5 Signs You Are About To Get Laid Off

I have had the unfortunate experience of having my position eliminated by a few different companies early in my career through no fault of my own, and from those experiences I have learned what signs to look for that the end is near. Learn from my experiences so that you won’t be blindsided.


 1. Your company gets acquired or merges with another

One of the first things companies that buy other companies do is look for places where processes are being duplicated. For example, if there was a person or persons in let’s say accounts payable, and the acquiring company already has that position fully staffed then the person or persons in that position at the company being bought would eventually be let go. The higher ups may use terms like “improving efficiencies”,  but no matter what fancy words they use it only means that will soon be out of a job.

2. People begin taking an interest in you and start asking a ton of questions about what you do  

This one can go down the same way they go down in the mafia movies. Your best buddy begins to shadow you, to be your “backup” in case you go in vacation or something you know. As soon as they have all the information they need, POW, you get wacked! Ok it may not be that dramatic but you need to know the signs. Requests to share passwords, training documents, and other things that may not be written down are all the tell tail signs that the end is near. Keep in mind though that you didn’t start the company, so nothing there belongs to you. You were hired to do a job, paid for that job, and if they decide that you are no longer needed then it is well within their rights to part ways with you.  You just need to be aware so that you can have your resume updated and all of your important contacts on speed dial.

3. You stop getting invited to important meetings

This one can be laugh out loud funny if you have a sick sense of humor like I do.  If you start noticing that meetings that you used to be in, are now going on without you, something might be going down.

4. Upper management starts acting differently towards you

This one is a little tricky, but with some experience you will soon be able to read the signs like a pro. Pay close attention to the conversations that you have with people in high positions at your company. Analyze every word but don’t over analyze them because then you will find yourself mistaking “how was your weekend” with “I saw you Saturday night, and I am utterly disgusted by what you were doing!”  For example, right before one company I was with was about to be sold, one of the executives came into my office and began to ask me questions about sales trends and my general thoughts about the direction of the business. Now this guy had never so much as made eye contact with me before but now he was picking my brain about things I knew little about. I knew little because at the time I was really more concerned with partying and bullshit as the late great Notorious B.I.G would say.  The company was later sold of course, and I was on thrown in with it. What I later realized was he was picking my brain to see if he wanted to keep me aboard or let me go with the sale. Signs I missed then, but would not get past me now.

5. You get called into HR and told to bring your belongings but you can leave the company laptop at your/their desk

This one I just threw in for laughs and giggles because by the time it reaches this point you are done dude! I have had the fond experience of having this happen to me quite a few times so I pretty much have it down to a science at this point. I have been laid off due to a sharp decline in the economy where we lost money 12 straight months (This too is another sign to look for). I was laid off after my company was sold and the acquiring company moved my position to another state (It wasn’t so bad because I got a NICE severance package but only because as the Accounting Manager I knew the financials better than anyone else).  I was laid off because they eliminated my position (Now this one honestly caught me totally off guard but you live and learn). I could go on and on but I think you get the point.

I have been on both ends of this so I understand the feelings of the firer and firee. My motto is come to work, do your job the best you can, and live as if it will be your last day because if you live in a “right to work” state like I do it might very well be.


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