They Took My Job- Please Tell Me What to Do! [HorroR Stories] Jul24

They Took My Job- Please Tell Me What to Do! [HorroR Stories]

Dear Madame HR, I read with interest your answer a few weeks ago for someone who wanted to be laid off from their job. I have been laid off from my job and I absolutely did not want to be. I am in shock. I don’t know what to do now? Any advice? Don’t take my job—please Dear Please, Gosh, I’m sorry, and I mean that sincerely, I really do. I understand what it feels like to be suddenly separated from your job. Did you know that in some countries they call it being made “redundant?” How freaking insulting is that? I mean, it’s bad enough to lose your job, but then to have the added injury of being called redundant. It’s almost as if they are adding on the extra commentary that you are boring, or superfluous, surplus, unwanted, unneeded, disused. And no, I’m not quoting Morrissey lyrics from 1986, I’m using my Microsoft Word handy thesaurus gizmo. Thank god we live in America, where we go in the opposite direction by coming up with the euphemism: “reduction in force.” In other words, “it’s not your fault, Johnny, we just don’t need as much force as we used to.” We also like to use “separation” now instead of “termination” like the end result is somehow different. Oh language, is there no limit to the ways we can use you to try and make something seem better than it actually is? Anyway, I digress. You ask what to do now, but you don’t give me many details so I will have to make some assumptions, I apologize if I’m totally off base. Because of the WARN Act (The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act), if you were part of a mass layoff, there are certain things your company has to do when they lay you off. One of those is notify you 60 calendar days in advance. There are some other things they have to do as well, so if you think you fall under this, Google it and read the info on the DOL website. Also, if others were laid off at the same time as you, whether or not it qualifies as a “mass” layoff under WARN, there are other things your employer has to do. If you are over 40, they have to provide you a list of all the positions they have eliminated and the ages of the people affected. They also have to tell you the ages of people who are in similar positions to those that were eliminated but who were retained. Basically, what they are getting at here, is they don’t want companies to just layoff all their old people, and if they do, they want the old people to know about it. And I’m not going to insert commentary here about how freaking insulting it is that 40 is their boundary between “old” and “not old,” but I guess I just did. Most employees are mortified when they receive this document, by the way, it feels like a humongous breach of privacy to me (even though we don’t put names, everyone knows who we are talking about).  For all you Googlers out there, this provision falls under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission- EEOC (specifically the Age Discrimination Employment Act- ADEA). When you were separated from your job, they probably gave you a bunch of paperwork to sign. These documents usually fall into a couple of categories, there is the normal term paperwork, saying that you received your paycheck, that you have been notified of your COBRA rights, that you have turned in your keys, etc. There may also be a release agreement offering you a severance package. This does not need to be signed on your term date, in fact, depending on the nature of the layoff, your age, etc., you have between 14 and 45 days to sign the agreement....

Take my Job–PLEASE! [HorroR Stories] Jun14

Take my Job–PLEASE! [HorroR Stories]

I have been at my company for 13 years. Things have been really bad lately and they just announced they are laying off 10% of employees by the end of the summer. They haven’t provided any other details. As I said, things have been bad, I am stressed, over worked and the whole thing is making me sick. I want to ask them to lay me off. Can I do that? Will I be denied unemployment if I do this? Should I just go on medical leave instead? Please help! –Get me out of here! Dear PLEASE, You might be surprised to hear, or maybe not, that I get this question, or a similar question, a lot. I’m guessing you are banking on two things in this layoff pipe dream: you will receive unemployment and severance. And in the puffy clouds in your head you are thinking those dollar amounts are pretty grand. Now, I don’t know the severance plan they are offering, and I don’t know what your financial status is, or your budget, but there are a few of things that I would advise you to think about before asking for such a thing: How much unemployment are you eligible for- go to your state’s unemployment insurance (UI) website and look at the eligibility requirements. Look at the federal website too, because after you’ve exhausted your state benefits, you might be able to apply for federal benefits. On the same website, look at the benefit tables. In CA, the maximum benefit amount is $450 per week.  How much you are paid weekly is usually based on your highest total quarterly wages of the last 4 quarters. If your annual salary is around $50K, it’s about 46% of the wages per week you made in the highest quarter. However, let’s say, your annual salary is $60,000, and your highest quarter for the past year was $15,000 (or roughly about $1,250/week). You’re still only going to receive $450/week, cutting that percentage down to 36%. That’s pre-tax, by the way! Yes, the government taxes you on the piddling benefit they are providing you. Yay government! What about your health benefits? Are you covered under a spouse/domestic partner’s plan? Will you have to go onto COBRA? How much will that cost? Depending on the plan and your company, that could be between $400-$2,000+/month. How much severance would you receive if you are eligible (and don’t assume that you are)? And remember a lot of companies tax severance at the supplemental rate for federal and state taxes, which, depending on the state you live in, could result in a total tax bill of 40-50%. OK, so let’s say you’ve thought about all my questions above and you still want to be on the Jack Welch express out the door. Your question is if you can ask to be laid off. Sure you can! Will it work? Maybe. Will you still be eligible for unemployment? Maybe. (BTW, do y’all get sick of me answering questions with the word “Maybe”? Yeah, well, get over it. This is the spectrum of HR, homies, so deal). Will you receive severance? Maybe. Ha-take that! Try and do some recon (I’m not sure how you find this out without tipping your hand, but these are things that will help you form your strategy): How bulldog-ish is your company when it comes to UI claims? I’m guessing they are expecting a lot of claims coming out of this layoff. However, do they manage UI claims themselves? Do they outsource? What’s the severance plan? Is everyone eligible? Are they offering retention bonuses to key employees who are staying? Could you possibly be eligible for that? Who is being laid off, are they targeting a specific division or area in the company? Maybe they are doing the whole “bottom 10% thing” or just targeting newbies. Here’s the thing, I don’t know...

Hearing My Voice Break [Hippie Squared]

When we write we are speaking, in print, in the voice of whatever we are. I find myself in a weird place right now. As I enter my fiftieth year, having come through two years of chaos and crisis in more than one arena of my life, I feel so changed that I’m not even quite sure that I know the sound of my own voice anymore. I feel the tectonic plates of my internal landscape have shifted so drastically that I’m on the other side of a faultline from the old “Hippie Squared,” and now, when I open my mouth to speak (when I hold my fingers poised above the keyboard), what comes out sounds like a squawk to me, a croak, a squeak. I hear my voice breaking. At forty-nine years old, you no longer expect to hear your voice break. Almost half a century old, and I feel like I’m speaking with a fledgling’s voice. I have to try out my old wings as if they’re new. They creak and moan with arthritis, yet it feels like I’m just learning how to unfold them and fly. I’m not even sure they’re not vestigial. I’m no longer even sure that flight is possible. But I feel forced to try. So yes, I’ve been through some hard stuff. I’m hardly alone in this, of course. The rough times are widespread. In my case: Grief. Layoff. Unemployment. Fighting to hold onto our house. Family health problems. The toll that all of these can take on our most intimate relationships. Hurting my loved one, terribly. Getting hurt. So who am I now–entering my 50th year, seemingly on the other side of the worst of it? On the earlier side of that faultline was a young...