Bunker Mentality – Get over it

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Dec 09

There is a line between awareness of horrible job numbers, numbing layoffs, incompetent management and going over the line to ineffectiveness in our work. It is easy to stare at the headlines, wonder about our jobs and talk to our co-workers on how bad the job environment is right now. It is easy to get caught up in speculation about internal reorganizations, the layoff rumors and even if anyone outside of a CEO will get a bonus and raise this year.

We get a bunker mentality – we’re all in this together and this bunker is being attacked from all sides. The numbers are overwhelming (and they are). Bad things can happen to our job from any corner (and they do). So we stop moving forward and simply hang out in the bunker.

And that’s a big mistake.

You can only do that which you can control. You can only do so much to influence your outcome. The rest is anxiety that makes you powerless.

Here’s what you can control

The quantity of your work. Usually there is more to do than there is time, especially after a layoff. Making sure the quantity of your work is maintained or increased in tough times is necessary for you to keep building your accomplishments. If there is nothing to do, don’t look busy; start looking for a different job.

The quality of your work. Who would want to hire someone in this environment who puts out crappy work?

Your relationships. Especially the relationships in your support network. In tough times, spouses and extended friends and family count even more. Make sure your relationships with them are good ones.

What you spend and what you save. If you have one week’s pay in the bank and get laid off, you are in a heap of trouble. If you have one year’s take home pay in the bank, you have choices. Choices increase what you control.

Will any of what you control prevent you from being laid off? No.

But hiring managers are looking for people to help them achieve their objectives. Your accomplishments and attitude speak volumes to a hiring manager. A bunker mentality can be spotted a mile away and you won’t get hired. The change in perspective from bunker mentality to opportunity is needed to succeed in this tough market.

How do you get yourself out of the bunker mentality attitude?

  • Scot says:

    Either adapt — or determine it is time to leave. Humans have a great ability to adapt and adapting to the continually closing bunker is not the best choice. I agree, though, identifying baby steps to improve your position and then executing against those steps is the right way to rebuild your confidence and get you to the right place. Nice comment — thanks.

  • Bob Parden says:

    I am extending from John w. Gardner’s Self-renewal. That’s how you crawl out of the bunker: What’s changing in my environment; what do I need to do to adapt; identify my Baby Steps, take action.

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