Dealing with Change in the Workplace
There’s no doubt some will argue with this assertion, but
all the same: There are some circumstances that can make a layoff feel like a
positive experience by comparison.
Most likely, those who agree are those who have experienced
some of the following situations:
- “Pending” layoffs that remain pending for weeks,
or even months. This includes mysterious “cutbacks” that may or may not be
affecting your department. You’ll find out in two weeks. Or maybe a month. Or
maybe this afternoon.
- The arrival of a new boss approximately every
six months, complete with new expectations regarding your performance, your
sales data, or your personality.
- The unsettling disappearance of things that once
arrived on a regular schedule, like bonuses, holiday parties, new contracts, or
eye contact from higher-ups.
One of the uncomfortable truths
about office life is that our work holds great control over our destiny, but
there are some things about the nature and stability of our positions that we
will never fully know.
If you don’t know what you don’t
know, your life can be quite pleasant. If you know what you don’t know, you can
begin searching for work elsewhere and make a clean, confident break. But
there’s a narrow grey area between the two that can generate almost intolerable
anxiety. That’s the place where you know what you don’t know, but you don’t
know quite enough to do anything about it. When you’re standing in this grey
area, every move you might potentially make, including standing still, can seem
too risky to contemplate. You’ll survive, of course. But meanwhile, it’s no
Here are few tips to help you
prepare for that not-quite-rainy but not-exactly-sunny day:
- Save your money. It’s always a good idea to have
at least two week’s worth of living expenses in the bank if you can afford it.
And if you’re currently working, you can afford it.
- Be alert to signs of change. If your projects
are drying up, if your boss is avoiding you, or if you haven’t been asked for
help or input lately, you may need to start thinking about your future beyond
- Evaluate your skills. What can you do? What have
you learned from this position so far? How might these skills help you when
it’s time to make a move?