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5 tips for managing change at work

Woman looks shocked, man's hand holding old telephone receiver up to her ear
Highlights
  • Maintain a high level of work at your job, and nurture a network.
  • Get along with your new boss by finding out what he or she expects.
  • To stay competitive, learn the "preferred" skills in your field.

Change is the only constant in the workplace. In recent years, workers at all levels have felt the impact of change -- from massive job layoffs to budget cuts to new management. For those who remain employed, managing change at work has become part of everyone's job description.

Yet a recent survey conducted by Right Management, a career management consulting firm, shows that 31 percent of employees are not able to adapt to changes at work.

Failing to adapt can leave employees more vulnerable to layoffs than ever.

Below, experts address common worker concerns about how to manage change at work.

q_v2.gif"I'm paranoid that I'll get a pink slip. How do I avoid sabotaging my own career?"

Watching your former co-workers walk out the door can leave you feeling paranoid about your own job security. Fear can lead to low productivity and reduced enthusiasm for your job. Since you ultimately don't have complete control over your job, don't let the fear of downsizing stop you from doing the best job you can, says Caitlin Friedman, co-author of "The Girl's Guide to the Big Bold Moves For Career Success: How to Build Confidence, Conquer Fear, Manage Up, Navigate Change and Much, Much More."

"Maintain a high level of work at your current job, and grow and nurture a vibrant network outside of it," she says. "If you make these activities a priority, then you are protecting your reputation and you are massaging relationships that might come in handy should you get laid off down the road."

q_v2.gif"My new boss' management style isn't a good fit with my work style. How do I adapt?"

A new boss can certainly bring a lot of cultural changes to your workplace, as well as a new set of responsibilities for your job in particular. Cheryl Palmer, career coach at Call to Career, advises workers to allow some exploratory time with a new manager.

"Take the time to get to know your new boss to develop a good working relationship with him or her. Clearly defining expectations is the first step in developing that relationship. If you know what your boss expects of you, you can be happier and more productive at work," says Palmer.

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q_v2.gif"How can I stay competitive in this tough job market?"

"In the past 18 months, employees received a loud and clear answer to a nagging question: Yes, Virginia, you are expendable," says Barbara Poole, founder and CEO of Employaid, an online community for workers and employers.

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