Search
Advice » Salary & Benefits» Negotiation Tips » Negotiate Your Severance Packa ...
Negotiate Your Severance Package Up Front

Negotiate Your Severance Package Up Front

The average college graduate can expect to have between eight and 12 jobs over the course of his career. That's vastly different from the men and women in my father's generation who usually stayed with one company. Even in my own generation, we might have held three or four different jobs over the last 20 years. With constant mergers, acquisitions, layoffs and restructuring, you just can't guarantee your job today will still be there a year from now, let alone that you will be in it.

It will do you very little good to negotiate a great salary, lots of perks, a bonus and maybe even stock options if the company can terminate you and offer a minimal severance package. Your severance package should cover the severance amount, as well as benefit continuation, prorated bonus and vesting of a portion of any stock options. It should also spell out the circumstances under which you will be entitled to receive severance.

When you're being recruited, all sorts of representations may be made about how you will never have to worry about losing your job as long as you do good work. However, unless you get those promises in writing, the person making them is likely to conveniently forget he ever said anything of the sort or, just as likely, will no longer be with the company when the issue arises. Even though such oral promises may be enforceable if you can prove they were actually made, you generally want to avoid suing former employers. Therefore, it is important to negotiate a fair severance package and get it in writing before accepting an offer.

Bringing up severance is extremely delicate, a bit like an engaged couple discussing a prenuptial agreement. Neither you nor your prospective employer is thinking the partnership will fail. Yet if you must part ways -- because of a takeover, you get a new boss or it just isn't a good fit -- you'll wish you had worked out a fair severance ahead of time.

Depersonalize the Issue

So how do you approach the topic? Depersonalize the issue. Talk about the need to deal with the unlikely event that your employment doesn't work out because of things like a takeover, a new boss or a sudden downturn in the company's business. Emphasize that you're not trying to prevent the company from firing you for cause but merely trying to ensure that if something happens, your spouse and children are protected. If you're not married, you can talk about your aged mother or your siblings. You can also talk about taking care of yourself until you can find something else. Either way, focusing on someone else tends to depersonalize the situation.

Once you get agreement on a severance package, be sure to get it in writing. That doesn't mean you have to have a 30-page contract. A simple confirmation letter from you reiterating the terms you have agreed upon "in order to avoid any misunderstanding" will suffice. You might also ask the employer to confirm your understanding by signing and returning a copy of the letter to you. It's important to depersonalize that request as well, to avoid causing the person you're dealing with to think you don't trust him. You can do that by saying something like, "If I could be sure you were going to be around, I wouldn't need this, but you realistically might leave the company someday during my tenure. Therefore, I think it makes sense to put what we have agreed to in writing so there are no problems in the event you aren't around."

Working out your severance before you are hired will save both you and your employer a tremendous amount of aggravation if things don't work out. You will almost always be able to negotiate a better deal when an employer is seeking to hire you rather than fire you.

Latest Jobs

Medicine Man Denver
Posted: 09/30/2014
Denver, CO, 80239
Adecco Technical
Posted: 09/30/2014
Saint Paul, MN, 55110
Penske
Posted: 09/30/2014
Lenexa, KS, 66219
Randstad
Posted: 09/30/2014
Orlando, FL, 32819
K.A. Recruiting, Inc.
Posted: 09/30/2014
Roswell, NM, 88201

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.55.59-309
eTrustLogo