This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
All those fresh-faced, blinding-white-teeth people have coached us: "Carry a positive attitude! Embrace change! It will preserve your job and career."
Some of the best employees in America believed in and implemented this advice. But as sure as Google can search in a second, with every company merger, takeover or management change, the loyal soldiers who've been with the company for years are caught in a cruel vise of uncertainty.
New dress code: Wear bullseye on back:
"We won't be making any changes right away because we value all of you," the new guys will say. But a mean little instinct in your gut (I like to call mine Captain Paranoia) knows it isn't true.
Yet you hang on. You wear your best clothes, do your job twice as hard, work more overtime, try oh so hard to impress the new power base and then go home to vulnerable families who shiver at the fear in your face.
For awhile, you'll think you've pulled it off. Just as you suck in a first cautious breath of relief, you're asked to step into someone's office. Later, often with security guards by your side, you'll get to pack up your life and leave. The new team will mutter to themselves, "they couldn't deal with the changes we wanted to make," "they were too territorial," or "we needed fresh ideas, new blood."
New blood = more training costs:
Sometimes, with no funds to pay workers, layoffs must occur. And there are always those employees who do need a shove out the door for bad attitude, strange ethics, etc. I'm not writing about them.
Good people, loyal humans, those with deep knowledge and genuine concern for their employers are often asked to leave, like an unwanted pet cruelly shoved from a car that quickly speeds away. As our rate of change increases, this traumatic workplace cycle repeats itself so often that there is little time in between to settle down and conduct real business.
Those who've replaced the old guard and are ecstatic with new and often great ideas can hit a tragic wall. Implementation of those ideas can be stalled or literally left to die because the company eliminated those who best understood how to get such things on the fast track to reality.
Then the new guys leave:
The new hires, the ones who replaced the tired, too experienced, too-resistant-to-change employees can find themselves with no mentors. When their inexperience begins to show, they may panic and jump to yet another new job. The hole they leave behind means more expense and more upheaval to train yet another new employee.
Meanwhile, there's an ash-gray wasteland of American employees who have vowed to never again feel loyalty, passion or appreciation for any employer. They've simply lost heart.
It's now just about making a living.
Jeri Cartwright is a Salt Lake City public relations and business communications adviser, author and blogger. She founded Cartwright Communications in 1996.