What To Do When Your Hours Get Cut At Work

Tips on maintaining poise when the workplace becomes as reliable as Ask-the-Magic-Eight-ball

Nothing drops the heart faster than a steady stream of half-days and your boss asking you to leave early via email. Don't be terrified that cut hours most assuredly mean that your head is on the chopping block for some cardinal workplace sin that you don’t remember committing. But there are always two sides to a story, so it’s your job (pun intended) to find out what’s behind the wizard’s curtain.

Be prepared. Sometimes being sent home early isn’t a reflection on your work performance, but it is a reflection of the company’s health. If you have a contracted job through an employment agency, it’s possible that your hours are being cut because the work is slow or the contract is in jeopardy. That’s no fault of yours. If you work for a small business, it could be that your boss just wants to go home early or has obligations outside of work that don’t require you.

Be a Bloodhound. Talk about an awkward conversation. No one likes confrontation or being nosy to a boss, but when your financial stability is at stake and you have no professional gaffes to merit a pink paper, it’s time to step up to the plate for yourself. Don’t beat around the bush. Ask your boss why you’re being sent home early. The reason is either going to be something you can change or something you can’t. If you ask, then you’ll know which.

Side work is good work. If you’re worried that you’re on the way out of your current job, start marketing your other skills to pay the bills. Most times, it’s as simple as a Craigslist ad. Everyone has a talent that they can market on the side of their traditional “it pays the bills” job. Writing, web design, computer repair, sales, photography—you name it. Check out getting your own website. It’s an excellent choice for those who are looking to eventually make long-term profits from their talents.

Don’t forget to assess all of your options. An early day twice a week might look like you’re heading for the unemployment office, but it could just be a few weeks of slow business.  The best thing you can do is be assertive and upfront to know what your next step should be. Take comfort in this: sometimes when you suffer a professional break-up, it really isn’t you—it’s them. But ask the Magic-Eight-ball just to be sure.


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