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?
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.