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Faith Wood knows how to resolve conflict. Her years in front-line law enforcement taught her how to effectively de-escalate any situation to a successful conclusion. Faith will use her knowledge of conflict management to guide you through the often stressful experiences you may encounter in your personal or professional life. Her Conflict Coach column appears every two weeks.

Faith WoodQuestion: As if the pandemic weren’t causing enough strain, my boss just called me in and let me know that the company I work for must cut their overhead. The job I thought was secure isn’t so secure anymore.

I’ve been through this type of reorganization in the past and I’m fearful of how ugly things can get as colleagues scramble to be viewed as worth retaining. What should I do about navigating a conflict that I feel helpless to remedy?

Answer: When your job hits crisis points, it’s easy to panic. After all, your job is a big part of your identity and is probably your main financial support. No wonder you’re struggling with what to do next.

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May I suggest a few immediate actions to take:

Forget the blame game

It doesn’t matter how you got to be where you are. While there might be some valuable lessons to learn from the experience later, they don’t matter in the here and now. You have better things to do with your time.

Recognize your allies

Did you know that 10 per cent of people in your office are genuinely helpful and want to do something to assist you through this?

If you think about it, you probably already have a good idea who those people are. Grab them. See what they have to offer. They might have a job lead or can network you into a new position. Find out what they have that might be useful and run with it. (Don’t forget to be in their 10 per cent if they ever need it!)

Ask what used to work

There are things you used to do that wowed the boss, but over time you might have forgotten about them or slacked off. What were they? How can you leverage those things now?

Find the opportunity

Somewhere in all this career blowup is a chance to try something new. Whatever opportunity you find, run with it. Especially grab at anything that points you in a career direction you’ve always wanted to go.

Keep looking forward

Realize this isn’t the only job in the world. Things are going to get better. Though you might not realize it now, this might just be the bump you needed to force you out of the rut you were in and into your new career.

Your career matters. Taking care of yourself when stuff starts going wrong is exactly the right thing to be doing. Dig deep now and you’ll be in a better job in no time.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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