Should You Wait It Out? | Articles & Tips | | Rochester




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 Should You Wait It Out?

By Joe Stein

Even in a strong economy like the country currently is enjoying, it seems like weekly there is news of a company that is downsizing or closing. This seems to be particularly true in the retail industry, as companies adjust to the changing landscape brought on by the internet and changing consumer preferences.
The media usually covers in-depth those employees directly impacted by closure, but what about those currently working for a company rumored to be in financial trouble or at risk to be sold? Those employees have a difficult situation to deal with as they need to assess all the current known information and determine what the best course of action is.
Of course, there is an emotional factor to maintaining employment with a company. This pull to stay ranges from a sense of loyalty to your team or the company as a whole, to any anxiousness associated with having to change employers. Not to dismiss these thoughts, but situations as important as this one should be primarily made by more rational and analytical decision making. So, if you find yourself in a tenuous position with your current employer, what should you think about when deciding whether to start your job search or wait out?
• How Likely Is The Situation? - Rumors are just that…rumors. It does not mean that it is true, however my experience points to the old adage “where there is smoke, there is fire” in relation to whether it is true. You don’t want to overreact to water cooler chatter, especially if you have considerable time already invested in the organization. Your position in the organization may assist you in determining the level of certainty. For example, “hiring freezes”, delays in bill payment, decreased inventory receipts, and employee turnover can all be signs that there is definite truth to what you have heard.
• Employment Job Search Expectations: Some people will need more time than others to find new employment. Salary requirements and your skill set compared to market needs are probably two of the most common reasons why a job search may take longer. If you think you can find a new position quickly, then you may want to wait things out to see what happens with the company. Most people, however, underestimate how much time it will take to find a new comparable position, especially at the Management level. Keep in mind that it is typically easier to find a new position if still employed, due to their still being a stigma from some regarding unemployment.
• How Risk Sensitive Are You - There are a number of legitimate variables that go into assessing your risk sensitivity. How much money do you have saved that is liquid? Obviously, the more that you possess the easier you can absorb a stretch of unemployment. How reliant are you to your salary? For example, are you the single “breadwinner”, or is it a shared household (and are you #1 or #2)? COBRA is expensive and medical benefits are something that you have to possess. If you need family coverage this will be a considerable expense each month to carry as you will be required to pay for it (in its entirety) without an employer cost share.
• Will There Be An Incentive To Stay? - For some fortunate employees, there will be compensation waiting for you at the end if your position is eliminated. This most likely will be any standard severance benefits that are communicated to employees via a written published severance plan. For some, however, there may be an opportunity to earn more by committing to staying until the end in order to finish the closure or the transition to the new owners. You will have to weigh the value of this additional compensation versus being able to leave sooner for a new position. If you are comfortable ethically, you may even want to accept the retention bonus agreement, but continue your job search. This way if a position you cannot refuse comes up, you can accept (if not, continue to work under the retention agreement).
• How Motivated Will You Be? - Typically, working in a situation where the employer is struggling financially and potentially will close or be sold is pretty dreary. It is usually a situation where it is difficult for a person to stay motivated to give your best work. Plus, factor the likelihood that your co-workers will start leaving for other positions, leaving you without the social interaction and perhaps with even more work now to do.
We would all love to think that we will always find ourselves in a stable work environment with a financially sound company. In the modern up/down economy, the reality is, however, that we will most likely find ourselves (at times) in situations where we have to pause to consider the future of the organization we are working for. Don’t forget that despite whatever loyalty you may feel towards your employer, ultimately you need to make the decisions that are the best for you and your family. This includes whether to start your job search, whether you should leave, and whether you should wait it out.