I've been relatively happy with my job as an executive assistant for the last three years, but the company I work for has been going through financial problems and I've heard rumors of layoffs in the near future. My boss keeps alluding to his stress over the company's well-being, though he hasn't mentioned anything about my specific position. I don't want to jump the gun and assume that staff cuts are coming soon, but it's hard to go on about my business when I'm concerned about my future with the company.
Do you think I should start looking for a new job, even though I'm still employed? I don't want my boss to find out and then fire me because of my actions, especially if there were no plans for my exit in the first place. I can't afford to be without a paycheck and don't want to make the wrong move.
Savvy says: The pink-slip rumor mill has been the cause of one too many blood pressure spikes and panicked job searches. To see my tips for how to proceed in your situation, read more.
Whether or not there's validity to your concerns about being laid off, it's always best to prepare for the worst. Set yourself up so that you're ready for a job search if your position does become obsolete. Start thinking about what kinds of positions you'd want to apply for and which companies could be a good fit. Figuring out your ultimate direction now will save time later.
You should always be ready with a current resume, especially when you think a job search could be around the bend. If you've been working in the same job for the last three years, it may be that your resume is three years out of date. Update it and save it somewhere other than your computer at work. Also, it's never too early to begin networking. Dig up your contacts and start getting in touch; it can be as simple as saying it's been a while and you're just checking in to see how everything is going.
Depending on your relationship with your boss, it could be beneficial to request a meeting to discuss your concerns. Whether your boss's answers are reassuring or further your concerns, you should still take the steps to be ready should the axe come your way. And if your boss gives you no reason to doubt your uneasiness, then yes, looking for a new job now could be the best plan of action.