No Direct Reports Anymore–Should I Move On?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about next career move:

My former boss just left the company which opened a position to manage an IT service program. I now report to a former peer and have had all my direct reports moved from under me to my new boss/former peer. I think the writing is on the wall for me in this job. I have applied for other jobs within my company but not ones I really want. Should I just start looking outside my current company?

Signed, Feeling Left Out

DearĀ Feeling Left Out:

Let me share some thoughts about a situation such as yours and see if it can be helpful for your decisions.

1. There are some who would counsel you to move on and feel confident there is something better for you “out there”. Unfortunately, as you know, that “out there” wonderful job can take a long time to find.So, before you decide you have no option but to leave, why not let this situation keep going a bit, to find out what your real situation might be? At least while you’re waiting you’ll have a pay check, benefits and a workplace with which you’re familiar.It may also be that if you leave you forfeit any offer that is routinely made to those who are “released” from employment as part of organizational changes.

You might also miss out on unemployment payments you could get. Those are usually available if you were let go due to your position being phased out, rather than you quitting.If you are fairly certain you could find a job paying the same or more elsewhere, and travel and all of that would be about the same, that would be different. But I expect if you knew that for sure, you’d have left the current place already.

2. The real challenge is for you to figure out what is going on at work, so you can either leave or stay feeling that you know if there are things that could have prevented what has happened or if there are ways you can improve things in the future.It sounds as though when your boss left, the company saw it as a time to make some changes. That may have played a role in why your boss left. If you were seen as being part of his group, you may be seen as not part of the new group just because of that.There is also the chance–and I’m not assuming this is true–that you were viewed as problematic for some reason, and now that your boss is gone, the company has decided to remove you from your former role. They may have wanted to do that previously, but your boss was resistant to the idea.If that’s the case, you will need to take long look at your previous behavior and/or performance to decide if you need to make corrections. You still may not be able to stay in your current work in a position you want, but it will help you in your future work.That may not be the situation at all, but I’d feel I wasn’t being helpful if I didn’t mention it. We hear of so many problem situations where people say, “Why don’t they remove my boss and give us a better one?”, that it would be foolish to think that everyone who has a work change is being wronged.On the other hand, it could be that this is just one of those organizational shuffles that happens, no matter how good the work is being done.

3. It would seem that you would really benefit from talking to someone there about the future of your position and of you personally. Your former peer may not know either–or may not feel he or she could talk to you honestly. So, perhaps there is someone a level higher you could talk to. Let the person you now report to know what you are doing, so it’s all out in the open.You may find out something that would help you decide whether you can hang on and wait for other changes, or if you should leave.

4. This would probably be a good time, no matter what you decide, to talk to HR to find out about exit packages that might be available if you are asked to leave. Or, you might get information that could help you decide about the timing on your decision, based on payouts.I hope these thoughts will give you more to consider. There is always the temptation to leave when it seems obvious that your status and influence has changed for the worse. But, if the work situation isn’t horrendous, you will probably find it useful to stay as long as possible or until the time is best for you to leave.Best wishes to you. If you have the time and wish to do so,let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe