I blew it big time at my first job when I was 16. My supervisor got fired for being a lazy bum but he was my pal and I was naive. As a result, I slipped him some documents to help him during his unemployment suit. When the owner of the company found out I didn’t get a long-promised raise. Soon after that I got fired. It hurt a lot at the time. I was angry and confused. But believe it or not, it was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally. More on that later.
If you were expecting a raise and/or a promotion and didn’t get one, the first thing you may want to do is storm into your boss’s office and demand satisfaction. That’s how I felt when it happened to me. But going this route is a huge mistake. Instead take a minute and cool off. Then, be thankful you didn’t get fired like I did.
After you spend a moment in silent meditation in gratitude your head will be in the right place to do the important work that lies ahead. Your immediate mission is to determine what is behind this unfortunate event:
- Is your boss unhappy with your job performance or did everyone get bypassed this year because the company is in trouble?
- If this sad development is a result of your individual performance, can you correct the problem?
- If not, how long do you have before they turn off the life support?
Let’s walk through each of these steps together.
“It’s me….it’s not you…..really”
Who hasn’t been on the wrong end of that line? Maybe Brad Pitt or Nicole Kidman. We’ve all heard this one at one time or another. Sadly, this kind of falsehood doesn’t only occur in our love life.
Your boss is only human and may try to soften the bad news of you not getting what you want by blowing smoke and singing your praises. If you get an OK job review but no tangible increase in pay or responsibility level, there may be dark clouds ahead. It might be time to take emergency action on saving your job.
If the problem is company-wide, you may have no choice but to polish up your resume and start looking for a new place to hang your hat. Systemic problems are very hard to reverse and they are out of your control anyway. My suggestion is to get out while the getting is good friend Pilgrim. Don’t be the last one to turn out the light.
Can it be fixed?
If your company is sound and you didn’t get an expected raise you have to figure out if you can turn the situation around or not.
This is easier said than done. If you neck is on the chopping block, your boss might not be completely honest about it until he or she finds your replacement. On the other hand, you don’t want to throw in the towel if you still have a fighting chance.
The best tactic is to sit down with your employer and ask what future they see for you in the company. Ask what you can do in order to have a more positive result when the next review rolls around. Hopefully, your supervisor will answer these questions honestly.
If your boss gives you concrete ideas, get to work on them. If you need resources to get the job done, ask for them. Get feedback while you are in process and demonstrate how serious you are about your job.
If your boss doesn’t give you clear direction or you sense there is no way to pull this out of the fire, your days are probably numbered. Your best use of time at this point is to find a new job before you get canned. Be smart about marketing yourself and leave no stone unturned until you find another place to work.
I mentioned at the start of this post that getting fired at 16 was actually a huge gift. My supervisor who was quite a bit older asked me to do something unethical and illegal and I complied. I experienced the consequences of this kind of behavior and I never repeated it. That’s a lesson that has paid off ever since.
If you are walking on thin ice at work it might be a good wake up call. Take time to figure out where you got off track and make sure to never repeat that mistake again. If things are rocky at work through no fault of your own, don’t ignore that either.
Have you ever gotten passed over for a raise or promotion? What did you do about it? What eventually happened?