My job is changing. Over two years ago, I was hired as an Accounting Clerk, and now, with a sudden shrinking of staff in my company, it seems like my job description has expanded to include administration and customer service. For the same price, my workload has increased. I am also expected to learn new software accounting software, as well as other relevant office technology.
It seems like my skill set has become outdated and I need to learn new ones and upgrade my competencies as quickly as possible, to keep my job and keep up. I am stretched thinner more than ever in my workplace. Thank goodness that I have a supportive and collaborative manager and team.
Why is this rapid change happening? Is it a bad sign? Is it a good sign?
Signed: My new job (MNJ)
You are not alone in this situation. According to Liza Mundy, in her article “How To Be Employable in 10 Years”, these are questions that many workers are asking, because they are experiencing this upheaval in their jobs. She attributes this stressful situation to our very competitive economic climate and with the rapidly changing technological development: “people in many fields arrive at work in the morning wondering what life-altering upheaval—industry contraction, bad jobs numbers, decision to outsource, changes in economy/industry/top management—might have occurred overnight”, suggests Mundy. The question is how to prepare yourself to meet these challenges in your current job and workplace.
In contrast, Jacquelyn Smith, in her article What To Do When They Radically Change Your Job, explains that if an employee is given less responsibilities, it’s time for them to begin worrying about their job. The employer could be trying to get the employee to leave, or they could be “testing you for bigger things”. Smith goes one step further by saying that companies are not static; they need to constantly be involved in new initiatives to bring in more customers. Perhaps your company is growing and they want their workers to grow with them, by giving them more responsibilities and sending them for professional development and training.
Whatever the case may be, warns Smith, do not complain; maintain a positive attitude and talk to your supervisor to find out what’s going on.
She recommends the following five strategies to do when your job changes:
- Talk to your supervisor and be as direct as possible. Find out how you can help to continue to add value to the company. Find out if the change is based on your performance or a change in the organization’s strategies. Always be cordial and professional.
- Use the opportunity to learn and improve. Think about this change as a positive experience. If the change is performance-based, then this is a perfect time to improve on your deficiencies and learn more new skills. This is your chance to help the company grow, and build your resume, so to continue your efforts to remain marketable and competitive in your company and in the working world.
- Ask your supervisor for rewards other than a new title or money. With additional responsibilities without promotion or raise, ask your supervisor for perks (for example: a lieu day, a day off paid, longer lunch hours or the ability to work from home once a week). Brooks advises to keep track of your additional working hours, and when the time is right, talk to your supervisor about fair compensation or perks.
- Talk to your co-workers whom you trust. Brainstorm with your colleagues, to think through the experience and make plans for success. Continue to cultivate your team as your support group. You are all going through the same process, and you might find it helpful to speak to other people in your situation.
- Get the necessary training. It is important that you learn the skills to help you succeed with your new responsibilities. Jacquelyn Smith cautions that if the employer doesn’t give you the training and the job role is changing, they could unfairly set you up to fail. If that training is not available from your organization, then get it on your own. Consult with your supervisor first. Find out if the classes or courses that you are interested in taking will help you with your job. Learning the new technical skills for the new position will only help the company and therefore your supervisor.
If the job change has any negative impacts on you (your mental, physical,or emotional health, because of the stress), then you might consider looking for another job. Just make sure not to burn your bridges on your way out.