If you think about how most of these layoffs seem to be done, giving folks a large package. Usually, they are asked to leave because they may have had one bad review in the last three years, from this you can conclude that the firm is being poorly managed. The reality is that smart people who are well connected will figure out the code and either intentionally get a bad review by slacking off (and once someone starts slacking off it is really hard to stop) or they’ll go to their manager and ask for a bad review in order to get the package.
Most managers I’ve known will actually help an employee who would like to take the package get it. Why? Because they know that if that employee doesn’t get the package they’ll be resentful and go from being an asset to a problem. So the very concept of this kind of a program is flawed, it will eliminate the most marketable employees and any that are left will likely go from being top performers to disgruntled problems. And even if it isn’t you, who wants to stay in firm where most of the folks that are left couldn’t figure out the code or are pissed off because they think they’ve been mistreated?
Given the firm is likely already in trouble at this point and wasn’t able to perform with a lot more people on board, how do you think the future is going to go with the top performers largely gone or pissed off?
When I was at IBM decades ago they put in place what was then called a FAP, or Financial Assistance Package. It was very lucrative in that it included one-month salary for every year of service and a bridge on covered medical till retirement. We called the period between being told you were eligible for the FAP and saying yes the FAPOSECOND. This was back when there were full pensions so anyone within 5 years of pension ran screaming out the door and there was at least one executive that figured out how to game the system and effectively got a pension that was 150 percent of his salary.
Sadly, I was never offered a package. However, if I could go back in time I would have gamed the system and taken the money and run. Learn from my mistakes, when a good package emerges, talk to your manager, and take the money and run! You’ll come to regret it if you don’t.
So, if given a choice during a layoff should you take a lucrative package? Pretty much every time. Run like the rest of your career depended on it. (Because it does).
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