How Do You Know When It Is Time To Start Job Searching? Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore!
Let’s be honest: Job searching is rarely enjoyable. However, like paying taxes or seeing the dentist, we all have to do it from time to time. Sometimes job searching is necessary because of lay-offs (those who suffered as a result of “downsizing” during the most recent financial crisis know what that looks like). There are, however, other situations when job searching isn’t necessarily forced upon us, but the handwriting on the wall tells us it soon might be.

All too often do we ignore signs that our future with the company might be short-lived. Perhaps we’ve been told there is dissatisfaction with our performance. Maybe there’s a personality conflict with a supervisor. Or there may be indications that the company is struggling financially. Whatever the case may be, you ignore such signs at your peril, no matter how hopeful you may feel. Know that hope will be of little comfort if you find yourself standing in the unemployment line because you hadn’t lined up a new job before the hammer fell.

So, how can you tell when it’s time to start job searching? Keep the following in mind to minimize your exposure to being blindsided by the dreaded pink slip.

“It’s not you, it’s me”.

There may be things happening which could impact your job which aren’t related to you at all. Until they cost your your job, that is.
  • Rumors of executive mismanagement/misconduct. If rumors are swirling about the conduct of an officer or director (e.g., embezzlement), that’s never good news. Change is likely to follow which may include you.
  • A merger or corporate takeover has occurred or is expected to occur. “Organizational restructuring” is almost guaranteed to include downsizing. If you know such an event is coming or has just happened, it’s time to begin job searching in earnest.
  • Under new management. Count on new bosses to make changes, including bringing in “their people” or even new folks. Either way, you’re not them.
  • Layoffs have started. Will they end before they get to you?
  • Departmental resources are being reduced. Projects are being limited or terminated. Perhaps a product line is being abandoned. These all indicate your job may no longer be secure.
  • Money seems to be tight. Uh oh… .
“Um, yeah. It is you”.
  • Was it something I said? If you’ve been getting the feeling lately that you are no longer in the loop, you might want to start job searching. Maybe you’re no longer being asked for your input or invited to meetings or events. It may be something as seemingly innocuous as gradually becoming unaware of the office gossip because co-workers are treating you differently. As in, “Shhh, here he comes.”
  • Is your boss treating you differently? No longer as interested in what you’re doing or what you have to say? Or perhaps you’re suddenly being micromanaged? Are all communications between you and supervisory personnel now in writing? Remember that disciplinary action requires documentation. Such as an email trail.
  • Poor performance evaluation. We don’t really need to explain this one, do we?
  • Your attitude is becoming a hot topic. Again, pretty self-explanatory.
  • Oops, my bad. If you’ve made a costly mistake, either in terms of resources or the reputation of the organization, look out!
  • Yay, a promotion! “Wait, what? Isn’t that good”, you ask? Depends. Taking you away from a mission-critical position under the guise of promoting you to do something “new” is a clever way to get rid of you. Yes, employers create a position that they plan to eliminate so that they can lay someone off without having to undergo the time and effort to engage in disciplinary action.
If you’ve determined it is time to start job searching, it is time to think about your resume. Of course, you should ALWAYS have an updated resume ready to go. But if you’ve let it slide a little bit, now is the time to rectify it by calling a professional resume writing firm like Distinctive Career Services. Now would also be a good time to reach out to your professional network. Again, nurturing relationships with the people in your network should be an ongoing priority. If you’ve let them slide a bit, now is the time to make a few calls to catch up with people. But be discreet about your job search plans and don’t be hasty in your decision to move on: there may still be opportunities and options with your current employer (more about that next week).