7 Warning Signs You Could Lose Your Job

December 10, 2013

lose your jobIf you’ve ever lost your job in the past, then you can appreciate that it usually comes with very little warning – at least not the official kind. However, no matter how much employers try to hide problems, they usually will give all kinds of signs in advance. Pay attention – they can be easy to spot.

1. An increase in the number of closed-door meetings.

Unless it is historically the norm in your company, if you see a lot of closed-door meetings that’s a good sign that something big is getting ready to happen, and often that something is a termination or two.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be the one getting lopped off. But if this is occurring in combination with any of the other events below, or you find that you are the one consistently being excluded from the closed-door meetings, consider yourself forewarned.

2. Your boss stops sharing information with you.

In order to bring about the smooth functioning of the department, a boss needs to share a significant amount of information with their subordinates. If that information suddenly stops coming your way, this is one of the best indicators you could lose your job and have to rely on an emergency fund.

This is especially significant if your boss is been particularly generous in sharing information with you in the past. A sudden stop means your fortunes have changed – for the worse.

3. You get demoted.

Some employers will terminate people immediately. Others will use a less direct method. That will often involve a demotion of some sort. If you’re demoted, it’s a sure sign that either your employer is no longer satisfied with your performance, or you’re being passed over in favor of others deemed to be more qualified.

Because of the legal complications of termination, an employer may choose demotion in the hope that you will see the signs and leave on your own. That will cut down significantly on the possibility that you might file a wrongful discharge lawsuit. In addition, the demotion will represent tangible evidence that you were failing in your job, and it can provide some measure of legal defense on their part.

4. You’re asked to train or “cross train” another employee in your job.

This one can be tricky – some companies wake up one day and decide that everyone in the department needs to know everyone else’s job. It can be an excellent management strategy, but take careful note of who is cross-training who.

If you find the cross-training is primarily centered on you training someone else to do your job, that can be a sign that you are a short-timer. The company wants you to train someone else to do your job to minimize the impact of your departure.

5. Your last review was a bad one.

If your last job review was unsatisfactory, you’re almost automatically on probation. The poor job review functions as something of a notice of termination. The company has officially warned you – and documented its case – that they’re not happy with your performance. Any subsequent incidents could be grounds for termination without further notice.

6. Your company is having financial troubles.

If your company is experiencing financial troubles, no one who works there is safe. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be targeted for departure, but financial troubles often represent a cleanup effort within a company, to get rid of people who are determined to be low performers or troublemakers of one sort or another.

If you had a bad review, or a history of conflict with one or more influential people in the company, financial troubles could have you facing the prospect of losing your job ahead of your coworkers.

7. Your company “merges” with another.

This is one of the most complicated situations in which to anticipate a job loss. There are at least four reasons for this:

  • Mergers tend to be very messy early on – nothing is certain.
  • No matter how much a merger is considered to be a marriage between equals, it almost always involves a superior company taking over an inferior one. If you are employed by the inferior company, all bets are off.
  • One of the primary reasons for mergers is the elimination of duplicate functions through the combination of operations, which is to say that there will be layoffs.
  • Talk of job eliminations subsequent to a merger is always accompanied by official denials by both companies. The company fully intends firings, but they want to do them on their own timetable. That means there will be little advance warning as to when the ax will fall.

None of that offers guidance as to what to do in the event of a merger. The best advice perhaps is to seriously consider whether your company is the superior or the inferior in the transaction. If yours is the inferior – meaning that it is essentially the company being taken over – your days are probably numbered. You’ve simply come into the merger on the wrong side of the deal.

Signs that you can lose your job aren’t necessarily a call to immediate action. But you should take it as a warning to freshen up your resumebrush up on your interview skills and put out a few feelers.

Are you concerned you’re going to lose your job? What are you doing about it? Leave a comment!


Will this article help you save or earn more money? Get others like it simply by entering your email address below. Your email is used only for delivering daily money tips and you can opt out of delivery at any time. Click here to see all your free subscription options.


Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.

All posts by


Comments are closed.