A few years ago, I was a part of a finance company that was in chaos. The problems started out subtle, then seven months later, the whole thing started sinking like the Titanic. Yes, I saw the signs, but I, like dozens of employees, decided to ride the wave and see if the company could recover. It couldn’t.
Today, it no longer exists. Employees who had been there for years were left in the lurch, with a severance package that left much to be desired. Because I had a business that was already gaining traction, I was able to go from a side hustler to a full-time entrepreneur. My coworkers weren’t so lucky.
More often than not, CEOs don’t prepare you for big changes. They need their employees to remain on the sinking ship and keep the business going until they figure out the next move. We rode the wave until a fateful meeting in which the CEO told us the awful truth about the company closing its doors.
Today, I want to share four signs of impending collapse so that you can begin seeking out a professional resume writer and put a strategy into place before the ship sinks.
Sign #1 - Secret Executive Meetings
Have you noticed that there are secret management meetings going on around you? Just because management is meeting doesn’t tell you much in and of itself, but when people are secretive about those meetings, it may be cause for concern. Keep your eyes and ears open about the explanations, and listen for the excuses as to why the meetings are a secret in the first place. Has management behavior changed? Notice changes in conversation and behavior, which will tell you whether the meetings are good or bad news.
Sign #2 – Hiring or Promotion Freezes
“The department needs to save money.” I heard this several times before my company closed. Job postings were still on our website, and HR was receiving resumes, but they didn’t conduct any interviews. Hiring managers would call the potential candidates, only to tell them that their qualifications didn’t meet the company’s needs at the time. Promotional opportunities and raises were completely frozen. If this happens, it’s a sign of salvation mode.
Sign #3 – Removal of Regular Events and Perks
Four months before the company closed, they ended their monthly birthday celebrations for employees. These celebrations weren’t fancy, just a few employees in the conference room. We’d sing the happy birthday song and share one big ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. But apparently a $30 ice cream cake became too much. The company suddenly couldn’t afford to do the things that made employees enjoy coming to work.
A company’s culture is crucial to employees’ longevity, commitment, and quality of work, so when perks start going away, ask yourself why. The number one reason given is usually money; however, there are other reasons to consider. Find out if these events or perks will be replaced at a later date. Is the company moving to another location? Again, if you can’t get an explanation, be on high alert.
Sign #4 – An Unusual Number of People are Quitting
When departments begin to look a bit thin, those departing employees may know something you don’t, especially when there’s no plan to rehire them, and the employees who stay now have to do double the work to keep the company afloat. You may see people start taking vacation days to interview with potential employers. Evaluate your situation, and consider grabbing your life jacket! You may not have vacation days to take advantage of, but you can leverage the tools you have available in order to prepare yourself.
Office mystery and cutbacks make for a confusing time. You may think, “What do I do? Do I look for another job? Should I stay in case things turn around?” Ultimately, you have a decision to make about the direction you want your career to take. It’s never a good idea to be a sitting duck waiting on the axe to drop, so keep an eye out and try to stay prepared.
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