In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Head Down or Chin Up: Where Are You When It Hits the Fan?

Being in house means being there through thick and thin. When a corporate disaster strikes, or there's a merger, that's when you may truly be tested, or just left out in the cold in your European sports car having to find another ten to four to call your own.

Generally, there are two ways to approach big changes and corporate disasters: You can either keep your head down in hopes of avoiding the culling, or you can lift your chin up, put your best foot forward, and try to influence where the chips will fall.

Take Cover, Keep Your Head Down

We all know how the mighty will fall, but if you're just another worker, the fall won't be as bad, or reputation demolishing, or career ending.

If a crisis falls on your plate, how you handle it matters. If you were out sick, or already had tickets booked for a vacation, they can't fault you for passing it on to another person, right? What's corporate hierarchy for anyway?

If you make big decisions, or volunteer to take on extra work, your decisions could place your head on the chopping block. If you just do the work that's assigned to you, and try your best not to look like you're cashing in all your vacation and sick time (while actually doing so), you may stand a better chance of surviving if heads are going to roll.

Chin Up, This Is Your Chance

If you haven't been "courted" during merger time, or no one is coming to you for help during the big company crisis, stepping up to the plate could produce some unexpected results. If there is likely to be downsizing after a merger or major corporate flub, stepping up could take you from unnoticed, to noticed, or better yet, needed.

If you know your work's important, make sure someone above you who's safe knows it too. If you've never been a very vocal employee, you might not get another chance. Just beware: putting your chin up means it can get knocked down.

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