Way too many of my friends and acquaintances have been faced with this dilemma recently: my company has given me the option of leaving the company voluntarily with a severance package that sounds pretty good. Do I take it and run, or stick around and risk getting laid off later?
If this applies to you, I can’t really tell you exactly what to do. I don’t know what’s going on at your company, or what your personal financial outlook looks like. But I did think about what I would do if placed in this situation, and here are a few thoughts:
If the company is offering employees voluntary severance packages, that must mean that things aren’t going particularly well. After all, the decision to downsize is a risky and expensive one, and management wouldn’t be doing it if it didn’t foresee serious trouble ahead. I’d also be willing to bet that if involuntary layoffs do eventually occur, the deals for those people won’t be as sweet. Taking a voluntary package will likely give you more control over your career and next steps since you will know exactly what’s going to happen and when. All this means that you may be better off getting out while the going is good.
On the other hand, there are advantages to staying put. Right now, a ton of companies have laid people off and the job market is flooded. The economy is bound to improve at some point in the next year and you will likely have more options at that time. Also, if your organization has been in business for a long time, is generally pretty stable, and is continuing to hire in certain areas, you may be able to make lemonade out of the lemons of a re-organization. If your career has been in a rut, once the storm has cleared you may have the opportunity to re-invent yourself for the company good. These factors too are worth considering in making the decision to stay or go.