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Can I Ask My Employer to Lay Me Off?

Can I Ask My Employer to Lay Me Off?

Alison Green l Ask A Manager

May 28, 2010

A reader writes:

I work for a major financial services company. I no longer wish to work for that company but don’t want to just resign. The company has been laying workers off and is planning more layoffs. I don’t want to feel like a sitting duck. I also want to leave and focus on a non-competing business that I recently started. Should I ask for a package because I wish to leave? I am hoping to get some perks and professional references if I seek a package. What would you advise?

You’re planning on leaving regardless, right? If so, you have nothing to lose by approaching your manager about the possibility of being a voluntary layoffin the next round. If they’re planning to do layoffs anyway, they may be relieved to get volunteers and you could save someone else from being cut.

That said, there’s no guarantee that they’ll accept your offer. If yours isn’t a position they plan to cut, it doesn’t make sense for them to lay you off. So you should be prepared for them not to take you up on it … and, depending on the culture there, it might be awkward hanging around much longer after you’ve told them you’re ready to leave. But it sounds like you want to leave either way, anyway.

If you’re close to your manager and have a relationship of trust, you might be successful running this by her off the record and getting a better sense of how this proposal is likely to be received. Good luck!

P.S. I’m asking the Evil HR Lady, who has more experience with layoffs than me, to weigh in too.