Told In Group Meeting That I’m Losing My Job!

Question:

On the 13th of September my team and I received an urgent email that we were to meet with the Department Manager at 3pm. When we got to the location, the HR Manager was present. We were told why we were called in to this meeting and in front of everyone I heard that that my job had been deleted but 6 more positions paying lower than my job and 1 higher were available. We all had to apply. I was speechless. Was that the right way to go about it?

Signed,

Shocked


Answer:

Dear Shocked:

It seems impossible to believe that anyone of any judgment, sensitivity or reasoning would have handled the situation as your HR Manager and Department Manager did! The entire situation seems ludicrous and I’m very sorry you had to go through it in that way. Your question implies that you are wondering what to do now, as far as complaining about how you were told the bad news and about the options you were given. Several things may have an affect on that.

Is this a typical action by your department director and the HR manager or is this very unlike them? Do you think the department director was as shocked as you were? Do you think there was such a work crisis that things were done that would never have been done otherwise?

Those are question for you to consider as you think about how you will react to those two managers in the future and what you want to do now.

The nature and size of your organization will also have an affect on what you do. In most larger organizations those in higher level positions would want to know about a serious blunder of this nature. However, it may be in your organization there is no such person. It may also be that even if the way it was handled is criticized, the reality of your position loss will still be the same and nothing will be done about what happened.

I do think this ought to be brought to the attention of someone who could direct the HR manager to use a different method in the future and I hope there is someone there you could go to for that type of direction.

I would imagine, since some time has elapsed, that you have already discussed this with your manager. If not, I think you should do so. Ask what the thought process was behind using that approach. Express how you felt, emphasizing that you felt betrayed and hurt. See if you can at least get some acknowledgement that it was handled wrongly. It could be that having that in the open will gain some support from your manager that you might not have had otherwise. (Never overlook the value of sympathy or at least empathy!) You may want to write a letter about it to your manager, HR or someone else, expressing a desire to keep this from happening to someone else in the future. The letter could go to the level with which you feel most comfortable having it read. Again, your organization and its culture would determine a lot of that.

I’m wondering what you are doing now about your future there. It may be difficult for you to feel the same level of loyalty you once felt. There may be a temptation to talk about this to many others, sharing your unhappiness. I’m sure you can see that problems that might cause.

Instead, if you are going to stay, use this as a time to reinforce how very, very important it is to use simple decency and a good heart with everyone we encounter at work. We can so easily trample on feelings and lives just to save a few minutes or to make things easier for ourselves. Or, because we are so self-centered we really don’t even care about how others feel.

Perhaps you can provide leadership for the others who may have been as shell-shocked as you were. You may be able to offer support and comfort that others could not because of your own situation.

Or, you may feel that you need to just hold on and be happy if you can keep SOME job. If you do that, see if you can make this a new beginning in the same place. Remind yourself that at least you still have a job. Then, set as a task that you are going to help the workplace be a better place for everyone.

It could be that your manager and the HR manager already regret how they handled the situation. Give them a chance to overcome that bad memory. If they don’t seem to care and this may be repeated, I think you should evaluate the managerial structure and decide if there is someone, at some level, who would want to know about this and would care. Then, write a letter and ask to be contacted about it.

Best wishes to you through this. If you have the time, let us know what actions you take. Your responses may help others.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.