GETTING WHAT’S YOURS

When you leave a company, one of the first things you must deal with is getting all you’re entitled to. Until a decade or so ago, there was considerable room for negotiation with the company over severance benefits.
Recently, however, most companies have shifted to offering fixed severance packages. Don’t accept this, however, as a fact without testing it. Make an effort to understand your benefits and all your options. The largest dollar item in the package is usually severance pay. It’s most often set by a formula based on your length of service and the level of your position. Your best chance to increase severance pay may be asking for an extension if you’re still job searching when the benefits run out, particularly if you can demonstrate you’ve been conducting an aggressive job search.
Getting outplacement services used to be somewhat negotiable, but rarely is it anymore. Many companies provide only token outplacement services, if any, except for the most senior executives. Good counseling can be extremely useful , so be sure to ask about this option, including your right to select the firm.
Obtain a clear statement of what kind of reference the company is willing to give you. Many companies officially give only a minimal statement that you worked for the company for a certain period at a certain salary. Therefore, try to get one or two senior associates in the company to act as references, hopefully to explain that you were laid off because of a difficult situation basically beyond your control.
Even if you have been mistreated by the company, do not bring legal action against it. You’ll probably lose. The action can use up valuable money, time, and energy that you would better spend on getting another job. Plus, taking legal action could result in a blot on your employ ability.

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