She Was Fired With Severance

There I was at work, walking down the hallway to check in with a coworker. Another coworker approached me, moving fast. “That <insert profanity here> just fired me!”*

“Whoa!”, I said. “You’re still in the building. Usually you’d be walked out the door if you’d been fired.”

“My last day is next Friday.”

“Will you get a severance?”

“Yes, but not very much because I haven’t worked here very long.”

The severance policy had recently been revised (improved in favor of employees, actually) and delivered to the entire company. Sometimes it’s hard to interpret these moves by companies. Was it a pre-emptive notification that lay-offs would be coming, or was it really just a move by the company to better align with peers, as they’d suggested? Both?

I knew my co-worker’s tenure and probable salary entitled her to 3 months severance pay. I also knew she’d occasionally expressed dissatisfaction about her boss and team.

“Are you sure you’ve been fired, or were you laid off?”

“He said I was laid off, but I know he had it out for me. <expletive>! <insert verb here> him! He’s gutless. I can’t believe he fired me. I do good work. How dare he?! I’m his best, most qualified employee! Serves him right! Now they can all stew together!”

“You’ve been unhappy here for a while, right? …and I know you don’t respect your boss or coworkers anyway. Now they’re paying you to leave, and giving you some paid time off. Is it all that bad? I think you’re the winner here.”

“Well, I have to start looking for work. It’s the last thing I want to do now. Money’s tight, and I have a bunch of other things to do.”

“You have complete schedule freedom, and you can do anything you want! You deserve a break. Take a week or two off, and take a breather. Take a short trip! Then come back and decide what to do next. I know you have enough time and money in that severance to cool off and come back with a clear head and a good plan. You have so much to offer. Go sell it to someone who deserves it!”

“You’re right! I’m glad I ran into you. I will! Thanks!”

Next time I saw her, a few months later, she said she’d gotten a new job with more money and a better title.

Consider

  • When was the last time you were given a gift, but didn’t recognize it at first?
  • Are you dealing with something you can reframe as a gift?

*(While I’ve placed conversations in quotes, they’re not exact quotes of the conversations. They’re representative of the spirit and content of the conversations, as I recall them.)


Also published on Medium.

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