Buy Your Own Damn Watch
With corporate lay offs, it usually gives an opportunity to receive some kind of severance package. Some of the packages are quiet hefty – with as much as a year’s salary. However, with some lay offs you only get a few weeks severance if you’re lucky. Bonuses on top of a severance packages can include a retention bonus – an incentive to stay, lock up and turn the lights out – in other words… be the last man standing.
So, now you’re laid off and sulking because you didn’t get the gold watch. Well, buy your own. How much does a gold watch cost these days? You can buy a Seiko or Rolex – starting at $5,000 and go as high as $100,000 or more. If you shop around, you can probably get a better deal along the streets of Hong Kong, New York or San Francisco.
Do you really want a gold watch? Maybe it’s the principal of the thing. Does it keep good time or better because it’s gold? Or because it’s more expensive? If you spent 30 years with a company, what did a gold watch cost in 1984 vs. today? Is that same watch from 30 years ago still being manufactured today? Maybe not!
You worked for it, you earned it, and you’re entitled to a watch. Right? So you think. Companies have a different perspective. You worked and earned a salary of which you’re entitled – it’s called exchanging service for salary. I feel that companies downsizing and reorganizing – in an effort to cut costs, save a failing business and/or ensure something to the stockholders – are saying to employees, “buy your own damn watch, and here’s a severance package to cover the cost of such watch.” The longer your tenure with a company, the bigger your severance? Don’t count on it. Regardless of your tenure you can upgrade from a Timex to a Rolex. It’s your choice. Personally, I’d rather take the money and run. I can know what time it is by looking at the screen of my computer or cell phone. In a time-conscious world, there are clocks everywhere, or I can always stop and ask someone.
When I first wrote this piece, I did some of my own calculations. Selecting a 30 year period of my working history, I worked for 15 companies, and started 3 businesses. Two businesses went defunct as a result of suppliers/distributors closing and one business was still operational after 10 years. Of those 15 companies I worked for, 8 are no longer in existence. Of those 8 companies, 5 offered healthy severance packages to its departees and those severance packages ranged from $5,000 – $25,000 or more. Of the 7 companies still in existence, each has had some sort of downsizing – multiple times over the years, with various severance packages given to those who left as a result of downsizing. So…. A lot of money can be had from this downsizing business – even today with tight fisted companies.
When you start looking at downsizing as a money making proposition, you could have a watch for every day of the week. And, this could be better than the lottery. And if invested smartly, it could pump up your retirement monies to a comfortable level.
Meanwhile, don’t be afraid of going to work for a company that might lay you off. Hone your skills, make sure you work for a company who operates at 21st Century levels, be flexible and most importantly, stay marketable. Who cares if you have to buy your own watch? When I do the math, I calculate a healthy amount of money added to my bank account over the years. I’m not sure I want a watch. What I do want from a company is a fun, challenging position that when I’m no longer needed or I’ve worked myself out of a job, I have the flexibility and adaptability to move onto the next one.
Learn to stay ahead of the curve by keeping your skills competitive, and redefining job security as your marketability.
Rosemary Augustine – Author and Founder of www.CareerAdvice.com