Navigating Job Switches with an Eye Towards the Future

Lindsey Brown

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Landing a new job is an exciting day for anyone. New opportunities, new relationships, new challenges – all of these are exhilarating aspects of a new position. But one important item you may not be considering on your first day is your last day.

A generation ago, many individuals were lifelong employees of a single company – not so today. The average person switches jobs every three years.[1] That equates to at least ten job switches over the course of a thirty- or forty-year career. It is imperative to think about your likely departure from your new company on day one to avoid unreasonable restrictions when you leave.

Many companies ask you to sign a non-compete agreement as a part of your hiring process. These agreements limit where and how you will be able to work in the future. Even though Colorado generally disfavors non-compete provisions, they can be enforceable, especially for higher level executives and managers.

Will you be compensated for these limitations on your ability to choose your next employer? Some companies offer separation pay, but the duration of these payments can vary widely from several weeks to several months, or even years of separation pay. Companies also have varying policies on paying out bonuses. While Colorado requires employers to pay out bonuses that are earned, accrued, and vested, other bonuses may be pro-rated, dependent on your performance metrics, or not guaranteed at all.

And what about your healthcare? How long will your benefits extend beyond your separation date? Will your company subsidize your COBRA payments, and if so, for how long? What about that stock the company granted you? Are you entitled to those units when you leave pursuant to any agreements you might have? What if the units haven’t vested yet?

These are all important questions to be thinking about – and items that may get lost in the “new-employee” shuffle. So, while it’s important to set up your new computer and get your shiny new ID badge, also be sure to carefully review the terms around your future separation. The time to revise and negotiate these terms is now, with the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney. Navigating these provisions at the outset of your employment will save you the stress of trying to figure out what your rights and obligations are after your farewell happy hour.  

So, whether you’re embarking on a new adventure, or contemplating making one of your ten job switches, our employment law team at Milgrom & Daskam is ready to help.




Lindsey is a litigation partner and mom to her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Lindsey is proud to work at Milgrom & Daskam, where being a parent and an attorney is celebrated and encouraged. Milgrom & Daskam works to support its working parents by fostering dialogue and understanding.

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