The letter that I wrote to Human Resources sure did pay off! They came back and offered me more than DOUBLE what I was going to get.
The standard basic severance package is a simple 2 weeks of severance pay plus any unused vacation time. Whatever. The main thing that irked me and prompted me to contest the offer was the fact that I was not going to receive my 2011 bonus since it is payable at the end of January - and my termination date was scheduled for December 30. So basically I would have worked the entire year, fully earned my bonus (since I exceeded my production goals), and yet they were trying to say they wouldn't pay me for that. Um, I don't think so.
After consulting with my mentor and several other more experienced colleagues, I drafted a letter (in which I hinted that I had sought legal counsel), and I asked for 5 months severance pay plus my entire bonus. I've worked there for over five years so I asked for one month of pay for every year of service I'd completed.
They came back and offered 16 weeks severance pay plus my entire bonus (16 weeks by the way is NOT the same as four months, BTW). The HR rep called me at home the Wednesday before Christmas to go over the offer, since I'd requested a response to my letter within seven days. She said she'd fly to Dallas to meet me in person to give it to me in writing this past Tuesday, which she did.
New Job Offer!
In the meantime - that same week - I'd received an offer from a new employer. It was even better than what I asked for! They came back with an offer for a $95K salary plus a $500 a month car allowance, bringing my base salary to $101,000!!! My bonus for the first year is guaranteed at $25,000 (payable March 2013 though - bonuses are only paid annually there). And I get a company iphone and ipad and 3 weeks vacation and a Vice President title...
I am SO thrilled. I can't believe I'll be earning 6 figures as a BASE salary. It's kind of overwhelming.
But before accepting I decided to sit on the offer until I got my severance in order.
You see various people in my company who had heard I was going to be laid off were working very hard to find me another position internally, in a different department. I know that their intentions were good - the Texas management tem and the commercial departments here locally really know and like me, whereas the layoff stuff was coming from executives on the Private Bank side in another state who were just slashing my position across all markets.
When I sat down with the HR rep she said up front that she had "good news" - the CEO of the Texas division of the company (which I don't currently report through but to which they were trying to move me) was willing to extend my date of termination for a month or two by footing my salary in his cost center while I explore internal options. This way they wouldn't have to lay me off then rehire me in a few weeks - and I wouldn't have a gap in salary or experience.
That was great, except that I was ready to sign a $35K severance package and take an offer with an outside company. If I stayed I'd be forced to quit to take the other job and then I wouldn't be paid any severance at all!
I somehow talked my way out of that scenario. I told the HR rep I really appreciated all that but that I was really not willing to consider an internal move unless it was more of a last resort. I have been in Private Banking for 5 years and felt that shifting to commercial banking would be a step back - more likely I would try to use my CFP Designation and move into wealth management, or work in Private Banking somewhere else.
Luckily she said she understood and just wanted me to be aware of my options. Then she signed my severance package and gave me a copy to "have reviewed" and mail back to her. I signed it and shipped it off on Thursday of last week.
And I accepted the new offer, in writing. So it's all official. In my last paycheck yesterday - my last day of work - I received the standard 2 weeks severance plus my normal pay. The additional severance will come at the next pay period (January 15th). I don't have a start date set up for the new job yet, but they think I just gave notice so it won't be before January 16th.
I am officially unemployed!!