I work in the USA and was recently placed on a 90-day performance improvement plan (PIP) with my company. Just shy of my 60-day PIP review, I was terminated. I was only with the company for 7 months, but they very graciously gave me a 3-and-a-half month severance package with full salary and benefits. That's not a typo: after it's all said & done, they will have effectively paid time-and-a-half for my brief employment. Obviously, they felt I wasn't a good fit for the job but maybe "felt bad" about letting me go?

Is there anything to be read into such a generous severance for such a short tenure? I do feel like I drew the short end of the stick from an employment standpoint, as the job ended up being very different than it was laid out to me in the original job description. Does it seem like the company agrees with this assessment and is trying to make ammends by giving me such a generous severance?

Furthermore, is this appropriate to bring up in future interviews? Almost like saying, "the company felt that I wasn't a great fit for the job but thought so highly of me as an individual that they gave me an incredible severance package." Or something to that effect.

  • 51
    Why do you think the severance had anything to do with your performance? You probably signed something to get that severance, which more or less was "I won't say bad things about you."
    – enderland
    May 20, 2018 at 16:22
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    Did you sign a compromise agreement if so mentioning it might lead to legal repercussions May 20, 2018 at 22:28
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    No. Most employers will be interested to know why you left your previous role, and you can say you left on good terms (if that’s the case) and happy to provide a reference if required. May 22, 2018 at 12:23

5 Answers 5


Furthermore, is this appropriate to bring up in future interviews?


Future employers won't care about your severance package.

And you don't really know why you got the severance that you did. It might be because you were an outstanding worker. Or it might just be standard procedure. Future employers won't care.

Future employers will care that you were put on a PIP after only 5 months and then dismissed without even waiting for the 90-day period to expire. There's nothing good in that.

Try to avoid the entire topic if you can.

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    Seconded the paying of 3.5 months after less than a year in the USA is an interesting red flag - but best not to mention it. May 20, 2018 at 22:27
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    I think this answer might be improved by elaborating slightly on the PIP part. The OP seems to be under the impression that it's nothing special, but as frequent visitors of the Workplace will know it's basically a message of "we intend to fire you unless you somehow magically change some things, start looking for a new job"
    – Cronax
    May 22, 2018 at 8:48

Furthermore, is this appropriate to bring up in future interviews?


Nobody but your bank manager and your close family care about your severance package.

You can ask why you got the severance package you did - and you should, because it will be educational for you.

At a guess, you worked at Netflix, which has a standard procedure to give high severance packages. This is to encourage management to fire staff that are not performing, because now the managers don't feel so bad about it.

It's a great trick, and helpful to management. It does not sell you to another employer though, so I would not bring it up.

Note this is different to bringing up your last bonus, which you should do as that shows how valued you are and can be used as leverage for a sign-on bonus.

  • 39
    @Mast - why is it inappropriate? It's a well documented part of Netflix's corporate culture. For example and also on their corporate culture page: The unusual part is that we give adequate performers a generous severance package2, so that we can find a star for that position. Though Netflix doesn't say they encourage managers to "fire" underperforming employees, instead they encourage them "not to fight to keep them", which at Netflix is effectively the same thing.
    – Johnny
    May 20, 2018 at 22:26
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    A danish company offer new hires around $10,000 on top of their salary if they quit in the first couple of months. The idea is to avoid having employees hanging around if they don't really like their job or the company. The cost of employees just going through the motions is far too high these days.
    – Bent
    May 21, 2018 at 10:09
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    "You can ask why you got the severance package you did - and you should, because it will be educational for you." Not sure about that! What if it was a mistake?! ;)
    – komodosp
    May 21, 2018 at 16:24
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    @colmde well you have to get hired in the first place, they don't need a lot of new people. If you quit your job you don't get unemployment benefits the first 3 weeks. Now you don't have to cling onto a bad job.
    – Bent
    May 21, 2018 at 17:15
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    @colmde Then you've received money you shouldn't have which should probably be returned before they realize the mistake and pursue you for the money. May 21, 2018 at 19:21

Short answer, NO

Longer answer

This is becoming more and more common of a practice, as it's extending to paying people to quit. Amazon, for example, sees this as beneficial to the company to get rid of people who don't want to be there.

When it comes to employees who are underperforming or just a bad fit, it is better for all parties concerned to take this approach rather than the traditional one. It's less rough on the employee, management does not have to build a massive file, and an employee does not have a "fired for cause" on their record.

It's not strange or odd, just very expedient for the company. If they pay you to go away, they're far less likely to get sued, have difficulties from past employees slamming them on sites like glass door, and managers are less likely to retain someone out of guilt. It's a very expedient way to handle the problem of terminating employees.

To be a bit blunt, it's a way of telling you to go to Hell in such a way as to have you look forward to the trip. Nothing more.

Do not volunteer this information. To those employers who do not practice this, they may view it as you being so bad as your previous employer thought it worth the money to be rid of you.


If I were a hiring manager and you told me that story, I'd probably assume you must've done something really bad if they're willing to dole out that kind of free money just to get you out the door. I'd say, don't mention the severance or the PIP. Instead just say something like,

"There were some discrepancies between the description and the actual requirements and, after several months, we agreed the position wasn't a good fit for my skill set. I thought I would be spending the bulk of my time working on x but the job turned out to be mostly y."

Per @dwizum--you should also prepare for the interview by thinking of specific questions about the job to show that you're making a serious effort to prevent repeating the same mistake.

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    I like your suggested explanation. I would add to it - be prepared with a few questions about the specific job, in order to show them that you're trying to learn more about positions and what they entail, to prevent yourself from making the same mistake again.
    – dwizum
    May 21, 2018 at 18:42


I know it's been answered already, but just to throw in a new reason for the "No".

If they thought highly of you, they'd keep you on! It's unlikely that they thought you were a bad employee, but such a nice guy that they'd give you a nice golden parachute unless you happened to be great friends with/have some dirt on the manager!

If I were an interviewer, I'd entertain the possibility that they wanted to get rid of you before the remaining 2 months were up, and the extra money (which is actually just 1.5 months salary to them since they're saving the 2 months they would have paid you) is to stop you kicking up a fuss about early termination / not being allowed to complete your PIP...

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