to impose a catastrophic hardship (especially considering likely severance, which turned out to be 6 months pay), I started pushing back a little. The work I committed to do and *had* to do, I pushed hard to do efficiently and do very well -- but I found myself sometimes saying to people, "sorry, I don't know when I'll have the time to fit this in." I became less and less willing to work unpaid overtime on a regular basis.

My colleague, who also did a lot of the same things I did on our team, was more, well, determined to keep his j*b. He is younger than me by a few years, has a stay-at-home wife, a couple kids and a mortgage, and he needed it a lot more than I did. He worked longer hours, almost never pushed back on additional requests of his time even when he was already swamped, and I suspect that (and that I suspect I was considerably higher paid) played into my getting whacked -- which, apart from meeting and marrying my wife, is the best thing that's ever happened to me....
I'm pretty much at this point. I work hard while I'm at work but not when I'm home. But I'm not working 10-20 hrs a week of unpaid overtime anymore. Those days are over. I show up on time, but also leave on time. I typically eat lunch at my desk while working - so they get some extra time... but nothing like when I was younger.

Best of all I made it clear that I wasn't thrilled with the 5am and 10pm conference calls with India... I'm sure that moved me higher on any layoff list being compiled.

If they lay me off, I'll be happy. I've also let some of the managers know that if a layoff happens, they could save the job for someone who needs it more than I do - and put me on the list. So far no luck.

I'm not going to do a crap job - but I'm not going to ignore my family to work unpaid overtime anymore.
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Old 03-08-2014, 11:06 PM   #33
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Personal integrity ... we all have varying degrees of it. Perhaps, a few don't. Doing a crappy job to get laid off, scheming to be on disability, ..., not my idea of getting to FIRE.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:26 AM   #34
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When I was younger I worked a job I hated. I tried to get fired. The company was very smart they knew a lot of people hated that job. They used the transfer as an art form. When you were transferred your pay went back to the starting point of the new site and you might have to compute three times farther. Their was nothing you could do about either but quit and they knew it. This saved them a lot of money.
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