Q: Due to corporate changes, I just found out that someone else is going to be replacing me in my job.
I’m very disappointed, and to make it more difficult, I will be staying on for several weeks while she gets up to speed. In fact, there may be a position available reporting to her.
I want to handle this well; what should I do?
Henry, 46, senior director of analysis
A: There’s no denying that this stings at a lot, so make every effort to keep your cool.
At the same time, you won’t do yourself any favors if you deny your feelings. So take the time to be angry, disappointed, worried, or upset.
Find a friend you can sound off to, just don’t let yourself wallow in these feelings.
Then turn to how you want to behave, figuring out what “handling this well” means to you.
Assuming this means maintaining a high level of professionalism, make a list of the day-to-day behaviors to exhibit.
For example, in helping her learn about her new role, be ready to explain past decisions, actions and plans.
Share some of the nuances, including unwritten rules and interpersonal dynamics if she asks. At the same time, avoid defensiveness, recognizing that she was hired because she has new ideas so she may not be overly interested in some of the ways you currently do things.
Be careful around corporate vultures — those who sense pain and want to hear the gory details.
Even though you know better, it can be easy to accidentally slip into a gripe session where you say too much. These people do not have your interest at heart, and your words could go quickly to the wrong ears.
Regarding next steps, use this time to figure out what you would like to do.
First off, do you want to stay with your company?
If your job loss reflects lack of alignment with the new vision, consider whether it’s the right place for you.
Also assess honestly whether the hiring decision is a message to you that you are not considered a desired team member. This may be painful, but it’s an important point to weigh.
Do a reality check about taking a changed role on your current team.
If you know your successor, think about how well your personalities mesh. Think carefully, too, about whether you would be able to transition to not being the boss.
Consider perceptions: if people would be able to break the habit of coming to you and if your new boss would perceive you as a threat.
Assess the positive aspects, as well.
If there’s a need for the skills you’re strongest in (and which were no longer what was needed in the leadership role), you may really enjoy being about to focus your work there.
Open your view to other possibilities — different teams and different companies.
Start actively getting the word out. If you’ve been an attentive networker, this will be easier.
Either way, start letting people know you are in the market, being proactive and positive.
Treat this like an opportunity and not a disaster, and you will be much more likely to come quickly to a positive outcome.
What challenges do you face at work? Send your questions to Liz Reyer, leadership coach and president of Reyer Coaching & Consulting in Eagan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.