Parting Company Productively With Your Employer and Colleagues m20.jpg

You have just two hours to complete the week's business analysis, and you really need another eight. The last thing you need on a Friday afternoon is a surprise meeting with your boss, Jerry, who has a penchant for harping on petty or irrelevant details at all the wrong times. As you close his office door, Jerry's nervous, pale, and guilt ridden face tells you that this won't be receiving another of his famous "coaching and counseling" sessions. Your worries about the deadline evaporate, as Jerry announces that the company is downsizing and must "flatten" the middle management level and that unfortunately your position has been eliminated. You keep waiting for Jerry to yell: "just kidding...April Fools!" but find nothing except the blank stare of an automaton. He mumbles how sorry he is, how difficult this has been for him, that downsizing is just a part of corporate life and that you'll probably be better off in the long run. You feel a lump in your throat as a mixture of shock, fear, and anger course through your body

Totally stunned and speechless, you now face a professional moment of truth. You have a major "split second" choice to make, and can exit stage left in two ways: enjoy a brief moment of vindication by telling Jerry exactly what you think of him and the company, or deploy a positive leave-taking strategy that might well help you advance along your career path in ways you never imagined. While the latter is hard to fathom when you're in the thick of an unwanted departure, it's still the best way to ensure that your encounter with unemployment is as brief as possible and your professional reputation remains untarnished.

The Day of Reckoning

How will you handle sudden job loss when and if it happens? The key is "R and R": Restrain and Remember.

  • Restrain your emotions, and remember the difference between what you can and can't control.
  • You can't force your boss to rescind your termination, but you can hope to part company responsibly and in a manner that benefits all parties. Word about your termination and subsequent actions will travel quickly through the grapevine.
  • Why blemish your reputation as a professional and good corporate citizen for one brief moment of superficial gratification?

Your current actions will very likely determine how you're perceived in the business community for years to come.

  • You might run into a former colleague at another company or conduct business again with an old vendor.
  • If you choose to start your own business instead of getting another job, you might find yourself approaching your ex-employer about becoming your first client.
  • Many entrepreneurs find this a great way to launch their businesses.

Treat your impending severance as a "honeymoon in reverse."

  • When you were hired, you enthusiastically geared up to become part of the corporate culture, meet new people, and immerse yourself in burgeoning, exciting projects.
  • Now, as you leave your job, put the same tape in the machine, but play it backwards.
  • You have a limited time to disengage yourself from the people around you and from your work.
  • Your task is to gently shut one door after another as you distance yourself from the company and, finally, establish closure.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.

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