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Tachys's avatar

You've been demoted. How did you handle the first day back in the office?

Asked by Tachys (1525points) January 9th, 2013

A friend of mine was demoted today, from a leadership position with direct reports to a regular employee. Has this ever happened to you and how did you handle it?

I think the first day back will be the hardest, and in this economy keeping your job, any job, is important. I feel bad about the situation, but should I? At least my friend is still employed, and I feel relieved in a way.

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15 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

It didn’t happen to me, but it did to someone I worked with. He had the good sense not to go around complaining (he might have been glad still to have a job at all), but he did respond to others’ comments by saying that he was happy to go back to being an individual contributor and not having a manager’s responsibilities any more. It didn’t take very long for everyone to adjust to his changed status, and I don’t think anyone thought less of him for it.

He was also wise enough not to tell tales on the management team, at least not indiscreetly; I don’t know what he might have murmured in private. It seemed to me that there was some kind of bargain behind the scenes, and he appeared to keep up his end of it very well.

Ten years later, he is still glad to be working there, and every one of his former management colleagues in that group is gone.

poisonedantidote's avatar

This has never happened to me, but if it did, I would just quit the job and get another. You can always hide it from your CV if you know what you are doing.

Having said that, in the current economy I would probably stay for a while, and help myself to some free stuff before leaving. That is just me though.

zensky's avatar

We almost always blame. Someone, something, the situation the timing. Rarely do we reflect and accept responsibilty. It has not happened to me but with my personality it certainly could. I hope I would have the courage and intelligence to use it as a learning experrience. Very, very humbling experience that it is. But that is me.

Pachy's avatar

With head held high! Do the work as best you can and do not discuss the what’s and why’s of your situation with anybody. In this economy—in any economy, really—paychecks and benefits are more important than ego.

filmfann's avatar

My company normally doesn’t do this, but a former manager of mine had a mental breakdown, and he requested to return to the tools on his return.
He was obviously burned out. It was a sad thing to watch. He did talk a little about it, usually blaming the stress of the job. He was never the same again.

fun fact: I have had 5 managers have mental breakdowns!

burntbonez's avatar

I was a manager at one job for a short time, but I was miserable. Instead of demoting me, they moved me sideways to a new project. That was fine, but it was the beginning of the end. I went back to school.

Jaxk's avatar

Actually it did happen to me. I was manager of a tech support group and we hired a new director. He demoted me, a very stressful situation for a while. I took another job in a different division of the same company and it worked out very well. Within a year I was promoted to the directors job (he was let go). I can’t tell you how satisfying it was the day I moved into his office.

All you can do is the best job you can. If you dwell on it, it will eat you alive. One of life’s little setbacks. It doesn’t need to be a defining moment.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

Jobhunt on my company terminal.

Firebomb all the dimwitted, condescending, petty tyrants in the Human Resources department.

zensky's avatar

@Jaxk Great story.

Jaxk's avatar


Thanks. Makes me feel good all over again just telling it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I guess it would depend on the situation. If, for example, I was okay with the change because I hated being one notch higher or if I need less stress or less hours, then I would just do what I need to do, other people be screwed. If I was not okay with the change, it’d be difficult. I’d consider looking for other work, asap.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

I had that happen to me just once, and it was done cruelly and for no valid purpose. I went back to my desk, typed a (polite) resignation letter, packed my things, and walked out. My employer was left in a state of shock; who could have guessed that I’d be so difficult to bully and mistreat?

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of quitting his job. If your friend asked me for advice, I’d tell him to:

—Maintain his pride and dignity. He should hold his head up high, keep his back straight, and make eye contact with and give a friendly nod to anyone who looks at him. If he doesn’t slink around looking embarrassed and humiliated, he’ll be a better person than his employer.

—Don’t complain or vent to colleagues. Doing so would diminish him; he’d become fodder for office gossip, and the word would quickly get to his boss. Save the rants for friends outside of work.

—Start searching for a new job NOW. It feels great to leave on one’s own terms and timeline. Finding another position, and voluntarily giving notice, is the ultimate eff-you.

Tachys's avatar

Thanks everyone. Here is an update – the person has been told to work from home from now on. My friend seems happy about it.

The only constant in my company is changing leadership.

Ron_C's avatar

This almost happened to me when I was in the Navy and stationed at Oceana Naval Air Station Virginia Beach, Va.

I was the section leader and in charge of repairs and maintenance of all base radar and communication equipment. We got a new Chief and one of the first thing he told me was “I don’t have enough control over you so I’m moving you to the communications building.” I blew up and went to the commanding officer and asked if I could kill the chief. Eventually, the Chief was told to let me alone because I had the division running smoothly for 4 years.

I learned that you can’t kill your boss, even if he deserves it.

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