I have been working in a customer service team for five years. Suddenly, my salary was frozen and my workload increased. When I complained to my boss about this unfair delegation of responsibilities, she started documenting our weekly meetings, and was on the phone with Human Resources several times a day, refusing to let me know what is going on.
I think my employer is trying to get rid of me. Please can you give me the truth as to what is really going on?
I recommend highly you read Cynthia Shapiro’s Corporate Confidential for some interesting insights into how companies sometimes operate. The author suggests that one of the preferred ways for employers to terminate an employee is to “manage an employee out – make an employee’s life so difficult at the workplace that he or she leaves on her own”. Other strategies are laying off, restructuring, re-organizing, reduction in force, downsizing, re-engineering and re-sizing. Shapiro reports that the no matter what reason your employer gave you for the layoff, the “real reason is most likely they lost interest in you”.
She points out the danger signs for layoffs or that you might be in the process of being managed out:
- You are feeling ignored, overworked, underpaid or set up to for failure by being given impossible tasks with unrealistic deadlines
- Your supervisor doesn’t like you or pay attention to you the way he or she does to others, or you have a bad relationship with or the person who usually decides your future at the organization
- Your desk or office has been moved to an undesirable location, or you are given work that no one wants
- Your boss surprises you with a scathing performance review
- The company hires someone to ‘help’ you with your work and you end up training that person in tasks that are part of your position
- Your company keeps moving you from department to department, so you never have a chance to complete any projects
- Your project has been cancelled and your primary customer has gone elsewhere
- You have had a large medical or disability leave within the last year, have filed a workers’ compensation claim, or lodged any kind of complaint or union grievance against your boss or company
- You are highly compensated compared to others
- You have been openly negative about the company’s policies or positions
Remember, warns Shapiro, no one will tell you when your job is in jeopardy. In fact, she adds, employees are often quietly managed out or placed on the next layoff list without explanation. She suggests that — because of the fear of being sued — companies would rather lie or replace an employee rather than sit them down and provide them with constructive feedback as to what is going wrong.
If you identify with any of these danger signs above, Shapiro advises that your best protection against this is to try to understand the company’s true agenda. Have a look at your job and responsibilities through your employer’s eyes and figure out your company’s real motivations. Notice who is promoted, who is rewarded and recognized, and examine the company’s workplace culture.
Sometimes, you can act to prevent the issue and other times you might realize that it’s too late. In that case, it might be time to look for another job!
Best of luck with your career,