Has your boss ever treated you unfairly or blamed you for a failure that was beyond your control? Recently, a friend came to me in distress about a critical hand-written memo that he and his colleagues had received from their superior, the manager of a national retail chain store. The chain, formerly a Wall Street darling, had fallen from favor with the failure of the company to renew an annual contract with one of their larger customers. As a result, the stock price had dropped by a third, cash flow had decreased, layoffs were anticipated, and morale was in the dumps. Every employee felt the pressure.
The young assistant, vacillating between resentment and hopelessness, didn’t know how to respond to the three-page memo which listed failure after failure of tasks and expectations that had not been met by the group. The memo concluded with a threat that “things had to change or else,” and that he, the manager, no longer cared about the individuals due to their shortcomings. My friend, torn between quitting for what he believed to be an unfair assessment or staying when further advancement might be delayed or impossible, asked me, “What should I do? Quit or stay there hoping I will not be fired?”