10 Signs Your Job May Be in Danger

By Toni Vranjes

June 26, 2009

Should you look for a new job? Although the decision ultimately is yours, career coach Cynthia Shapiro has some advice for you.

If you don’t like your current position, the advice is straightforward. Send out your resume right away, says Shapiro, a career coach from Woodland Hills, Calif.

But if you love your job, it gets more complicated. You need to be on the lookout for red flags that may indicate your position is in jeopardy. If you detect several danger signs, then your job may be in danger, and you need to start looking for a new one, she says.

If you don’t observe any of these signals, then your job likely is secure, according to Shapiro, president of Shapiro Consulting International. You should still be ready for a possible layoff, just in case, but you don’t need to actively look for a new position.

Here are the danger signs:

1) Your employer isn’t replacing critical computer equipment, or is cutting back on other essential supplies needed to run the company. If, for instance, your company always has kept its computer equipment in tip-top shape, a change in that area would be a cause for concern.
2) Your employer isn’t replacing workers who leave. Newly vacant positions are left unfilled, although the company may be hiring in other departments.
3) Your employer has a hiring freeze or a raise freeze. There’s an across-the-board freeze on hiring or raises.
4) Management is holding a lot of closed-door meetings. What are they discussing? It could be plans to cut the workforce.
5) You have a major client who has left. You’ve recently lost a key client — along with the healthy revenue generated by that client.
6) Your department or team has experienced a lot of bad luck during the past year. For instance, your group has lost money or clients – even if it’s not your fault.
7) You make more money than your co-workers. You earn more than a colleague who does the same job or a similar job.
8) You’re a complainer. You whine and groan about the situation at your company. Even if you perceive your complaining as “constructive criticism,” your boss may not view it that way.
9) You have a bad relationship with your boss. You and your boss are like oil and water.
10) You’ve received bad performance reviews. Your boss isn’t thrilled with how you’re doing your job.

When assessing how your employer is faring, look for major changes in approach.

“You’re looking for critical differences that will impact the company‚Äôs ability to be successful,” Shapiro says.

She adds: “You need to look at what the company does, not necessarily what it says. It’s what it does that really matters.”

For instance, shortly before its collapse in March 2008, investment bank Bear Stearns was reassuring employees about the health of the firm, she notes.

If you detect several of these warning signs, you should pursue two courses of action simultaneously, according to Shapiro.

Try to turn things in your favor at your current company. Be a cheerleader for the firm, and offer to help out as much as you can. At the same time, begin searching for a new job. While looking, don’t say anything negative about your current employer, she advises.

What if you pursue a job search, but still have lingering doubts about whether your position really is in danger?

“If you take another job offer, go back to the company you love and say you love working here, and see if you get a counteroffer,” she says.

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