Centred Content

Dear Joanna,

I arrived to my retail customer service job this morning and learned that the store chain where I work has been bought out by another big company. My boss said I can continue to work at the store but would now have to add more tasks to my role including cashier. I mentioned this to my Reena job coach as this change is very upsetting and I’m scared to lose my job. What do I do?

Signed: Big Change

Centred Content

Dear Change,

The realities of the current labour market and workplace is that it’s tough, it’s competitive and it’s complex. Change is here to stay. And it’s FAST!

As a result, many employees are experiencing an upheaval in their jobs. I know some employees who have arrived to work in the morning with a completely different job description, for better or for worse, or their company could be bought out or decide to outsource your role. Or there could be a total change in management including your boss! This could have happened overnight by the board, the management or new owners.

Smith (2013) in 10 Things To Do When They Radically Change Your Job explains that if an employee is given less responsibilities, the employer might be trying to get rid of him or her. It could be time to look for a new job! However, it could also mean that they could be “testing you for bigger things”. Smith adds that companies are not static; they need to constantly be involved in new initiatives to bring in more customers. Perhaps your company is growing and they want their workers to grow with them, by giving them more responsibilities and sending them for professional development and training.

Whatever the case may be, the question is how to prepare yourself to meet these challenges in your current job and workplace. Smith suggests rather than complaining, maintain a positive attitude and talk to your supervisor to find out what’s going on.

She recommends the following five strategies to do when your job changes:

  1. Talk to your supervisor and be as direct as possible. Find out how you can help to continue to add value to the company. Find out if the change is based on your performance or a change in the organization’s strategies. Always be cordial and professional.
  2. Use the opportunity to learn and improve. Think about this change as a positive experience. If the change is performance-based, then this is a perfect time to improve on your deficiencies and learn more new skills. This is your chance to help the company grow, and build your resume, so to continue your efforts to remain marketable and competitive in your company and in the working world.
  3. Ask your supervisor for rewards other than a new title or money. With additional responsibilities without promotion or raise, ask your supervisor for perks (for example: a lieu day, a day off paid, longer lunch hours or the ability to work from home once a week). Brooks advises to keep track of your additional working hours, and when the time is right, talk to your supervisor about fair compensation or perks.
  4. Talk to your co-workers whom you trust. Brainstorm with your colleagues, to think through the experience and make plans for success. Continue to cultivate your team as your support group. You are all going through the same process, and you might find it helpful to speak to other people in your situation.
  5. Get the necessary training. It is important that you learn the skills to help you succeed with your new responsibilities. Jacquelyn Smith cautions that if the employer doesn’t give you the training and the job role is changing, they could unfairly set you up to fail. If that training is not available from your organization, then get it on your own. Consult with your supervisor first. Find out if the classes or courses that you are interested in taking will help you with your job. Learning the new technical skills for the new position will only help the company and therefore your supervisor.

If the job change has any negative impacts on you (your mental, physical, or emotional health, because of the stress), then you might consider looking for another job. Just make sure not to burn your bridges on your way out.


To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org