How to Cope When You’re Shown the Door

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Bonus Busting

You should be furious. How you’re being treated is infuriating. Unfortunately, companies don’t care about your dedication and loyalty over years or even decades if those things end up costing them too much. Corporate indifference is craven and unfair. You have nothing to lose so you could, certainly, ask your employer if your last day can be pushed until after bonuses are distributed, but your separation date was probably chosen deliberately.

I don’t know that posting about being treated so poorly is unprofessional. It’s human. And corporations do not have feelings because they are not people. They aren’t going to care if you post about it. They probably won’t even know. That said, I imagine you’re looking for new work so it makes sense to hesitate about airing your grievances publicly. You never want to burn professional bridges, even when your soon-to-be former employer has handed you both gasoline and a torch.

It’s Not Them, It’s Me, I Guess

This is one of the strangest dilemmas I have yet encountered. What you need now is clarity. If the company is currently paying you to do nothing, without an end date, your managers probably aren’t trying to skirt around severance. I cannot really figure out what is going on here. It seems that they are firing you without cause and don’t want any trouble so they’re willing to subsidize your transition into a new position. You could ask your employer what the time frame for this limbo is so you can plan next steps, but I worry that will bring attention to a pretty sweet deal. Regardless, you should be looking for a new position and shoring up whatever financial safety net you may have. You might even contact a few employment lawyers to see how they would advise navigating this strange situation. Something is definitely awry.

Guided Mandatory Fun

Having guidelines for how to socialize during mandatory fun is a new twist. It sounds as if the new C.E.O. has read a few books or articles about how to promote team bonding without considering what the team actually wants or would find useful. Generally, adults know how to socialize with work colleagues. They don’t need prompts. That said, this is manageable. Your job is just your job and though there is often an expectation that employees participate in mandatory fun, you are entitled to manage your free time as you see fit. Bow out of the mandatory fun that you don’t want to participate in by politely saying you cannot attend. Don’t offer a reason unless you’re asked. If you have to provide a reason, offer any of the numerous reasons we are busy after work. Wish those who will be attending well and keep it moving.

See Something, Say Something

Your colleagues are being racist. You should call them out directly, identifying the specific instances of their racism and microaggression. And yes, you should also bring up this racism to your administrators even if they would have voted for President Barack Obama for a third term. It is useful to have an institutional record even if that record will be ignored.

Sometimes, doing the right thing doesn’t effect change in the immediate. But it does demonstrate to your Black colleagues and other colleagues of color that there is a true ally in their midst. You may also want to check in with your new colleague to see how she is adjusting and whether she needs anything. If this is how your other colleagues are talking to you about her, I imagine your workplace must be a very lonely and isolating place for her.

Write to Roxane Gay at [email protected].

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