The Insider

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Signs That Your Job May Be At Risk

by Kevin T. Buckley, CPC


Signs That Your Job May Be At Risk

What are some of the classic signs that you may be let go soon?

There are many signals, some subtle and some very direct that are given to employees by their superiors and colleagues that indicate a change may be in the wind. Recognize some of the more common examples. One sign on its own may not mean much. Take into account the consistency of the messages and the frequency involved. Some of the classic signs are:

- Your job duties are restructured without prior notice or discussion

- You are not invited to regular meetings anymore

- Your scheduled review time comes and goes without explanation

- The tone of your performance review sounds like a case is being
  built against you

- When you ask for a salary review you are turned down
  without any explanation

- People stop inviting you to lunch

- Your pay is reduced and the reasons given are vague

- You are physically relocated to a less active or important department
   in the company

- Your boss sends you regular letters pointing out errors that are
  causing a reduction  in productivity or costing the company money

- You are asked to account for or justify your job duties

- You find yourself receiving frequent negative instead of constructive criticism

- Your authority is reduced and you are given less meaningful work

- Your boss no longer solicits your input or feedback

- Your expenses allowance or privileges are removed

- Colleagues, subordinates and superiors are noticeably cooler towards you

- Management is seeking feedback from your colleagues about you,
  rather than  from you directly

- You are not invited to participate in industry training programs
  or in-house development seminars

- Your client contact and daily interaction is reduced or eliminated

- You are instructed to pass over files and projects that you have been
  working on to other colleagues

- You are suddenly asked to sign a non-competition agreement

- If you are in a branch office, you find that calls to head office are not being
  returned as they used to be

- You find yourself becoming progressively isolated from the
  corporate  mainstream

- You don't get your expected year-end or quarterly bonus

If a case is being built against you, the employer has to record those key issues that constitute reasonable termination with just cause. If you are still within the first 90 days of probationary employment, an employer doesn’t need to give you a reason. However, if you have years of devoted service to a company and you experience 2,3 or more of these things happening to you, chances are good that your job may not be as secure as you think.

If you sense a change in attitudes towards you and you are being kept more and more out of the loop, your risk of termination is high. When you begin to see an increase in criticism both verbally and especially in writing – email or hard copy letters, and these letters are copied to human resources for you file, the employer may be creating a paper trail to show just cause for dismissal.

Listen to your intuition. Are there clear signs that you are being left out or your input is being ignored? Are your duties being reduced for less responsible tasks? Has your salary also been reduced without your being notified? Has your commission plan been eliminated as a cost savings measure?

When people begin to avoid you or change their manner or attitude from positive to neutral or negative, changes may be developing. It is important to read the signs accurately and have a contingency plan in place if you should need to use it.  

The best time for you to look is before you have to. Be proactive and have your resume updated; know the recruiters in your industry. Keep track of the positions posted on the Internet. Sometimes you only get subtle hints of negative conditions developing, other times the writing is clearly on the wall.

In this era of corporate restructuring, downsizing, right sizing, etc., it is prudent to be aware of changes in the corporate current.

Know what to expect and have a plan in place.

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