Q. My company is reorganizing, and I don't know whether I have a job or not. I figure my best insurance policy is to work hard, work long...

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Q. My company is reorganizing, and I don’t know whether I have a job or not. I figure my best insurance policy is to work hard, work long and do a great job. Is there anything else I can do to guarantee I have a job?

A. There is nothing any of us can do to guarantee we’ll keep our current job, because the factors that influence that outcome are not completely within our control.

People often become superstitious when it comes to layoffs. Many people figure if they see no layoff, hear no layoff and speak no layoff, they’re safe. People also figure that just doing a good job will protect their position.

If you want to be safe at work, you need to take the risk to find out what is really going on. Sometimes that means you’re going to get bad news. However, if you get bad news early and clearly, you have an excellent chance to prepare a calm and graceful exit.

Rather than dealing with your anxiety by becoming a workaholic, make an appointment to talk to your boss. Let your boss know that you’re aware layoffs may occur and that you want to know if you have a job. Make it clear that you realize this decision may not be personal or in her or his control.

Since most of us who’ve been working for a while get calls from recruiters, it’s also not cheating to mention that you want to know if you should be seriously entertaining inquiries from other companies.

One of my clients recently took this approach and was surprised to learn that he was considered invaluable to his company. In his next review, he was given an impressive bonus and raise to make sure he didn’t entertain any other offers of employment.

The bottom line in business is that you can’t navigate your career effectively if you let your fear keep you from seeking out the truth. If it’s bad news, you will be prepared. If it’s good news, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and often more respected for your ability to initiate a tough conversation.

The last word(s)

Q. One of my managers uses a high-pitched shrieking voice when she’s upset. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. How do I get her to stop?

A. Don’t try to change her insides; stick to changing her outsides. Tell her you have trouble hearing high-pitched voices and would understand her better if she used a lower tone.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., is an executive coach, trainer, therapist, speaker and author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). She can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube