If you have ever walked into work only to find you have been reassigned to a completely different role, you know how jarring this news can be.
It can be especially upsetting when you are content with your current role, and when the switch is not viewed as a promotion.
Sudden change often occurs when clients or staff members come and go, or company priorities shift. Change happens quickly, and dealing with it requires patience, clear thinking and optimism.
Here are 7 strategies for successfully dealing with sudden, unexpected changes in your current position.
While you may not greet this news with enthusiasm, keep your game face on. This may not be a step up with a better title and more compensation, but it may not be a step down, either. Ask questions. Face the revelation with an open mind, even if you dread leaving your current position. Few people welcome upheaval in their daily routines. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, go for a cup of coffee or remove yourself from the situation while you process the information.
Don’t assume the worst.
Take time to evaluate your new responsibilities before assuming you are being demoted. Look for the advantages of your new role. Perhaps you will be able to help a struggling department turn around, or you might be surrounded by rock stars who can teach you some new things. Once you understand the full scope of your new post, make a list of the pros and cons. It will help you see things more clearly.
Compare your current skill set to the new job description.
Once you have an understanding of your new duties, make sure you have what it takes to perform. If you are doing substantially different work, you may need more training to meet the demands of the position.
Give it a chance.
In most cases, the supervisor who made the call is invested in your success, because when you do well, it’s good for them and the entire company. There were hopefully good reasons behind the change, and it’s fair to respectfully ask about them. Keep in mind, however, that the only way to develop and grow professionally is by taking on new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone. Change can be good, even if it’s unnerving at first.
Think long term.
Consider how this change may contribute to your career development. Are you gaining experience that will help work toward your professional goals? You may gain valuable experience that will contribute to your growth. But if your new job steers down a completely different path, away from the future you’ve envisioned for yourself, you may need to make some tough decisions about the next steps.
Remember, you get to choose.
You may be moved into a new role, but you don’t have to stay there indefinitely. If you have given it a reasonable chance, but you are miserable in your new assignment, speak to your supervisor and offer ideas for improving the situation. If the two of you can’t come to a mutually agreeable solution, remember that you have options.
You are free to investigate other opportunities within the same company, or elsewhere. Going to work with a bad attitude each day isn’t helping you or the company, so if you can’t embrace at least some aspects of your new role, it may be time to move on.
Accept the reality of change.
Nothing stays the same forever, in business and in life. The more capable you are at accepting a transition, the happier and more productive you will be. Remember that change is often necessary and you must be prepared to adapt when it impacts your role within an organization.
You may also like 9 Signs It’s Time to Look for Another Job. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips read her posts on Inc., subscribe to her articles on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. Order Diane’s forthcoming book, Modern Etiquette for a Better Life here.