This may seem strange in the current economic market, but can anyone give me tips on approaching my employer about volunteering to be laid off? We are transitioning to a global matrix organization. I'm currently a Supervisor and there is an analogous Supervisor in our European office. It is my strong opinion that one of us will lose our leadership positions and maybe even our jobs in the next few months. I would like to transition into full-time entrepreneurship ASAP, so a layoff would be right on time for me.

How do I present the idea and who do I present it to? Or is this a NO-NO in general?

Thanks for your input!


rwwh's picture
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Please explain to me as a European and non-native of the English language what the difference would be with a resignation?

tdeasler's picture

Resignation means I would essentially quit. There would be no severance payment package. I'm suggesting since we are in an economic downturn and layoffs are planned anyway, I volunteer to be one of the people that gets laid off. This would include a severance package based on my years of service to the company.

thaGUma's picture

In the UK redundancy, voluntary or otherwise carries a specific minimum severance payment. Companies often supplement this.

Resignation is different and will exclude you from some of the unemployment payments as you are considered to have left the job of your own accord.

The question whether to broach the subject is a sensitive one - if the company think you are happy to take redundancy, you will likely be put on career-hold. I would avoid mentioning it until such time as the company announces any lay-offs. Flip side would be to make it known you are willing to leave as you appear ready to go in any event and there is little need for you to consider career growth in that company. This woud benefit the company as they could plan around the european supervisor.

Stay in and save your money to fund your start-up. If the company decides to contribute it is a bonus.


HMac's picture

It might be attractive to try to figure out a way to finesse your way into a discussion about getting severance, but I think the risks far outweigh the rewards.

jhack's picture

You want to start a business, and you want to leave your company.

There will likely be a severance if you get laid off, but if you just quit, you get nothing.

So if you don't ask, there are three possibilities:
If you get laid off, great.
If the other guy gets laid off, then you quit, well...the other guy got a raw deal.
If you quit before the layoff, the other keeps his job. Nice.

And if you suggest that you get laid off? The risk is to your reputation. You might be thought a schemer. You might still get the severance. Is it worth it?


tdeasler's picture

Thanks for everyone's helpful input. I could very well be seen as a schemer and it is NOT worth it.

I will continue applying the great Manager Tools principles on a daily basis and work on my business at night and see what happens.


lilith's picture

I actually have a friend who worked at a capital management firm for 14 years and saw an imminent redundancy. She suggested the possibility of taking an early severance "in order to reduce possible future tension" as layoffs were in the near future. She had an excellent relationship with her company and was able to negotiate a fair severance.

I think you need to be careful, but don't rule it out. Your seniority, experience, relationships, and the company culture will all contribute. Try to evaluate based on each.

Hope this helps!

AManagerTool's picture

I was a supervisor on a production line. I wanted to go to college full time to finish off my degree. I had been going to school at night for 4 years part time when my manager told me to pick a person to lay off on my team. Everyone had families, I didn't and I figured that this was a great way to save someone else's job that really needed it and to satisfy my need for a push to go to college. I told my boss that I wanted to be laid off instead of anyone from my team. They jumped on the deal because I actually wanted it and everyone won. It worked out great.

This sort of deal making goes on all the time. People close to retirement line up at HR offices to ask for just this sort of arrangement during layoffs. Let's be real folks, this is painful for everyone. If there is a less painful alternative that offers advantages to the person asking, what is wrong with it? I think that as a manager if one of my staff were to quit to start a business as soon as the layoffs were over causing me to pick others to be fired in their place, I'd be VERY pissed off at them!

tdeasler's picture

Excellent points that are making me reflect again on the right thing to do. Thanks everyone!

If a voluntary layoff offer came in, I would jump on it but I'm not sure what to do in a time where that offer has not been made by the company.

asteriskrntt1's picture

If an employee came to me with layoffs months away (and usually the severance package is not put together so you can't get it anyhow out of the current budget), I would say, why should I give you a lottery here?

And if I say no, how good is our relationship going to be and how well are you going to perform after being denied your request.

The issue about you starting a business after quitting or being laid off is irrelevant. People leave and quit all the time even in a good economy. Heck, sometimes they walk right over to your biggest competitor. You cannot control anything except the amount of effort put into relationships.

Don't volunteer. Wait for the offer.

and don't mention you are thinking about this at all, not even that you have a second business going at night. Kiss of death. I repeat... mention to NO ONE.


AManagerTool's picture

Agreed. If you are uncertain about anything, wait for the offer. It sounds like you do NOT know what your status actually is:

It is my strong opinion that one of us will lose our leadership positions and maybe even our jobs in the next few months.

I am currently working at the aquistion target of the largest pharmaceutical deal of all time. It is my strong opinion that mine and my teams jobs are at risk. That said, I ain't volunteering for anything...LOL

My recommendation for volunteering comes from certainty over status. Again, if you are uncertain, keep quiet.