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Lose Your Job Now: 5 Tips to Get to Severance Heaven
By:Gwendolyn A. Lee

You've schemed, you've scammed, you've plotted, but the elusive layoff has evaded you for the last time. Your desire to go to that spacious severance-package-in-the-sky needs to be fulfilled without further ado. How will you get upper management to see how pointless your position really is? Follow these five tips and soon you'll be packing your pictures.

1. Work in customer service.

Between voice-response systems, outsourcing to other countries, and form emails, who needs to talk to a person? See Exhibit A:

"Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your feedback. At this time we are unable to . We highly value you as a customer and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We hope you will consider NeverDoingBusinessWithYouAgain, Inc. in the future.


Generic Jenny"

With quality responses such as these, who needs to talk to a customer service agent?

2. Apply for middle management.

In the pyramid-scheme of employment, middle management is the most superfluous. You're the guy whose job it is to make sure that other employees are doing their jobs. If you work for a micro-manager, your boss isn't only making sure that you're doing your job; he's also making sure that your employees are doing their jobs. If your industry is in a slump, has put a freeze on hiring, and employee numbers are eroding due to attrition, why have 10 people managing 250 employees when previously they were managing 300? Is $60,000/year, benefits, paid vacation, and personal time really worth an increase of 0.002% in productivity? If you can do the math, so can upper management. Submit that e-application immediately.

3. Work in the telecommunications industry.

Between cell phones, cable internet, VoIP, and mergers, the telecommunications industry is all but dead. Countless individuals been talked into keeping a landline by their telephone company "just in case" their cell phone goes dead. These consumers will soon realize that their cell phones almost never go dead, and, if they do, they can always port to a different company with better coverage areas. With "naked DSL" (DSL service that does not require a landline) becoming available in more and more areas, landlines will soon be a distant memory. And the phone number the customers have had a cozy, intimate relationship with for the past 25 years? These landline numbers can be ported to cell phones, too! The heat of the home phone has fizzled.

4. Work somewhere for a long time. Remind people of this. Constantly.

Sure, there's a learning curve for every job, but somewhere between years one and two you'll hit that proficiency peak. After this point, you need something else, like incalculable business relationships or unique knowledge, to keep you afloat. If you don't have these, don't seek them. If you do, downplay these assets. Upper management will begin to wonder whether your 10 years of experience is really worth all the extra pay.

5. Work somewhere with a disproportionately high sign-on bonus.

If you're Larry Page or Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, or an actuary with dueling master's degrees in Actuarial Science and Mathematics, you deserve a hefty sign-on bonus. If you're flipping burgers at McDonald's or telemarketing at Geico, you don't. When a company with a "high school diploma preferred, but not required" policy is offering a sign-on bonus, its because they're desperate for help during an uncharacteristically busy season. These companies are hoping that attrition will conveniently dispose of these extra employees when customer volumes return to normal. If this doesn't happen, you're looking at your coveted cash cow of unemployment when they drop the axe.

Gwendolyn Lee, at the ripe age of 25, has been laid off. She knows hundreds of individuals who have been laid off. She is currently working as a contract statistician and analyst of Internet-related metrics for rubber stamps and rubber stamping products for www.rubberstamps.net. If she's lucky, she'll be laid off from there as well.

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