Gone are the days of job security. Layoffs in India have become a bitter reality for the brightest of employees with the best of qualifications.
Call them redundancies or down-sizing or right-sizing or layoffs, the meaning remains the same. Job cuts.
Sometimes it’s a one-off case, but increasingly lay-offs in India are looking very similar to those we used to hear about in USA, UK and other countries.
You may not get a layoff letter out of the blue. There may be early signs that you can watch out for.
If you can’t completely avoid the layoff letter, at least it may enable you to manage the process better.
Handing over pink slips to company employees is a common practice now. It is part of the cost-cutting strategy adopted by companies, the prime culprit being a sluggish economy and lack of projects.
However in many cases, bosses may not be upfront in communicating to their employees to exit, but may provide enough hints aimed at making you realise it’s time for you to quit.
Now you might wonder why bosses would give indirect hints rather than straightaway firing the employee. They may have a good reason for doing so.
If you leave the company on your own, you would not be entitled to a severance pay. However, if you’re asked to leave, you may demand a handsome package which the company would not like to shell out. If you’re hell-bent on having your rightful share by resorting to the legal channel, the company would have a tough time handling such issues.
Here are a few signs that might indicate that a layoff letter is on its way:
The most common strategy adopted by bosses is to sideline the employee. This translates into you not being chosen to be part of important or new assignments, being given lesser responsibilities or not-so-significant roles compared to your peers.
You may find yourself being kept out of important meetings, discussions or e-mails which means that you are not aware of recent updates which everyone around you may be talking of.
Your boss may be trying to avoid meeting you or having polite conversation with you.
Your boss who used to support your decisions has been recently quite critical about you and you work.
You get to hear from colleagues that your boss has been expressing his displeasure in public about your work without any hesitation.
Earlier whenever you got stuck somewhere or got something wrong, your boss explained new concepts or gave you some constructive feedback which would be useful to gain new perspectives and to avoid future mistakes.
But now no one seems to take note of your mistake. If your boss thinks you have to leave soon, there’s no point in taking effort to correct you.
If you find a person of equal or better qualification and experience being taken in to work along your side, while you may be required to guide or train the newbie to get him/her familiar with the work you do, you may have a good reason to feel insecure about your job.
You were expecting a promotion and a substantial raise, but your boss doesn’t seem to take note of your expectations and doesn’t even seem to be bothered to discuss about it or explain why you don’t deserve it.
It’s a different matter if the company is into loss-making and trying to cut down expenses, however if people around seem to be getting a raise whereas you are the only one left out, it surely raises red flags.
Your boss seems to be close on the heels of any work you undertake and doesn’t seem to entrust you solely on any assignment. She may wish to check each and every detail in a way she never did before, as if she’s absolutely sure there’re bound to be errors.
She also seems to be keeping track of how you’re utilizing your time in the office. You are losing your freedom of working in a stress-free manner as you are under constant pressure.
You may have been working in the heart of the city in the corporate office where all key issues are dealt with and strategic decisions made, however now you’re required to accept a posting in the suburbs in the back office with an insignificant role; this is a clear indication where your career is heading.
Additionally, a few factors which may be beyond your boss’ control may put him under pressure to reduce the number of employees. This may include:
This can have wide implications and bring along with it administrative changes creating a rising uncertainty on what the future scope of work would be.
The new organization may or may not feel the need to retain all employees. So if there’s not much in store for you in this process, you could start looking at new opportunities elsewhere.
Your company may be consistently making losses or unable to bag new projects. Smaller companies cannot afford to have a lot of employees on bench like their bigger counterparts.
They would rather reduce their number and recruit any time in the future if the need arises.
Of course, none of these signs might result in a layoff letter on your desk. But if there are more than the regular share of signals, you can connect the dots to find out the real meaning.
Your comfort-level with your boss is of prime importance to you as he’s the one assigning new projects, deciding your role, and making important career decisions like designation, promotion, pay hike, all of which determine where your career would be heading.
If this equation with your boss fails or your boss is determined to make it fail, you may have a tough time ahead. Losing your boss’ support and confidence can be extremely frustrating as anything you do would not get appreciation or recognition and you find your ideas and efforts heading nowhere.
How would you handle such a situation? Would you go into a panic mode and desperately start looking at better or any-available opportunity or is there a better way out? Well, we’ll leave that discussion for our next post.