You can do everything right, and things can still go splat in your career. As John Elway, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, says, “Not only do you have to be good, but you have to be lucky.”
Of course, it helps if you can anticipate when your job is at risk. This can enable you to prepare for the worst, not only in terms of your job search (updating your resume, expanding your networking), but emotionally and financially as well. You can get psychologically accustomed to the idea of switching companies, you can speak with your spouse, family, or significant other about the possibilities, and you can increase (or start) your rainy-day saving and investment plan, just in case you need to survive for several months without a regular paycheck.
Signs that Your Job may be at Risk
Look for some of the following warning signs to determine whether your current job is at risk.
- You sense disregard for your authority by those above, below, and around you.
- The number of people who report to you is significantly reduced.
- You increasingly feel that your energy, enthusiasm, and smarts are getting you nowhere.
- You experience notable indignities, such as being ignored in meetings, being left out of the loop on key decisions, or being omitted from the circulation lists for important memos or e-mails.
- You have frequent run-ins with peers.
- You are repeatedly passed over for the most interesting, important, or prestigious assignments.
Warning Signs of Trouble for Your Company
Sometimes it’s the company itself that faces an uncertain future. This, of course, can have a significant impact on employees. Consider the following signs of a troubled company:
- Partnerships and co-marketing deals with other companies are canceled.
- Two or more leading company executives resign or are fired.
- One or more well-known figures resign from the board of directors.
- Anticipated rounds of capital funding are reduced or canceled.
- The stock price takes repeated hits.
- There are spending and investment cutbacks.
One survivor of the corporate wars summarizes the downward slope of bad news like this: “First the bigwigs say, ‘We’re in transition.’ Then they say, ‘We’re downsizing.’ Finally, they say, ‘We’re closing.’”
Don’t work from a negative perspective but a realistic one as things change constantly. You can’t control it, only prepare for it.