Leaving On Your Own Terms

By Karyl Innis

You’ve had it! You’re not going to take it one more day! Tomorrow you’re going to walk into the “Corner Office” and say “I quit!”

True… you don’t have another job yet: but, that really won’t be much of a problem….the job market is improving after all. And, compared to the satisfaction of walking out of there… well, you just want to get out!

Wait a minute. Don’t just quit. There’s much to think about yet.

I’ve been in the business of helping corporate employees transition from one job to their next job for over 2 decades. At my company, we see the corporate warriors as well as the walking wounded. Our forte is career coaching for corporate employees and career outplacement for separating employees. We’ve seen it all.

I’ve seen business executives who’ve done a great job of parting company with a troublesome employer – garnering transition pay, good references, extended health insurance benefits, outplacement services, company car purchases, country club membership conversions, and a whole host of tangible and intangible benefits. I’ve also seen corporate employees who have gained the satisfaction of quitting-and then exit their place of employment with nothing more than a final paycheck and a dubious reference.

If you are considering leaving your employer, and you haven’t been lured away by another opportunity, consider carefully how you’ll take leave. There’s money and reputation at stake.

What Can Be Negotiated

Not everything at every company is negotiable, but the following is a list of those things that are negotiated most often at separation time.

Unemployment Benefits: Will the company contest your claims for unemployment compensation? It’s better for you if they don’t. Ask about the process and ask for  a “no contest”.

Severance Pay: Can you receive company policy severance pay even though you’ve initiated the separation? If the circumstances of your employment have been tough, you might receive a “yes”.

Reimbursement Educational Tuition: Are you still attending classes? Will they pay at the end of the semester even though you’re no longer there? Will they consider an educational leave for you…and maybe tuition reimbursement? If your goal is to return to school after leaving the company, they just might consider it.

Employment Status: ? Might you ask to move from an active to inactive employee status while you rethink your position with the company? Could you move from active status to leave-of-absence status? Have you considered moving to a contractor position? Would you consider an on-call or “as needed” arrangement?

Health Insurance: Can it be extended beyond your last day at work? How long can you extend it if you pay in advance? What other plans are in place to assist departing employees?

Vacation Pay: What happens if you have already used vacation days that weren’t really due to you? Will they forgive it? What happens to any unused vacation time on your last day?

References: What will they say to whom? And what is the policy regarding discussing ex-employees? Can you discuss with a designated person how you would like your references to be handled?

Profit Sharing, Incentives, Annual Bonus: Can these be prorated or can you receive the full share? Read your plan documents ahead of time…you will know more than most others if you do.

Outplacement: Does the company have a history of providing outplacement or career transition services to departing employees? Even if they don’t, will they provide it for you? Can you select your own career coach? Chemistry and deep expertise matters here.

Office Furniture: Can you buy your custom designed, specially ordered furniture from the company? Do you even want to? Who will pay to have it moved?

Hardware, software or other personal -technology devices: Does the company allow for purchase of these items? Have you transferred your personal information out of these devices? Make no move to transfer or take company owned material.

Company Car: Do you want to buy out the lease? Ask about it. Do you have any unreimbursed expenses for this car? Submit the expense request now.

Club: Are there any conversion or extension privileges for dining club or country club? Detail who will pay the current month or quarter dues.

Pensions: Don’t leave anything on the table here. Ask for the present value of your pension. Are you bridged or hooked-up from any prior interrupted or predecessor employment? Ask about company matches and pay outs. Can you negotiate the next payout into your separation package?

Loans: Do you hold any outstanding corporate loans? Negotiate the pay-outs or ask about incremental loan forgiveness, or an extended pay back schedule.

Expense Request: Everyone has company expenses; most of us are behind in requesting reimbursement. Make sure you have detailed all of your legitimate reimbursable expenses and have submitted the request ahead of your declaration that you are…………………

Out of There!

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About The Author

Karyl Innis

Karyl Innis is the CEO and Founder of The Innis Company, a career consulting firm focused on building stronger more distinguished careers for their clients around the world. She is known for her work with executives in identifying their personal brands, elevating their presence and accelerating their careers. Contact her at csa@inniscompany.com, through her website or LinkedIn.