The more skilled and educated you are, the more traumatic a sudden job loss can be. That’s true whether the company terminates just you or engages in large-scale layoffs and terminations due to restructuring.
You will have to immediately adjust your daily life and budget to reflect the loss of your income. You will have to start looking for a job that matches your skill set and offers comparable compensation. Other than what you have in savings, your severance package may be the only money you can rely on to support yourself after an unexpected termination.
Obviously, you want to do your best to maximize what you receive in your severance package. Refusing or countering a first offer is often in your best interests.
The more skilled you are, the longer you need to find a good job
The standard severance package offered in the company’s contract or to everyone in a mass firing may not meet your personal needs. The more highly compensated and skilled you are, the more you’re going to need in the severance package.
It will arguably take you much longer to find a competitive, highly paid position than it would to find an entry-level or mid-tier job. You need your severance package to reflect the length of time it will take for you to move in to a new position.
Your employer likely expects at least some people to counter their initial offer
The standard severance package offered by your company likely reflects the minimum that they expect the average worker to accept.
They know that some workers will negotiate for more, which is why they try to start with the smallest amount possible. Unless you do so inappropriately, your employer likely won’t be upset or offended by a rejection or negotiation attempt during severance discussions.
In some cases, you may want to consider having an attorney handle these negotiations on your behalf if you worry that emotions might impair your ability to act in your own best interest.