How to Cope When You’re Shown the Door

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I work for a large international bank, and my job was just made redundant because of restructuring and cost cutting measures. I’ve worked there for 25 years, so my redundancy package will be a year’s salary, which is great. My last day will be less than a month before 2022 bonuses are paid, and internal policy is firm that you have to be employed on bonus day to receive your bonus. I’m furious — after 25 very successful years, I can’t believe they are going to rob me of the bonus I worked hard for all year over a matter of 20 days. Legally, they can do this, so I don’t believe there is any point in getting a lawyer. What other recourse do I have? I’m tempted to post about it but know I’ll regret such an unprofessional decision later.

— Anonymous

You should be furious. How you’re being treated is infuriating. Unfortunately, companies don’t care about your dedication and loyalty over years or even decades if those things end up costing them too much. Corporate indifference is craven and unfair. You have nothing to lose so you could, certainly, ask your employer if your last day can be pushed until after bonuses are distributed, but your separation date was probably chosen deliberately.

I don’t know that posting about being treated so poorly is unprofessional. It’s human. And corporations do not have feelings because they are not people. They aren’t going to care if you post about it. They probably won’t even know. That said, I imagine you’re looking for new work so it makes sense to hesitate about airing your grievances publicly. You never want to burn professional bridges, even when your soon-to-be former employer has handed you both gasoline and a torch.

I’ve worked for about two years at a medium-sized firm. At my annual evaluation, I was expecting to receive information regarding my bonus. Instead, I was informed I was “not a good fit” and “no longer had a future here.” The ostensible reason was that I didn’t “mesh” well with the team. Until this moment, I felt comfortable and happy at work. It was clear they had made up their mind, and I mostly said nothing.

What happened next was odd: I wasn’t fired. I wasn’t even laid off. I was told I would not be staffed on any new business. I didn’t have to complete any work I was currently on (but could if I want), and I could choose what to say about why I was not completing assignments. They also said they would “support me” as I looked for a new job, continuing to pay my normal salary.

We can work remotely, so I just haven’t been coming in. My question is, what do I owe this company? On the one hand, this is a big favor and makes applying to new jobs easier. On the other, they’ve given me no timeline. I worry at any moment the paycheck will simply not come. In our handbook, if we’re laid off, we’re given three months’ severance. Is this all just a way to skirt around this? The whole situation is so bizarre that I’m not sure what to make of it.

— Anonymous

This is one of the strangest dilemmas I have yet encountered. What you need now is clarity. If the company is currently paying you to do nothing, without an end date, your managers probably aren’t trying to skirt around severance. I cannot really figure out what is going on here. It seems that they are firing you without cause and don’t want any trouble so they’re willing to subsidize your transition into a new position. You could ask your employer what the time frame for this limbo is so you can plan next steps, but I worry that will bring attention to a pretty sweet deal. Regardless, you should be looking for a new position and shoring up whatever financial safety net you may have. You might even contact a few employment lawyers to see how they would advise navigating this strange situation. Something is definitely awry.