Tag Archives: layoff

8 signs you will be laid off

Another person just told me they think they will be laid off, they aren’t sure. Some layoffs and firings you just can’t avoid.  One smart guy said,

Getting fired is nature’s way of telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place. (Lancaster)

laid off?

Are you going to be laid off?

There are always hints that you are going to be laid off. They are obvious after the fact.

True stories:

Susan is going to be fired. She appears to be clueless. She is a great person but is not getting the job done. She’s in a genteel company where people are expected to take hints. She has not taken the hints. She has been all but told to find a new job. She refuses to accept that. We’ve even read the tea leaves for her after her boss asked us to help get her out of the company. She refuses to accept it. Susan is going to be fired for not being above average. It just makes no sense to her.

My old friend Larry was at a major computer company. Every year his reviews were stellar. Then one year his review changed from “superior” to “needs improvement”. Larry asked, “Is this a hint?” The reply was, “It is what it is. You’ll need to figure that out.” Two weeks later Larry had a new job with a 25% pay raise. He’s still at that new company and still getting superior performance appraisals. Larry was being pushed out because his salary was too high, even though he was worth every penny of it.

The two main reasons for firing or laying off people are that they are not good enough, or they are too expensive. For either problem, some of the signs are the same, such as:

  • Pay raises less than the rate of inflation – particularly NO raise
  • A job review with average or lower ratings
  • Reduction in responsibilities or some of your duties given to others
  • Being on probation (some people actually miss this one!)
  • You are asked to relocate to a place you won’t go
  • Your company, division or location is losing money
  • A competitor just won a big contract you should have won
  • A new boss promises to “revitalize” your group, division or company

If you are wondering about your own situation, take the bull by the horns. Ask your boss two questions:

  1. Are there going to be layoffs?
  2. Should I start looking for a new job?

If you have the guts to ask, he just might tell you the truth. It’s better to know for sure if your boss will tell you. If your boss lies, you’ll still get a feeling for the truth. Find out. It’s better to look for a job while you are still employed rather than when you are jobless.

Do you have even one of the 8 signs in your job? Go talk to your boss. Do you have three or more of the symptoms? Look for a job no matter what the boss says.

Why superman would lose his job today in a layoff

Superman would be fired today. As a matter of fact, Superman is the target for layoffs in many jobs. In today’s business environment there are times your job cannot be saved, especially if you are superior.

Peter was a highly skilled and paid IBM mainframe computer systems administrator.  EDS asked him to become a Unix computer expert. He took the courses and started gaining experience.  Nine months later he was laid off.  EDS decided they could hire a kid out of college for half of what they were paying him.  His high level IBM mainframe skills were not needed in Harrisburg.  EDS paid him well for 20 years, they didn’t figure they owed him anything.  Peter was “laid off” for following the career plan his company suggested.

There are 3 basic reasons one person is laid off and their coworker is not.

  1. You made too many mistakes. You were really fired for cause.
  2. You had fewer skills or less seniority.
  3. You were incredibly skilled, but too overpaid for the new role they needed filled.

Most people see number one or two coming.  They consider them fair even if it hurts horribly to lose a job.  Number three is the toughest one.  You are fired for your excellence.  Someone cheaper and less skilled is kept.  It feels wrong, but from a business point of view, it may be essential.  You can’t overpay to get a job done and stay in business.

Never lose sight of what exactly you are doing for your company TODAY.  If technology or cheap labor is turning your job into a commodity, start major retraining today.  As a matter of fact, never stop retraining and improving your skills.  It may seem like a lot of work, but if you are being paid more than $10 an hour, there is already someone else offering to do your job for less.  Make sure a cheap worker doesn’t have the skills to replace you.

Something to do today

If you have survived layoffs in the past, figure out why.  If you have received substantial raises or no raises recently, make sure you are still a keeper.

And as a thought about finding your next job:

There are three kinds of death in this world. There’s heart death, there’s brain death, and there’s being off the network. (Guy Almes)


Later: 20 second interview prime time

Should I trust an HR recruiter?

Should I trust an agency recruiter?

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