Warning Signs That You Could Lose Your Job

Warning Signs That You Could Lose Your Job

Are you worried about losing your job? It can happen to anyone, sometimes when you least expect it. Even during the best of times, companies make changes and employees get laid off. During challenging economic times, your work status can become even more precarious.

How can you tell if you’re about to lose your job? Sometimes, employers announce layoffs, furloughs, and cutbacks, and it can be very clear that your employment is in jeopardy. In other cases, it’s not so easy to tell if your position may be on the chopping block.

There are warning signs to look out for, and ways you can prepare if you think it could happen to you. Some are major changes that impact many employees. Others are more personal and related to your relationship with your manager and the company.

12 Warning Signs Your Job Is at Risk

Here’s what to look out for if you’re concerned about losing your job.

1. Earnings Reports Are Dismal

One of the biggest red flags to watch is profits (and losses). If an organization is losing money, they are going to be looking at ways they can turn things around. That could mean cutting individual jobs or groups of employees.

2. Budgets Are Getting Cut

Even if a company is profitable, certain departments and teams may not be. If you know that your department’s budget is getting cut, be aware that jobs can be part of the budget-trimming process.

3. The Company Starts Changing Work Processes

Companies are always looking out to save money, and change is inevitable in today’s workplace. Those changes can have an impact on jobs, and a new way of doing something can cost employees who work as part of the old process in their positions. If your employer is discussing implementing new systems, think about how it might impact your role.

4. The Company Is Cutting Other Jobs

If jobs are being cut on other teams or employees are being furloughed, it may mean that more cost-cutting will happen down the line. Is your position one that could be eliminated? When you hear about job cuts, it’s worth considering your role and how future cuts could impact your position.

5. The Company Has Merged or Been Acquired

When mergers and acquisitions happen, there are often redundancies and job cuts. For example, companies don’t need two accounting departments or two shipping departments. If your company has merged or been bought by a larger company, be aware that there will most like be changes to the workforce.

6. You Don’t Get Along With Your Boss

Sometimes losing your job doesn’t have anything to do with money. If you and your manager are butting heads all the time and can’t seem to agree on anything, it’s a sign that this may not be the job for you. Do consider if there’s a way to work things out, but be aware that you may not be able to.

7. You’re Being Excluded From Meetings

Are there meetings that you aren’t being invited to? If you’re working remotely, does everyone else seem to be unexpectedly out of the loop sometimes? Could they be having Zoom meetings withoutyou? If you have the sense that something is going on that you’re not a part of, you might very well be right.

8. You’re Not Included in Emails and Meetings

Email is the same scenario as meetings. Does it seem like your inbox is empty when you expect it to be full? Do you expect to be copied in on certain messages, but it appears that’s not happening? Are there meetings happening without you? That’s a clue you’re not part of whatever is happening at the moment.

9. Your Hours Are Cut

If your hours are being cut, it’s a very clear sign that you may no longer be needed. That’s especially the case if it’s just your scheduled hours that are being changed. If everyone else is working the same schedule as always, consider it a warning.

10. You’re Getting Bad Reviews

Is your performance getting bad reviews? Even if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing at work and then some, and you’re still getting negative reviews, it’s something to be concerned about. Consider talking to your manager about what you need to do to improve.

11. You Don’t Have Much Work to Do

Are you being assigned less work? Are there projects that you normally would have been a part of that other team members are working on instead? Do you have an empty desk with nothing much to do? If you’re not being assigned work, it can be a sign that you’re not needed. It’s an even bigger sign if someone else is doing work that traditionally would have been yours.

12. You’re Not Getting Promoted

If you’re getting passed over for promotions, it doesn’t mean your tenure with the company is coming to an end. It does mean that you should evaluate your relationship with your employer and decide if it’s worth staying or if it would be better to think about moving on.

What to Do if You’re Worried About Losing Your Job

One of the best things you can do when you’re concerned that your job is at stake is to prepare to find a new one. Even if it’s a temporarily challenging situation and it resolves itself, it’s always a good idea to be ready to look for a new role.

Don’t advertise the fact that you’re job searching, but do start discreetly to prepare to move on. That way, you’ll be prepared if you need to start looking for a new position in a hurry.

Here’s how to get started:

Update your resume. Be sure your resume is current and includes your latest (and most relevant) work history. Add new skills, certification, education, and professional development.

Update LinkedIn. Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is as current as your resume, but before you start, change your privacy settings, so your connections (and your boss and co-workers) don’t know that you are making changes.

You will be able to make discreet changes without advertising that you’re considering a job search. Click Account, Settings & Privacy, Share job changes, education changes, and work anniversaries from profile, and select “No”.

Build your network. Start adding strategically to your network. Build up your network so you’re connecting with people who can help your job hunt if you hit the “go” button and are ready to move on.

Start investigating jobs and companies. Spend some time looking at job listings for positions in your field of interest. In addition to seeing what’s available, you’ll get an idea of how robust the job market is for someone with your credentials. Search on Google and some of the top job sites to get a broad picture of what’s out there.

Check your finances. Are you financially prepared to handle a layoff? Unemployment will supplement some of your pay, but not all. If you’re short on savings, what can you do (freelance, gigs, etc.) to get by until you get hired?

Consider applying for jobs. If you’re worried about losing your job, you may want to preemptively get ready to start a job search. Even if your job isn’t at risk, the fact that you were concerned is a flag that this may not be the best job for you. Seeing what else is out there will give you an opportunity to move your career forward on your own terms.

If you do lose your job, don’t panic. Here are some things you can do get back on track and get hired, and here’s a step-by-step guide to a successful job search.

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  • June 17, 2023