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Ten Warning Signs there are Layoffs coming

Source | Liz Ryan |

Dear Liz,

Something weird is going on in my company. I’ve only worked at the company for ten months. The changes from when I started here to now are dramatic.

When I started the job the lobby was full of customers coming to meet with our salespeople. I don’t have access to any financial reports and I have no idea how well or badly the company is doing toward its goals, but the lobby is empty now.

Our receptionist had her desk in the lobby and chatted with customers all day. Now she’s been moved to Accounting and there’s no job opening posted for her replacement.

According to the grapevine one of our products is caught up in a trademark lawsuit or something. There are a lot of emergency management meetings happening behind closed doors.

I only have one good friend at work and I asked her what she thinks is going on.

She said “They are probably getting ready to lay some people off.”

If sales are going down they won’t need all of us.

What should I do?




Dear Natalie,

The first thing to do is get your resume out on the street in case you need a new job soon.

Update your LinkedIn profile and tell your friends you’re open to new opportunities they might hear about.

Urgent closed-door meetings are a dead giveaway that something is not as it should be in your company.

Apart from the urgent meetings, you’ll be able to tell how healthy or sick the company is by watching and listening to your managers.

If you pay attention, you’ll be able to tell whether they are relaxed or on edge.

Be sympathetic to your manager, even if you wish they would tell you what’s going on and they don’t. They aren’t allowed to tell you.

Because managers are often prohibited from telling their employees when a company is in trouble, you may hear nothing useful until you get a layoff notice.

That’s too late! You have to start planning for your exit now, just in case.

Here are 10 warning signs of impending layoffs:

1. A freeze on hiring. This is an especially vivid sign of trouble if already-scheduled job interviews are cancelled and/or job offers already in progress are put on hold.

2. A freeze on spending in general — even for ordinary items like office supplies or snacks for meetings.

3. Scheduled projects are put on hold. You can ask your manager “Just so I understand, why is the project going on hold?” Watch your manager as they answer you — their body language is more important than their words.

4. Managers are hidden away in conference rooms all day long or stay in their offices with the door closed.

5. A freeze on pay increases and bonuses — even pay raises and bonuses that were previously approved.

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