As much as I suggested not asking yourself that question I believe that in all cases it boils down to one simple thing: An imbalance in the relationship between you and your employer.
Think about it. When you were hired, you were given:
1> Objectives: Profits, sales, delivery of products, creation, shareholder value, customer facing milestones, etc.
2> Conditions in which to do the job: Office, infrastructure, authority, data base of clients, etc.
3> Tools to meet these objectives: Staff, software, peers, processes, policies, budgets, guidelines.
It does not matter what kind of job you have – you need these 3 elements to get any job done, assuming you had the right skills when you were hired.
Well …this all goes well for some time and then things start to change.
– Customers start choosing other products/services.
– Competition becomes fiercer.
– Unrealistic objectives that have consistently not been reached on a monthly /quarterly basis.
– The struggling economy had its effect on your employer’s cash flow. Cash flow is the lifeblood in the veins of a company. Cash flow problems if not managed, can kill a company overnight.
– The staff quit or became more demanding or indifferent, unmotivated or worse you could not lead them.
– You were not meeting your objectives or at least it appeared that you were not.
– Management change either at the head of the organization or your boss.
The combination of any one of these factors can put the company or your employer in “survival mode”. The first thing companies do in survival mode is cutting back: Budgets, staff, training, expansion, sales and marketing activities.
If the leader of your company did not plan or see this coming the ensuing effect is chaos followed by more cuts/changes.
This is where you come in – you were the result of these cuts. The imbalance.
There is no point og going over it in your mind since the decision to fire you was final and you need to move on. When everything was going well i.e. you performed and your employer performed; balance existed. When performance was affected this created an imbalance – nothing personal (really).
I am big believer that when you are in a Win-Win environment it can be a lot of fun. When things start to sour however this is what you must do:
1) Be a part of the solution, not the problem. Don’t wait to take that initiative – do it now. Find solutions to real problems.
2) Raise your profile by assuming more tasks and responsibilities.
3) Communicate to your staff that a “storm is coming and that we need to pull together”.
4) Keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Be flexible.
If you fail at any of these 4 initiatives you will simply be overseen by your employer. There is an expression that says: ” When the ship is sinking, the first thing to be thrown overboard is useless cargo”.
I also believe that at all times, you should treat the relationship with your employer like a client /supplier contract.
Let me explain. You, the supplier offer services (skills, competence, actions and deliverables) and your client (employer) pays you for these services. You do your best to keep your customer happy and he pays you (salary, bonus, perks, car, laptop, etc) for a job well done.
The problems start when there is an imbalance which leads to one party “taking the other for granted”.
“Well if I show up for work and I keep my head down, the boss won’t notice it”.
The employer says ” OK we’re going to have to cut jobs. Instead of paying dismissal packages ( cash) we’ll just tell employees that they are on a list of redundant employees; we’ll give them 6-8 weeks’ notice and indicate to them that they would be wise to start looking for another job” (this is a real example by the way of what I heard lately as a new tactic by an employer).
If you treat your relationship like a client /supplier relationship at all times you will do your best to keep that relationship positive and… balanced. On the flip side when you feel that the relationship is deteriorating (worsening) and the client no longer appreciates your services … then it’s time to move on. This is not different than other client/supplier relationship you face daily: Choice of supermarkets when you buy food, your lawyer, accountant, your car, mobile phone service, and your bank and so on.
It may sound like I am taking the employer’s side – not true. I have done both; worked as an employee and supplier (consultant or CEO Coach). I manage the expectations of my client /supplier relationships a lot better now since I realize that every relationship has a beginning and an end!
With that in mind I strive to keep my customers (employer) happy. When he changes or changes the rules or the environment then I remember: “OK…I have to adapt or move on”.
Try looking at your relationship in this way starting tomorrow!
This will give you a better perspective on how you look at your employer and it will give you the extra level of power in your current relationship since now, YOU control where this goes.
Regardless of who you work for, how long it’s been and how much of a “good ride” it’s been for you, an imbalance will occur whether you like it or not.
Are you going to be ready when this happens?