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I’m being demoted. What are my options?


I'm being demoted. My employer says I get too many complaints, but customers praise me all the time and do not want to deal with other salespeople. My employer wants to send me back to my previous position but has warned me that any pay increase will be less because I'm going to be in a different department. What are my options?


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I have one piece of advice for you – meet with your manager. There seem to be a wide variety of unknowns here: What led to this decision, what kind of complaints are being made and what are the expectations in the new role – not to mention the changing work conditions. Your manager may have the answers. You need, however, to go in with a plan.

Start by making up a list of questions and concerns. Do a huge brain dump about all the things that are bothering you about what has happened leading up to the new role you have been offered. Try to group them in categories, such as working conditions, outside feedback, etc. Once you have categorized them, see whether you can combine similar issues and concerns, so you come out with a solid, strong list of matters to discuss with your manager.

Make an appointment to talk with your manager, telling him or her that you want to discuss some of the issues that have been brought to your attention, including the new role you have been assigned. Make sure a respectable date and time is agreed upon and keep the appointment.

Once at the meeting, have an open and honest conversation with your manager, and avoid being confrontational. Discuss your concerns in the spirit of collaboration and understanding. Make sure he or she knows your views, as well as make it clear that you understand theirs. Make sure you follow up the conversation with an e-mail summarizing the key issues and deliverables you discussed.

You asked what your options are. Those options should come out of this frank discussion. Can you retain your old role, with an understanding of the concerns that your manager has? Or, if you move to the new role, what can you do to earn back the old role that you had? These are points that need to be understood in order to make an informed decision regarding the future you have with the company.

Eileen Dooley is a certified coach and lead consultant for McRae Inc. in Calgary.

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