When Your Job’s On the Line, Do you Fight or Flee?

If you’ve been working for ~10 years, you’ve probably been part of a workforce reduction or downsizing. These episodes are never easy for anyone – your colleagues, boss, friends, family.

One day, you are putting everything on the line to optimize a campaign, launch a product, sell a solution, and the next you are out of a job.

Sometimes you get a sense that your job is at risk. Your project gets little attention or funding; your job responsibilities get smaller and smaller. When this ‘news’ is announced, or you read between the lines, I see people fall into 2 camps: Fighters and Flighters.

Fighters roll up their sleeves, sensing opportunity amidst the eminent change. They do everything they can to make sure their name is NOT on the short list. If it is, they are prepped and poised for whatever’s next.

Like many of my peers, I was involved in downsizing very recently. A buyer of my company told all employees that many would be losing their jobs. The Fighters and Flighters readied their personas when they digested this unfortunate news.

The Fighters ‘heard’ this news, yet it didn’t affect their productivity. Fighters continued to deliver even when the future appeared to be uncertain. Honestly, when is the future NOT uncertain?

Flighters, on the other hand, mentally checked out. Productivity dropped like a rock in the heart of a flighter. And work produced by a flighter centers on his/her resume. When the ax finally fell, eliminating many positions in an office, the flighters were usually the first to feel the brunt of the reduction. They’ve done nothing to impress a new boss or owner, or very little to keep skills fresh.

While fighters recommend new ways to approach a problem, or novel ways to do business, flighters run for the hills.

Yes, there are some situations where it makes perfect sense to freshen up the resume. In fact, you should make it a practice to review and update your dossier and profile once a quarter.

Be a fighter when you really don’t want to be. It’s easier to just mentally check out, but don’t fall for the hollow allure of laziness. If you take the challenging road and fight, you might be rewarded with a new job, a promotion, a dream opportunity.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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