How to get a career contingency plan

10 signs it’s time to get a career contingency plan

When you see one or more of the following warning signs at work, it’s probably time to dust off the CV

1. Watch the money

A pessimistic financial forecast is often the first warning sign. The loss of a major customer or source of funding is another. If you start dealing with irate suppliers who haven’t been paid or your salary is late, expect the worst.

2. New chief executive

New CEOs are brought in to make change and they like to shake up the existing senior management team and their departments. Make no mistake, everyone’s place in the organisation is up for review.

3. Rhetoric alert

When corporate communications seem to be teeming with new rhetoric about “organisational transformation”, be prepared for a bumpy ride while it’s decided whether you are part of the new “vision” or not.

4. You’ve been merged

If your organisation is being merged with another company, beware. It’s not untypical for the acquiring company to appoint its own staff to the new key roles and dispose of the incumbent staff.

5. Management consultants arrive

When “external experts” are drafted in to review operational efficiency, their recommendations are bound to include restructuring and job losses.

6. Boss suddenly becomes distant

If they seem increasingly reluctant to talk with you and get a funny look in their eye when you talk about longer-term plans, there may be something afoot. If they start wearing a new suit and disappearing in the afternoons (probably for a job interview), then maybe they’re worried about their own job too.

7. Justifying your role

You’re asked to write a report on what you do and your boss, who has been previously supportive, now seems to increasingly find fault. Are they trying to justify your exit?

8. Sidelining

At meetings you sense there has been a pre-meeting to which you weren’t invited and all the agreements have already been made without you. Classic sidelining!

9. The “ringer” recruit

A new member of staff joins your team. Your manager seems curiously vague about what they will be doing but wants you to show them around and shadow you for a while. A helpful addition to the team – or your replacement?

10. Handover procedures

You are asked to write a procedures manual so that while you are on holiday or “just in case you fall under a bus”, someone else will be able to take over. If this happens alongside the “ringer recruit”, they have your replacement ready.