- Ross Pomerantz is a startup consultant and content creator who operates as Corporate Bro.
- He says job seekers must have “professional marriage contracts” before signing with new employers.
- These are essentially contractual agreements on possible severance pay in the event of dismissal.
Nobody wants to talk about divorce in the middle of a budding romance — and that’s the same about job interviews. When you are courted by a potential employer, the idea that the organization might one day fire you is practically a sacrilege.
But as the last few months have shownjob cuts can be a sad reality of work. And not understanding the resources you’ll have if this happens to you is a big mistake, said Ross Pomerantz, a startup consultant and content creator who trades as Company Brother. He has more than 188,000 followers on TikTok.
“When you’re in love, you don’t like to think about the end, but it’s pragmatic and practical to do so,” he told Insider.
Pomerantz, who holds an MBA from Stanford, said job seekers should try to get a “professional marriage contract” – that is, a contractual understanding of what their possible severance pay could look like if the company were making layoffs – before starting work.
Insider told Pomerantz why he thinks these prenups are necessary and how to approach them with a potential employer.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
The idea of a “professional prenup” seems rather…unusual. Have you seen them a lot?
It is not unknown. This is standard practice in C-suite jobs and any high-level appointment: employment contracts at this level contain what I consider to be a “price to break the lease” – almost like a deal buyout . Details vary, but often involve stock options, cash, and perks.
But as in many things, there is a classic demarcation between top and bottom. More regular jobs don’t get that kind of treatment.
So if you are looking for a “more regular work“, how exactly would you tell a potential employer about it?
I recommend saying, “I don’t expect to be fired for performance reasons, but given everything that’s going on in the economy, what kind of resources does this company offer if it finds itself in the unfortunate position of having to let people go?”
Is it a bit risky to ask the question?
Hiring managers told me it would be a red flag if anyone asked. But to me, it shows you’re a strategic thinker and someone who understands that not everything lasts forever.
People need to normalize this conversation. It’s like pay transparency. The more people who ask about this, the more companies will be willing to answer the question.
At what point in the interview process do you approach it – and who do you ask?
Companies have more power now than they did recently, but you have to remember that when you’re interviewing for a job, you also have to interview the company. Do your due diligence on the health of the business, its strategic direction, and whether there are systems in place should this business experience an unforeseen downturn.
In a large company, you might assign it to someone in talent acquisition or HR. It’s actually an easier conversation to have with small businesses. In a small company of 20 people, chances are you’ll be interviewing senior executives.
And if it’s too late – you didn’t have a prenup and the company breaks up with you, so to speak. Can you negotiate your severance package?
In many cases, you cannot. It’s, “This is what we do and we do the same for everyone.”
It’s a shame because a lot of people are currently falling victim to a consultant’s spreadsheet. They are capable, good performers, but they are victims of the situation.
So there’s no more hope?
The basic truth is this: you don’t get what you don’t ask for.
You have nothing to lose by asking for more. It all depends on your tone. Don’t be angry – this is not a turnaround situation. I suggest saying, “I’ve been here for X years, I’ve put my heart and soul into this place. I know you didn’t want to get rid of me. But this parting deal feels like a slap in the face. .”
What’s the worst thing they could say? “You are fired.” Too late.
What’s on the table?
A lot of things: medical benefits and severance pay versus your base salary come to mind. But there’s also business gear and home gear — maybe you could keep it. If you have stock options, the company could also extend and accelerate your vesting schedule.
My advice would be to send this email to the person in the company that you have the best relationship with. I hope they will give it to you directly. But if you’re not satisfied with the answer, ask someone else.