All jobs end. Here is how to tell it is coming.

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Jun 25

A career principle of mine: All jobs end. All jobs. The only question is when. The only other question is how to tell.

I learned this from an excellent manager of mine quite some time ago. He didn't have a questionaire or something (I do), but he was insistent that all jobs end.

There are reasons:

  • Managers change and their approach to the jobs they have change -- and you may not fit.
  • The company's direction may change and if the change doesn't include your department, you'll be gone.
  • A company's finances may change. You may be fine one year and having austerity...and job layoffs...the next.

The important point here is that you must rationally, consistently, read the tea leaves of what is happening with your department and your company so that you can see the changes coming.

An example

In one of the former companies I worked for, they hired a new CIO. If you did a little of the Google machine, you'd see that what her past history was in other companies was that she initiated outsourcing of IT functions.

She'd keep the "core" IT functions and evaluate the rest. 

Here's the thing: we'd never outsourced anything before in our IT department.

If you'd have done a minimal amount of looking at her background, you'd see that...yup...her job was to start outsourcing the IT functions that were not "core."

At this point, if you were a Cubicle Warrior and were working in the IT department, you'd be giving your department a hard look to determine if it was a "core" function in IT. If it wasn't, you'd be looking for a new job.

Much better to find a job when you have one than wait to get laid off. 

Here's how this works

Here's what you do: you figure out, based on your rationale analysis, how long you think your job will last. Then you back up the time frame to account for how long you think it will take you -- conservatively -- to find a new position. 

You set some criteria that tells you the job will be okay or will require you to look for work.

For example, when one of my previous employers was bought out and my workload dropped to near nothing, I said if the workload doesn't improve in three months, I would start looking because I wouldn't have a job in six months.

Then, when that time comes to start looking for a new position and nothing has changed (or gotten worse!), you start looking for a new job.

If you think it takes you three months to find and start a new job and you think your job could end in June, you start looking for a new job in March.

What's the worst that can happen by starting to look for a new job? Not much.

You get to see what is going on in the market. You get to practice your interviewing skills. You see what works and what doesn't on your resume.

Oh. You also might get an offer worthy of acceptance.

The point is this: we sell our job skills to hiring managers and by consistently looking at our situation, we are proactively managing our income, job satisfaction, and protecting our family. Most pundits call this "career management." I call it protecting what we love.

Proactively. Not waiting for the hammer to fall and not expecting it because you didn't see the signs.

Have you ever been surprised by a job layoff? What did you miss that you didn't see it? Leave a note in the comments below.

>