So picture the scene. You walk into your office one day to find that your boss is no longer there. They have been fired and escorted off the premises. Now, how you feel about this largely depends on how you feel about your boss. The boss being sacked is a pretty disruptive experience for most people, but for an assistant it can be disastrous. It is quite often said that if a boss leaves a firm, in what ever circumstances, the assistant usually follows. With employment law being much more on the side of the employee this is no longer the case, but it is still worthwhile ensuring that you act in a why that ensures you keep your job. Indeed, your boss being fired could be exactly what you need! Here are some tips on what to do when your boss has been sacked.

Firstly, don’t make it all about you

Quite naturally you have hundreds of questions but do show the Executive Team that you are putting the company first. If your boss walked or was fired, either way they are going to leave a big gap to fill. Even if you are faking it make sure everyone thinks your initial thoughts are with your colleagues, department and the overall organisation.

Secondly, find out where you stand

It is easy to say don’t panic but assistants are so tied up with their manager that if they get the sack it can be easy to assume that you will to. Once you have made it clear to your organisation that you want to stay, find out where you stand. Let’s face it – if you are going to be fired they would have done it already! Remember that you haven’t done anything wrong, your Executive getting sacked isn’t your fault but you do want to make sure you are still wanted by the company. Do try not to panic, you don’t want your boss’s peers to see you as a nervous wreck! You might be their PA one day! Whatever happens, now is probably the time to dust off your CV and bring it up to date. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Be helpful

If your boss has literally been escorted off the premises that morning you are going to be the person that has to deal with the fall out. You will have to show  your colleagues where your boss kept their confidential papers, hand over passwords to IT systems and keys to filing cabinets. It will feel disloyal but if you want to keep your job you are going to have to be helpful. Again it is all about perceptions – you don’t want to be seen as defensive or difficult. You also do not want to look guilty! Instead, with the Executive team, be open about your relationship with your boss including details you might have kept confidential before.

Don’t spill all of the gossip

If you hated your boss and can’t believe this day has finally arrived don’t succumb to the boss bashing that will inevitably follow their departure. Telling everyone about your boss’s secret affairs might feel like a complete release but it isn going to make you look professional. As tempting as it is – keep your lips sealed!

Can you take advantage of this situation?

Last but not least, although a little selfish, it is totally worth thinking about how you can use this situation to advance your career. This is the time to show your colleagues you are more than your old boss’s assistant. If you have always wanted to move out of your current department now is the time to act. Can you ask to work with a different Executive or side step into a different department? Your boss being sacked can be the perfect opportunity to really show what you can do!

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2 comments

  • Silvina May 26, 2014   Reply →

    I was in a situation like this two years ago. He was probably the best boss I’ve had, so I felt terribly sad when he was fired. When I was helping him to pack his things I just wanted to cry but of course I didn’t.
    I panicked because I felt alone and helpless and I was afraid I would be fired, too, but then I realised that I hadn’t done anything wrong and that eventually a new executive would arrive and he would need an assistant. It was four montsh of helping other colleagues an executives until the position was filled.

  • Marilyn Diane June 24, 2014   Reply →

    I know exactly how you feel. I was away on holiday when it happened. was the worst 6 months of my life. As the new manger arrived and he didn’t want me either as I knew he had a PA. Without fail I was summons and told to go to a post in another part of the company. It worked out well in the end but was the most stressful time of my life.

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