Welcome to Ask April, a no-nonsense advice column focusing on what it is you can do to correct things that need correcting. While we all know much in life is out of our control, and sometimes, our reaction is all we CAN control, we really do have a lot of personal power, thankfully. Our will is just as important as the wills of others around us, and while we need to be considerate, we also need to make sure others are equally considerate of us. It is my hope that when you write in to me, asking advice that I can help you make a good decision that somehow improves whatever situation you’ve found yourself in. As with anything I share, I recommend people don’t automatically take my word for anything, but include my advice in with the rest of the things that help them make a decision. I wish you well. Read on.
I don’t know what to do! They just laid off over half of the staff at my job and switched us all to a first shift that starts at 6 a.m. I have been second shift for over twenty years, and I do not want to change my whole lifestyle like this. Plus, there is financial stress, and, truthfully, I am worried the company is going to go under. It might have made me feel better if they had talked to everybody in advance so people who were bring laid off could have had the opportunity to get another job. No, they just came in one day, and announced it. However, I was one of the people they decided to keep, even though I’ve not been there even half as long as some of the people they let go. They said they want me to stay with the company until I retire, which will be maybe 15 years. I’m just not sure the company will be around that long, and I don’t know how much longer I can function working these hours. Part of me wants to get a new job now, and part of me wants to stick it out. What do you think?
Dear Tired Worker,
First off, let me say, having gone through something similar, myself, I feel your pain.
Secondly, let me say, when my company went through that, I should have started looking for a new job immediately, but I did not. I knew I would not survive the changes, and I knew I could not handle the increase of workload. I did not listen to myself, and I regret it to this day.
Having said that, if you like your company enough to give it a chance, you may one that survives this. It’s difficult to judge exactly what companies are up to and their reasons for keeping who they keep. If you were kept, and others with seniority were not, that says a lot about how much they value you and what a good job you do for them. Plus , they say they want to keep you for good. That is a plus.
However, it sounds like they have fostered an environment of distrust. You are questioning their longevity as well as their intentions. Sometimes, we have to listen to our gut instead of our brain. It sounds like your brain is telling you to watch out for yourself instead of being loyal to a company that you feel is not truly loyal to their employees. Watching the boss walk in and tell half the staff they no longer have a job due to financial woes- which do not happen overnight by the way- makes people wonder if their job will be the next to disappear. Some people can live with that, but some of us cannot.
At the end of the day, in the 21st Century, few of us retire from the first job we get. There was a time when that was typical, but nowadays, most of us literally job hop to climb the ladder, and ensure we get fair raises, which seem to come only if we quit and take a higher paying job elsewhere in some industries.
I think what I would do if I were you is smile, do your job, and act like you are happy there, but start applying for other jobs and interviewing elsewhere immediately. That way, you have a paycheck coming in at your current job until you can get one elsewhere. Line up your references, brush up your resume, and find someplace you think has more to offer you.