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How to Tell if a Layoff is Coming

How to Tell if a Layoff is Coming

Larry Buhl | HotJobs

Alarm bells

These are signs that you should have a solid “Plan B.”

1. Budgets are cut to the bone. All travel is curtailed. Bring your own coffee. And offices are downsized and moved to smaller, less expensive digs (experts say this is a major warning sign).

2. Divisions, teams, or offices are consolidated to eliminate redundancies. Entire functions are outsourced or cut.

3. Vendors grumble about not being paid. This is likelier in smaller companies whose cash flow is more precarious. Workers in purchasing and accounting would know about this problem first.

Building your own lifeboat

By the time you see several big warning signs, it’s probably too late to save your job, experts say. But there are several actions you can take before the company’s problems mean a crisis for you:

1. Get the facts. Rumor mills are very common, but they aren’t very helpful in figuring out what’s going on, according to Manoske. “Keep the channel open with your immediate supervisor, and across divisions so you have a good flow of accurate information about the company.” Manoske also recommends becoming friends with purchasing agents and accountants in the company. “They are ground zero of cash flow, and as long as you don’t put them in an awkward position, you can use them to find out what’s really going on financially.”

2. Be invaluable and productive. Companies often look for ways of eliminating redundancies, even in flush times. If your job duties overlap with someone else’s, your job is more likely to be on the chopping block when things get tight.

3. Show that you’re invaluable and productive. You should be always looking for new opportunities to prove yourself, Steinberg says. “Take on projects not in the scope of your job description. Show you are enthusiastic, active, and inspired in helping the business. If you are laid off anyway, those skills will serve you better when looking for a new job or starting your own business.”

4. Always be learning. “Nothing is certain in today’s economy, and you have to stay up with changes,” Steinberg says. “That means continuing education, expanding your skills, and taking the initiative to gain more experience in the company.”

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