An Awkward Knot @ MegaCorp

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Even as I plan for an early-exit from the workplace in early 2016, I continue to work hard to deliver results for the company.  While I haven’t shared my plans with my boss at MegaCorp yet (Happy April Fools Day 2016!), I have tried to show as much commitment to the company as I always have.  I want to go out knowing I did things the “right” way every day – completely on the up & up.  My team delivered a very good year for MegaCorp in 2015.

Recently however, my employment at MegaCorp has gotten into a bit of an awkward knot.  First, the company spent most of the year 2015 slashing budgets. Then we layed off about 1,500 workers (I used a small trick to keep my own team safe).  Now we are executing a department reorganization which will greatly increase the scope of my job and team.

More than 20 people from my team will go to another group in the company while at the same time, about 40 new folks will come to my team.  It’s a much bigger role for me and my team’s mission will be a top priority for our SVP.

While I am honored for being selected for the bigger leadership role, I certainly didn’t push for it.  I’ve been careful not to push hard for increased responsibility and promotion over the past year.  I see people who push 24/7x for these opportunities, but I’ve tried to stay away from the topic so no one would say I went out of my way to mislead them.   Since I settled on my early retirement date last year, I’ve only asked about upward progression a couple times when I felt I had to “play along” during career development discussions.

In fact, I felt a little forced into this new, higher visibility role.  I balked a bit at the idea of my old job changing and framed an argument of why it didn’t make sense for the company.  Fact is, we were performing well as a team and I was hoping to cruise to my early retirement finish line.

The funny thing is that I’m being told this role could do blockbuster things for my career at MegaCorp.  It is being presented to me as almost a “gift” of opportunity.  I’ve been around long enough to know the company doesn’t give gifts (without longer-term strings attached), but I’m now quite concerned that my boss is going to feel a bit betrayed if I tell him I’m leaving a few months from now.

He might say I should have spoken up sooner (before they bestowed this great gift), but I feel doing so would put a good amount of money at risk.  I have a healthy six-figure amount of money unvested & unpaid in my 401k, stock plan & annual bonus that don’t fully pay out until March 15th. MegaCorp says you “must be present to win” under the terms of these plans, so I will be.  Keeping quiet for the time being seems to make sense since MegaCorp frequently reiterates that our employment is “at will” and senior management recently commented that they were laying off 1,500 people before the holidays “because we can, not because we have to”.  (A strange way to make people feel better during difficult times, isn’t?).

I think I’m playing this awkward knot in a responsible way, but would appreciate any thoughts from the FIRE blogger community.  If MegaCorp sets up financial golden handcuffs to keep people from leaving, then they shouldn’t feel conned when people keep their intentions veiled until they have money fully in hand, should they?

Image Credit: Pixabay

14 thoughts on “An Awkward Knot @ MegaCorp

  1. After the way they have behaved over those layoffs they don’t deserve any loyalty whatsoever and you’d be a mug to offer any. If you have done nothing dishonourable then you have nothing to reproach yourself with – head down until March 15th and get the money that is your due.

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  2. I’m with SpreadsheetMan. Companies like to talk about loyalty and being a family but if they thought it was in the best interest of their bottom line to let you go they would do it a heart beat. Maybe spend the time trying to groom one of your team members to take on your “gift”, it would certainly be an opportunity for someone who needs/wants to be in the rat race

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    • Yes – I have been upfront with two members of my team. One wanted to come over to my group so we would work together and I needed he/she to know that I wasn’t planning to be in this role due to my plan. They might benefit when I leave with broader responsibilities – which is what they are hoping for.

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  3. 1) Stay the course. The plan is the plan… until there’s a new plan. And as of now, there is no new plan. You’re not doing anything wrong if you stay the course.

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  4. I wouldn’t feel too guilty about waiting until you’re ready to tell your employer at MegaCorp. After all, you didn’t push for this. If anything, you tried to do the opposite. Companies gain and lose valuable employees constantly for various reasons. This is no different than someone waiting on a formal employment letter from a new employer before giving their notice to their current employer. A good company should have contingency plans. I’m sure MegaCorp has one, too. You can’t make a decision that could jeopardize your financial future and plans because you don’t want to upset someone or not have them think poorly of you. Bottom line is, you’re doing the right thing. You need to think of the well-being of yourself and family above everything else. Rest easy 🙂

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

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  5. I felt guilty about leaving my Megacorp too (although I gave them plenty of notice – which bit me in the butt when they waited until the last minute to train my replacement anyway). I know it’s hard not to feel conflicted even though the company makes selfish decisions every day without a second thought. Maybe the best thing you can do is quietly identify and nurture a possible replacement from the ranks of your new team. Then, exit with your head held high, knowing that you did your best for the company, but, even more important, you did what is best for you and your family.

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  6. There is a difference between lying, as in making an outright statement that is untrue, and choosing not to offer up information. It can be a fine line sometimes (not mentioning the building is on fire etc), but in this instance I agree with the other comments, its the norm in an employment relationship. My industry sees a spike in resignations in January, just after the annual bonuses are paid, I’m sure the companies factor the cost in.

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  7. Your early retirement route just keeps getting more and more juicy! I agree about preparing a few people to take over for you so you can say “Here’s what’s happening and these guys are up for the task at hand… I’ve been preparing them so you’ll be in good hands.”

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    • I will definitely have some folks prepped. In fact, I’ve learned quite a bit about delegation in the last year. I’ve always been a pretty good delegator, but I’ve really learned how much more I should probably have been doing over the years.

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  8. Companies get the behavior they reward. Your not informing them too soon is a result of the reward system they established. Stay the course you have set! Just knowing you through the blog, I know you will go above & beyond to make sure your expanded team is set up for success when you leave….even possible replacements groomed. And I hate to say this…but you are probably not irreplaceable. None of us are, even when we want to believe we are.

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    • Yes – I’m certainly not irreplaceable. In fact, I remember hearing early in my career “if you are irreplaceable, then you are unpromotable.” I had another update with the Boss today and am thinking I will give him a heads-up earlier than later. Probably in January (~75 days from FIRE Escape).

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  9. Pingback: FIRE Milestones – Formal Resignation Notice | Mr.FireStation

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