Employment investigations and terminations are the bulk of what I do. Often, the investigations highlight the need for change, like additional training, promotions/demotions and other performance management actions. The terminations, of course, usually result in a staffing gap that needs to be addressed quickly.

Both of these situations can provide opportunities for advancement for current employees. So if you are looking for a new job, the simplest way to find one may be to stay put.

Silver linings

While they are being conducted, investigations and terminations are stressful for those directly and indirectly involved. And when they have been completed, the fallout can be worse.

Most of the time, the outcome of either issue highlights changes that must be made to support the remaining employees. Further, employers normally need to make those changes quickly. Opportunities can rise out of those changes.

If there has been an employee relations issue, offer to help address the newly created gaps. If someone has been terminated, offer to take on that role — or at least part of it in the interim while the company decides on next steps. If an investigation results in the need for a new approach to a current system, offer to lead the project.

Even if you feel like you are already working more than enough, finding a way to better position yourself where you are may be a much more efficient path to a new position than spending time looking for another employer.

It is important to remember that when an employer must address the issues raised by an investigation or termination, the easiest, quickest and most efficient path to a solution is often to reallocate current resources. Take advantage of that, turn lemons into lemonade, and offer your services to address that need.

Next steps

While it does not make sense to put your search on hold until a potential crisis at your employer offers you an opportunity, it does make sense to find ways to explore the options for advancement where you are. If you look, it is likely easy to find managers who need extra help, long-standing system problems that need upgrades, or projects that lack a leader.

Instead of finding time to troll LinkedIn or have networking lunches, look around and create your own opportunity for advancement where you are.

Taking this step usually ends in one of three ways:

  • You could discover there is no opportunity at your current employer, and it really is a good idea to look elsewhere.
  • There may be a ton of opportunity, you take it and your employer just uses you to address the need without promoting you, giving you a raise or otherwise providing any meaningful acknowledgment for the initiative you took. As such, it again is a good idea to look for a job elsewhere.
  • You see opportunity, take it and get the promotion or raise you sought without having to go anywhere.

In any case, at worst you get additional experience for your resume and motivation for your search. At best you get what you wanted. Thus, if you are considering a new opportunity, you may want to make your first step exploring the options with your current employer.