Thinking About Taking a Severance Package and the Summer Off?

Here’s why that might not be such a great idea.

From Zachary Ahlgrim 3/21/2019

Let’s be honest, getting a severance package is usually making the best of a bad situation. Whether you’ve been terminated for cause or simply laid off, a severance package can make the termination process more palatable for both the employee and the employer. Many employees, when offered a severance package, make the choice to use the severance package to take a few months off, travel, or otherwise look for employment. While that may be tempting to many people who have recently been terminated, here are a few reasons that might not be such a good idea.

You’ll Have a Gap in Work History

We know what you’re thinking, “I just got terminated. I’m burned out and want to take some time off work.” And, we totally get that. If you want to take a few weeks or a month to decompress, that’s totally understandable, you deserve it. The issue arises when a few weeks turns into a few months or even longer.

Simply put, some hiring managers will take you out of consideration just for having a few months gap in employment history. This varies by industry and company, but on average, a recruiter sees around 250 resumes for a given corporate opening. Hiring manager’s time is often in short supply, leading them to cull the heard through any means necessary, including throwing away resumes for arbitrary reasons like a small gap in work history.

To make things even more daunting, the average hiring manager looks at a resume for a measly six seconds before deciding to pass or not. It might not be right, but in today’s tight labor market it can be enough to disqualify you for the position you’re applying for.

Job Searches Take Time

Want to hear something scary? Experts estimate that it takes roughly one month of job searching for every $10,000 you’re looking to earn. Applying for jobs in the $70,000 — 80,000 range? That job search could take up to 8 months. In the paragraph above we discussed the potential pitfalls of taking more than a month off after termination. While you may have only intended to take a month off, the labor market may have other ideas. Making what was once a few weeks off into a more pronounced gap in work history. Fair or not, some hiring managers even look at a gap in work history with concern.  We've heard of hiring managers question a candidate's work ethic or motivation because of an employment lapse. Even candidates who have left positions voluntarily (think burnout) are susceptible to this line of reasoning. A hiring manager may wonder, "if you're that burned out, why would my organization want to pick you up." It's a sad reality, but a reality none the less.

If you do end up taking a more extended break from work, our advice is to stay current in your field and have an explanation readily available should a hiring manager ask you about your employment lapse. You'll be a far more attractive potential candidate if you have home projects related to your occupation or relevant coursework that you can use to explain your situation. Personal projects related to your occupation shows that despite your circumstances, you took the time to advance your skillset.

Looking to Bridge the Gap?

Do you have a gap in work history? Have you recently received a severance package? Are you worried about a potential layoff? River Group Technologies is here to help. We realize that layoffs or other adverse events can happen to even the most accomplished employees. Unlike some hiring managers, we take the time to get to know all our applicants and what brought them to us. We have also fostered lasting relationships with hiring managers throughout the New England area who are willing to look at skilled technical candidates no matter the circumstances.

If you’re on the hunt for your next permanent position (or may be soon), River Group Technologies wants to talk to you. Visit us at rivergrouptech.com or drop us a line at 978.289.9790.