Warning signs that you could be about to lose your job

Workers fear job cuts

Even though the job numbers remain strong, several quarters of negative growth have many people worried that the American economy could be headed into a recession.

A recent poll by Ipsos found that 41 percent of working-age adults surveyed say that it is at least somewhat likely that they, a family member, or a personal acquaintance will lose their job in the next six months due to economic conditions.

North of the border, Canada is seeing many workers expressing concern about losing their jobs due to the current economic conditions. This has an increasing number of employed people looking for new jobs out of fear that their current one may be at risk.

Warning signs of a job loss

With high inflation, negative growth, and record low unemployment all at the same time, the economic situation can be confusing. This doesn’t mean that you should immediately begin searching for another job. However, it is a good idea to keep your eyes open for signs of trouble at work, so that if cutbacks do come, you won’t be blindsided by a sudden job loss.

Here are some indicators to watch for that your employment situation might be tenuous.

Signs that the company is in trouble

The company is struggling financially, and previously planned projects are being scaled back or cancelled altogether. Many organizations are going through a period of transition as the pandemic restrictions fade, and life returns to normal. The economy, the workforce, and consumers have all changed in the wake of the global health scare. This may lead to companies retooling their workforce or shifting strategies.

If the initiatives you are involved with are on the chopping block, that could lead to staff cuts as well. Employers may be reluctant to lose workers in a tight labour market, but if the company is losing business and revenues are down, streamlining the workforce could be a cost-saving necessity.

Management becomes less social and holds more closed-door meetings. If a supervisor who you previously had a good rapport with becomes distant, and seems to be avoiding having conversations, or offering feedback, it could be that job reductions are looming. Your boss could feel awkward coaching or having casual conversations with someone they know they will shortly be letting go.

There is a staff restructuring, and you are reporting to a new manager. New leaders are sometimes assigned to teams in order to shake things up. This often includes making some changes in staff. Managers frequently seek to build their own teams – often made up of people they have worked with previously. Managers are generally more loyal to the workers they hired than those they were assigned in a company reorg.

The company downsizes the office space. With the rise of remote work, many companies are realizing that they can save money by maintaining smaller workspaces. So, this isn’t necessarily an indicator of layoffs. However, a scaled-back floor plan can also signify that the organization is planning to have a smaller staff.

Signs that your position is in jeopardy

You find yourself being asked to document in detail everything that you do. If management suddenly wants to keep track of all of your tasks, it could be a sign that they are undertaking an efficiency evaluation. The value of the work you do will be measured against the expense of keeping you on staff. It could also be an indicator that they do not expect you to be in the position for much longer, so they want to have an up-to-date record of your day-to-day responsibilities on file.

Similarly, being asked to train someone else on how to do the tasks that are usually your responsibilities. If you are requested to train someone on how to do your job, you could be in the position of preparing your own replacement to take over your role.

Out of the blue, you are given formal warnings about petty infractions at work. This can be a red flag that your company intends to let you go and that they want to create a paper trail of just cause for termination. This can protect the organization from wrongful dismissal claims in the future.

Don’t get paranoid

Try to stay upbeat and professional. If your manager seems less chatty or you suddenly receive a written warning for something small, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your job is on the chopping block. You don’t know what other people are going through that could impact their behaviour at work.

If you receive some constructive criticism, thank your boss for the feedback and use it as an opportunity to improve. However, if your employer is making an effort to record any shortcomings or slip-ups on your part, you should take it upon yourself to document all of your successes and achievements. These will come in handy in future workplace disputes or on the job hunt for your next position.

If you can see a few of these red flags happening simultaneously, it could signify that your company is planning on letting you go. That means it’s a good time for you to quietly begin searching for your next opportunity. It is usually easier to get hired for a new job while you are still employed. You have the safety of a paycheck coming in, so you can look for jobs thoughtfully and strategically. Plus, many employers have a bias towards employed candidates over the unemployed.

This is likely why many currently employed workers have already begun their job searches in the face of troubling economic signs. Younger workers particularly fear that job losses may be just around the corner.

As a consequence, many say that they are taking these actions in order to protect their careers from a potential recession:

  • 43 percent are actively looking for a new job in their industry.
  • 40 percent are revaluating their skills to make sure they are up to date.
  • 33 percent are actively looking for a new job in a different sector or industry.
  • 28 percent are taking additional training to acquire new skills.


Originally published on Talent.com.


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