So many people report that being laid off came as a total surprise. One morning they show up for work as usual. An hour later they’re sitting behind their steering wheel stunned, with a box of pictures and books in the backseat.
It’s bad enough to lose your job. But to have it take you by surprise is just unfathomable. How can you read the tea leaves on something like this so that it doesn’t happen to you? Or so that it doesn’t happen to you again?
Here are some signs that you might be on a list of people to be laid off:
- Your company has hit hard times and has publicly announced that it will institute “cost-cutting measures.”
- Your industry sector has taken a dive on Wall Street.
- Your company has been acquired, and there’s someone just like you already ensconced in the acquiring company.
- Your company just bought your competitor, and there’s someone just like you in the newly acquired company.
- You work for a closely held family business—and you’re not family.
- You work for a publicly traded business that prides itself on being “one big happy family.”
- You’ve been asked to research ways the business can reduce expenses.
- Your otherwise congenial boss starts avoiding you.
- Your otherwise congenial boss starts snapping at you.
- Your boss starts looking at you strangely.
- Your boss starts looking right through you.
- You inexplicably feel compelled to ask your boss if there’s about to be a layoff.
- You are one of the highest paid people in the organization.
- You are one of the lowest paid people in the organization.
- You’re somewhere in the middle.
- You wonder how your long-time coworker could be taking such a lengthy leave of absence without saying good-bye.
- There is an unusually bulky FedEx package from headquarters that’s addressed to your local HR department.
- There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary going on in the company whatsoever.
- You picked this book up just out of curiosity.
- You have a job.
The best thing you can do:
Recognize that everyone is subject to being laid off.
The worst thing you can do:
Think it won’t happen to you.
The first thing you should do:
Keep in mind that getting laid off has nothing to do with your performance.