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8 Ways To Tell If Your Job is At Risk

8 Ways To Tell If Your Job is At Risk

    It’s Friday! And while that may mean TGIF parties for many of you, Friday is also a day that is commonly considered the “best” day to lay off employees. Some companies are very good at keeping internal restructuring under wraps. However, there are often a few warning signs that indicate that your job (or even your whole division) may be at risk. Will your Friday night end with winks and beers or drinks and tears? Read on to find out if your job might be at risk.

    1. Watch the Markets

    If you work for a publicly traded company, it’s important to track the price of your company’s stock. The rise and fall of a stock isn’t a perfect barometer for predicting layoffs, but it can often be an early indicator.

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    You should also make an effort to track your company’s profit margins, whether or not you own stock in the company. If you see sharp drops in any quarter, brace for impact.

    2. Keep Tabs on Other Locations

    If your company operates out of multiple locations, keep your ear to the ground and stay abreast of any hirings and firings at other branches. Your market may be different from the other branches, but what happens at one branch is likely to happen at another branch.

    3. Look Out for New Faces

    In the movie Office Space, you know things are about to go south for Initech when two consultants show up and start to separate the wheat from the chaff. If your company starts hiring consultants, or creates a new directorial position that seems like it could also be used to cull jobs from your organization, this can be a warning sign that there are cuts in your company’s future.

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    Another type of fresh face to keep an eye out for are security guards at your building. The larger the company you work for, the more likely it is that your employer will hire extra security guards in the event that a laid off employee freaks out and needs to be escorted off the premises.

    4. Look for WARNings

    According to online job search expert Susan Joyce, you may be able to get up to two months of advance notice if there is a mass layoff in your company’s future.

    “In the US, companies meeting certain specifications are required to provide 60 days notice to affected workers and local governments in advance of plant closings and “mass layoffs.” This is a requirement of the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act. A WARN notification is required if more than 500 people (or 33% of the “active workforce”) are being laid off. Check your state’s Department of Labor (or whatever it is called in your state) to see the notices that have been filed by employees in your state.”

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    5. Executive Meetings Becoming More Frequent

    If you hear tell that the execs from 5 different branches from all over the country are meeting with increased frequency, this is definitely a signal that there is something important worth talking about. It isn’t always a bad thing…but if there is a sudden increase in the frequency of these meetings, that might signal that the thing being talked about has urgent financial ramifications.

    6. Your Hours or Pay Are Reduced

    Before flat-out firing people, some companies prefer to offer pay cuts or reduced hours to their employees as a preliminary measure to cut costs. If this happens to you, or happens to other people in the company who are at your pay grade, this should set off some warning bells. On the plus side, you may be eligible for part-time unemployment benefits, depending on your state’s laws, which can cushion the blow while you look for a new full-time position.

    7. It’s Been Ages Since You Got New Office Supplies or Technology Upgrades

    A company in financial trouble will likely cut back on office supplies, which might range from pens and paper to desktop computers and company-provided phones. If the office itself is starting to look run down and like its in need of an upgrade, it’s indicative of excessive belt-tightening measures.

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    8. Your E-Mail Suddenly Gets Managable

    According to Brian Satterfield of HRWorld, a sudden change in the volume of your e-mail is never a good sign.

    “A sudden, pronounced and prolonged drop in the volume of email you receive may be a welcome respite from communication overload, but it also might mean that key projects that would have normally been assigned to you are being handled by employees that the company sees as key to its future. Meaning, not you.”

    Conclusion

    Friday is actually a terrible day to fire people, according to Karen Lucas, a Chicago executive coach. She says that firing employees on a Wednesday is better because they don’t have to wait for two whole days to start their job search or apply for unemployment.

    We hope that these warning signs have been helpful, and we hope that everyone reading this has a long, happy career at their current company.

    Have you recently been fired or laid off? What warning signs did you notice before you got the axe? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

    How to Change Careers Successfully When It Seems too Late

    The wake-up call often comes when you least expect it. Maybe you’re enjoying a relaxing get-together with your old college buddies when someone turns to you and says, “Wow, I never thought you’d become an investment banker. I always thought you’d write a novel!” If this leaves you wondering how to change careers, you’re not alone.

    Before you know it, you find yourself remembering your old dreams—and comparing them to the career field where you are now. Life rarely goes according to plan. Marriage, kids, and grandkids often come earlier than imagined—or later.

    Maybe you pursued one career path because you were considered the breadwinner, but now someone else in the family is the breadwinner. Conversely, maybe you landed a job, thinking you’d stay for six months, and now you’ve been there for sixteen years.

    A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics pointed out that “baby boomers held an average of 12.3 jobs from ages 18 to 52″[1]. For millennials, who are more technologically apt, that number is likely to be much higher.

    As this proves, it’s perfectly normal to change careers and begin a job search even when it seems too late! Steering your way through a career change is part calculation, part chance, and part leap-of-faith.

    If you feel stuck and are ready for a career change, take these steps to guide you.

    Step 1: Be Mentally Prepared

    These points can help you master the psychological aspects of a career change at any age.

    Now or Never Is a Fallacy

    For most professionals, there is no cut-off age for striking out in a new direction. People do it at all stages of their careers.

    If you’ve ever dreamed of leaving a large company to start your own business, you are not alone. Similarly, thousands of entrepreneurs and people working for one-man shops decide each year that they’d like to work for larger organizations.

    You’ll find hordes of baby boomers looking for a redo alongside mobs of GenXers and Millennials—especially as the boomers now remain in the workforce longer than their predecessors.

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    Your Career Is not a Straight Line From A to B

    You don’t have to have your career trajectory completely decided from the start. In fact, that’s an unrealistic expectation, no matter how methodical you are.

    People change. Industries merge, morph, and in some cases, disappear. Careers rarely follow the straight and narrow.

    Many careers can be compared to journeys—there are the adventurous patches, boring patches, downright scary patches, and the hills and valleys, too. The trick is to try to have a little fun while you’re charting out your various careers.

    Don’t panic if you find you need to change your career. It may take some work as you sort through job posts, write cover letters, and pursue your dream job, but you’re up for it.

    Career Changers Are Among Good Company

    Consider these well-known trailblazers whose careers took a radical turn:

    Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, studied computer science and electrical engineering at Princeton, went on to establish himself as a Wall Street prodigy, then quit to launch Amazon.com.

    Sara Blakely, a billionaire businesswoman, was a fax machine salesperson before creating her signature slim wear line, Spanx.

    Jonah Peretti, co-founder of the media sites Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, initially taught computer science to middle schoolers.

    Be Ready to Take on the Naysayers

    Expect plenty of advice—usually of the discouraging kind—from friends and family when they learn that you’re exploring a career change. Those you know best are often the most vocal in trying to thwart your plans.

    Be prepared to field a flurry of pessimistic conjecture and doomsday scenarios. Know, though, that when your loved ones question your judgment, they’re not necessarily doubting your talent but trying to look out for your wellbeing. Stepping out of your comfort zone will make anyone close to you uncomfortable.

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    Keep in mind that pessimists avoid the unknown, while optimists invite new challenges. Above all, believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Don’t let your fear of change paralyze you from seeking out your new career path.

    Project an aura of enthusiasm, energy, and passion. You’ll find it’s contagious.

    Step 2: Be Proactive

    These tips can help you master the practical aspects of changing careers at any age.

    Take Baby Steps

    Ease into your new direction. Start building the skills you’ll need to make the switch.

    Find out what skills you will need, and do whatever it takes to add them to your skills arsenal. Make the time to invest in additional training.

    Start by devoting a half-day each week to your new pursuit until you’re ready to confidently make a move.

    Clearly define where you want to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Take an inventory of your strengths. Read trade magazines, and study up on industry trends.

    Volunteer

    Charitable organizations are often looking for volunteers to help them with their outreach, social media, and engagement. You can show up without the requisite skills and learn as you go in a fun, convivial, low-pressure environment, which will help you expand your experience and skills.

    Take Online Courses

    Today, LinkedIn and many other providers offer online courses in everything from accounting software to time management to mastering Excel. For extra credit, see if you can find classes that award online badges for completing each course.

    Don’t be shy about adding these certificates to your online profile. Keep your profile fresh by adding more and more skills to it.

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    Take a Temp Job

    Depending on your field, it may be possible to freelance at a company where you learn on the job.

    Remember that you can’t just show up at a potential employer’s claiming you have the skills. Taking a temporary job that allows you to polish your skills is proof that you’re serious about your career change.

    Network!

    Build a family tree of contacts. Explore beyond the main branches of your work acquaintances, industry groups, and social contacts. Join your alumni organization. Tell everyone.

    Ask friends and friends-of-friends to meet you for coffee to explain what it is they do and tell you which skills you’ll need to succeed in your chosen field[2].

    When you want to learn how to change careers, start by networking!

      If you have friends or associates with ties to the organizations where you want to work, ask your contacts to make an introduction. The majority of today’s jobs are found through one’s own networks. When jobs open up, companies invite informal recommendations from internal and external channels.

      Step 3: Take It Online

      This last step can help you master the online aspects of a career change at any age.

      Develop an Online Presence in the Field of Your Dreams

      Reconfiguring your online presence will be a critical step in your career change. Fine-tune your digital identity to reflect your new direction, tailoring your profile to the role and industry you’re after. Include keywords that are relevant to the industry so that recruiters can find you.

      Craft a clever personal statement that states your interests, your values, and your dreams. Once you’ve zeroed in on your message, also pick and choose which outlets make the most sense for it.

      Will your personal statement resonate on LinkedIn? Or is it highly visual—making it a better fit for Instagram?

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      Polish your sites until they gleam, then get active so others take notice. Add insightful content to your social media pages that goes deeper than the information on your resume, such as commentaries on something taking place in your newly chosen field.

      For more on how to build an online presence, check out this article.

      Final Thoughts

      Americans spend 1,800 hours or more each year working. That’s nearly one-third of your life, and it goes without saying that your job satisfaction and career goals have a great bearing on your life’s happiness barometer.

      Set out to intentionally pursue career satisfaction, looking for opportunities to fine-tune your working life so that you find fulfillment.

      If playing the piano is your personal bliss, could you meld your love of music with your clinical psychology background and find a job using music to promote healing? Perhaps there’s a foundation that would fund you in a multiyear study.

      Or, if you’re a movie buff for whom every encounter has the makings of a screenplay, why not sign up for an evening class and see if your years of writing advertising copy could morph into a career move into the film industry?

      Achieving your career change successfully will occur when you mentally prepare, take a proactive approach, and mine your personal and online networks. The pay-off will be in a life well-lived in a successful career.

      More Tips on How to Change Careers

      Featured photo credit: Jason Strull via unsplash.com

      Reference

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