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Should I request a voluntary layoff to my manager?

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Senior Software Engineer [L5] at Googlea year ago

I am currently burnt out and looking for ways to take a break.

Looking at Google's generous severance benefits, I had thoughts to inform my manager that I am up for the chopping block if there are any foresight of next round of layoffs. Which I think should be good for the company since I am also helping one motivated Googler to not be laid off in the future.

But then, I am afraid it might get rejected and my manager's relationship with me get strained.

Are there any suggestions on getting severance package while indicating my intent to resign?

Additional context

I am currently not on PIP and is considered excellent performer. I was promoted to L5 in mid 2021

Michael Lin's blog discussed on the "preemptive severance package" which is relevant to what I am hoping to do



  • 6
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a year ago

    I strongly believe you should not pursue ask for a voluntary layoff, unless you have an example of someone doing this successfully at Google.

    More likely than not, your manager won't be able to offer you a voluntary layoff, and the cost of getting this wrong is that you are "tainted" -- as a manager, I wouldn't want to give you a high impact/high visibility project since you'd be a flight risk.

    In addition, since the Google layoffs just happened, I don't have faith that Google would have the infrastructure in place to do this kind of thing. Remember that Netflix is a very unique culture where they explicitly say "adequate performance gets a generous severance package".

  • 8
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    Ex-Netflix • Engineering Consultant for Early-Stage Startups
    a year ago

    Author here - one other option you have is if they ask you to go back to the office, say that "I've relocated during the pandemic and I'm not coming back to [X location] and would like to discuss a severance agreement instead."

    Someone told me they used that line, and got a yes right away.