At first, you assure yourself you’re being paranoid, but eventually, the clues start to add up. There are many reasons why you may find your job security at risk, and not all of them have to do with you being a ‘bad’ employee. Sometimes moves are being made behind the scenes that you may not even be aware of.
Whatever the reason, the sooner you realize that something’s up, the more time you have to prepare for your next journey. If you think your job security may be at risk, compare your situation against the following list of warning signs.
1. Your boss has been short with you.
Subtle personality changes can be extremely informative. Everyone experiences off days now and then, but pay attention if you notice a string of off days coming from your boss where you’re concerned. If you once enjoyed a friendly relationship with your supervisor but have noticed them growing increasingly distant, this may be a red flag.
2. You’ve been demoted.
Having jobs taken away is seldom a good thing. You may have cause for concern if you’ve noticed that your responsibilities have been significantly cut—particularly if that has included an official title change in the opposite direction.
3. Others around you are being terminated.
Sometimes people lose their jobs through no fault of their own. When your department starts shrinking, it may be time to start getting your ducks in a row. Budget cuts or restructuring for other members of your team could be a sign that your role is in jeopardy as well.
4. You aren’t being given new assignments.
After working at place for a while, you become familiar with the ebb and flow of your workload. When you start to notice that times that were once busy for you are now stagnant, you should be on high alert. Your manager may be reallocating your duties to others in the wake of your impending absence.
5. You’ve received multiple negative performance reviews.
One bad review shouldn’t necessarily set of the alarm bells, but if you’ve received two or more consecutively, it may be time to worry. Being reminded of the same mistakes repeatedly is a sign that you should be putting more effort into fixing them. Work to take in criticism and actively change where you’ve been informed you’ve fallen short.
6. People are asking you to train them.
Being asked to teach other people how to perform tasks that only you are responsible for is usually clear sign that you should be weary. When you’ve been solely responsible for tasks for a while and now you’re being asked to share your knowledge, this may be a bad sign. Maybe you’ve noticed coworkers who once showed little interest in how you complete tasks asking questions about your processes or your boss has directly asked you to train someone.
7. You’re being excluded from meetings.
Finding yourself not invited to meetings after you’ve typically been asked to attend is a major signal. This may be especially significant if you notice people in your department or who share your grade are being invited while you're excluded—especially if they typically weren't invited in the past. Being shut out never feels good, and sometimes it can be extremely telling.
Is your job security at risk? Remember: there’s no point in panicking. Instead, take a deep breath, tidy up your resume, and brush up on your interview skills. Keep your head up and your movement forward.
Kayla Heisler is an essayist and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. She is an MFA candidate at Columbia University, and her work appears in New York's Best Emerging Poets 2017 anthology.