Getting a meeting request from Human Resources feels a lot like hearing the school secretary announce that you are needed immediately in the front office.
Icy cold acid bubbles in the pit of your stomach. Should you bring your notebooks? Backpack? Purse? Will you return to this desk and the life you are currently living?
Now hear the news from HR that you have been reassigned to a new position, maybe a new department, effective immediately. Your old job is gone. Likely your first reaction is one of relief and then a WTF may follow. What, exactly, is this?
It Could Be Quiet Cutting
Quiet Cutting is the newest cutesy word that describes a business practice that isn’t new at all.
According to The Wall Street Journal, it’s reassigning an employee rather than terminating them. The reasons this happens vary, but most often it comes down to one of these:
- You are a valued employee and the company is reassigning you because they don’t want you to go (perhaps to the competitor!)
- You are an OK employee into which they have already invested time and training, but they think you will do better with less responsibilities/new team/different skillset is needed, etc. This is a possibility if you have recently received performance correction/developmental action plan review.
- You are a protected/expensive employee, and they are giving you something new and hope that you will dislike it and leave. This is easier for them, less costly in separation payments, and you would not be eligible for unemployment payments.
The Good News
It makes the most sense to retain employees that are an asset to the company and its goals. So the good news is that it’s unlikely that the third reason would apply to more than just a handful of people at best.
The bad news? If it happens to you it’s going to be hard to believe that there IS any good news. You are disappointed, you may have been hoping for a promotion and then THIS happened. The new position could come with less perks, or a smaller salary.
Your career hopes may be dashed temporarily, and you wonder how comfortable it will be to join a new team and have to start learning everything all at once, especially if you have been the one that is used to knowing all the answers.
You may be tempted to chuck it and quit.
Of course, that’s your choice to make. But please wait at least two weeks before you make any sudden moves. (If you’ve been in your former position for more than 4 years, give it a month.) Don’t make any emotional decisions until you get over the shock.
If you’ve been ‘Quiet Cut’ and are considering walking out, please try this.
- Determine if the company is viable. Is it worth staying, and if so; for how long?
- Network now, but do it in a positive way. Public LinkedIn posts blasting the company is not the way to go. Letting your network know that you’ve had a job change and outlining your new position and responsibilities will give the savvy folks around you the message.
- Do the new job to the best of your ability. This may include a talk with HR, asking why you received the position, and what their plans are for the department. Find out your manager’s short and long term goals for the team/location/department. Determine the first three steps to take towards them and make them known. people should know what you are working towards.
- Assume your email and screen time are under surveillance. Your time on the clock belongs to the company, and so does your Outlook, Gmail, and company phone. If you are looking for a new job do it at home.
- Don’t leave until you have a plan. Jumping from the frying pan into the fire is not a good career move.
- If you have been reassigned unexpectedly at work, it’s most likely that the company wants you to stay.
- It’s normal to feel off kilter when this happens, but don’t make any hasty decisions.
- Gather information about why the decision was made.
- Do your very best work in the new position.
- If you decide to leave, do your planning at home and on your own equipment.
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