Professional Development

4 signs you might be laid off

Written by Eric Titner

In today’s volatile economy and tumultuous job market, it pays to be ready for anything. Unfortunately, the concept of job security is increasingly becoming an antiquated notion, and regardless of whether or not we like our jobs or how diligent we are at handling our work responsibilities, most of us are susceptible to the possibility of layoffs. Like it or not, it’s a reality in today’s work world, and it’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

Although the layoff monster often takes its unsuspecting victims by surprise, the truth is there are often warning signs that it may be on its way. Sometimes these come in the form of subtle hints. Other times they’re huge, blaring, undeniable red flags. But regardless of their size and noticeability—and despite the fact that they’re usually unwelcome and uncomfortable—they can serve a helpful and adaptive purpose: providing a heads up that your job may be at risk and allowing you to prepare accordingly.

So, after reading this are you wondering if there are warning signs at your job that layoffs may be coming? Keep your senses tuned for the 4 following signs that your position might be at risk.

1. There’s very little company stability

Are things at your job so volatile that it sometimes feels as if your head is spinning? This can come in many forms, including constantly changing company agendas and priorities, a seemingly never-ending revolving door of exiting and entering employees at all levels, shifting job roles and responsibilities, and more. Not only can this instability make it difficult to do your job and maintain a healthy level of engagement, motivation, and professional satisfaction, it can also be a real sign that your turn at the revolving door may be coming soon.

2. Your workload is dwindling

Sure, most of us often hope for the day when our jobs become easier and the amount of work we’re responsible for becomes smaller—but not because we’re about to be laid off. Having key projects and responsibilities that previously fell to you taken away and given to colleagues, being asked to train others to handle tasks that you used to do, and in general seeing the amount of work that you’re handling shrink can be a sign that a plan is in place to phase you out.

3. You’re cut out of the loop

Were you once in the know—a key influencer and decision-maker when it came to all things going on at work—but tides now seem to be changing? Are you finding yourself being cut out of the flow of crucial information and are no longer being asked for your opinions or input when important decisions need to be made? This drastic sea change at work can be a clear sign that the company is slowly adjusting to a version of the future in which you’re not an active member.

4. You notice constant mood shifts

Have people at work started acting weird around you for no clear reason? Odd work behavior can include everything from cold shoulders to dismissiveness, to outright hostility, and everything unexpected in between. Have close and trusted colleagues started avoiding you and no longer making eye contact when you see them in the hallway? Have warm greetings and friendly conversations with others given way to abrupt and muffled responses? Sure, sometimes people get stressed and the weight of all the things they’re juggling affects their mood, and we all have bad days, but if you’re noticing a sustained and consistent pattern of shifting moods around you then it could be a sign that something more serious is going on.

Getting laid off from work is rarely a welcome occurrence, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good strategy to bury your head in the sand and avoid potential warning signs that it may be coming for you. Keep your eyes peeled and your senses sharp for the signs mentioned here—they may mean nothing, but they may be a sign that layoffs are on the horizon.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.