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January 20, 2022

The lure of short-term employment

By Gordon Powers, Sympatico / MSN Finance

If you live in Ottawa, it’s almost impossible not to too be touched by the fallout at Nortel. If it’s not your friend or neighbour hitting the pavement, then it’s certainly one of their acquaintances.

Among the hardest hit are those Nortel employees who got laid off last year. Despite howls of protest, CEO Mike Zafirovski recently confirmed that severance payments still owed to them are frozen by the bankruptcy filing and will be added to the company's debts. Legal, sure, but it hardly seems fair.

Unfortunately, that’s one of the dangers of taking salary continuation payments (assuming you have a choice) over a lump sum. You never really know whether your employer is going to hold up its end of the bargain.

The other problem, of course, is what happens when a job prospect does surface. Increasingly laid off employees in knowledge industries are wondering if shorter-term contracts, despite the impact they may have on severance, could be the way to go. Or should you hold out for a full-time gig if you can?

Here’s what Mark Swartz, author of "Get Wired, You're Hired," thinks of interim employment and his advice on how to position yourself when explaining why you really do want the job. 

By the way, if Nortel’s woes are close to your heart, Mark Evans, a blogger who used to cover the company as a reporter at the Financial Post, tracks company developments at All About Nortel.



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...