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Mindful : December 2014
70 mindful December 2014 Michael Carroll and Janice Marturano answer your workplace questions Rightsizing Blues; Unstable Boss Syndrome Q After 12 years, I was told my position was eliminated and I’m being demoted to a lower-paying job. Is my employer obligated to give me a severance package or a job of equal value? Understanding existing policy is key. If your layoff is well managed, policies covering your rede- ployment should be mapped out in an employment letter addressed to you. Such issues as severance calculations, requirements to take lower pay packages, your ability to “ trigger” severance, and more should be addressed there. If your manager hasn’t offered a letter, request one before entering into any discussions or negotiations. Also, request from HR a copy of existing policy covering restructurings. Next, explore your compa- ny’s record in managing such personnel changes. Ask col- leagues about their knowledge of how such policies have been applied in the past. Employers are legally obligated to apply personnel policy consistently. Once you have a good picture of what policies permit or don’t permit, consider: Is there a severance policy? Need I accept a demotion? Has man- agement been consistent in the past in applying such policies? You’re in a position to be skillful in making your needs, priorities, and requests known. Remember that U.S .- based enterprises have broad legal leeway in deploying personnel. Organizations that recognize the vital impor tance of human talent tend to employ policies that are thoughtful and skillful; while other enterprises can be remarkably ham-handed and “de-humanizing.” Organizations with wise personnel policies tend to have a competitive advantage while those that do not, tend toward mediocrity. Finally, as with all difficul- ties at work, being laid off or demoted is an invitation to take a wise and skillful perspec- tive. And in the case of being displaced, it is impor tant to remember that thousands of hardworking, thoroughly com- petent people lose their jobs in the U.S . ever y hour and working with such a predicament, while disheartening, is, in the end, par t of the reality of simply making a living. Michael Carroll is the author of Fearless at Work. Q My boss’ mood swings make me anxious. How can I reduce my fear when I’m around her? What can I do differently the next time she’s unstable like this? The environments we work and live in have a profound effect not only on our per formance at work, but also on our well-be- ing. We often miss the “ripple effect” that our way of being in the world has on everyone around us. For better or worse, virtually ever ything we do and say affects others. Your manager is cer tainly having an effect on you. What to do? First, it may be helpful to understand that if there is a solution to this, it is most likely to come from a shift in how you are meeting your moments at work. When you notice fear or anxiety, what are the accom- panying thoughts? Are those thoughts “fueling the fire”? Our imaginings about what is going to happen nex t can intensif y the fear and anxiety. You might also notice the sensations in the body in those moments. For example, if you notice a tightness in your chest when you feel anxious, can you open to those feelings and take a few deep breaths, softening into the sensations, releasing the tightness as you breathe? As you work with this approach, you might find a lessening of the tightness that inhibits your ability to do your best work, and that affects your health and well-being. From this more open and spacious place, you will be better able to see what the nex t step should be: Speak with her, speak with the HR depar tment, move to a new depar tment, and so on. ● Janice Marturano is the author of Finding the Space to Lead and Executive Director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership. When you’re around someone unstable, are your thoughts fueling the fire of your anxiety? A A at work mindful practices