Company’s Using ‘Matrix” to Fail Their Employees

It is very natural, when you’re ready for a change in your career, to have a posting catch your eye and think, “That’s it!”

A sound company, decent job description, implying fair pay – let’s go.

But wait, if you step back from that initial excitement and re-read that posting, you might find:

  • A lot of travel is required (you said you did not want to be a road warrior any more)
  • Responsible for managing a team (you want to be an individual contributor)
  • Vague job description (the last job got you that way: 5 requirements listed, 20 expected)

And so on.

Clever wording need examination.

As a communications specialist, it’s my job to dissect the messages, meanings, and implications of words.

I am starting to see a word crop up regarding positions, and I’m not a fan.


As in a matrix role.

You know, Player-Coach. Individual Contributor-Leader, etc.

Call it what you want, yet what I find more often than not, what this word really means is:

We’ve now combined four positions into one job, four times the responsibility, one-quarter the pay!

Please, please, please – take a step back and really analyze those jobs. What is expected? Is it more than one job in one? It’s a great power cost saving move for the company, and a debilitating move for you.

It’s not just misleading, it is dangerous.

The higher up you are, the more damaging this role, especially for leaders who care.

At a lower level, it is easier to realize that this one job is not worth our mental health. We can find another job; we can advance our career in a more healthy way. Even if it seems a step back, we’re just not willing to risk family time or our sanity for this matrix role.

At a leader level, we taking on the failure ourselves. They trust us to do these multiple functions, our not being able to sustain is a failure on our part. We need to keep trying, harder, while being there for our team members. We need to support them to tell them we know it is unfair to ask them to do four jobs…

The intent is noble, the initial thought is wrong.

It is not your failure as a leader, professional, or human being not being able to sustain multiple demanding positions.

The company is failing you. If they had any sense at all, they would recognize your people are leaving due to the undue amount of stress (hopefully they have systems and processes in place to capture this information – if not, I got a girl) and can connect the dots before the whole house of cards collapses.

Let’s bottom line this.

  • Take time to review openings – be wary of ‘the spin’
  • Don’t take on your company’s failure as your own.
  • Give yourself permission and freedom to choose you.

Your sanity, time, and health are more important than any job. You’re awesome, you’re important, you’re needed – don’t let a job take that away from you!


I help amazing people get career happy and companies stay true to brand.

Coaching: Career, Emotional Intelligence, Confidence, Business, Brand, Yoga

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All opinions and views expressed in this article are my own, unless attributed. They’re normally pretty spot-on (because I’m obsessive about career topics and communications). The humor sprinkled in is Mr. B approved, my dog who thinks I’m hilarious (and not because I’m his meal ticket).

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