Would you stay or leave this company?

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Apr 28

On the edge of the knife

“On the edge of the knife” Photo by Thomaniac

What follows is true. I’d really like to know what you would do and why.

A friend of mine has been with a Fortune 500 company for 15-years. Two months ago he, along with some in the group he managed, was laid off, but asked to stay on for three more months to finish work on some projects.

So the actual layoff day is a ways off, but still, the layoff causes the normal emotional impact–disloyalty from the company for all the years of work, no longer “worthy” as a person because the company shuns you and others. Good people, you know, take stuff personally and my friend is no different. Good people also come to realize that those emotions are the stages of grief and they work through them to move on.

Two days ago, because of more people leaving than anticipated from the layoff and people leaving the company voluntarily, he was told he was no longer laid off and had his old job back with two fewer people in his group to do the work. Relief, right?

Not so much.

The bulls-eye on the back

The company, casually or not, laid you off. And just as casually hired you back. How do you ever trust that the work you do is worthwhile? How do you re-engage with the company? How do you act with other managers and coworkers when you were laid off and now you are not?

You now live on the bubble

Since the company laid you off once, you know that your work and your group are on the knife edge of value to the company. Things get a little better overall and perhaps you are a bit safer. Things get a little worse and you know you are going to get laid off–because you already have been laid off.

What does that do to your stress? How to you make any plans for your future?

But there are advantages to staying

You might think to tell the company to pound sand and go find another job with a different company. Emotionally, it would be easy to do. But is it the right thing to do for your career?

Consider these advantages of staying:

  • There is an income. Not that you should live for the paycheck, but income in this economy is a good thing.
  • There is the devil you know. Every company has internal politics and being there for 15 years means you have the devil you know versus the devil you don’t in a different company.
  • You have a big internal business network. If you have a good work reputation, you can work with others in the company to move to someplace “safer” in the company.

But, then, there is still the bulls-eye on your back.

So tell me: would you stay? Or would you stay and look for another job and leave when you find one? And, why?

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.