Severance Package: do I take it, or leave it?
Mis à jour : 28 sept. 2020
In the event of a planned restructuring, some companies offer a social plan that allows employees to volunteer to leave the company and to benefit from a severance package that can amount to several months' salary. This is a decision-making process that requires in-depth reflection, with psychological dimensions that should not be underestimated.
Assess the situation
It can be seen as unfair for companies to do so. It is up to employees to make the decision to stay or leave. It is therefore important to ask yourself the right questions: shall I take the severance pay and change jobs, lives, projects, or stay in my job? There are many scenarios and, in any case, even if the time frame for deciding is sometimes short, it is important to analyse the situation carefully and not cede to the lure of a windfall profit.
Obviously, we must consider our personal situation, as well as the amount of the severance pay. Can I afford to not find a job immediately, to take a professional break? And most importantly, how long can I live with my savings plus the package? If you want to carry out a personal project, such as a trip, start your own business, write a book, live from your passion for photography or simply not work for a while, this sum of money can be interesting, even essential.
In cases where you have enough savings not to work for 12 to 18 months, if your partner can support the family or if you can afford to take your time to find a new job, you may consider taking the package and leaving. But watch out, think carefully about what it means to be out of work, unemployed, looking for a job, changing pace.
If, on the other hand, your personal situation does not allow you to remain unemployed, the best solution is to stay and probably update your CV and start looking for a new job. It is difficult to accept giving up an attractive windfall, but it is important to ensure your long-term situation.
You also have to think about a very simple question: do I like my job? This question naturally leads to other questions, such as "Do I have a career plan?" If so, what is it? If not, it is good to refine your thinking even more.
If you enjoy your job, if you want to pursue a career in the field you are in, it is wise to keep your job. A break could lead to a less interesting career. It is also necessary to assess labour market opportunities. By looking at job offers and having some job interviews, you can see the possibilities you would have and, if necessary, consider changing your career plans.
You can also ask your network, especially people who have the same kind of job as you. Making an appointment with a coach to do a career assessment can also be useful in this type of period. But unfortunately, time is often short. Common sense, reflection and analysis of your situation must therefore prevail.
In any case, the situation should be thoroughly analysed, as necessary with your partner. And once you've made your decision, you shouldn't have any regrets. In some cases, you choose to stay with the company and a few months later, a new wave of redundancies takes place and the package is much less attractive. But you have kept your job longer and gained more experience, and this perseverance should be highlighted in subsequent job interviews. It shows that you were personally invested in your job and that you were not ready to leave it.
In conclusion, take your time to think things through, to weigh the pros and cons. Don't rush to grasp the opportunity, or underestimate the changes involved in leaving. Money doesn't always create happiness!
This article was published in French on https://www.joHdi.ch/. English version proofread and improved by Christopher Booker