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Megacorp Offer after FIRE
Old 09-19-2019, 05:09 PM   #1
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Megacorp Offer after FIRE

Hi all,

After 30+ years of service, I will be retiring from Megacorp in 2020. I have yet to give notice, but will do so three months prior to my departure date.

Due to my extensive knowledge and experience, coupled with a major systems redesign that is just getting started, there is a strong possibility that I may be asked to extend my stay. Since I'm at a juncture in my life where I'm financially secure, I am not sure how to best handle this situation should it arise.

I would consider moving forward with my retirement, but then returning on a contract basis. However, the compensation would need to be of great significance for me to consider it.

For those of you who have been in a similar position, would you mind offering your thoughts? How did you handle the negotiations? Did it work out in the end, or would you have been better off simply walking away?

Thanks in advance for your input.

-Sammy
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:28 PM   #2
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I'm sure my relevance to Megacorp was less than yours, but there were a couple of contracts on which I had critical expertise that were ongoing at the point of my retirement. I agreed that I would come back to consult as needed to make sure the contracted work was completed.

So several times over my first year of retirement I was involved in conference calls with customers and did some computations for the team on my own time. I was "being nice" and would ask casually about a consulting contract whenever we'd talk. I was always told it was "in the works". You can guess how this story ends. I did what amounted to about 20 hours of free consulting work for my old pals before they mercifully stopped asking (I'm fool enough that I'd probably have kept right on doing it for old times sake if they hadn't).

The moral is they won't pay for the cow if they can get the milk for free, so don't give it away unless you REALLY like your former colleagues.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:40 PM   #3
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If you are truly FI, and no need for income, and really don't care what happens there, then I would just say "no Thanks". If you are really integral to what is going on, and it would hurt your former co-workers if you don't do it, then stay on for a defined amount of time, on your conditions.

In my case, I stayed on 3 days per week for 5 months. I made the hours, I picked the days, and I took a 6 week hiatus in the middle (working 8 hours per week remotely to keep up with emails).

Worked great for me. I left on good terms.

OTOH, when I was called later to ask if I would work contract to "help out", I realized that the company would not come close to paying what I would want to w@rk part time. So I just politely declined, so they did not have to say NO to 2 or 3 times my last hourly salary.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:47 PM   #4
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Well, first, I would not put the cart before the horse. And you have no idea how differently you might feel on the topic after a week or two of being retired. I had 26 years at my MC but if they called me after a week I would have been all "new phone who dis?"

I was surprised how quickly I detached. ymmv. You might miss the interactions and want that call. But as far as pay? Think about 4x your current hourly rate to start negotiations. It sounds like a lot but not really when you know how they calculate benefits. Or more depending on your market value. Don't undersell yourself at all. You'll have to do extra work for your taxes as well.

And you should already know about how much they pay for quality contractors (if you don't ask around to find out) - and then buffer their rates given you'll have a near-zero ramp up time and all that built in knowledge.

But that's only if you really want to, and still want to after you've had a few weeks to decompress.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:56 PM   #5
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My company asked that I stay on for a "short time", I had no qualms or hesitation of saying "nope". In my mind I had already reached the point that I was ready for FIRE.

If you have to ask and are already considering staying, your aren't ready for FIRE.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:02 PM   #6
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Relative to negotiations: I'd take your last year annual pay (including bonus, etc). Add 15% to cover social security. Divide by 2000. That's roughly what they paid you per hour.

For additional consulting, I would double this hourly rate. Why? I'd guess that you spent 50% of your time as an employee in staff meeting, training, coaching, HR required meetings, etc. As a consultant you would not need to go to these meetings. Therefore, the true value you provided as an employee was compensated at this level. Simple math, easy to explain, easy to understand.

If they don't like it, have a polite "new phone who dis" moment. Good luck what ever you path you take.
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Old 09-19-2019, 07:29 PM   #7
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I was surprised how quickly I detached. ymmv.
That's just it... I would detach very quickly. However, I'm preparing myself for a battle between "detachment" and "a deal I can't refuse".

In any case, I want to thank everyone for your valuable feedback. Much appreciated.
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:46 PM   #8
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I am not retired yet and far from rich but my answer would be nope. No upside for me. You would be leaving dollars on the table potentially if you left 10 years from now. Time is something you can't get back.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:55 PM   #9
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Relative to negotiations: I'd take your last year annual pay (including bonus, etc). Add 15% to cover social security. Divide by 2000. That's roughly what they paid you per hour.
For me the minimum math would be total cash compensation loaded by percent
used for payroll loading for your pay grade, typically 25-35%. For example, if cash comp is 100k/yr and loading is 35%, then your minimum hourly is 135000/2000.
Of course, all expenses including commuting to site are extra and reimbursed.
My experience is that few consultants work for less than $100/hr. If you were sourced by a temp firm, they would mark up your loaded costs 1.5-2.0 times depending on the scarcity of your skills.
YMMV
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:05 PM   #10
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If you do not mind dropping over dead at your desk, keep working.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:33 AM   #11
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I am not retired yet and far from rich but my answer would be nope. No upside for me. You would be leaving dollars on the table potentially if you left 10 years from now. Time is something you can't get back.
+1

When I told my management of my plan to retire, they started making offers (more money? fewer hours? work at home? contract work? more interesting assignments?). They were trying to figure out what I would accept.

That wasn't very surprising and I didn't let it go to my head. It's easier for management to keep someone on, than to find, hire, and train somebody new.

With a straight face, I responded to inquiries from three levels of management (one after the other, lower to higher) that there wasn't enough money in the budget for the entire agency to pay me what I would require to continue. I was serious. I wanted to retire and would not accept anything less. My former username here was Want2Retire, and I was dead serious about that.

So, I retired just as planned and haven't looked back. Best decision I ever made.
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Old 09-20-2019, 04:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sammy1224 View Post
Hi all,

After 30+ years of service, I will be retiring from Megacorp in 2020. I have yet to give notice, but will do so three months prior to my departure date.

Due to my extensive knowledge and experience, coupled with a major systems redesign that is just getting started, there is a strong possibility that I may be asked to extend my stay. Since I'm at a juncture in my life where I'm financially secure, I am not sure how to best handle this situation should it arise.

I would consider moving forward with my retirement, but then returning on a contract basis. However, the compensation would need to be of great significance for me to consider it.

For those of you who have been in a similar position, would you mind offering your thoughts? How did you handle the negotiations? Did it work out in the end, or would you have been better off simply walking away?
I delayed my planned retirement by 6 months to help my team complete a major system move. I did this on my own, before I told anyone at work I was planning to retire. That worked out well, as it protected my team and helped ensure they were in a good place work-wise prior to my leaving. Once I had the 6 month exit date in my mind, it was easy to get through each day, knowing the end was in sight.

After I had been retired for about 6 months, my company called and asked if I would come back and help my replacement and the team for a while.

I agreed to come in as a consultant for two 8 hour days per week. No extra time, no management responsibilities, no dealing with the remote managers. I gave them a very reasonable rate and didn't ask for a "make me an offer I can't refuse" deal. I wasn't doing it for the money - I was doing it to help them out and to do something I might enjoy. I knew that if I wasn't enjoying it I would just leave.

It worked out well for everyone. I enjoyed the work, never stayed late, never worked extra days. It was basically just the "fun" parts of my prior role with none of the politics, none of the tedium, none of the administrivia. And the company got my help for a year.

I'd do it again if the same situation arose.

For some, they would keep working for a while if some of the conditions surrounding work were changed - hours, responsibility, days per week, etc. Others might just need bigger chunks of time off to travel but would keep otherwise keep working. Still others would not work one day more unless the company blew them away with an ego-flattering compensation package. Once you are financially independent, you get to choose.

In your case, decide ahead of time if you would be doing this to be nice and help out, or if this something you would only do if they made an offer that was sufficiently lucrative. If the latter, decide ahead of time how much money it would take to keep you working there and ask for that.
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Old 09-20-2019, 05:08 AM   #13
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I'd be more likely to give extended notice (say 6 weeks instead of 2) to pass down my knowledge of the various processes I'm the expert on. When the time comes I'll let my manager decide if she'd like me to stay on a little longer than the 2 weeks to do a smooth transfer.
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Old 09-20-2019, 08:15 AM   #14
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Relative to negotiations: I'd take your last year annual pay (including bonus, etc). Add 15% to cover social security. Divide by 2000. That's roughly what they paid you per hour.

For additional consulting, I would double this hourly rate. Why? I'd guess that you spent 50% of your time as an employee in staff meeting, training, coaching, HR required meetings, etc. As a consultant you would not need to go to these meetings. Therefore, the true value you provided as an employee was compensated at this level. Simple math, easy to explain, easy to understand.
Actually, I know a lot of freelancers and independent contractors, and the rule is that you should aim for 150-200% of your employee rate, because that's usually what the overhead costs (varying mostly based on your benefits and the local rental rates). And if you don't need to work to pay the bills, then it's not a question of what is a competitive market rate, but what it would take to make it worth it to YOU.

Which brings me to negotiations. The most important negotiating tactic I've learned is to think long and hard about what you want and what you need before you negotiate. What would be the minimum it would take to make it worth it for you to go back to work? What would make you enthusiastically accept? Find those exact numbers, because it's much harder to decide on them during negotiations. If the second number is anywhere near the market rate, or if you don't need to work, start with the second number, and then you can let them negotiate you downwards with the first number as your dealbreaker. Or if you don't really need to work, those two numbers may be the same!


Good luck!
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:50 AM   #15
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When I had “the talk” with my boss, he confided in me that there were a few major structural changes in work, which made hiring my replacement difficult in my 2 month timeframe. He asked me to stay for an additional 3 months, find and train my replacement, and transition my accounts to said new person. He also told me that they would “make it worth my while”. We’ve had a good relationship in the past, so I agreed and didn’t negotiate. I completed everything on my side slightly ahead of time, and they really did step up with salary and a nice bonus. And, my last month was pretty easy, as the guy I hired hit the ground running pretty quickly. Basically, I was just answering a few questions and making sure everything went into our accounting system correctly. I accounted for the extra $$$ by saving/investing 50% of the net and reducing my risk a bit, and using the remainder to plump-up my travel and car purchase funds. At the end, everybody was happy.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:38 AM   #16
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I was asked to come back on call three times to train new managers, but I went back on my own terms regarding pay and hours. Never worked more than 20 hours/week, and told my boss the last time was IT, turned in my badge and haven't been back.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:53 AM   #17
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Not only would I make a clean break, I would not give 3 months notice. You may think they can barely get along without you, but if you are wrong, those 3 months can be pretty long as everyone starts to bypass you to talk to the "real" guy.
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Old 09-20-2019, 10:55 AM   #18
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When I gave notice, Megacorp asked me to stay for several months and help close an acquisition deal I had been working on. Initially I declined. Then I made an offer... I had about 5 months vacation balance. Ordinarily this would be paid at 75 cents on the dollar on my last paycheck. My offer was to consume the vacation normally over the next 5+ months while "consulting as needed" from home on the acquisition project. This involved participating in a weekly conference call, answering emails related to my area of expertise, plus one business trip of about 2-3 days. They agreed.

I got paid for actual time worked (typically one day per week) and used vacation time for the rest. In addition to the extra 25% pay on the vacation balance (not a trivial figure), I continued to accrue more vacation, earned 401K match, plus health benefits, padded the pension a bit, etc. So it worked out well for both sides. The deal closed almost exactly the same time I ran out of vacation time.

About 9 months later, I got a call to ask if I would do a contract assignment for another acquisition deal. They wanted me to come in to the office 3 days a week plus regular conference calls from home at night and several business trips. By this time, I was well settled in to my life of freedom. So the thought of getting on the highway into the Big City made me physically ill. The money would have been REALLY good (2X prior rate plus all expenses). But the reality is I didn't need it. I was done.
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:29 AM   #19
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When I was ready to FIRE about three years ago, I lucked into a nice severance package, since Megacorp was downsizing at the time and I was probably one of my departmentís highest paid employees. A few months after my departure, I received a phone call from my ex-boss asking if Iíd consider coming back. They were in the process of kicking off a new project and needed someone with my experience in one of the teamís leadership positions. I politely declined.
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:23 PM   #20
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Not only would I make a clean break, I would not give 3 months notice. You may think they can barely get along without you, but if you are wrong, those 3 months can be pretty long as everyone starts to bypass you to talk to the "real" guy.
+1. My attempt at being honest with my company resulted in them wanting to tell the client 6 months before my departure, and staff in my office started to bypass me on reviews of client deliverables and treat me as if my opinions no longer mattered (and I was the project manager).
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