Warning Signs You Might Lose Your Job

Be on the lookout for these indications

The job market is improving, but there's always the possibility that your job might be on the line. There's no need to worry unnecessarily. Just be prepared.

It’s good to know when your job might be at risk, so that you can prepare in advance and search for a new position. There are certain signs to look for that indicate there could be problems in the near future:

Too much: You notice your manager is spending a lot of time with you, that after every conversation you receive a follow up email detailing the conversation and you are having meetings on a regular basis (much more often than your peers).

Too little: You notice your manager does not seem to have any time for you, meetings are very brief and emails are answered with one word or in bullets.

Eye avoidance: When you pass your manager in the office/hall or in meetings, there is little to no eye contact.

Contract completion: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the most frequent causes of layoffs is contract completion. If your company has just finished a major contract your job might be in danger.

Cost cutting: The company starts cutting costs on everything. No real cream in the break room, and you have to sign for even the simplest thing, like pens.

Job description request: It might be obvious, but it happens. When HR asks you to write your job description, or to outline your job responsibilities, it’s a subtle sign that you might be replaced.

Private meetings: Frequent closed door meetings with executives from headquarters can be an ominous sign. Usually these meetings mean that management has decided to make some changes at your local office, and your job could be vulnerable.

Budget shortfalls: If there are shortfalls in the budget, your job could be on the chopping block. A lack of revenue can soon translate into a lack of a job for you. Pay attention to the company’s bottom line to find out if the company is likely to implement layoffs soon.

Less work: Work that you used to do is transferred to someone else. If you find that tasks that were formerly assigned to you have been reassigned to another employee, it could be a sign that management plans to lay you off.

Mergers: Company mergers that result in a duplication of functions can mean bad news for you. If you have a position that has a counterpart in the acquiring company, your job could be very much in danger. Generally speaking, the acquiring company will eliminate duplicate positions.

Change in relationships: Your relationship with your boss changes, for the worse. Your boss becomes more distant, seems less open or relaxed around you, or criticizes you more often without a clear explanation. If your boss used to do small talk with you, and stops doing this, it's a sign that they are distancing themself from you before they fire you.

Left out: You're no longer included in key meetings or projects and you’re consistently removed from meetings, clients, or projects that you normally participate in. When new projects are created, they're given to others with less experience.

Odd questions: Your manager asks you strange questions like “Are you happy here?,” “Is this job your passion?,” or “Is this company still the right fit for you?” These types of questions are fairly sure signals that you will be cut from the team soon. You boss is either intentionally indicating that you should start looking or is in the process of convincing herself that she should let you go. Even if you reply “Yes, I'm very happy here,” the damage has probably been done in her mind, or the mind of her bosses.

If you find that you are experiencing some of these situations at work, don't panic. Update your resume, and start applying for new jobs. You are likely to land a new job even better than the one you already have.

Sources: Jodi RR Smith, Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting; Julie Austin, career coach; Cheryl E. Palmer, owner, Call to Career; Ryan Naylor, founder and president of

Tagged in: career advice, fired, unemployment,


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