A few weeks ago during Bad Boss Week, many of you shared stories – and almost all of those stories ended with an employee leaving their job. Most of those stories had elements of discrimination or bias (age, gender, religion), or just plain inequity – and some of the readers suggested that the authors of these stories might have some legal recourse. Which causes me to ask the question:
How hard would you fight to keep the job you have?
I have been both the manager who has had to tell employees they no longer have a job, and the employee who was told they no longer have a job. I have also seen hundreds of colleagues in this situation. If you know what this is like, feel free to skip the next couple paragraphs, but for the benefit of readers who don’t know, this is how it goes:
You have a meeting (possibly via phone) with your boss on the appointed “notification day” and your boss says something like, “Your job is being eliminated and you have thirty days to find a job within the company or you will be separated,” or, “We need to cut half of the team, and your contribution was not as strong as others, so you have thirty days to find a job or you will be separated.” These are the two basic ways that corporations choose to ‘downsize’ – work elimination (first example), or staff reduction (second example).
Just so we are clear – most bosses take absolutely no pleasure in doing this. They hate the decision and they dread having to tell the employees. They use words like ‘resource action’, or ‘downsizing’, or ‘laid off’ to temper the impact, but let’s be honest – it really means ‘you’re fired’. They will tell you, “You didn’t do anything wrong,” and chances are (unless you are being fired for cause) that is true.
So now what do you do?
Most people put on a full court press to find that elusive ‘other job’ within the company they are at. They update their resume, contact every person they know, and apply for every open job. The lucky ones who find a job often settle for something they don’t really want to do, or that is below their qualification level.
But are they really the lucky ones?
Those who don’t find jobs immediately start the search for jobs outside the company. But finding a job in thirty days is highly unlikely, even in a good economy.
And then the day comes when you are being ‘separated’ from the company. Would you sign an agreement not to sue in exchange for a severance package? Or (if you think you have a valid argument) would you hire a lawyer and fight the decision?
In my experience, employees who make the decision to move on are more peaceful and happier with their lives than those who fight ‘at all costs’ to keep their job. That certainly was the case in the stories submitted on bad bosses.
What I do know for sure is that this is a very personal decision for every individual. There may be many factors that come into play – a family to support, the need for medical insurance, whether or not they get a severance package, or (sigh) the economy. Another key consideration for many is the time, money, and stress associated with a fight. Is the job really worth all that?
You tell me – what would you do?
Would you use your company’s internal escalation process to fight the decision? Would you stay in an organization where your skills aren’t valued? Would you take a job that’s a demotion or has a decrease in pay? How hard would you fight?