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THE QUESTION

I am 45 and work in an aviation manufacturer as a technical support representative. I have a management degree and I have almost completed my MBA. My company just announced 100 redundancies in North America and is asking for volunteers to take a package and leave. I have been with them for 14 years and expect to get a decent severance package above the minimum requirements. I have become disheartened by my company's greed and actions over the last few years and feel this is an opportunity to get out. I earned just over $100,000 last year including a $10,000 bonus, but I think that the best I could get in the market right now would be about $85,000. I am torn between an unsatisfying job and money. What should I do?

THE ANSWER

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Where do your values lie – money or job satisfaction? Many people are willing to be miserable in their role, so long as they are paid well to be miserable. Further, many people are willing to compromise their health and relationships with others and will work for an employer they no longer like, in the exchange for money. Is that you?

I cannot tell you what you should do. What I can suggest is to closely examine what is important to you right now. If it is money, then the answer is to stick to where you are. If job satisfaction is more important to you, you may have stumbled on a great opportunity to cash out, and find a more satisfying role.

It is an opportunity when your employer is asking for volunteers in a downsizing. It is leaving on your own terms, with a severance to help you in the transition to your next opportunity. If you are concerned about landing a job that does not meet or exceed your current salary, the severance would be a bridge as you continue to search for a role that meets your salary requirements.

And if you land a job before your severance runs out, I always see the remainder as free money! I do understand the feeling of uncertainty when it comes to looking for a new job when you are unemployed.

It is, however, much easier to find a job quicker when you are looking full time and living off a severance, than if you were to look for a job on your coffee break, because you are still employed. Employers no longer see a break of employment as a detriment to your hiring, because layoffs are commonplace.

Whatever you decide, make sure it is for the right reasons – honour your values, and do not let fear or uncertainty make the decision for you.

Eileen Dooley (@EileenDooley) is a certified coach and lead consultant for McRae Inc.

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