Preparing for the worst is one of the grimmer aspects of working for a company. Unless you are privy to the innermost financial details of your employer, you are left reading the tea leaves when you suspect the business is in jeopardy. In order to protect your own interests during an economic downturn, it’s important to know what to look for. Here are the five signs that your business is failing.
Your Team Is Shrinking
This is a polite way of saying that there have been recent layoffs. If this has happened multiple times within a calendar year, the company may be struggling to meet its payroll obligations. Executives are attempting to eliminate all non-essential personnel in order to regain a positive cash flow. Your concern in this scenario is readily apparent. If they are laying off your co-workers, the good news is that you are considered more valuable. The bad news is that, if the company continues to struggle, you will likely be out of a job anyway.
Sales Have Been Sluggish for an Extended Period
Deciphering the solvency of your employer can be as simple as either working in sales or befriending a key member of the sales staff. These co-workers have their finger on the pulse of the company’s financial bottom line. If you are on the team and know that sales have been stagnant for a time, you should already have put two and two together. If your new friend on the sales team frequently gripes about a lack of new customers, that is also a sign.
The first and second topics relate in an important way. When sales goals are not met, two scenarios are likely. The first is that employers will lay off the workers who fail to make their numbers, hoping that a new representative will do a better job in the same situation. Alternately, if the sales staff works on commission, they will start to seek new opportunities if their pay continues to be low for an extended period of time.
Your Boss Just Took a New Job
Your initial instinct when this happens is probably to consider applying for that promotion. What you should be wondering instead is exactly why someone above you in the company chose to start over again in a new organization. Inertia is a compelling force in the job market. Many people are satisfied to work at the same place, building seniority and advancing toward better benefits and more paid vacation. If your current boss or other people at higher levels of management are job shopping, you should be as well.
Your Company Is Now Part of Another Company
Corporate mergers are a way of life in big business. Every time giant companies join forces, some people are going to get laid off. It’s unavoidable, because no giant business is going to pay two people to do the same job. Generally speaking, new ownership will take their own people over the remaining ones from the recently purchased company. So if your business was just bought out by the competition, your position is in jeopardy.
CNBC is Talking About Your Stock Price
If talking heads keep pointing out that the price of your stock is in free-fall, the situation is grim. Even if stock prices do not accurately reflect the value of a company all the time, they’re usually not wrong for long. A downward spiral in the stock indicates impending doom for your job.
Be a Hero
You may not be the CEO of Oracle, but that doesn’t mean that you are impotent when it comes to the future of your company. Think of the current struggle as your opportunity to make a name for yourself. Lead by example, working hard to secure all of the new business you can. Beat the bushes for potential new customers, thereby demonstrating that you excel in crisis situations. By doing so, you can differentiate yourself from your fellow employees.
Fearing for your job is the scariest part of employment. Be proactive by paying close attention to all aspects of your company. Also, even if the situation looks grim, remember that even Apple was once in danger of collapse. Don’t lose hope!