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Old 05-25-2012, 12:32 PM   #41
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The Megacorp that I worked for has been downsizing for about 20 years, through 2 mergers. And they are in the midst of another large one.
Pretty much describes all larger businesses, especially the ones publicly traded which have to answer to Wall Street. If you leave even one cent per share on the table that could have been achieved with more layoffs, Wall Street will throw a fit.

It seems like most R&D departments have been transformed into M&A departments. Just about all "new" product offerings these days come from buying smaller companies, not internal, organic R&D. In that sense, smaller companies that innovate are, more or less, the de facto R&D arms of Big Business.

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Based on the analysis I've done so far, which essentially boils down to taking $100k now or earning $400k in the next three years (I put the odds of keeping my current job at 50%), I'm likely going to turn down the package.
Sounds like you've done as much homework and soul-searching as you reasonably can. Best of luck with your decision.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:33 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
If I turn it down and don't get laid off, I cruise into retirement via a job that I like that I can do in my sleep.
If you have a job that you like, then I think your decision is a good one. I think a lot of us here are because we don't like our current jobs, so I think you're going to get somewhat biased feedback.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:07 PM   #43
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Lisa, like others have said, your conclusion sounds very well thought out. The only thing that occurs to me, and I am just thinking out loud here...

Do they already know you plan to retire in 2015? If they do, I'd think they might be willing to give you some assurances as to whether you'll make it or they might be willing to agree to a path (like Sales) to get you through to 2015.

If they don't know - along the same lines, is there an immediate manager or an HR manager you can confide in? They might be willing to work with you if they know your timetable, they might appreciate knowing they have a planned reduction in 2015. It would be awful to be laid off close to when you'd planned to retire anyway. A manager probably can't change the decision if you try to tell them once the layoff plans have been made and implemented because it may affect others. It would be much easier if they can bake it into their plans in advance.

There's a lot to be said for being proactive, but again I don't pretend to know your specific circumstances, so my thoughts may be useless.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:06 PM   #44
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Lisa, like others have said, your conclusion sounds very well thought out. The only thing that occurs to me, and I am just thinking out loud here...

Do they already know you plan to retire in 2015? If they do, I'd think they might be willing to give you some assurances as to whether you'll make it or they might be willing to agree to a path (like Sales) to get you through to 2015.

If they don't know - along the same lines, is there an immediate manager or an HR manager you can confide in? They might be willing to work with you if they know your timetable, they might appreciate knowing they have a planned reduction in 2015. It would be awful to be laid off close to when you'd planned to retire anyway. A manager probably can't change the decision if you try to tell them once the layoff plans have been made and implemented because it may affect others. It would be much easier if they can bake it into their plans in advance.

There's a lot to be said for being proactive, but again I don't pretend to know your specific circumstances, so my thoughts may be useless.
No one knows that I plan to leave in 2015 (except now you guys!). Even if my manager knew she would have little ability to get me off of a list.

And I won't be telling anyone either.

I watched a co-worker get laid off about two years ago. He was about a year away from full retirement and his wife had alzheimers. He begged to be allowed to stay because he couldn't afford Cobra and he was afraid he couldn't get another job at his age. Ya know what? They canned him anyway. So I for one, won't be telling a soul (I have an incredible rapport with my manager, but this is one subject that won't come up).
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:28 PM   #45
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My DH works for the same megacorp. From what I understand, they are going to start posting the WFR names on Tuesday so you may have time to reconsider before June 22 if your name comes up. We're actually hoping DH's name is on the WFR because he can take the EER and also get unemployment, which will help until he can get another job (already checked this out with the labor department). Although he has in-demand skills, at 61, we anticipate it will take a while before he gets a job and it certainly won't pay as much as megacorp. But the change will do him good. Megacorp hasn't been a great place to work in a number of years. Don't think the story you mention would have happened under the founders watch, but who knows?
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:42 PM   #46
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My DH works for the same megacorp. From what I understand, they are going to start posting the WFR names on Tuesday so you may have time to reconsider before June 22 if your name comes up. We're actually hoping DH's name is on the WFR because he can take the EER and also get unemployment, which will help until he can get another job (already checked this out with the labor department). Although he has in-demand skills, at 61, we anticipate it will take a while before he gets a job and it certainly won't pay as much as megacorp. But the change will do him good. Megacorp hasn't been a great place to work in a number of years. Don't think the story you mention would have happened under the founders watch, but who knows?
I wish you and DH the best! I've also been told that if we end up on a WFR list before June 22 that we'll be allowed to take the early retirement packet, so I hope the timing works for you.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:41 PM   #47
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I wish you and DH the best! I've also been told that if we end up on a WFR list before June 22 that we'll be allowed to take the early retirement packet, so I hope the timing works for you.
I wonder if you are on the WFR list, will you know before the June 22 deadline.
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Old 05-28-2012, 04:59 PM   #48
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One thing to remember with downsizing, and with new management is that the focus is not simply on eliminating positions but also on the total cost of each position/employee to the employer.

The focus may also be on replacing older, higher paid workers with younger, less expensive staff as a means of bring in 'new blood' and lowering payroll costs. Older workers are typically more expensive from both a salary and a benefits perspective...especially for employers that self pay benefits even though these are administered by third party benefits organizations.

You can be sure that salary levels and benefit costs-health/dental/vacation, etc. will be reviewed and acted upon at some point during the re-structuring process.
Well, one thing to consider if they do lay you off and replace you with a younger person at lower cost, you would have basis for an age discrimination law suit. Of course your work history would have to be impeccable. If you stay, document everything, records and all conversations with management.
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Old 05-28-2012, 06:19 PM   #49
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Many employers require a waiver for at least a part of a severance package.

I am a retired HR Specialist and during my career 'ran the stats' on many a rif, sliced and diced until I could barely keep my eyes open. Every savvy employer does that as a part of their process. I seriously doubt that systemic age, race or sex discrimination will be found (disparate impact). It is possible that disparate treatment could happen but those cases are hard to prove.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:33 PM   #50
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Many employers require a waiver for at least a part of a severance package.

I am a retired HR Specialist and during my career 'ran the stats' on many a rif, sliced and diced until I could barely keep my eyes open. Every savvy employer does that as a part of their process. I seriously doubt that systemic age, race or sex discrimination will be found (disparate impact). It is possible that disparate treatment could happen but those cases are hard to prove.
I realize its a difficult road to travel (and can take several years) however, I have a friend who received a six figure settlement. So it is possible under certain circumstances.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:11 PM   #51
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When I worked in the public sector I negotiated several, a couple of which pop up in hr discourse from time to time.

I actually managed to get an executive to put his criteria in writing!

Yes it is possible, but not easy.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:38 PM   #52
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Well, one thing to consider if they do lay you off and replace you with a younger person at lower cost, you would have basis for an age discrimination law suit. Of course your work history would have to be impeccable. If you stay, document everything, records and all conversations with management.
My FIL ER'd in '94 when the CBS Washington bureau tried to buy out management. The union (IBEW) parsed the contracts and figured out that the bureau had to offer the buyout to everyone, not just to management. Faced with a lawsuit, the bureau reluctantly offered it to everyone. Of course every gray-haired technician in the bureau promptly took the offer, while most of the management hunkered down and hoped not to have their name called.

My FIL took the lump sum and never looked back. He'd been there since '64 and covering the '92 election had permanently soured him on the job. But many of the technicians took contract jobs (camera & audio) or opened up their own repair shops. Their #1 customer, of course, was the CBS Washington bureau. Or, depending on your perspective, Monica Lewinsky.
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Old 05-29-2012, 02:46 PM   #53
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Lisa99,

Nice to have the option that you do. I would be VERY tempted to take the offer, though I can see your reasons for not doing so. I'm sure you know your company well. In my experience, when it comes to layoff time, middle manager types are the ones most likely to get cut, so I'd likely take the deal if I were in your situation. Not that it's fair, but at your age and salary level, I would think they would target someone like you. It's hard to prove age discrimination...they can just restructure themselves around that.

I know three people well who took deals similar to yours (9 months to a year of pay to retire early), and none of them regret it. Here's hoping your job is there as long as you want it to be.
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