How to keep your job when the threat of losing it is real

At some point in your career you are likely to experience a major change taking place in an organisation you work for that may impact the security of your job. With so much uncertainty, you still have choices. What you say and do, now until a decision is made will define who you are.

Organisation change agendas most likely focus on ways to improve performance by identifying inefficiencies in process systems and duplication of functions in an effort to reduce or contain costs.

You may walk into work one day to be told certain jobs or number of jobs need to be made redundant or that change is to occur in one major area of the business with high volume of retrenchments. The announcement will emphasise the need for change and if the organisation doesn’t do something about reducing risks things are likely to get worse.

Such announcements are incredibly hard to make from an organisations perspective and it’s very unlikely that the organisation has made such a decision without considering the magnitude of the impact this will have on employees.  A process of consultation with staff and unions would no doubt be taking place, but the organisation has been very clear on the aspects of the proposed changes, such as cost savings, that are not negotiable. In other words, unless there is another way to save money, jobs will have to go.

This is an industry wide reality, change is the norm and in most cases likely to become YOUR reality.

Your initial reaction to this announcement will likely be shock accompanied with multitude of feelings and emotions. You may be in denial for a period of time, not quite accepting the announcement and from time to time you might be angry with the organisation for doing this to you and at the very worst you might experience feelings of depression.  This is all incredibly normal.  Thankfully there are support systems your organisation would have made available to you during this difficult period to help you cope with the potential circumstances and I hope you speak openly with your family to gain that personal support outside of work which is so vital.

It’s hard to stay positive during such change, but the security of your job depends on it. In most cases, the organisation is still working through the numbers and a final decision on which jobs and how many need to go through a proper consultation process.

“With so much uncertainty, you still have choices. What you say and do, now until a decision is made will define who you are”.  Don’t crumble under the pressure and follow these golden tips:

  1. Golden rule – continue working and contributing positively. No corridor conversations or bad mouthing the employer. You can’t change what has happened, but you can influence what can happen. An employer is more likely to retrench non-performers then high performers who are loyal. Also don’t take the decision to cut jobs personally.  This is a business decision.
  2. Positively seek information about the change to better understand why it’s happening. The more you understand why it’s happening and how, you’ll be able to more rationally think about your involvement and what choices you need to make. You never know, there may be an opportunity where you can get involved and assist the change team with aspects of the reform.  This will reflect positively on future decisions.
  3. Use this time to gain new skills. Find a mentor who can help in this area.  Most are generous with their time and welcome the opportunity to share their wisdom.
  4. Get in early and start updating your resume and connecting with recruitment agencies and applying for new jobs in the event you lose your job. The greatest boost to your confidence is getting the call that may change your life for the better. Don’t be afraid of trying something new.  You may need to consider less paying roles in different industries but the upside is that you are learning new skills and if successful have a salary to help with mortgage repayments and other financial commitments.  A change is as good as a holiday and something good will come up.
  5. Finally, as much as we think the organisation owes us, be prepared for change in any organisation you move to because you are likely to experience this again.  But this time you are better prepared and will be one step ahead of the game.


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