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Question: Last year, my boss reassigned my direct report to a new supervisor because it "wasn't fair" that the supervisor didn't have a direct-report secretary while one of her peers did. The consequence of my boss's action stripped me of my supervisor status, thus preventing me from attending any supervisor meetings and/or training sessions. Was this a just act? I’ve had no performance issues and over 20 years of excellent reviews. Any advice? -- Anonymous


A couple of questions:

(1) Did you lose any salary as a result of no longer having a direct report?

(2) What are you losing by no longer attending meetings/training?

(3) What is your boss' response to your inquiries about the situation (or have you even asked)?

If the situation is as you describe it, the other supervisor did deserve and receive fair treatment. So, you have to look at what you LOST as a result of this change - if anything.

*If your pay wasn't affected, then why not just let it go and move on?

*If you're no longer a supervisor, why would you still want/need to attend meetings/training sessions?

Even though I'm a 25+ veteran in the workforce, I have had to learn to "go with the flow" since today's corporate environment is not as it used to be. My choices were to try and fight against it or accept it for what it is. I picked the latter and have been extremely happy with that decision. (Honestly, managing employees is not all it's cracked up to be and I was glad to get rid of my management role.)

Take a look at what you need now (vs. the status quo) and then seek out what actions should be taken. Life is too short to let work affect your happiness!

I totally agree with Cindy. If your position is not affected in any way except you don't have a direct report any longer, you should enjoy not having that extra burden! I was very happy when my boss decided he didn't want me supervising office services personnel because he wanted me to devote my time 100% to supporting him.

As for the meetings and/or training, if you think you have something to contribute by attending either, ask your manager if there is any problem with your participating even though you aren't a supervisor. After all, you could be asked to supervise someone again at some point in the future, so it might be worthwhile for you to maintain an awareness of what is going on with the other supervisory staff.

If your position description has that you are to supervise, then you should still attend the meetings regardless if you are supervising at this time or not. There may be an opportunity to supervise in the future. I wonder how the employee feels about the change?

ever heard the expression "beating over a dead horse"? it makes no difference whether you approve, the person you were supervising approves, or if it makes you happy. Management has made a decision that is beneficial to the organization - at this time. You will be given more credit for going with the flow than for analyzing a decision that has already been made. Don't sweat the small stuff. Life is too short to worry about minute details. Happiness is a state of mind. Choose to be happy and be content in what you have instead of what you've lost.

Dear Anonymous
Being 20+ years with the same company is a long time, unfortunately current times force most management to use the "here and now needs" decision making format. Your supervisor's decision could have been made for him by his boss as part of the new hire agreement with the new (female) supervisor.

Does your job description state that your position is a supervisory one? As a supervisor did you receive financial bonuses that will now stop? Do you feel that by not being a supervisor jeopardises your future promotional opportunities? You obviously like being in-the-know-how by attending the supervisory meetings; is it a power trip for you or do you actually need the discussed information to perform your duties?

If you feel that your standing within the company is weakened by this decision, discuss your concerns with your supervisor or your HR person - ask for feedback. Hopefuly your boss or your HR will be honest with you and will steer you in the right direction. (Be prepared for this meeting and show by examples how valuable this person was to your department and to the company.)

Allow me to play devil's advocate, do you think that perhaps your subordinate asked for this transfer to improve their position in the company? (You have not mentioned whether or not your subordinate expressed disapointment at this action.)

To reiterate: either go with the flow or work with your boss and/or the HR staff to strenghten your position within the company. Unfortunately, some companies practice unethical behavior by creating hostile environment in the hope the employee resigns.

Should the above be the case be prepared to look for other opportunities within your current company or outside. Good luck.

I agree that "going with the flow" and assessing what you've lost is the correct and professional way to act. I've found that the more dependable and hard working you are the more chances you have of becoming an integral part of the work place. Those that have the same job for a long period of time get job burnout and eventually get demoted because they either didn't grow with their job or got tired and ornery. Also, they are usually the first to go when someone comes along that is not so unhappy with the changing job demands. So, I'd look at this as a change for the better and make sure you are honest and hard-working on the current responsibilities.

I have noticed that the people who are always looking for approval or kudos are usually the most unhappy. Maybe looking for a job well done when you go home at night is a much better goal than trying to move "up the ladder".

As I'm not a limelight person, but have gained the trust of people who know I will get a job done when asked, I can tell you that you are usually praised in the ways that really count - satisfaction for a job well done. That is reward enough for me.

I would suggest getting feedback from HR just for your own peace of mind. (Also, you should be able to tell yourself whether they are being truthful.) If HR is not being truthful, then you have to consider what to do next. Your "demotion" may be a signal that your career is over, and they want you to leave so they can replace you with somebody younger and less "expensive". As a 20+ year employee, you are "older" and "expensive" in terms of salary and benfits. Itcould be very difficult for you to find another position that wouldn't be a big step down from what you had before your "demotion". It may be that "going with the flow" is the best thing for you at this time in your life while you explore other options.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

you January 26, 2011 at 11:50 pm

I'm 50 and was demoted due to a re-org. One of the folks who reported to me and I now report to a manager who is 35 and very popular. This is the 2nd time this company has done this. Had throat surgery one week ago and was told not to talk yet was forced to talk about this today with great pain, physically and mentally. Do I have a case


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