Even though many news outlets keep talking about our country's economic recovery, most of us know that the job market is still uncertain and unstable. That's why it's so important to think ahead. For those who are currently employed, it's only natural to worry about your job's future and wonder if the company you work for is planning cutbacks or layoffs.
It's a worry that's shared by an overwhelming majority of the workforce and while it's impossible to accurately predict whether you will end up on the wrong side of a layoff, there are some warning signs that your company is in danger. When you see these signs, it's time to start looking for a new job.
Sudden, company-wide, mandatory meetings – While it's typical for a company to have periodic company-wide meetings, these are meetings that are unscheduled or ones where you are give very short notice. Typically, during these meetings the CEO will give a talk, either in person or via video, about the future of the company and new corporate goals. They might give vague indications that the company is having problems or “facing new challenges." When these meetings happen more than once or twice in a short time period, it's probably a good sign that the company is going under.
An increasing number of top-level executives and/or senior managers have taken new opportunities – After the sudden, company-wide meeting, pay attention to any email announcements you receive about top-level executives finding new and exciting opportunities at other companies. These emails will make it sound as though the company will be sad to see the employee go. Another version of this is when a senior manager decides to resign in order to spend more time focusing on their family or to pursue higher education. Of course, this can happen at any time and sometimes, these are legitimate reasons. However, if more that two or three members of management suddenly leave, it's a good sign that you should follow their lead.
Your boss gets a promotion, but is still your supervisor – Sometimes, when your boss gets promoted, she will be required to continue to be your supervisor for a couple of weeks before a new manager is appointed. That's fairly normal, but when your boss gets a promotion but is still going to be in charge of your department in addition to his new responsibilities, it's a good sign that the company is trying to either cut back on managers or that your department is going to be getting a whole lot smaller soon.
The presence of outside consultants or “efficiency experts” - When a company is in trouble and the stockholders are concerned about a decrease in corporate profits, they will send in a outside consultant to look for ways to reduce overhead and streamline their operation. While this doesn't automatically mean that you're going to be out of a job soon, when combined with even one of the other signs, you can be fairly certain that it's time to either find a new job, make yourself more valuable or both.
Have you ever been laid off? Did any of these things happen in the weeks or months before the company cut their workforce? What other signs should employees look out for? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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