Warning Signs That Your Job May Not Be Secure

JoAnn Hines

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Sometimes there is just no way to foresee that you will lose your job. You MAY be able to anticipate it if you recognize the warning signs – if the writing is on the wall it’s too late you missed the warning signs. For the most part there will be warning signals that all is not right within the company, but it’s not always obvious when your company is already in a downward spiral. In fact, the bigger the company, the harder it is to see the signs.

Here are a few must do items:

  • Pay attention to what financial experts are saying. Is it in the news a lot? Is the reporting unfavorable?
  • Study industry trends. For example, are you working for the cigarette industry in the U. S. if so, chances are you will be downsized
  • Read company press releases. What do they say? What is forecasted? Study the annual report. See any red flags?
  • Follow the stock price and watch for sudden declines.
  • Search for news about your company written by outsiders. Don’t assume that your executives are being up front as to the state of business. The press can dig up dirt on a company long before executives are forced to admit there is a problem. The web is the best place to get current news. Set up your news alerts for you company and key execs. Tip: GOOGLE has an excellent news alert in Beta testing. Go to GOOGLE.com and click on news to set up alerts.

    It’s your career and your responsibility to keep informed. There are many ways to stay alert and get dialed into the fact that some change might be coming your way. We have identified some of the most common precursors or warning signs.

    1) Is there talk of merger and acquisition? This is probably the #1 reason to be on the alert for impending down sizing. Learn the myths (party line) the company espouses and learn to separate them from the truth.

    Myth: Everything will remain at status quo Reality: Sooner or later the workforce will be consolidated.

    2) Poor business performance. Are profits down? Has there been a major loss within the company.

    Myth: It’s just a bad year and will rebound the following Reality: Cost cutting is the #1 way to shore up sagging business profits. Jobs are usually the first to go. Where are you in the food chain?

    3) Has a new exec been hired, a so-called “hatchet” man? The reputation of these types usually precedes them. If one comes to your company, watch out. The same can apply to bringing in outside consultants to analyze business performance. There first recommendation is usually cut jobs.

    Myth: They have been brought in to strengthen the company’s financial position. Reality: The first recommendation is usually cut jobs.

    4) Has the business been involved in extraneous factors such as lawsuits that negatively impact performance? (Example: the asbestos litigation. The money to pay the settlements, etc. has to come from somewhere. )

    5) Failure to get FDA approval. If your company has counted on introducing a new product and fails to get approval, look for a downsizing of staff until approvals are attained.

    6) Is you company ripe for a scandal or does it involve negative public opinion? (Example: Public perception of products such as cigarettes. )

    7) Is the company not paying its bills or stretching the time limits to pay? Are vendors calling about getting paid?

    8) Are budgets being cut? When the budget is slashed abruptly, it usually signals the company is desperate for cash. Layoffs are a strong possibility.

    9) Has business travel been curtailed? When funding for business travel and continuing education disappears, the layoffs haven’t happened yet, but they will soon.

    10) Are veteran employees being forced to take early retirement or asked to leave with a voluntary separation program?

    Approach the situation as if you were investigating your company for possible employment. Use the same due diligence you would exercise in a similar situation if you were approaching the company as a prospective employee. The numbers can tell the story. If you stay alert to what’s happening at your company, you have a better chance of avoiding being let go.

    When I started my career on the packaging industry I was just a lowly underling with no possibility for advancement. I tried all the “company touted" ways to advance my career to no avail. I was frustrated, disappointed and disenchanted about why no opportunities came my way. I was an excellent worker, on time honest and a top performer so why couldn't the “powers that be" recognize that fact?

    It was because I didn't understand how to package myself. I didn't know that hard work and good performance DOES NOT equate to career advancement. YES, that's right a good performance does not mean that you will get promoted or a raise. Visibility is the key: who you know and who knows you is the magic door opener. And only you can make that happen. How much personal marketing have you done? I bet its not much. Its a methodical process that requires a commitment each and every week. And we all know how time crunched you are. But what if you have most of the work done for you and marketing yourself was as simple as filling in the blank. To find out more email me at Pkgcoach@aol.com

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