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* On this little thing called “feeling (de)valued” – part 1

January 6, 2019
Getty Images/Photick

Matt Stephens, CEO of Heartbeat wrote (2017)*:

“feeling valued requires that someone demonstrates that they have seen worth in you and your contribution and regularly makes you aware of this. It’s something that is built over time… For people to feel truly valued, it must be reflected not just in what other people say, but also in what they do… and probably what they think…. to truly value someone and what they do requires far greater familiarity and understanding over a longer period.”

The above quote provides some good insights on some of the costs of being let go by an organization as there are several:

  • unless your getting let go comes as a total surprise, there is often a devaluing process the employee goes through which can be as brutal as an “ambush” meeting where one is told they’re not of much value and if they don’t turn it around in the next __ weeks “something will have to happen.” Of course the decision has already been made, there’s no “turn it around” possibility. It’s matter a formality so the organization can say (even if they didn’t mean) the employee was given the chance to “turn it around.” Some employees may have done something to “deserve” this but many have not. Rather it’s a matter of those in the organization having decided an employee:
    • has gotten too old (and thus expensive and/or slow, etc.) or
    • the simplistic belief that any communication challenges between the employee and the latest of their managers is the employee’s fault and/or
    • in many times a misplaced thought by the manager that if she or he could get someone different in a job things would work better. Just like that. (Oh, but that the world operated so simply as that!)
  • the devaluing process can be and too often does turn into something very personal. There seems to be a lot of lousy HR thinking out in the world. While I live and work in a state where it’s possible to work for an organization which can fire and/or lay someone off for “at will,” there are those who feel they still somehow have to validate their action by letting you know how unvalued you are. And do this by becoming anywhere from a little to a lot personal.

So getting let go by an organization is a big devaluing smack in the face. Often because that’s exactly what the organization has done to you.



  1. Sally Daniels Herron permalink

    Oh, Tom, you are so right about this…when I was “let go” from Augsburg after 42 years (4 of those as a student), my heart was broken.

    • Sally, A broken heart–really, not pretend, is a good way to describe it. And there were many of us who had a broken heart in seeing them let you go! I still say shame on them!

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