Keep Calm: You Are Amazing, No Matter WhatBlog / Produced by The High Calling
For a while, every time the phone rang during the months of August and September, I got a knot in my stomach. That’s when all of the big reorgs and layoffs would happen, after the budgets for the next year had been decided. I was one of a handful of remote employees working for a team that never seemed to accept the idea of remote employees. So, I was always on the bubble.
In 13 years with the company (and 10 working for the corporate office), I’ve experienced several reorgs and have seen countless coworkers come and go. And because many were high-level contributors, I never felt safe; no matter how much my work added value.
I felt blessed the first few years when I made it through the cuts. But I knew it was a matter of time. They’d get to me eventually.
One morning in August, as I began a “routine” call with my boss, I heard a knock on my door from the HR Manager. Nothing had to be said at that point. I knew the real reason for that meeting. The bubble finally popped for me.
I was surprised, but not surprised. My time had come. And I felt sick.
Through all of the corporate turbulence I endured, I’ve learned a few things:
Don’t Change How You Work Because of Fear
One report from the University of Minnesota on the impact of fear and anxiety states that, “Once the fear pathways are ramped up, the brain short-circuits more rational processing paths and reacts immediately to signals.” This bypassing of rational thinking can be helpful in extreme circumstances, but can have a negative effect on your work.
When we work out of a state of fear, we don’t think through our projects rationally. Instead, we try to please someone, and attempting to please certain stakeholders often prevents us from finding the right solutions. We then lose out on the opportunity to do our best creative work.
During a time of upheaval at work, stick to your normal processes. Focus on producing your best work and accomplishing the right results. One thing I know: consistently turning out great work will carry you through most turbulent times.
It’s Not You, It’s Them
When a reorg forces you to change teams and workflows, it can feel personal. When someone tells you to stop doing what you’re doing and try something else, it can feel like rejection. We start to believe our work doesn’t matter or isn’t making an impact.
The emotions triggered by unwanted change can lead us into a lack of confidence in our new work role(s). Lack of confidence can turn into fear, making us unproductive. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Here’s the thing. Organizational upheaval is not a reflection of you or your work. It simply means people are trying to find better ways to accomplish the goals of the organization. Unfortunately, that sometimes mean people get pushed aside and their feelings aren’t considered.
You Are Amazing, No Matter What
Your value comes from who you are in Christ, not from how you secure your position during times of organizational turbulence. It doesn’t matter what happens around you. You usually have no control over those circumstances, anyway. Often, the factors resulting in upheaval have nothing to do with your abilities.
It’s hard to remember this when organizational changes result in you being let go or shipped off to another department. I was fortunate enough to have a community of peers who reminded me about what I still had to offer. While I may have lost a job, I didn’t lose any of my marketable skills.
No matter what happens around you, remember this: You. Are. Amazing. God loves you and values you immeasurably more than you can imagine. If you hold onto this one thing, you’ll land on your feet no matter how many organizational upheavals you live through.
Dan King serves as Patheos Editor for The High Calling, blogger at BibleDude.net, and President of Fistbump Media, LLC. He’s author of The Unlikely Missionary (BibleDude Press) and Activist Faith (NavPress). He lives in Sarasota, Florida, with his wife, Krista, and their two children. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter @bibledude.
"Upheaval" is something most of us dislike, especially when it applies to our work situation. When the corporate structure changes or we're forced into an uncomfortable position, how do we respond? Maybe we cope by denying anything's wrong and carrying on as if we're not upset. If we're a "Ready, Aim, Fire!" kind of person, we might strike out at people around us before seeking God's wisdom. Either approach can backfire, leaving us in more of a chaotic situation than before. In our series Keep Calm, The High Calling offers stories full of hard-won wisdom and practical ideas for coping with extreme—and often unwanted—changes in the workplace.
Featured image by Randy Heinitz. Used with Permission. Source via Flickr.