We've all found ourselves in tricky work situations. An unexpected firing. A demotion. A bad performance review when you were expecting a glowing one. When your boss hires outside talent for the job you were gunning for. (But you were promised they promoted from within!!)
It's always "difficult" to process (read as: fire alarms, bells ringing, hot body, time moving differently and slow) when a bomb gets dropped on you in the office. But these kinds of situations don't only happy to lower-level employees. Even the top dogs get "blindsided."
Case in point: Kelly Ripa. Last week after Tuesday's taping of Live! With Kelly and Michael, the longtime host was called into a meeting where she was told her co-host, Michael Strahan would be leaving to take a full-time role at Good Morning America. The next day Ripa was not on set when Strahan announced his departure alongside Ripa's stand-in, Ana Gasteyer of Saturday Night Live fame. And that's when the media went ham on Ripa, who was labeled as a "diva" for taking the rest of the week off.
“She is acting like a child, a diva and hurting her reputation with this sort of behavior,” a source told the Daily News. “It makes her look bad and makes all the horrible rumors about her bad attitude off camera seem true.” But is diva the right word? Not exactly, but we'll split hairs over that another time.
Voice of reason, Oprah, came to Ripa’s defense, telling Entertainment Tonight: “Blindsided is never good. I don’t know who’s in charge, but somebody should’ve said, ‘This is gonna happen.’ You shouldn’t have to read it in the paper. Ever.”
1. HAVE THE INITIAL EMOTIONAL RESPONSE SOLO
It's OK if you get emotional about office politics. Robots and machines haven't replaced us in all capacities after all. And while we don't think you necessarily have to step outside to cry, if you are going to have an emotional response, it's best to do outside the presence of your co-workers or boss. No matter what, it looks unprofessional to have a fit-- even if it's justified. This is the time to phone a friend. (Or if you're in a position like Kelly, take a few days off-- a luxury we understand is not available to all.) And then approach the situation with a cool head.
2. TRY TO SEE IT FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE TABLE
You're mad as hell. We get it. For Ripa, this was the second time in her career similar events occurred. In 2011 Regis Philbin also informed Ripa of his departure 20 minutes before announcing it live on air. It's not great to feel so disrespected in the workplace, especially when you are clearly dedicated to your job. However, if and when possible, think about the possible reasons as to why the blindsiding occurred. It may help alleviate some of the anger, and actually motivate you to do better.
3. SET A MEETING AND ASK SOME QUESTIONS
If you don't know how you're doing, ASK. If, instead of promoting from within, your company brought in outside talent-- ASK WHY. Instead of brooding in the corner with your headphones on and talking smack at the Nepresso machine, set a meeting and ask specifics. Your boss has expectations of you, but that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have expectations from the company-- especially if they were discussed as options upon hiring.
"Your boss has expectations of you, but that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to have expectations of them."
You can't always know when it's going to rain, but you can always have an umbrella in your trunk. The more prepared you are, the better your chances of dodging the droplets.
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