While on-the-spot firings or even lay-offs certainly happen in a variety of workplaces, there are common tell-tale signs that indicate that your job may be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, many Americans are currently living with fears of potential job loss.
A poll from staffing agency Insight Global conducted earlier this year found that nearly 80% of survey respondents fear for their jobs amid the current economic situation.
If you’re one of those who are concerned, here are some signs you need to look for that you may suddenly lose your job.
The company is losing money
If you’ve heard whisperings among your colleagues about financial trouble or are privy to earnings reports that seem rather dismal, it may be a sign that some restructuring of the workplace may be on the way.
Unfortunately, when money is no longer coming in (or not coming in as it used to), people’s jobs are often on the line. If you know the company is losing money, it may be time to discuss plans with management or take some steps to prepare for a possible layoff.
This could include updating your resume and starting an emergency fund in case you can’t find a new gig right away.
Work processes are changing
If your company is looking to implement new work practices, or begin using a new program of some sort to increase efficiency (and income), make sure you spend some time thinking about how it’ll impact your position.
If the new system makes your job much simpler or even obsolete, people from your department may be on the chopping block if the company is thinking about layoffs.
Your responsibilities are dwindling
Management may stop giving you new tasks or responsibilities if they know you’re on your way out. Career experts also warn that if you are asked to hand tasks off to other colleagues (or even a new hire), that could be a bad sign as well.
However, keep in mind that a lull in responsibilities may just have to do with the normal ebb and flow of your work year.
The company was bought
If your company has merged with or been acquired by another, there’s a good chance job cuts are coming. Merging may mean the company is left with job redundancies and management may decide to get rid of some workers.
When a company is bought outright, the new management may have a different vision about how many people are needed in each department and re-adjust the workforce to reflect that.
New management was brought in
When a new manager is brought in, either because of a merger or acquisition or because higher-ups want to bring in new talent, career experts warn that layoffs may be on the horizon.
Oftentimes, new managers will have a different viewpoint on workforce structure. And if they were brought on to deal with any financial issues, those viewpoints may equate to fewer employees to pay.
You’re excluded from meetings or emails
If you begin to notice that you’re being left out of important meetings or email chains, that’s another sign your employer may be looking to cut your job.
Career experts warn that management may want to put some distance between employees they know are getting the ax. That way, any information discussed in these meetings stays close to home.
Your hours are cut
Having your hours cut back does not necessarily mean you’ll lose your job. Sometimes companies try to avoid layoffs by cutting employees’ hours. However, it could also be a sign that your services are no longer needed (or not needed as much).
It can also be a cause for concern if you notice your hours have been cut but other colleagues are still getting the same shifts they were before.
Your boss starts acting differently
If your boss seems to undergo some sort of attitude change — whether that be unavailability, elusiveness, or being more (or less) critical — it may be a sign you’ll get the boot soon.
Sometimes when a boss learns that layoffs are coming, or a particular employee is losing their job, they may pull away in an attempt to avoid conflict.
A change in boss behavior can be an indicator that something is up — particularly if your boss used to be very responsive to emails, calls, or office small talk and stops suddenly.
Someone else with your skills is hired
If someone who has a very similar skill set to you has been brought in, and it’s not specifically to help with an overload of work, that could be an indicator that the company is trying someone else out for the position.
Of course, if there is a similar position open in a different department or your company is expanding in some way, this may not be as big a risk to your job security.
Your reviews are poor
If you’ve gotten a lot of negative feedback or poor reviews regarding your performance, it may be a sign you’ll be losing your job soon.
Also, if the feedback reads like your employer is making a list of issues, that may indicate that they’re planning to let you go and have a paper trail of why they chose to do so.
No one brings up your mistakes anymore
On the flip side, if management stops pointing out mistakes, it could also be an indicator that you’ll be losing your job soon.
While managers are considering who they could lay off, they may be hyper-critical of work performance. However, once the decision is made, they may stop commenting on mistakes, showing up late, or other minor issues because they know their employee will soon be gone.
You feel out of the loop
Feeling out of the loop may include being left out of meetings or emails, feeling ignored by management, and even feeling out of the loop with colleagues.
Your co-workers may not necessarily know you’re going to be let go, but they may have all been told about a project or company event that you heard nothing about. This may also be an indicator that an employer is not planning to have you around for much longer.
Keep in mind that none of these signs definitively mean you’ll be losing your job. There are plenty of reasons your boss may be acting differently.
Maybe they’ve hit a rough patch in their own life or responsibilities are dwindling. Or it could just be the ebb and flow of work at the company.
However, if you notice any of these signs, it may be a good idea to polish off your resume and check out jobs in your area that you may be interested in to make sure you can pay the rent.
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