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Making the best of a demotion

by on
in Your Office Coach

Q: “I recently lost my management position during a reorganization. I was told that my job was being eliminated and that I would be transferred to another department. Although I’m enjoying the chance to learn new things, eventually I would like to return to a leadership role, especially since I just received my MBA.

“When I discussed this with my new boss, he said that once you are placed in a lower-level job, you never get back to your original level. This is very depressing, because I am a motivated, driven, career-oriented person. What should I do now?” Feeling Hopeless

A: Don’t be too discouraged by your manager’s ominous and unproven prediction. Being reorganized out of a job is disheartening, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world. A leadership position may still be in your future, either with this employer or elsewhere. However, you won’t receive any assurance of that now, because management has just finished rearranging the company.

At this point, the best strategy is to accept your present circumstances, while positioning yourself for future opportunities. Do outstanding work, learn as much as you can, and get to know people who could help your career. Make an ally of your human resources manager, because HR people often influence promotional decisions. Finally, to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, start making a concerted effort to develop contacts at other companies.

Want to improve your in-house networking? Here are a few people that it's often helpful to know: Seven Relationships to Cultivate at Work.

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