Compiled By Michael A. Verespej With the downturn in the economy, Richard Bayer, economist and chief operating officer of New York-based career-counseling organization the Five O'Clock Club, suggests that laid-off managers negotiate judiciously to give themselves the best opportunity to land on their feet. He says managers should negotiate for one year of career counseling rather than office space they can use to find a job. Why? Most people, he says, underestimate the amount of time it will take to find a comparable job. What's more, turn down the offer of a cash settlement if it's offered in lieu of outplacement help. "A cash settlement may sound good," but you are likely to skimp and end up unemployed or take a lesser position than you would have landed if you had received all the help you need, Bayer notes. He also says it's imperative that laid-off managers push to continue their medical benefits. "It costs a company very little to carry employees on its medical plan," says Bayer. "But if you try to duplicate that coverage on your own, it would cost you a lot."