Explain Severance Negotiation as if to a 5 y/o
January 17, 2013 7:00 AM Subscribe
I was just laid off this week. Am still reeling from the shock, crying at odd moments, cycling through grief, despair, relief, hurt. Though many people from the company were let go I was the only person from my department and relatively low level, so it feels quite personal, as if the big layoffs were just an excuse to get rid of me.
I will eventually have to come to grips with whether I want to remain in my industry or not but that seems like a decision best delayed to a time when I am calmer.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On to the meat of the question. As part of my severance package I was offered about 3 months of continued pay and health insurance. I am usually the type to meekly accept whatever I am given. I have only occasionally negotiated small increases in salary.
Right now the 3 months seems quite generous but I have no idea how long it will take me to find another job, particularly if I decide to leave the industry. Due to my history of cancer I am deeply concerned about the possibly of being without health insurance or of having to pay for insurance out of pocket and COBRA is insanely expensive. I have a small, sad savings account good for about 4 months rent.
I am thinking it might be prudent to at least attempt to negotiate something better. I am a lousy negotiator. I am timid and nervous. Deep down I don't believe I deserve a damn thing (in general). So considering all of this:
What is a reasonable ask? Two additional months of health insurance and salary? One? Five?
How do these talks go? Do ppl overshoot?
What are things I should watch out for?
Is there any language in my severance letter I should be particularly alert to?
I thought of talking to an employment lawyer but then I read online that once a lawyer gets involved your negotiation goes from HR to the corporate legal dept, and your chances get worse.
Should I just take the money and run? Do I have anything to lose by trying?
What can I do to increase my chances?
(I am in the U.S. I have been making under 80K/year)