Posted by Brian McCullough
Up here in Michigan, the summer of our discontent seems to go on and on and on. It’s well known that this region has been struggling with with what experts like to euphemistically call an “economic transition” for several generations now. But this year, with the US automotive industry teetering literally on the edge of oblivion, people up here are more nervous than ever.
I was speaking with a friend this weekend who works for an auto-related company. I asked him if he was nervous about his own job and the prospects for his own company. Indeed, he was:
“We have meetings all the time now. Almost every day. Tons of meetings are a bad sign for any company.”
We talked about it some and I agreed that he was right. A rash of meetings is bad news.
“It’s a sign management is flailing,” my friend said. “They’re out of ideas. And they’re out of ideas for finding new ideas. So they keep calling meeting after meeting in the hope that a good idea will magically show up.”
We got to talking more and came up with this list of additional signs your company is struggling and your job might not be safe from layoffs:
- They bring in the consultants. Never a good sign. A swarm of consultants descending on your operations is another admission by management that they’re out of ideas.
- The bigwigs above you start to lose their jobs. I mentioned I had written a post about that just this week.
- Your company moves to new, smaller office space. Cost cutting starts here. The next step is eliminating positions.
- Divisions, teams or offices are consolidated. Consolidation means only one thing: they’re cutting costs by eliminating redundancies. Why have three people do a job when one person can be made to do it? You job could be one of those redundancies.
- Travel expenses are cut. Things are really bad if a travel moratorium is introduced.
- You are asked to take a pay cut. This is literally management saying to you: please pay for your own stay of execution.
- Extra security it brought in. This is usually a sign that the end times are positively neigh. When layoffs are imminent, companies not only hire extra security, my friend pointed out that they often try to bring in new security folk or outside help. This way you will be escorted out of your office by someone you don’t know, as opposed to your old, reliable security guard that you might have become friendly with over the years, and who would likely look the other way as you absconded with your (the company’s) stapler.