What's your problem?

MY PROMOTION TURNED OUT TO BE FALSE. I recently accepted an offer to take over my former boss's job, without written agreement. But the job no longer exists, thanks to a major company restructuring.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

That was done at a senior level and without the knowledge of the manager who offered me the promotion. I've now been given the option to revert to my original job, which has also been downgraded in the restructuring. I'm furious and don't know what to do.

I hope it's a temporary thing, but at the moment your company sounds like a meticulously worked out model of how not to do things. Somewhere high up on the management floor, comfortably remote from both the shop-floor and reality, one of John Birt's few remaining admirers is making plans, restructuring structures, drawing organograms, countermanding existing commitments, sending out directives from the bridge and pissing off his entire staff. At a time when every business guru is preaching the importance of internal communications, of listening, of introducing change only when its purpose is fully understood and widely supported, you seem to be lumbered with an old-fashioned fascist.

Whoever this insensitive throwback is, I can't believe he'll last. So my best advice for the moment is to keep your head down, contain your fury, get on with the job; and, at the same time, do what half your other colleagues must be doing: look around.

There's just a chance that, while you're looking, your deranged supremo will be toppled and your firm can begin its slow return to sanity. But it can sometimes take forever to correct mistakes of this kind - too many faces to be saved, too many lawyers to be satisfied. So if you're fortunate enough to find another company, rather more at ease with this century and happy to employ you, go for it. Just take your time, think it through and get everything in writing. Ask any fishcake: fires really are worse than frying-pans.

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