Six Signs You’re About to Get Laid Off and What to Do About It

As embarrassing and ridiculous as it is to write that I’ve been laid off five times in 10 years (this has to be a world record, right?), I will admit that I am dense in noticing the red flags. It took me until my fourth lay off to finally notice the signs that my departure was imminent.

Five layoffs make me an expert (says me), so I feel I have the chops to bestow some relevant tips on the signs that you’re about to get the boot.
Remember that getting let go is not a reflection of your job performance. Sometimes hard-working Helens get let go, while slacker Steves stay put. The nuclear dysfunction falls on upper management and lining their pockets with more capital.
Six Signs You’re About To Get Laid-Off And What To Do About It

  1. Your work and responsibilities have dwindled
    This is a strong indicator that you will get laid-off. But pay attention to your work pile compared to your co-workers. If everyone has fewer responsibilities/projects on his or her plate, it could mean that things have slowed down for now, or everyone is getting laid-off. If you are the only one with a dwindling list of responsibilities and you feel like you are going to get laid off, talk to your upper management about your future responsibilities without mentioning any layoffs. Pay attention to what they are saying to you and their body language. If they are fidgety and generalizing your responsibilities or giving you quick short tasks to complete, you may just get laid-off. Do yourself a favour and start looking for a new job.
  2. Your boss all of a sudden asks you what you do for fun outside of work
    This sudden inquiry into your personal life is most likely a way for your boss to feel less guilty about letting you go. They are doing it more for themselves than wanting to get to know you on a deeper level. When the time does come for your boss to let you go, rest assured that your hobbies will get brought up as a way to keep you busy and soften the blow of losing a job.
  3. Your emails and questions go unanswered
    If your emails and questions go unanswered by upper management for long periods of time while your co-workers’ emails get replied to within minutes, your boss doesn’t hate you. You are getting laid-off. You will most likely experience this over the course of a few days to weeks before getting let go. Don’t overthink this and believe that you did something wrong to anger or annoy upper management, just start looking for a new job.
  4. You’re training your replacement
    You know the situation I’m talking about. You’ve been with Company X for at least three years then one day your boss surprises you that you will be training someone new in your department. Your guard goes up, but you push your paranoia down because you know you’re a great employee and you deliver the results. You happily train your new colleague and once s/he is fully trained, you’re told that your services are no longer needed. You find out that your now ex-colleague you trained will do your job for half your salary. Where’s the fucking loyalty, amirite?
  5. Upper management asks for your passwords, work documents/files
    This happened to me, but I was too slow to put two and two together until I packed all of my belongings and walked out the door that it hit me. If your role is to manage your company’s social media accounts and online presence or you are the accountant with access company finances, and upper management all of a sudden asks to have usernames and passwords for these accounts, you’re going to get laid off. This one really comes with no warning and … it sucks.
  6. Your gut tells you
    Listen to your gut. It’s always right. If you feel like something shady is going down behind your back, start looking for a new job immediately. If possible, refrain from quitting before landing a new job because depending on how long you’ve been with Company X, you might receive a severance package and reference letter. If you quit, you get nothing.

What were the warning signs for you when you got laid-off?

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