A severance package (a bundle of pay and benefits offered to an employee upon being laid off) can ease the financial burden of departing an organization. It may even take the edge off the emotional impact, especially if the time leading up to the layoff or termination is stressful.
In the case where the severance agreement is generous, it’s tempting to take a break — to recover, get things done around the house, reorient, etc. Without guidelines, however, the break can dissolve into inactivity, depression, or wasted time.
The guidelines below will help you make the most of a severance agreement:
If you want (and can afford) to take some time off, go ahead. Just make sure there is a clear beginning and end to the vacation. Then get to work in earnest.
Understand the Financial Consequences
Plan time off in light of the financial consequences. For example, if your salary is around $85,000, each week of unemployment costs about $1,700 in lost earnings. If you have severance funds, that’s money you could be banking. If not, that’s coming out of your nest egg or driving you into debt. Decide your target date for returning to work.
Consider a Stopgap Job
You may want to take a job to keep some money coming in while you look for the job you want. It can keep the wolves at bay and help you stay sane.
Be Sure You Have a Clear Target
Don’t go into the job market with the attitude that you will take anything that sounds interesting. It’s counter-intuitive, but being “open to lots of things” will make your search take longer, and it will make you appear unprofessional.
Check on Your Job-Search Skills
If you’ve been working in the same job for ten years–and many times, even if you haven’t–your job-hunting skills may need some work. Read the “12 Biggest Mistakes Job Hunters and Career Changers Make, and How to Avoid them” to assess where you may need help. This special report is available free by email. Send your request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Set Up a Schedule
Finding work is now your job. Set definite hours for those efforts, then go enjoy yourself at the other times. Avoid squandering time in activities you don’t really enjoy, thinking you should be working. Skip the computer solitaire.
Doing a job search is tough. Nothing puts you up against your self-esteem faster. Connect with other positive people who are in the same boat. Companionship on the journey will lighten and speed it immensely. Avoid job support groups that are “pity parties.” You can’t afford to show up for job-search activities looking like you’re dreading a root canal.
Many people find that investing in professional support pays big dividends in terms of finding work faster and getting a better job. Negotiating compensation with the support of a competent coach can mean earning thousands of extra dollars. An additional benefit is that a job search done right can build a quality network that will last for your career.
If your severance lasts six months, and you get hired again in two months, voila! You have two salaries for four months! That’s a winner!
Consider a CAP (Career Action Planning) Session if you:
> Feel stuck or stalled in your career
> Are worried about a layoff
> Wonder if it’s not just a new job but a new career you need
> Have been looking for work but not getting results.
In this 90-120-minute meeting, we can get to the root of your career problem and come up with a plan to solve it. For more information call me at 314-752-1373 or use the contact form on my website.