10 Tips For Negotiating A Big, Fat Severance Deal

Today, 850 at Viacom, 500 at NBC Universal and another 12,000 AT&T found out they will lose their jobs in layoffs.We hope not, but if you're in a media company that hasn't had layoffs yet, you could be next.

Here's the good news,'s Kirk Nemer told us: It's really, really important to your employer that you go quietly. So much so, that often, companies are willing to bribe laid-off employees with a fatter severance package to make sure of it.

Here are ten rules for making sure you're the squeaky wheel that takes your employer for a ride:

* Do not sign anything right away. After breaking the bad news, the HR rep will try make you sign a release within two hours. Don't. If you're being cut as a part of a general layoff, you have at least three weeks to sign your severance package agreement, which is really an agreement to not sue the company. If you did sign it -- and if you're older than 40 --you can revoke your signature within a week.

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