In my career as a journalist, I’ve lived through two rounds of mass layoffs.
While I didn’t see either of them coming, hindsight is always 20/20, and I now have a much better sense for when the tides are changing. I also appreciate how much even a little bit of notice can help in the transition.
To get a better understanding of the signs that layoffs are coming, I polled others who’ve been through them, scoured the news about high-profile mass layoffs, and crawled the depths of the internet.
If you notice a combination of these signs in your own company, it may be time to start looking for a new job.
The most obvious sign: Executives confirm layoffs are coming
Executives hint at layoffs using other terms, like ‘restructuring’
HP, which has been going through layoffs since 2008, proves there are many indirect ways of saying “layoffs.”
CEO Meg Whitman and other HP executives have used terms like “downsizing,” “restructuring,” “reorganizing,” “incremental synergies,” “offshoring,” and “streamlining.”
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich used the term “headcount reductions” in an email he sent to employees about rumored layoffs.
And IBM has referred to layoffs as “workforce rebalancing.”
If you hear or see these terms bandied about, it’s time to brace yourself.
Your company gives you a ‘non-negotiable’ job offer
If you don’t take the non-negotiable job offer, you will get laid off.
In 2015, HP gave a group of several hundred employees in its struggling enterprise-services unit an unusual ultimatum: Either take the new job we’ve lined up for you — or get laid off without severance.