Job loss: Signs That You Are About To Lose Your Job

  | 8 min read
lose your job

You love your job. In fact, you have devoted so much time to it and things have been going on really well for you. Up until that day you receive the letter that your services will no longer be required by the company. With the tough economic times and the introduction of technology, job losses have been on the increase. As much as a job loss is devastating, you can always bounce back or better yet, protect yourself from the shock if you can accurately pick out the signs that things are not as rosy as they have always been.

Companies are routinely streamlining their operations and any role that is not perceived as being core risks being eliminated. However, the process of laying off staff is slow and painful for the company and this is why it can be very hard to see it coming. As such, job security is no longer a guarantee. So, just what are the signs of an impending layoff?

Financial Problems

Financial problems

The economy keeps shifting but if your sector takes a major hit from troubled financial times, then that is a sign that your job is not so safe. As finances become a problem, employers look for ways to reduce costs and the human resource becomes a casualty especially in cases where it takes up a huge chunk of the budget.

Therefore, if your company is going through some tough financial times, it may be a sign that layoffs are round the corner and it is time for you to start devising a plan B.

Fewer Responsibilities

At any given time, you are likely to take on more work than what is in your job description. It is the natural flow of activities in the workplace and in most cases, your boss may give you more tasks so as to help you grow your skill set or just to ensure that you are growing in your career.

However, when a layoff is round the corner, you might find your boss giving you less work or worse still, your tasks are slowly assigned to someone else. In some cases, you are no longer assigned big projects and your job simply becomes routine. If you find yourself going through such an experience, it is a sign that a job loss may be coming your way.

Your relationship with your boss is no longer rosy

job loss

You have been having a great relationship with your boss and he/she tells you everything that is going on in the office. In fact, there seems to be no line between the two of you and this has contributed to your growth within the organisation. However, the relationship suddenly changes and getting access to your boss is no longer as easy as it used to be. Worse still, you boss no longer tells you what is happening like before. This is called avoidance as your boss does not want to be too attached to you with your impending job loss.

In some cases, your boss becomes very critical of your work and there is nothing you do that pleases him/her. This is a clear sign that your job may no longer be so safe and you need to start applying for other jobs.

Mergers/ Acquisitions/ New Management

Mergers and acquisitions

In some cases, the coming together of several companies comes with new ways of doing things. In some cases, the majority shareholder may want to come with their people on board or even just do away with existing staff members. This might have nothing to do with your performance or even skills.

Unfortunately, the change in management has often led to job losses and if your company is being acquired or is merging with another, then it is wise not to be too comfortable as anything can happen.

Bad Reviews

Everything has been going on well for you but of late, your performance reviews are quite negative. In fact, some of them are very critical of your work and you just don’t seem to be getting anything right. This might mean that your work genuinely needs improvement or it might mean that your services are no longer important to the business.

As such, it is good to take it as a sign that you need to leave because you might soon lose that job. Sometimes, your skills are no longer useful to the job and this can lead to negative reviews or the management might just be pushing you out.

Additionally, if you have stayed in the same position for too long while your colleagues have been moving up the ladder, you might just be the first casualty of a job cut. If you feel like you have not been making any progress while everyone’s career is making a progressive upward movement, it may just be time to start packing before you are pushed out.  

Minor Issues are Ignored

When you are on the job, everything matters, including how early or late you come to work. Some things seem minor but if the company is keen on having you around, they will not go unnoticed.

When you are about to lose your job, such issues start being overlooked. Maybe you made an error on a file but your boss did not even raise an eyebrow. Small issues no longer seem to matter to your boss and you seem to be getting away with issues that would previously get you into trouble. This is a sign that you are about to be let go and no one sees the need to be on your neck when you are about to leave anyway.

Someone is Learning Your Job

job loss

Maybe someone has been recruited lately and he/she is learning your job, or a colleague suddenly starts being interested in learning how you do things. This is not just a passing interest and you notice that the colleague is keen on the details.

This means that the said person is being groomed to replace you and it is time to start looking for another job. Even if you are about to be laid off, your job still needs to get done and the company either hires someone else to replace you or gets a colleague to do your job in the event that it is downsizing.

Rumour Has it

In some instances, your colleagues may get to know about the impending job loss before you. This is because, some of them may already be assigned your tasks and as such, they know that you are about to be released. In some instances, some of your colleagues may be close to management and thus, have access to insider information.

As much as rumours should be trusted with a pinch of salt, it is important to pay attention as some of them may be true and your colleagues may be privy to information that is yet to be made public.

What to do if you think you are about to lose your job

Talk to your boss

If you see all the signs of an impending job loss, consider talking to your manager for clarification. Sometimes, you may be right or wrong and it is advisable to seek clarification as uncertainty can affect your performance.

Have a plan B

Side hustle

As much as you may love your job and your colleagues, it is advisable to start looking for another job. This does not show disloyalty to your employer. It is simply a way of protecting yourself from the effects of a job loss.

If you think that a job loss may be coming your way, dust your CV, contact your networks and start scanning job boards for available opportunities.

Ask for a recommendation

In the unfortunate event that you actually lose your job, ask your manager to give you a recommendation. This will help you in your job search as it will show that you did not lose your job due to incompetence or a poor working relationship. It will also demonstrate to recruiters that you are a skilled person who can add value to the company if hired.

Do not hit back at your employer

Sometimes, you may be tempted to start bad mouthing your former employer and discrediting their reputation. This will not serve you well and may end up hurting your reputation.

Even when you are invited for interviews, do not say negative things about your former employer. Instead, explain to the interviewer that you lost your job as a result of downsizing and that your skills are not in question.

In conclusion, a job loss can be unsettling especially when you do not have a fallback plan. But, you can mitigate its effect by looking out for the signs and then cushion yourself by getting a plan B. When you find yourself in this unfortunate place, do not beat yourself up about it, take the time to process the loss and then get back on your feet. Do not be tempted to hit back at your former employer as this can ruin your professional reputation.

Mueke Katwa
I have two years experience in Business Support which covers Human Resource as a function; and a lifelong passion in creative writing.


  1. Best article have read regarding job loss and how to prepare and identify its happening into your organization.Sometimes we are blinded by how much we love our job and forget it might be all rosy in few month to come.

    • Hi Alice,
      Thank you for reading.
      We hope the information you read here will enlighten you.
      Keep it Brighter Monday your Career Partner.


    • Alice, You have said the truth. One time I stuck to a job despite the fact I knew the company was going down. I went down with It.

      • Hi David,
        We appreciate your feedback and we are glad that our services are of great value to you.

        Have you secured another job yet? ^AN

  2. I’ve been through job loss and trust me this article explains it all. You can always tell when such is coming your way

    • Hi Fai,
      Thank you sharing your sentiments.
      You know what they say when one door closes another opens so there are plenty of opportunities out there one just need to search and make use of them.


  3. Thank you very much for this article. very helpful. Witch-hunting is another sign though not mentioned here. some individual/s will just pick a minor issue and amplify it and it becomes an elephant. You try to seek redress but the individual/s create a huge barrier to block any initiative that can resolve the matter. It is the worst design of pushing one out of job because it intimidates, manipulates and leaves one completely hopeless

    • Hi Rose,
      Thank you for sharing your experience to us.
      Its really a trying moment in ones career when you know that you have been giving your all and thats the thanks you get. But one needs to take heart and look for greener pastures. We hope this article has enlightened you and many others.


  4. I went through it……it is painful especially when one has no signs…..thank you brightermonday…this is very true and very important for noting

    • We have heard your story Margaret and we can understand how frustrating it was. In life there is always disappointment but we overcome them and learn from them and for your case it was but a learning experience so that when a similar predicament falls on you, youl know how to come out.


  5. Nice article really…have noticed such in my work place and i have been seeking job and praying that God will help me out when it comes.

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thank you for reading.
      If you gathered enough evidence to proof you are nolonger needed then plan early but make sure that your reasons are justifiable because once you leave there is no second chance. So kindly think critically before you reach your final verdict.
      Feel free to right to us if you need further advice on this.


  6. Everything headlined here happend to me! Unknown to me, I became a threat to my supervisor & she lobbied intensly such that after probation, to the suprise of many, I wasnt confirmed – mark you, this was an INGO where ‘policies dictate business!’. I left gracefully.

    • Hi Aileen,

      Thank you for sharing with us and we are sorry that you went through your former bosses insecurities. However, all is not lost. We trust that you managed to get a good recommendation from your former employer to help in you job search.

      In addition to this, make good use of our services. We do advertise NGO jobs that would suit your interest. ^AN

    • Hi Catherine,
      We appreciate your support in our services and we are glad that this information gave you a positive insight. In ts very important to always have a plan B whenever you see these signs at your work place than waiting for the worst.

      Stay locked and learn more tips and advice that will assure you growth career-wise. ^AN

  7. Thanks for the information,
    How can one look for opportunities while still in a job, since most employers nowadays instill tracking devices into the tools we use in day today work environments,again how can one include his/her current employer in his CV most employers require current employer as part of Reference
    Kindly advice

    • Hi Brian,
      Here are few factors that you should consider.
      -Remain private about your goals and actions at your current workplace until it is clear that you will be supported. It’s also best to stay quiet about your plans so it doesn’t get around to the wrong people
      -Try your best to put forth your best work and retain strong relationships within your current office, because you may need to use your current boss or co-workers as references for future jobs
      -Be very careful when visiting job boards or using social media to conduct your search because a single status update could be enough to alert your employer. You can further minimize the risk of being caught by ensuring your privacy settings are tight and using services that mask your identity when posting your resume online.


  8. Nice article. Can i repost/share it on our platform? I write for the founder magazine, its an online business magazine

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