Rumours of retrenchment

Dear Shelagh,

I have been working at a wonderful company for little over a year now and although I am less experienced than the others in my position, I feel like I am a significant contributor and I bring a lot to the table.

The problem is not that I feel like anyone disagrees, rather that, in the light of probable retrenchments on the horizon, I am at the bottom of a pretty great pile.

I don’t think I’m being overly sensitive when it comes to assessing my possible fate, but I don’t know where to go from here. Do I approach my bosses and ask them if I should be keeping my ear to the ground for a new job?

Do I secretly start looking for a new position without telling anyone in case they start to think I want to leave (I definitely don’t)?

 Reluctantly Retrenchable

 

Dear Reluctantly

That’s a horrible situation to be in, I agree. There’s little worse than giving your all to your job with the Sword of Damocles dangling over your head.

I think you should speak to your bosses. Tell them that you’ve heard rumblings about retrenchments and would like to know if you are likely to be affected. They may be reluctant to give you a direct answer, though, as retrenchment is not something that can be done on a whim; there is a series of steps that have to be taken and strict protocol to be followed. Counselling for staff members forms a part of that process.

If the indication is that the company is heading in that direction, tell them that you truly don’t want to leave, while reassuring them that you will continue to give them 100 percent for as long as you work there. Discuss with them your intention to start looking around, and request a good reference should the worst come to the worst. I’m sure your bosses will respect your honesty.

Regardless of their response, try to bear in mind that retrenching staff is a horrible thing to have to do; not only are they losing valued employees, but they are also facing the reality that business isn’t good. The retrench-or can quite easily become the next retrench-ee. I’ve been on both sides of that fence, and both positions are horrible.

I truly hope that the rumours are just rumours. Let me know!

Send your work related questions to dearshelagh@shelaghfoster.co.za.

 

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