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How to Negotiate Your Exit

How to Negotiate Your Exit

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson

Few people think about negotiating when they hear the words, "Your services are no longer needed." Instead, they quietly pack up their personal items, say a few goodbyes and quickly leave by the back door. Would you do things differently if you knew you could exit on your own terms?

Here are six things you can do to transition out of the organization with more than just your belongings.

Offer to Stay Until Your Replacement Is Found

The last thing your boss wants to do is your job while trying to hire a replacement. Approach your manager with a plan to make this work. Will you put together a training manual that can be used by your replacement? Are you willing to stay on until your coworkers return from vacation? Remember to ask for the support you will need during this transition, such as time off to interview.

Ask for Additional Compensation

Perhaps your job loss is part of a companywide reorganization. You may think everyone is getting the same package, but that is rarely the case. Factors such as length of service and level in the organization are all considerations when assembling separation packages. If you don't ask, you will never know what your employer might have been willing to give you.

If you are a member of a protected class (e.g., age 40 or older, women, minorities, etc.) you may have additional bargaining power. Employers would rather pay an additional few weeks of severance than risk going to court.

Ask If Your Benefits Can Be Extended

You may be able to retain your employee benefits for a bit longer if your employer is willing to pay your severance out over time. Check with your local unemployment office before asking for this option as it could affect when you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Ask for a Letter of Reference

The actual recommendation letter means little to prospective employers. However, your boss is less likely to say anything negative if he has provided you with a letter of reference.

If You Are Being Fired, Ask If You Can Resign

It is an uncomfortable situation for everyone when someone is fired. To preserve your employment record, ask your supervisor if you can resign. Most employers will gladly accept your offer to prevent confrontation. If you take this route, be sure your employer agrees not to contest your unemployment claim.

Inquire About Purchasing Your Computer

In downsizing situations there is usually an abundance of equipment, like computers, that will no longer be needed by the company. You may be able to purchase a faster computer than the one you own at fire-sale prices.

Losing a job is never easy. Exiting with a nice package can certainly help ease the pain.

[Copyright 2008 Human Resource Solutions -- All rights reserved -- Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the president of Human Resource Solutions.]

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