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We’re closing soon: How do we stay professional?

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“The association I work for will be moving to another state sometime in the next six months. Knowing that our jobs are ending has made it difficult to do our jobs and remain professional toward the people who made that decision. I feel we need to serve our members the same as we did before. But other employees have copped an attitude. What's the best way to deal with the anger of co-workers and still maintain good customer service and remain professional?” -- Janice

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon December 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm

We weren’t even told that we were closing. We heard about it on the radio. The senior stockholders of the parent company decided that our division was a drag on profits (this was some years ago). Some of us (me included) were considered to be the valuable employees, and we were given 30% retention bonuses. Since the economy was in recession at that time, there were no jobs out there, and the 30% was a nice goodbye kiss. Most of our employees acted in a professional manner once the shock wore off. Those who chose not to stay until closure didn’t get a retention bonus. After the business closed, I collected unemployment, then worked in temp agencies until I got a permanent job. I agree with others on this site: do your job as if you were going to keep it forever, get references from your boss, activate your network. Admin professionals are still in demand, even in this economy. Good luck!


Sarah December 8, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I would agree with the “lead by example” and “maintain your network” folks. Really, with having to work with the slackers, all you can do is YOUR job as best you can while working around the slackers. Hopefully the Powers that be notice ( or you “make” them notice) and are given an excellent reference. I would also check into whether or not you can go on job interviews during your “normal” working hours. Some companies will allow this since they are closing.

I don’t think a retention bonus at this point is a good idea unless the “leaders” are rewarded aboive and beyond the “slackers”. Why reward the slackers for their bad behavoir now that they don’t have a lot to lose?


Jocelyn December 8, 2008 at 9:41 am

Most companies offer a retention bonus which means that the company understands that the employees job is ending but still wish them to work until close and remain professional. It is like an incentive to stay, vs getting another job. Or increase the pay rate to effect the same thing. This is happening to our friend in NYC and his company is giving him 1 month pay at close and a bonus equal to 10% of his annual salary. Trust me, he is remaining professional. If that company is large enough and has the extra funds that is what I would do.


Mark December 5, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I have unfortunately had to go through this at two different businesses that were shutting down. I have always been very devoted to my employer at any given time, so even though we knew we were about to lose our jobs, the way I saw it, when I went to work every day I was expected to do my job just as thoroughly as if I was expecting to retire there. Knowing a job will end is no excuse, in my book, for a lack of professionalism, even though many of my co-workers did not feel that way. In fact, for one of the two times this happened, I gave my two-weeks notice about two months before they closed because I was tired of being one of the very few who actually wanted to put in a hard days work every day. Others were just goofing around much of the day, even literally playing football in the storage room one day for a couple hours. I didn’t want to be around such unprofessionalism. My advice would be to be as good a worker as you always were; at least you’ll have something to be proud of when it is all over.


Jennifer December 5, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Bonnie could not have said it any better. In tough times, your professional contacts and relationships are your spring board to the next job. Honey works a lot better than vinegar. While the company is still paying you, give them 100% and start your search. It is easier to get a job while you still have one so start the networking today and good luck!


Joyce December 5, 2008 at 2:17 pm

You can only be the master of your own attitude. Lead by example. If anyone says anything negative to you tell them you’re grateful you have six months to plan out your future rather than being given one day’s notice or no notice as so many companies have in the last year. And, that if you conduct yourself professionally in difficult times people will remember you for possible leads in the future. Make a list of “good possibilities” that you can use when people throw negativity your way. Good luck.


LeAnn December 5, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I had the same situation several years ago. It was very difficult. What made it even worse is when someone from the other office asked, “How long have you worked here?” When I said nearly 15 years, he said, “Well, I guess it’s time for you to move on anyway.” I don’t think he even realized what kind of jerk he was.

In any case, as stated above, don’t burn your bridges. You might end up getting a job from someone you once worked with, or need to network with them to get other positions. It’s definetly hard, and you don’t want to put in the extra effort, but you are still being paid to do a job. You have to try and stay positive, because if you don’t, when you do go to look for another job, the negativity will show and you will have a harder time to find another position.

Good luck.


Bonnie December 5, 2008 at 1:58 pm

We have recently experienced the same issue. We did not renew a contract and therefore contract went to another institution.

I had moments when I wanted to just tell people what I thought, but I had to remind myself that it would not benefit me to burn my bridges. We never know when we might have to ask for a reference or even use someone within our network to assist in the future.

Just remember that every person that you meet, work with and associate with is a part of your network and they may be able to assit you in the future.

Hope this helps


Kutty December 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

When you realize that God is in control of your life and no decision made by man can interfere with what God has in store for you, anger toward decision makers will disappear. Also, don’t acknowledge the frustrations of others. Keep your chin up and serve diligently as you always have and perhaps they will learn from you.


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