Mr JX, Supply Chain Director, 48, asks:
“My company conducted a huge retrenchment exercise and the job I have is no longer around. I have been with my company for 18 years and really love my work and friends. The company is offering me a generous retrenchment benefit of about 2 years’ salary. Yesterday, HR just informed me that they have another role within the company that is at the same level as my current one with another Division. It sounds exciting but I am not too familiar with that Business Unit or the Business Leader there. My salary and benefits will be the same as before.
I am now very troubled…should I take the retrenchment package and try my luck elsewhere, or should I continue my illustrious career in the company and forego my package? Please help “
I applaud you on your loyalty. Eighteen years is a long time and many would be envious of your rather generous retrenchment package.
Instead of being ‘too troubled’, I would actually encourage you to look upon this as a rather ‘happy problem’ to have.
On one hand, you have a nice ‘war-chest’ if you choose to exit and on the other, you have an option to extend your career. How nice if you could have your cake and eat it!
But the harsh reality is that you probably can’t do both, so let’s look at both options closely.
(A) If you exit:
You will probably get to enjoy a short ‘Career Break’ to recharge and reflect upon your next moves. With that sizable bonus sitting in your bank, you could even take the much-needed ‘Sabbatical’ you’ve always dreamed of.
However, there is always a limit to how much ‘resting and relaxing’ you can enjoy before (a) you get bored, (b) your wife gets annoyed by your constant presence at home, and/or (c) you run out of money. Ultimately, you will probably need to find a new job.
How confident are you in your skill-sets and abilities that you know you’ll find a role quickly?
If you know you can command a similar type/level role in another company (your competitor company?) and they would love to hire you, then by all means, as the Steve Miller Band puts it, “Take the money and run!”.
If you aren’t sure if you can land a job with your current skillsets, then you could re-skill yourself and take up a course in a new/related field. You could take this break to design the next phase of your career. If you need help, you can always engage a Career Coach to advise.
(B) If you stay:
If you forego that nice package and take up the new role, you could probably face a significant degree of uncertainty as well.
Will the new role suit you? Is it something you’ll enjoy doing? Is the new boss to your liking? (even if he’s Mr Nice, a newer one could also be parachuted in anytime). How permanent is that role?
Sure, you may bask in the nice and warm feeling of ‘job security’ for the first few months, but as reality sets in, you may come to see that the new role may not offer you any more security that the last one you had (besides, is there any job security these days anyway?).
I have seen cases where candidates have turned down redundancy packages out of fear or loyalty, only to take on a new role and hate it so much, they resigned 6 months later with nothing in hand.
Alternatively, staying behind could also be the most exciting career change of your life with everything ending ‘Happily ever after’ 15 years later when you retire with the company.
“Wait a minute,” you say, “What 15 years later? I’ve already spent 18 years here and I’m not going to spend another decade and a half in this company!”
If that’s the case where you don’t foresee a long-term future in the company, then why not take the money today, and run? Wouldn’t it be more challenging for you to hang around another five years and at 53, try to find another job?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer and the last place you’d ever want to get answers to important life-questions is the Internet.
My advice is to take your time to think about it and speak to your Career Coach or Mentors about this. They will be able to provide some clarity around it.
Good luck, JX!