Your Career: Is the Boss Cheating on You?

Cheated Hearts

Cheated Hearts (Photo credit: *Just Justin*)

It happens. You think you’re set in your job and somebody else catches your boss’ eye.

They’re prettier (or more handsome) and project a better executive presence, or code better, and perhaps could charm the skin off a snake and sell better.

The next thing you know someone has been hired over you in the corporate hierarchy  (“layered” is the HR term) and that secure feeling you had is gone south.

Or, the company decided to “upgrade” their talent during the recession – an approach McKinsey endorsed  - “a downturn can give smart companies a chance to upgrade their talent” - by firing you and hiring someone in the available talent pool who looks like a step up.

It’s the corporate equivalent of “Your Cheating Heart” – and it will tell on you.

One of the many reasons I love the sports world is that those type of machinations are front and center for all of us to see. And if you’ve looked in the sports page this week you’ve seen exactly this type of dynamic with the San Francisco 49ers’ failed romancing of free agent quarterback Peyton Manning – appearing to be ready to cast off their current quarterback Alex Smith – and how the saga played out.

Smith, who seemed like a sure lock (“Alex Smith is our guy,” said coach Jim Harbaugh) last week, looked like he was about to be cast off when it came to light that the 49ers’ were recruiting Manning. Great line of the week? “This is the NFL. I guess nothing surprises me anymore,” said Smith

While your job doesn’t kiss you on the cheek at night, your boss’ job doesn’t kiss them on the cheek at night either. The same swapping out that can happen to you can just as easily happen to them.

Here today; gone tomorrow.

Cut to the chase?

You owe your employer solid work for what they’re paying you, regardless of what you do. Take pride in your work; it’s a good thing.

You owe loyalty first to yourself and your family. It doesn’t mean you don’t owe loyalty to your employer; you might. It’s just that you owe loyalty to yourself first.

That means keeping your career network alive and well, keeping your skills current through training, experiences, and education. And always having a Plan B if things don’t work out they way you expect.

You always need to prepare for the unexpected.

Just ask Alex Smith.

Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well). More about executive, career and team / leadership coaching services can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab above. You can also read an online interview with me at WhoHub, as well as participate in my learning community courtesy of KnowledgeCrush.

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