Panic or Perform

You receive a voice-mail message from senior leadership, which contains the same thing you’ve heard from your manager for months: “Stay focused! Don’t worry about things you can’t control. You are our most important resource. We are the right size to compete in today’s market.” Before you hang up or listen halfheartedly in disbelief, what should you do? Trust is tenuous in trying times. Should you believe them? Should you stay, update your resume just in case, or immediately look for another job?

We have heard a lot about how we should act in tough times; now is not the time to panic, but no one ever tells us when it is a good time to panic. We’ve all heard the clichés so many times that they are now second nature: We have nothing to fear but fear itself; The measure of a man or woman is not how they function in good times, but how they keep their head when all others are losing theirs; and my favorite, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

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