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Tired of Change at Work

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Dear Camille,
I am so sick of having to move from company to company. Every time I get settled in, there is a new manager, a new owner or another layoff.  What can I do about this?
-Tired of being Resilient in Oceanside

Dear Tired,
Whoa, I too am becoming weary just thinking of all those changes you are going through.  Wouldn't it be great to have the proverbial magic want and just wave it wildly to create your perfect situation?

Well, it ain't gonna happen.  I am here to tell you that change is here to stay and companies just don't offer us the security they did back in the time of  that 50's/60's TV show Leave it to Beaver. 

Your answer?  Get rolling on a plan and no matter what happens, look for the WIIFM (what's in it for me?) every time you are faced with another change.  Take my word for it...it beats being passive plus you end up in a much better place in the long marathon called the world of work.

 

 My husband has been with his company for 4 years.  They are not doing so well in the current economy. He was up for promotion this year but is feeling lucky to have avoided downsizing (so far).  What are your recommendations for trying to get that promotion during these tight times? 

 

Hmmm...this is a tough one...what is that saying?  "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush."  Your husband can start by looking at the bigger picture...say three years from now.  What role and salary does he aspire to at that time?  Now, what does he need to be doing today to reach those three year goals?  Sometimes it takes sitting tight during down times to leap forward in robust times. 

 

While times are slower...your husband works on his daily personal work related goals. Daily. Here are a few ideas...

·        invite a coworker to meet for lunch;

·         make three phone calls to colleagues he has been out of touch with;

·        complete an online course in an area relevant to overall goals;

·         read an industry-related article;

·         research upcoming association meetings and business networking events;

In other words, work on "Me-Inc."-  his own brand and career goals.

Next, I recommend your husband create a 3, 6 or 9 point business case showing how he is adding value, saving money, working smarter, etc. Schedule a meeting and present this case to his boss. 

Just because things are slow, that doesn't mean that companies are cutting back to the bare bone.  They realize that when the economy picks up, there will be a shortage of qualified, experienced industry-savvy professionals.  It is far more cost effective to continue to build their current employees than gamble on new ones. He needs to arrange for a meeting and present his thoughts to the boss.

The thoughts need to be delivered in a "sandwich" form...

First...the bread".  Say something positive...I really enjoy being a key member of your team.  Looking at the big picture, we are staying afloat industry-wide and are going to be prepared when the current trend turns.  On a personal professional level, I have a few thoughts I would like to run by you...

Here is where he puts in the "meat"... those points:

                On the Shaffer project, we cut the man power by 40% and moved those team members over to other more research intensive projects.  We still finished ahead of time.

At the end of these points, your hand asks for the raise/promotion.

End with the other piece of "bread".  Thanks for making time to talk - Its important for me to keep you up to date with where I am.  Your leadership style makes me comfortable to keep it all out in the open.   I know you need time to think this over and I look forward to revisiting our conversation.   

You don't ask, you don't get.  Period. End of subject. Case closed. Be your own best avdvocate. Good luck!

 

Dear Camille,

I have a real dilemma at my part time job - a market research company.  I used to make about half my income there, but things have really slowed down.  I just happened to go into the office last week and there was a focus group going on - the job I usually handled.  I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. My two work friends there were very upset. They didn't know whether to tell me or not and didn't know if I had been asked to work the focus group. I have tried emailing the boss, but he doesn't respond to me. What do you think I should do? I'm such a wimp but I'm afraid bugging him and calling him at this point will just make things worse.

Wimp in Walnut Creek

 

Dear Wimp,

I feel your pain.  You know it is over, but you aren't ready to let go. First, I recommend you try to disconnect emotionally from this part time job.  From all the drama. 

 

If the "project" work you have been doing is in a lull or even gone forever due to changing business needs, (or hiring the boss's neighbor friend in your place) find something else and appreciate the work you had with them.  You can't make them give you work...they owe you nothing, so no need to take it personally. 

 

Use the experience and move to a new pasture.  Give the boss a phone call tomorrow and if he is not here, leave a pleasant message and call again in 2-3 days.  Let it go...sounds like it's over.

 

 

 

 

Dear Camille,

I have that dilemna we all love to hate - I  have been through the whole interview process. I even nailed an offer and just negotiated better terms. What can I do to  make sure this is the RIGHT opportunity for me before I accept it?

Carlsbad Pro Sitting on the Fence

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Sitting on the Fence,

WOW! Congratulations! Double Congratulations!! Not only did you land the offer, but you successfully negotiated.  First give yourself credit for that - it means you are doing lots of things right. 

 

It's pretty hard to answer your question with so little information.  Here's what I mean...If you are looking for a marketing management role and the offer is for an individual contributer role in a research department, there is not much in it for you.  But if you like the position and think it will take you closer toward your goals rather than head you in the opposite direction...that's a good sign.

 

Next, will you be doing things that you really like to do? Does the company culture seem to fit?  What about the boss?  Does the offer meet your personal values that come into play at work? (For example, if you  have kids and the job requires 100% travel - this will take away from family time - is it worth it?)

 

Also think about how much time you have to cultivate other offers.  There is something making you ask this question.  If it were a great fit, offered compensation in the range it should be, offered interesting challenges, it seems like you would jump on it. 

 

Consider the biggest obstacle holding you back in the corner of your mind -  and ask yourself whether accepting the position short-term makes sense.  Can you accept it and keep looking? Do you need to generate immediate income that this will help?  Can it be part of a portfolio of several positions/types of work? 

 

Overall, tune into your gut feeling...I wager you already know the answer!

Camille