Being Laid Off? Pending ‘Pink Slip’ Signs

While most of this blog’s readers are focused on getting jobs, some have voiced concern about the future of their current jobs.  I asked Jenny Schade, president of JRS Consulting, to provide some insights for those of you who might be wondering about the security of your current jobs.  

Jenny has interviewed more than 1,000 employees who have experienced dramatic organizational changes, and she offered to write four posts over the next week that can help you anticipate and avoid a pink slip.  Here’s part one:

Just how worried should you be about possibly losing your job?  How can you tell if you’re next?

I’ll always remember a client, Linda, who was laid off for the second time in a year.  “I can’t understand it,” she said, looking like she’d just been punched in the stomach.  “I thought they liked me here.”

Linda was right–they did like her.  But that didn’t have anything to do with whether or not she’d keep her market research position within companies struggling to survive.

If Linda had taken a close look at her situation, she could have seen the writing on the wall.  Here are five signals that indicate you should be prepared to move on:

  1. You’re not very busy.  Have you lost an account or has your department budget been slashed?  These days, no organizations can afford to keep paying staff that aren’t in demand.
  2. Your clients aren’t happy campers.  If your account has been put for review, chances are you might be too.
  3. You haven’t spoken to your boss lately.  In fact, it seems she’s avoiding you.  The next worst thing to being laid off is being the one to announce the bad news.  If your boss is consistently unavailable to you, it may be a sign that she’s facing an uncomfortable decision or discussion.
  4. Your department’s services aren’t central to your company’s business.  When hard decisions have to be made about who goes and who stays, those who are critical to the company’s core business are most likely to keep their jobs.  If you’re in a department that provides services to internal clients but not to those paying the bills, there’s always the risk that your job might be outsourced.
  5. Your boss’ days seem numbered.  If your boss is on edge, seems uninterested in the business or is clearly interviewing outside the company, its time to assess the security of your own position.

Suggestions about what you can do to avoid a layoff will be covered in a second post here next week. 

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