Dear Orna: I was promoted to manager about a year ago and I thought I was doing a good job. But last week my boss scaled back my responsibilities and moved my employees to another group. Basically, I was DEMOTED! Should I just quit?
~ Signed: Demoted & Demoralized!
Dear DEMOTED & DEMORALIZED: What a shock! Getting demoted is probably better than getting fired . . . but it's absolutely humiliating! While your first reaction might be to quit, it may not be your best move. For one thing, quitting means the paychecks stop and that's pretty devastating to anyone who has car payments, school loans, a mortgage or wants to eat! And two, quitting doesn't accomplish anything other than put you in the unemployment line with thousands of others.
The first thing to manage is your bruised ego. Be careful not to burn any bridges. You need time to sort out your options and think clearly about whether to stay with your current employer or find another job. It's always good not to make a hasty decision. You don't have anything to lose by taking the time to see if the new job will work out or if you should move on.
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now!
As hard as it is, this is the time to be honest with yourself. Do you actually want this scaled back job? Is it really better suited for you? Could it actually be more satisfying and less stressful than the management position you held? If you like the company and your co-workers, it may be worth staying. Your honest discovery may surprise you.
But, if you believe that the demotion has permanently hurt your career prospects with your current employer, then it's time to quietly plan your departure. But for now, put on a good face, be positive and keep up a high standard of work. You may need a recommendation from this company in the future.
Regain Your Confidence & Dignity
First of all, remember that your peers are watching and whispering: "How is she going to respond?" Don't ruin your reputation with anger. Truth is, how you react will determine your future and will help you regain your dignity. You may not be the manager, but you can still demonstrate your willingness to be part of the team and your commitment to doing a good job. Immediately work to establish a record of strong performance in your new situation and rebuild your relationship with your manager, if needed.
Your positive attitude, willingness to be a team player and ability to do a good job will help you gain the respect of both management and your co-workers. You will regain your dignity and probably create new opportunity for your future.
Find out Why!!
This is your wake-up call. You need to find out WHY you got demoted and improve. Embrace it. The truth can't hurt you but your ego can!
Once you have your emotions under control, sit down with your boss and try to get a clear idea of what might have gone wrong. Tell him or her that you are interested in focusing on the problems and fixing them. Don't be defensive. Listen and take notes. Show your interest in improving and your boss will become your greatest supporter and your best cheerleader.
Whatever you do . . . keep your emotions in check and never, ever burn any bridges.