A subpar economy and poor earnings have led many companies to be faced with the daunting task of downsizing. Whether through general layoffs or direct terminations, a large number of people, including highly skilled and highly educated individuals, are finding themselves on the unemployment line. While people often view their loss of a job as a shocking event they never saw coming, this is one instance where ignorance is not bliss. Here are a few signs to watch and a few tips to save yourself from termination or layoffs.
- Don’t Ignore the Obvious – Performance reviews are often viewed as a pain in the neck and more of an annoyance than added value. But, if you receive a negative review or even negative feedback in a specific area, it just may be enough reason for your employer to terminate you as opposed to another member, particularly in a situation where someone needs to go. If you find yourself facing a negative performance review, ask your supervisor what you can do to improve in those areas, and be proactive! Make the changes and it may just keep you around.
- Be Observant – Is work that was previously assigned to you now being passed to your co-workers? Are you finding yourself to be the last person in your department/team to find out certain information? Are you being excluded from those “important” meetings? These are all warning signs that you just may be being phased out. The trick is to watch, listen and learn. If you find yourself in this situation, start watching your co-workers your boss seems to be favoring. Are they coming to work early or staying late? Do they prioritize work your supervisor assigns before completing other tasks? Learn what they are doing and emulate it. After all, if your boss is showing them favoritism, they are doing something right in your boss’ eyes and when it comes to keeping your job, that’s what matters.
- Step Up Your Game – If your job is at risk, now isn’t the time to update your resume or get down on yourself. If you start demonstrating a negative attitude or concern yourself, your termination will probably come sooner than expected. Focus your energy on increasing production or demonstrating a skill our co-workers don’t have. Don’t be “that guy” who nobody wants to be around. Isolation will not help in this situation, but will add fuel to the fire as you become the employee no co-worker wants to work with. Little changes, even if it is working an extra fifteen minutes a day, or maintaining a cleaner, more organized workspace could reflect enough of a positive change to keep you around.
- Marketability– Layoffs are a completely different battleground than termination. With layoffs, you can be the star performer in a department, but if the entire department is being eliminated, you may find yourself sinking with the ship. In today’s workplace, versatility is key. You can be a law firm’s top litigation associate, but don’t be afraid to demonstrate other skills. If you can handle transactional work, offer some assistance to that department and get your foot in the door. This way, if the litigation department is eliminated, you can seek a transfer to the other department. If the other department is familiar with your work and has space, you will become a better candidate. And don’t wait until the announcement of your department’s elimination to seek a transfer. If the workload for your department is being cut back, or there is a strong push to close out files and not bring in new work, take a hint and seek your transfer now, rather than wait until you become just one of your entire department doing the same.
With the job market suffering, it is now more important than ever to keep your job. The staggering number of unemployed individuals makes finding a job even more difficult. Bluntly, if you get that “gut feeling” that your job is at risk, it probably is. Don’t ignore the signs around you and with a little attention, you can save your job.
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