I've got a dilemma, need advice!

  1. Hey everyone!

    I've got a very difficult choice to make. Here's my story. I'm 32 about to be 33 years old and I've been one company since I've been 19. This is the only job I've ever had in my whole adult life. I'm a first semester nursing student and my job allowed me a non-paid educational leave of absence to complete the first semester. I'm doing good in my classes, although I did struggle a bit in my Foundations class in the beginning, but quickly caught on and got on board.

    My plan was to finish up my first semester in nursing school and return back to my job for the summer while taking some night classes that were required for my degree. This is what I've been used to doing (working AND going to school) and it would allow me to build my savings back up. Then I will take another educational leave (leave was approved for up to 2 years) and then return back to nursing school in the fall. The plan was to continue to do this until I graduate from nursing school.

    Now, here's my problem. As of yesterday, I was offered a voluntary termination pay package. The package offer is as follows:

    8 months of pay
    6 months of benefits (medical, dental, mental health, vision, life ins)
    6 months of umemployment pay
    up to 7000 towards my school tuition
    pension cash balance
    401-K to either cash in or rollover

    I'm torn. I wanted to use my job as a security blanket just incase nursing didnt work out. I'm not saying I can't do nursing (and I love the patient interaction thus far), but I'm scared of failure. My foundations class kinda scared me, but I caught on and made it through. I'm dedicated to my studies. I know I can do it, but it really scares me not having a security net. As I said before, I was going to hold on to my job until I graduated from nursing school which is in 2009. Lucky for me, my job even allowed a non-pay educational leave of absence.

    What would you do if you were in my shoes? Not to mention, I have a 10 year old son that may need braces in the near future, a house payment, credit card debt, and a car payment.

    BTW, they are giving me until May 14 to decide. Good thing, I'll be finished with finals by then so my final grades would help me with making a decision.

    Need advice badly!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   SA2BDOCTOR
    I would take the leave package. Then I would put a 110% percent into my nursing classes. Your compnay is very generous I believe, however, you can get a job in the hospital part-time as a nurse aide. I would like to think that you chose nursing as a career because it matters to you the most and it has great financial benefits, that can make a better life for you and your family. With that said, having to choose between the two, I would choose nursing, because you can always get a side job and loans.
  4. by   StrwbryblndRN
    I agree with the above post. I know how you feel in regards to deciding. A month before I started the nursing program (after 2 years of pre-reqs) my husband lost his job. Wonderful benefits and great salary. We had no income for about 3 months and when he did get a job his pay was 1/3 of what it once was.
    Even though it has been a hard two years financially with alot of debt, I do not regret it. I believe you will not regret it either if you took the package and put all your energy into school.
    If even after advise you are still torn. Sit down and look at your budget and see if you can make it work. I bought second hand clothes and toys, and made use of free activities for my kids (i.e. library, parks etc.) It is hard to believe that we still made it when the little amount my husband was making. I do believe you can do it.
    Whatever you decide, GOOD LUCK to you!
  5. by   2bNurseNik
    I also agree with the previous posters.....gosh, I'm jealous . I with my employer did that for me. You can always work as a Tech or NA while earning your degree. I have a great job that I love and my current salary is more than a starting nurse's salary, but I have to follow my dream.....that is, if I ever get accepted :uhoh21:

    Good Luck to YOU!!!
  6. by   emtb2rn
    Sounds like an AT&T package. Take it. If you need to work inbetween semesters, try lining up corporate temp work.

    As for your current job being a security blanket; it you are taking unpaid leave and the company is force managing, you will be at the top of every termination list.

    Check with your state unemployment office on the following:
    You may be able to have the unemployment benefits extended beyond 6 months to a full year (NJ does this). And check into whether your state unemployment office will help pay for your tuition. I don't know about MO, but NJ will give you up to $4K if you are enrolled in certain nursing programs (generally public schools only).

    Speak to a financial adviser about the pension balance and the 401-k. There may be serious tax implications depending on how you handle them. Talk to a professional.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by emtb2rn on May 1, '07
  7. by   IrishIzCPNP
    Here's my first question...

    If you don't take the leave package and continue working (don't even think about school with this question)...do you actually have job security? Any job that offers me that much to leave makes me think that maybe if I don't go now I will go later with less benefits.

    Just wondering do you really have a job that you can rely on if you do decide to stay.
  8. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from SAHStudent
    If you don't take the leave package and continue working (don't even think about school with this question)...do you actually have job security? Any job that offers me that much to leave makes me think that maybe if I don't go now I will go later with less benefits.
    This was the thought that went through my mind....if you don't take the package now, then what? Are you guaranteed a job to go back to and another leave, etc.?

    If you're not, and the job situation is getting that tenuous with your company, I'd take the package and never look back. "Handwriting on the wall..." and all that sort of thing! Having survived two layoffs at my former employer before I left to go back to school, I know those situations don't often get better...

    As someone else pointed out, see where you can cut corners at home, check out all your financial aid options, look in to hospital jobs (they're usually great about working around your schedule and eager to hire after you've completed Fundamentals) and BEST WISHES!!! :icon_hug:
  9. by   Daytonite
    from the severance package they are offering you i can tell you work for a large company because little rinky dink places don't offer this kind of a bonus to their employees. the handwriting is on the wall, kiddo, and i think you know that deep down. they are looking to replace you and that is going to happen one way or another. sounds like a good package. with your current status in nursing school you can find work in a nursing home or one of the local hospitals (i used to live in kc). one of the realities of life is that things change. and, you are going to find that this happens in nursing a lot. you have to admire people who work in industries like entertainment because they never know where their next job is going to be. how's that for change and living in the unknown? we only know about the famous stars, but what about the "little people" who struggle with change and the unknown every day just waiting for their big break? everything carries a risk. some risk factors you can have some control over.

    i would take the severance package and be on my merry way.
  10. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from emtb2rn
    Sounds like an AT&T package. Take it. If you need to work inbetween semesters, try lining up corporate temp work.

    As for your current job being a security blanket; it you are taking unpaid leave and the company is force managing, you will be at the top of every termination list.

    Check with your state unemployment office on the following:
    You may be able to have the unemployment benefits extended beyond 6 months to a full year (NJ does this). And check into whether your state unemployment office will help pay for your tuition. I don't know about MO, but NJ will give you up to $4K if you are enrolled in certain nursing programs (generally public schools only).

    Speak to a financial adviser about the pension balance and the 401-k. There may be serious tax implications depending on how you handle them. Talk to a professional.

    Good luck.
    You are correct, it is AT&T. Would have been employed there 14 years on June 22.
  11. by   shoegalRN
    I would like to thank everyone who responded to this post. I am leaning towards taking the package, after all, it's something I did want for a very long time. It's just a scary thing to do, that's all.

    I plan on looking for a job at a hospital after my unemployment runs out because I need the benefits.

    I've survived 2 VTP's so far. And with the merger to SBC completed, I know my time is eventually coming to an end.

    I'm just being emotional right now. I know I can do this.
  12. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from nurse2be09
    I'm just being emotional right now. I know I can do this.
    Got a friend here in St. Louis who's been with SBC for a million years...she's always feeling a bit threatened by all the changes in the company....

    You're entitled to your emotions....it's a very scary time as all changes to new things are....but gosh, look how very EXCITING, too!!

    Make sure you keep the lines of communication open with that kiddo....enlist his (?) help as much as possible....they can be amazingly resilient and might have suggestions to help you both through the coming time while you are in school....help him see how you're BOTH working toward this goal!

    And again -- best of luck!!
  13. by   CritterLover
    the only thing that bothers me about the package is the length of the benefits package. i rarely use my health insurance, but am too nervous to go without it.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]getting a job in a hospital would be the perfect solution -- experience + benefits. sure, the pay is lower, but with the package they are offering you, you should be able to get by.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]though everyone is different, i found that working as a cna/unit secretary when i was in school helped me to cement the concepts i was learning in my head. i may have had less time to study, but i didn't need to study as much because much of the stuff we learned made sense in the context of the hospital setting. plus, i was in the hospital at times other than the high-stress clinical time.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]hospitals tend to love nursing students as cnas. sure, the turn-over is there, but they are hoping to recruit you when you graduate. even if you don't stay there, they win because they usually have a motivated, high-quality employee.
    [color=#483d8b]
    [color=#483d8b]good luck!
  14. by   emtb2rn
    Quote from nurse2be09
    You are correct, it is AT&T. Would have been employed there 14 years on June 22.
    Yeah, I kinda figured. I was off payroll in September '05 after 21 years, 2 months and 15 days (not that I counted). Knocked off A&P in the spring and early summer semesters and started nursing school with Fundamentals in July '06. Getting FMP's is looking like one of the best things that has ever happened to me. As one door closes another door opens.

    Y'all weren't in Lees Summit now, were ya? If so, PM me and we can talk T offline.

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