|Topside managers can send a message to the employees by what they say, as well as by what they do not say. When major changes are made to an individual's job, and top management applies corporate camouflage rather than communication, the handwriting has covered the wall.|
However, as a long-term senior employee, you owe it to yourself and even to your company to try to have direct contact with the CEO before you consider any further action. The fact that he will not return your phone calls should not deter you. If he will not talk to you by phone, insist on meeting with him. The best corporate leaders can always find time to meet with key employees. If he cannot or will not do so, the message is clear.
In the event that you do have such a meeting, bring the CEO up-to-date as to your department's numerous successes and your strategies and objectives for the future. It is possible that he has been so preoccupied with the big picture that you and your department may have fallen through one of the crevices.
If you do not get this meeting, and the reconfigured job is unacceptable, it is time to discretely network with other professionals in your field. While there are often too many applicants chasing too few jobs, there are rarely too many excellent applicants. With your significant honors and stable career path, you are far more marketable than you may think. Approach the job search in the same way that you would approach a major job project. Set up a detailed plan that includes goals, priorities, strategies, and deadlines, and then work it.
For better or for worse, we are in an era where job loyalty is not highly rewarded. This does not mean that you should not be highly rewarded; it just means that you may have to go elsewhere to get your rewards.