In today's world of economic uncertainty, many people are worried about the possibility of losing their jobs. Let's face it, unless you are working for one of the companies that our beloved (please notice the rolling of my eyes) government deems as "too big to fail," the security of your company's existence in today's economy could be about as good as the possibility of you walking on the moon. That's not to say there aren't some really good companies out there that are prepared and able to weather the storm, but I'd say most companies do not fall into this category, and thus for the rest of us there is the real possibility we could lose our jobs.
The hardest part about a company failing is not in the failure itself but in its employees not being able to recognize the warning signs before it happens. If employees could notice the red flags of failure far enough in advance, they could buy themselves valuable time to search elsewhere for employment before the sinking of the ship has them going down with it.
Here is a list of potential warning signs - which is in no way exhaustive - that the company you work for may be going under. Please note that just one of these signs alone is probably not reason to panic, but if you begin to see two or three of these signs in the company you work for, you probably need to find a new job. Chances are good that the word "paycheck" from this company will soon be obsolete.
Warning signs that the company you work for may be going out of business.
- You are asked to conserve on the use of sticky notes by using both the front side and back side before throwing them away.
- You experience rolling power outages in your offices to save money on the electrical bill.
- There is a "Starbucks Coffee, Coming Soon" sign posted outside your office building.
- Your boss races to the bank on payday before anyone else has even received their check.
- You have been encouraged to bring in your own envelopes and stamps to work.
- The recycle bin is now your only source for toilet paper.
- The Army and Air Force have set up recruitment booths in your office building.
- 80% of the calls coming into the office wish to speak to accounts payable.
- "The check is in the mail" is the phrase most often uttered out of your boss' mouth, followed shortly by "it was sent just the other day" when he is talking on the phone.
- You catch your boss in his office scouring through the help wanted ads.
- The domain name for your company's website is currently up for sale.
- Words like "bounced check" and "drained account" are common phrases heard around the office on pay day.
- You hear people say things like "Oh, are they still around?" after telling them where you work.
- The temperature in the office is 55 degrees in the winter and 85 degrees in the summer.
- Office supplies have run so low that nobody is even stealing from them anymore.
- The annual Christmas party has been replaced by a new tradition called the annual Christmas card.
- Your end of year bonus was a 20% of at Office Max coupon from the weekend paper.
- The internet speed in your office has gone from high-speed cable to dial-up, and your boss is struggling to try to explain the benefits of this change to everyone.
- While everything else around the office has been scaled back because of budget issues, security has almost doubled.
- Office employees have now been assigned cleaning chores after the cancelation of the nightly janitorial services.
Remember, these are but a few of the many warning signs out there and just one or two of these alone may not be an indication that the company you work for going out of business. However, the presence of any 3 or more of these signs is almost a sure sign of it failing. In today's economy all precautions are necessary. And please, if you can think of any other warning signs that the company you work for may be about to fail, do us all a public service and list it in the comments section below.