Severance Package and Retirement Benefits

The news of my department closure came at the wrong time for most people. Being jobless in the state of the recession that we are in now is scary and horrible. The majority of the staff were homeowners with many bills and kids. There were, however, a few who embraced the news. These were the older workers who had worked for the company for 30 years or more. They have also paid off their mortgages, their kids are grown and they have minimal bills to pay. Because of their long years of service, they were entitled to a full year of severance pay and health benefits. These workers were also right in the corner of the retirement age of 65. What that translates into is the company will pay them a full year of regular wages plus health and dental insurance. So after March 2010, these lucky workers can kick right into retirement and collect on their social security and company 401ks and/or pensions retirement accounts. They don't need to worry about finding new jobs like the rest of us. How lucky is that? I've learned from these lucky group of people that the road to their perfect timing was bittersweet. One particular coworker, who is also a good friend of mine, struggled paycheck to paycheck, while raising her three kids as a single mom. She said there were way too many times that she had to decide whether to put food on the table or to pay rent. Before getting to where she is today, she struggled painfully for 30 years. I'm happy for her to be in the position she is in today and to have what she has now.