Being laid off usually comes as a shock to most people that it happens to. This is even more the case if your company does not make a public announcement of its intentions to cut jobs.
However, the layoff decision is rarely made the morning you get your pink slip. Managers are often given weeks within which to select the people who will be laid off from their teams.
While it is always difficult for a manager to let an employee go, sometimes it is an opportunity for them to weed out those people who have been dragging the team performance down. If you’ve had trouble with your manager or co-workers in the past, that’s a sure sign that you may be one of the first to go.
Other times, there’s no good reason for you to be chosen as the sacrificial lamb. You’ve worked hard and been a team player; however, you still get the boot. There are signs that can give you a heads up that this may happen.
Here are the warnings that you are being considered for a layoff:
- Your workload suddenly becomes very light. If there are no new projects coming your way, it may be a sign that your employer plans to let you go.
- You have consistently been an underperformer on the job. You miss deadlines and your work is under par. Your lack of energy or application of commitment and creativity to the tasks your team faces will make you a sure pick for a layoff. If you’ve been hovering around the fringes of productivity, this is the time to do a 180 degree turn and start contributing in major ways to your team. Get to work early, stay late, stop surfing the web during work hours. Go over and beyond the call of duty. You may just save your job.
- You don’t get along with your co-workers or with your boss. In a downturn, your manager is more likely to keep his or her favorites around. It’s just the way life is. Most organizations value a team player over a star player. If you’ve had problems in your interactions with co-workers in the past, this is a good time to patch up. Reach out and be likeable.
- Your manager starts to micro-manage you. He requests status updates on all of your projects and tasks. In this case, you may be scheduled for a layoff and your manager is trying to get a handle of what’s on your plate.
- You only perform one task or one function for your company. You need to evaluate how much value you are creating for your company. The junior business analyst who only works on documentation is less valuable to an employer than the mid-level business analyst who interacts with the customers, gathers requirements and performs requirements analysis. Make yourself indispensable to your employer by gaining new skills fast. Find out the functions needed in your area that you currently don’t have the skills for and read a book, go for training or get certified.
- Your boss gets laid off. This usually happens when a company plans to get rid of a division or department altogether. I heard from an in-house software developer for an IT staffing company whose boss got laid off. She was kept on to complete her project and was laid off the day after she wrote the last line of code. Keep your eyes and ears open and start working on your resume and job search plans if you see any hints that your company is cost-cutting.
- Your company or company division gets sold or merged with another. Mergers and division sales always create an at-risk situation for jobs. The new company may choose to replace all the employees from the former company with their own people. If your company is in the middle of a merger or sale, try to find out as much as you can about the terms of the deal. Either way, get your resume ready to find a new job if you need to.
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