Whether you call it gut instinct, woman's intuition or "Spidey-sense," if you feel like you're being squeezed out of your job, chances are you're right. Before you burst into angry tears and tell your boss that everybody knows about his hair piece, consider that this perceived slight could be a blessing in disguise. Just like you wouldn't waste your dating years with a serial cheater, don't squander your career on a job that doesn't honor your time or talents.
Step It Up
If you feel a colleague crowding you out of your position, maybe it's time to step up your game. Even if you’re doing great at work, you can always do better. Start by coming in earlier and leaving later to renew your dedication to the job. Ask to see your performance reviews and look over suggested areas of improvement. Cut out distractions during your shift -- no more shopping online or trolling social network sites, no more two-hour lunches. Instead of playing solitaire on your downtime, start asking your coworkers if they need any help. If you want to keep your job, buckle down, work hard and show your boss why he hired you in the first place.
If you’re already on your way out of the door, creating a tense atmosphere between you and your potential replacement will only get you the boot that much more quickly. Breathe deeply, swallow your pride and play nice. Be helpful to show that you’re a team player. Share advice and tips from your experiences to show you’re a seasoned professional and a good teacher. Ask your understudy for input and feedback to prove that you’re humble, willing to learn and able to process constructive criticism. Treat your coworker like an office mirror, and use her to make yourself look good.
Plan for Success
You deserve to feel secure about your future at work. Whether you really are being replaced or not, maybe it's time to find a job where you’ll feel appreciated. Update your resume and cover letter for potential openings. Call around to former colleagues, bosses, mentors, friends, family members and industry contacts for job leads. Keep it on the hush though -- if your boss gets wind that you’re looking to leave, he might lower the boom sooner than expected. Be stealthy in your efforts, so you can keep getting paychecks and stacking your cash as long as possible.
Have the Awkward Talk
Once you’ve saved a comfortable cushion, go to your boss with your suspicions. Say, “As much as I love working with Hilda, there seems to be an overlap in our job duties. How long will you need both of us? Is this a permanent arrangement?” Confronting your boss will force him to play his hand -- either he’ll allay your fears or admit that it's time for you to move on. If it is time for you to go, leave on good terms, since you never know when you’ll work with your supervisor and/or and colleagues again. As much as you might want -- and maybe even deserve -- to drop a few four-letter words, do your future self a favor and hold your tongue.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.