Blue Days @ MegaCorp / Financial Independence


Yesterday my MegaCorp employer announced weak sales, record profits, and 1,500 job cuts. The rumors started about a week ago and proved true the old adage that 99% of organizational rumors are true. While no plans have been announced for how they are going to go about the layoffs, a couple things are understood:

  • 1,500 = 1.7% of workforce; about 1 in every 60 people
  • The layoffs will target “reducing structural overhead” & “layers of management” – I think that means corporate bureaucrats like me, since I lead a group in a corporate marketing function
  • All the hatchet work will happen by year end so that can book it against this year’s taxes. Happy Holidays!
  • CBS Market Watch noted the irony in posting record profits and executing $1.5B in stock buy backs at the same time the company is laying off people to save less than a tenth of that.

I have to say this is all a bit of a surprise. It seems that MegaCorp’s fotunes turned quickly this year – from a positive Q1, to a weak Q2 & Q3. The devils on Wall Street liked what they saw – rallying up the stock +4% in yesterdays trading (still down for the year).

As a work group we will need to figure out what to do with the roughly 100 people in our area.  We don’t exactly know what cuts will be asked of us.   We’ve been steadily reducing our headcount & budget all year, but I’m sure we won’t be spared for our proactivity.  I’m also not sure what the official MegaCorp approach to “workforce reduction” will be, as they seem to be behind the ball in communicating anything. Hopefully, we can deal with a lot of it by holding some open roles unfilled, normal job rotation/attrition, offer some early retirement packages to folks that are close to full pension vestment, and only after all of these – cut people’s jobs outright.

This puts me in a curiously unexpected circumstance – one of the potential reasons that I had not yet communicated any intentions to retire early next April 1st. (I’ve been secretly counting down the weeks to early retirement for more than 6 months.)  In fact, I have sort of been thinking of my work in 2015 as a hobby job, as all of my salary is going into our charitable fund (that I’ve written about HERE).

At the same time, I wanted to ensure that I have flexibility should I wish to continue to work, an interesting role came my way, or I had the opportunity to take a severance package. Now it looks like I might have some choices to make.

A couple considerations …

  •  My 401k match fully vests on 12/31/15 – I definitely want that money $$
  • Annual bonus for 2015 is paid 3/15/16 – It’s a “must be present to win” set-up and I am counting on that money for my charitable “One More Year Fund”
  • I’ve only been with the company for 2.5 years, so I’m not sure I would get much of a severance package myself if I volunteered to leave, BUT ..
  • I don’t want to see anyone from my team forced into a job loss if I could prevent it by stepping out early myself. I’m not sure exactly how the activity will take place, but I view it as a bit of a moral obligation not to take up an extra seat so I can work an extra 90-120 days

More to come … this certainly makes an interesting new plot point on the road to early retirement.

Image Credit: Pixabay

10 thoughts on “Blue Days @ MegaCorp / Financial Independence

    • Now they’ve said they will make decisions by 11/15 and give people 45 to find other jobs inside the company before the end of the year.

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  1. Wow, this felt amazingly similar to my life at my MegaCorp. The job cuts and packages just kept coming, after the first. It went from a 1% down to a 5% down in headcount quite rapidly. So 2 pieces of advice (you can ignore if you want): don’t assume it’s the only downsizing, and ask for the “present to win march” bonus as part of your deal if you want to take one for the team. I got an amazing deal by asking for it all…and went out 2 years before I had originally planned.

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    • Yes – it usually becomes an iterative cycle for a while. At my last MegaCorp, I made out like a bandit, taking 10 years of stock options, a full year’s severance, and a locked in retirement (@47 yes old). I haven’t worked here long enough to do that well, but the 401k match & bonus would be on my must-have list.

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  2. I would definitely try to get out of there with the 401k match and the bonus for sure. If you get both of those things, there would be no downside! If not… I can see where it would be a major ethical struggle. Good Luck!

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    • I hope to find out what the plans are next week. How they handle people who are close to vesting in the 401(k) and won’t be here the day bonuses are paid out.

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  3. Is it bad karma that we’re kind of hoping for layoffs at our companies? Getting a sweet severance that could accelerate our early retirement would just make our day (year? life?). But, then again, we’ve been in our jobs 17 and 13 years, so I can see why you’d feel like you weren’t in a position to get as good a deal having only been there 2.5 years. As others said, make that bonus and 401k vestment part of your non-negotiables, and then think about taking one for the team! Good luck!

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    • Yes – I was 24 years at my last company, so when I packaged out of that role, my boss said “I guess you don’t ever have to work again!”

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Early Retirement FIRE Escape – 4 Months Left | MrFireStation.com

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