The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: “I may lose my job…”

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Question: I work in a small business and I think the owner is trying to sell it. I am worried that if he does then the new owners will reduce staff and I will lose my job. Jon

Answer: You suspect that it’s up for sale but on what basis? Is it the worst kept secret of all time or have you misinterpreted a throw-away remark? Even if it’s true, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your job is at risk: you could be given more opportunity in the new organisation.

Some would say that you’re worrying unnecessarily but it’s real for you, so let’s deal with it. The trick of coping with uncertainty is to focus solely on what you can control. What shouts at me is that you’re not confident about your own abilities and value to the company. You’re in a “victim” state rather than a “can do” state and this you can control.

Turn that wasted “victim” energy to positive use by focusing on your skills and achievements. List them. Think about problems you’ve solved, however small and identify the steps you took. Was it an idea you had or a process you followed that solved the problem? Are you reliable, do people look to you for advice or have you mastered a particular task? Ask someone who knows you well to give you an honest assessment of your abilities and character. You’ll have a good idea then of what you can offer any new owner, should it arise, and how you can fit into a new team. You’ll be in a position of strength and the confidence you are now showing will help you take control even if the company isn’t up for sale.


Laura Murphy is the founder of mtc2 ltd, a management consultancy, training and coaching company.  Laura is an organisation development specialist and business coach.  If you have a problem then contact her at

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Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.