With some kinds of disasters, like hurricanes, you get advance warning. If you pay attention to the weather reports, you have time to board up your house, pack up your belongings and get to safety.
It would be nice if you got similar alerts for career catastrophes, wouldn’t it?
These days, we all need to be watching for such signs, because even though the economy shows signs of recovery, many businesses still face hard times and jobs continue to disappear.
My personal inclination is usually to keep on hanging on, hoping for the best as the ship goes down, but I really don’t recommend that.
If you don’t want to be striving away at your workstation when they unplug the phones, or find yourself blind-sided by a not so sudden layoff, try paying attention to danger signs at work.
Although they won’t appear as warning icons on your television or computer screens, the following are some telltale hazard indicators you can watch for in your career life:
1. The pace slows – I’m not a huge advocate of the “Constant growth is necessary for life” school of thought, but if you notice a drop-off in phone calls, e-mails and new business coming in, start some low-key networking and update your resume.
2. When the personal trumps the productive – As gripping as office dramas can be, it’s never good when infighting and office politics take the focus away from your company’s real work. Business is bound to suffer, so protect yourself.
3. Your industry is changing – Whether it’s due to technology, regulation or international competition, in some areas forces larger and more powerful than individuals or even companies will directly affect your daily life. If you think you might be working in the 21st century equivalent of a saddlebag factory while the Ford Model Ts are starting to roll out, take action.
4. The thrill is gone – Even if your company is doing fine, and your field is well-positioned to ride the waves of change, if your heart isn’t in your work it could be time for a move. And it’s best to make changes on your schedule, not somebody else’s. Re-visit your goals and objectives and what you look for in a work environment. Then start scanning the job market for potential fits and find yourself a position that suits you better.
by Danielle Dresden