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21 Signs your job is on the chopping block

Being made redundant can be a devastating blow, particularly if you are blindsided. Make sure you’re prepared so when you recognise the signs your job is on the chopping block, you can start getting your CV up-to-date.

“We’re making you redundant.”

“You’re what?” I screamed, throwing my stapler at the wall and watching it smash with a satisfying bang. I would have liked to hurl it at my boss’s head, but since he’d hidden behind the protection of an email, that wasn’t an option.

How did I not see this coming?

In hindsight, the signs were all there, I just didn’t know what to look for.

1. Your workload gets halved

No-one has ever given a hoot what you do and how you do it, and suddenly your boss is encouraging other employees to give you a hand to make your life easier? Yeah, right. Be suspicious of anyone who asks you to explain aspects of your job in great detail. They’re planning for life in the office after you’re gone.

2. Others have been fired or made redundant

If you notice work colleagues are being let go, start making backup plans. Don’t get too cocky just because you still have your job and believe you have a unique skill set. No-one is irreplaceable.

3. No Christmas bonus

Once upon a time, you might have been spoilt with cash rewards or vouchers for your hard work, but suddenly, you don’t even make the Christmas card list, even though the rest of your colleagues get gifts.

4. New cutbacks

Your boss starts throwing around words like “economising” and “cutbacks” and suddenly you’re having to share tea bags, drink no-brand coffee and limit yourself to two squares of one-ply toilet paper per visit because the company is going through financial hardship.

5. You’re asked to write a job manual

Why would you need to write an instruction manual on how to do your job if you haven’t resigned from your position?

6. Small mistakes become federal cases

We’re all human and everyone makes mistakes, but when your boss starts making a huge song and dance about something insignificant, your days are numbered.

7. Your boss gives you the cold shoulder

Chances are, if your boss virtually ignores your emails or can’t look you in the eyes, you can chalk it up to them not knowing how to act around you. He or she is obviously nervous around you.

8. Rumours about layoffs

Don’t be too quick to dismiss rumours about redundancies as idle gossip. As the old saying goes, where there is smoke, there is fire.

9. You’re out of the loop

If important meetings are being called and you’re told you aren’t needed, take this as a sign they’re slowly phasing you out.

10. You discover your job advertised on Seek

If it sounds like your job and outlines tasks just like your job, but is being called Sales Coordinator instead of Sales Manager, it probably is your job.

11. Your office is relocated

Your desk is moved to an office which doubles as the stationery cupboard, or the whole office is shifted to a new address and they forget to tell you.

12. Requests for passwords and file sharing

No-one has been interested in being able to check your emails while you’re away on holiday or having access to your files…. until now.

13. Your annual performance review has been rescheduled

Everyone else in the office has had their annual performance review except for you and you can’t get your manager commit to an actual date.

14. You’ve been asked to train someone to do your job

If you’re suddenly asked to train a colleague to take over just in case you get hit by a bus or get sick, this should signal warning bells. It’s time to start job hunting.

15. Requests for important work materials fall on deaf ears

You’ve been asking for equipment necessary to complete your job, but your requests go unanswered. It doesn’t seem to matter that your computer needs software upgrades or your office chair is broken.

16. Your employment contract has been recently updated

Recent changes to your work contract include job responsibilities you don’t have the skill set for and the removal of any redundancy package.

17. You get demoted

Before you went on holiday, you were an account executive, but on arrival back at work, you find you are stuck on reception.

18. It seems like your boss is on a crusade to make your life miserable

It seems nothing you do or say is right and trying to defend yourself just takes your boss to a whole new level of mad. Even if you are right, you’ll still be wrong.

19. You’ve been set up to fail

Setting you unrealistic tasks to be completed in an impossible time frame is just one of the cunning tricks employers may use in an attempt to give management a reason to let you go.

20. The company is undergoing changes in management

With any merger or corporate takeover, there is likely to be some restructuring with a change in leadership, so don’t assume your job is safe or that you are irreplaceable.

21. You are assigned tasks designed to bore you to tears

You find yourself being given tasks a trained monkey could do.

More career tips

How to cope when your boss is controlling
Ready for a career change?
How to resign without burning bridges

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