AW: Tech writers and severance packages

Subject: AW: Tech writers and severance packages
From: Shea Michael EXT <Michael -dot- Shea -dot- extern -at- icn -dot- siemens -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 15:35:45 +0100

Anonymous asks:

> Have you ever negotiated a severance package into your agreement? Is this
> ever even *done* in our line of work?
Yes, it can be done. I did it, though my situation may be different. My new job required me to move across a continent and an ocean. My skillset also made me valuable to my then prospective employer: native English-speaker, but still able to communicate in the language of the host country, plus years of experience as a technical communicator.

Considering the risk and expense of moving halfway around the world with my family, I wanted to have some reassurance that they would not drop me at the first sign of trouble. So I asked for recompensation should they lay me off for whatever reason within a given time period. In return I offered to recompensate the company of some of the expenses they incurred on my behalf in bringing me here, should I jump ship within the same time period. My employer was understanding of my perceived risk and agreed. (Thanks to my boss who reads this list).

This may not work in every case. It is a matter of the perceived need the employer has of your services and their willingness to work with you. The best employers will listen to your request and make a decision and not hold it against you either way. The worst employers you probably don't want to work for anyway. Your best chance for success will be if you can make a clear convincing argument for why you should have such a clause. Or at least convince them that you are such a worthwhile hire that they would be foolish not to agree to such a request.

Michael Shea
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 8179 9307 19, Fax: +49 8179 9307 12
E-Mail: shea -at- r-l -dot- de <mailto:shea -at- r-l -dot- de>, Web: <>
Handelsregister: München HRB 99345

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