The Process of Becoming: Part Two
(continued)…And by ask for a package, I mean I did an immature dance around conversations about it without actually saying the words or being forthright about anything to any of my managers. It was a dangerous game with our future on the line.
My plan was to leave early in 2018, which is now, by the way, but I launched my plan in early 2015 and was out by late 2016. There was an urban legend at my previous company that said something to the effect that if you wanted a legacy package, one of the good ones like in the old days, you couldn’t initiate it. You had to let your wishes be known without outright asking because if you asked, HR in their omnipresence, would suddenly sort you into another category, a disloyal designation which limited how good your package could be. Ridiculous, right? Maybe?
Like I said in Part One, I was in an emotional place with fluctuating hormones and three children under three and my job was the only source of income and benefits for our family. I had too much at stake to risk it. What if the response was “get the f*%$ out!”? I mean I was valued, a high-impact contributor, but none of us are irreplaceable. It was a reasonable/unreasonable fear. I was sensitive to the culture of “no one ever said anything good about anyone who left” regardless of circumstances. But I had also been on the other side of the equation, and although I wasn’t privy to the details of the packages I administered, I knew my former employer had a history of generosity. At least I hoped so.
I’m not going to get into it much more except to say this, we saved aggressively which is essential to this story’s happy ending, and despite the uncertainty, stress, and fear, the negotiations went ok too. I left with resolution and since then, that peace has transformed into gratitude.
I wrote a book about the negotiation process and you can buy it here. This was the book I wished I would have found when facing my exit from Corporate America. It’s my first book and I had very specific goals for it.
First, to aggregate the advice, strategies, and recommendations from various sources, to make all of it easily accessible, digestible, and applicable.
Second, to be succinct. It’s a heavy topic, but meant for readers during a very stressful, pivotal time and no one in those circumstances needs an overwhelming textbook.
Third, I wanted to offer perspective, context, and a potentially powerful glimpse into a future beyond surviving the exit, an opportunity to thrive.
I also wanted to destigmatize changing careers and/or leaving a company to some degree. There’s a lot of terminology, seemingly interchangeable: packaged out, fired, laid off, downsized, terminated, separating, and more. All mean something slightly different but have in common that they are highly stigmatized. They shouldn’t be. Letting go is a necessary step in making room for something bigger, something better, something evolutionary. Life is letting go.
And so in Part 3 I’ll write about that, how I maximized by severance time, and how it provided the rare gift of time and space, a net that’s allowed me to discover and rediscover so many wonderful things about myself, my family, and the world…
Thanks for following along with this journey. Clap, clap, clap and buy the book! Please and thanks.