We got the news mid summer that TopFive was exploring moving to a Managed Services Model (MSM) and it was surprisingly, unsurprising. By that I mean even obtuse moi had noticed the signs:
- Attrition Rate was usually high;
- Empty positions were not being replaced;
- I was on my 4th boss in a year;
- Older Partners and Senior Executives were being “coaxed” to retire;
They told us that the plan was to do Discovery until the end of August and make a yay or nay decision by September 1. I have never been through anything like this myself, but many of my fellow IT colleagues had so they knew that not only was this an unrealistic timetable but also when the Higher-Ups said Exploring the options, they really meant this move was gonna happen we just need to figure out the money.
When a company
laysoff outsources a large portion of their staff, it isn’t unusual to offer an Incentive Bonus to keep people around long enough to transfer their Native Knowledge. This is supposed to lesson the blow of essentially training your replacement. You have to really decide if sticking around is the right move for you. Depending on the terms, you might risk missing out on another opportunity or you might lose out on the bonus due to some technicality that you didn’t realize.
It’s like trying to determine all the cards so that one can make the best choice possible. Should I go with the safe Full House or do I try and get a Straight Flush? The thing is, you cannot know that until you make a choice. If you leave to take another position, it might not suck for six months but after that, you may be longing for the days of TopFive.
The Parking Lot was getting emptier and emptier
TopFive mentioned an Incentive Bonus during Discovery but no details were forthcoming. All they would tell us on those All-Hands Calls was that the incentive bonus is based on individuals being with TopFive till August 31st and we would get details in the mail. I believe the sent these priority mail letters out and given that they were delivered via the USPS not everyone got one at the same time. So imagine walking into the office and finding out that everyone on your team got a letter but you.
This caused rumors to incubate very nicely.
I wish I could share the letter but I can tell you from my former life as a paralegal it looked like someone download Contracts for Dummies from the internet and tried to fill in the blanks. It was apparent from the wording of the letter that they initially were going to try and give everyone a different amount based on some assessment of ones job function and need to keep them around long enough to transfer knowledge. My guess is someone started doing it and figured out that 1) it’s too hard to do that with the Loosey-Goosey criteria they were probably given from Mickey Mouse Management and 2) if they didn’t offer enough money everyone who could was gonna walk.
Apparently the magic number, the sum of our worth, was $5000.
$5k is between Nothing-To-Sneeze-At and Not-Game-Changing, especially after taxes. I started looking for a new job myself but I knew I wasn’t going to find anything immediately. So I, like many others, wanted the incentive bonus because we were going to be here anyway.
Some people still left which did surprise me. Why would you pass up $5k when all it would take was sticking around another month? I get that some people probably started looking the day the news was announced but in Corporate America, they usually take two months to fill a position and want you to start at the beginning of a pay cycle so you’d have to be a really bad negotiator to not be able to say I couldn’t start until after Sept 1.
There was one person who quit on 8/26 which means he either had an offer that he couldn’t refuse or there some something suspicious about the incentive bonus.
This post was drafted a year or so ago, as these events were occurring. I waited to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company. The purpose of these posts aren’t to bash my former employer but to share my experience and hopefully educate people on the perils of Corporate America.
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