I have coached many clients and people (myself included) on how to deal with being forced to resign or being pushed out of a job that they really liked or even loved.
Most of us have had this happen. If you have never experienced this type of treatment in your career you are blessed. If you know anyone that has, please forward this message on to them.
I have been coaching people for 13 years and I have been working for the past 25 years. I have seen a lot of abuse, mismanagement, harassment and unbelievably disturbing and bizarre behavior in my corporate career and in my client’s careers.
I am writing this blog entry today because I just finished writing to a client and coaching her on how to deal with this issue. So hopefully this will help you or someone you know. Most of us are shocked when this happens to us. It comes out of nowhere. One day we are on top of the world, everybody loves us at work, we can do no wrong, then, in 24 hours, our manager, the executives, and co-workers CHANGE THEIR MINDS AND BEHAVIOR towards us and we become the enemy, the pariah and the outcast. We then feel threatened, confused, shocked and dismayed. The battle begins to keep our job and our wits about us.
Most of us know why this happens IF we take 10 minutes to think back on the actual date and time that memorable “event, conversation, or thing” occurred or took place that affected our fate at work.
We can usually trace it back to something we didn’t go along with, or something we challenged the boss on, etc. On that day we sealed our fate. We became the enemy. Unfortunately, for most of us that are ethical and don’t play games and just work hard for a paycheck so we can take care of ourselves and our families and hopefully derive some sort of satisfaction out of our jobs, have been putting up with or going along with some type of unprofessionalism for a long time before the day we just decide to say STOP. I am not going to have you push me anymore or go along with the unethical or bad behavior anymore.
That is when we became the TARGET! I know if you are reading this blog you know what I mean or have dealt with a similar situation or know someone that has. In 2007 I had 4 clients with cancer, one on medical stress leave, and one that had a nervous breakdown and all because of things that happened in their careers.
And believe me, these are professional upstanding corporate citizens that didn’t do anything wrong. They did their jobs and they were ethical and professional.
How do you deal with this? Like most of us. The manager works hard at removing you from the situation and you work hard at getting what you need from the management and the company to transition you out of the situation.
So first you need to know that there is nothing you can do about changing their minds about keeping you in the current role. So accept and move on to your action plan of TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF. No matter how hard it is during this time it is SO IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOUR PROFESSIONALISM INTACT and your sense of humor.
I want you to work with management to get you the best package you deserve. This will have to be done privately and confidentially with management and your key confidante within the organization.
Don’t involve Human Resources because they have to support the company that is their job. So they have to be neutral.
People say to me all the time, there is no way I can ask for all of this or there is no way they will even listen to me or help me transition out. This is NOT TRUE. They have guilt (well some people do) and they usually will help you transition quickly.
You are right sometimes, they might not be able to help you but you can always ask. First I ask my clients, find someone in the organization that you really trust. Go to this person first and confide in them. Ask them to help you get what you need to transition out of this job. Tell them your personal situation. Let them know you need financial help and time to get another job, that you need medical benefits. Yes you need to humble yourself. It’s ok. This is not about begging this is about taking care of your family and having to make business decisions that will help you do this. So if you have to tell people more personal information that you have in the past, well that’s ok.
Taking care of yourself and your family is the most important thing you have. You can ALWAYS get another job.
So I have documented a general statement or demand letter that I have been using for the last 15 years. Please try and get what you need, if you ever have to endure this type of situation. Don’t be afraid. You have NOTHING to LOSE. All you have to do is ask.
“I wanted to discuss my employment with you. I have been thinking a lot about what happened regarding my employment this past month…. When I was told that I needed to resign or get another job two weeks ago… I was completely taken back and a little shocked. However, because I am a professional and was told not to tell anyone which by the way has put me in an uncomfortable position throughout these last couple of weeks, I realized that I didn’t communicate what I needed because I was in shock. I need help through this transition so me and my family are not heavily impacted.
As a professional and a person with a lot of integrity, I would like to ask you for a couple of things as I go through this transition (that was completely unexpected). As you know I have loved my work and been extremely successful in my role. We both know that we are dedicated to making this a smooth transition for both parties involved. Since I was not ready to make this transition financially and I have a family to support (or maybe you are single and have a mortgage), I would like you to consider the following:
I would like to remain in my position until I find other employment. Let’s revisit this every two months. As you know I am looking for a new job in one of the worst job markets in the history of our economy. I also need medical benefits for me and my family. Based on my research and I am sure you know that it takes approximately 3 months to get a job in a perfect economy. It might take me longer than the amount of time you are giving me to get another job. I don’t want to feel more pressure especially because of a decision that was made on my behalf and for no apparent reason.
As I stated, I am a professional and have kept my word and haven’t told anyone the reason why I am leaving, however, this puts me in a very awkward position with new hiring managers because basically I am being asked to lie about why I left. I do not like to be put in this position.
So once again, I will go along with your request (just until you get out of the company and then you can tell all of your co-workers the truth) but I need to request some things from you. 1) I need a severance package. 2) I need benefits until the end of 2011. 3) I need all my vacation paid out. 4) I need to stay employed until I find a job and I am willing to work at my home office. 4) I will need additional compensation to hire a career coach or work with a career transition services company that can help me through this transition. (this is assuming they don’t offer this to you and don’t forget to put a dollar amount on the career coaching).
Good luck and don’t forget to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your feedback on this blog post.
CEO, dear jane Inc.