Eight signs it’s time to jump ship

High-profile layoffs in the tech sector have been ramping up as of late, and the sense of a deep freeze ahead for new IT opportunities is mounting. Yet opportunities still remain for IT pros savvy enough to know when to jump from a foundering outfit to one capable of offering more stable employment.

The key, of course, is to know how to read the signs of company trouble accumulating around you. After all, as InfoWorld contributor Dan Tynan recently found while examining the current state of IT employment, the IT workplace has become decidedly cutthroat.

Few are going to tip you off to the tough times they see ahead for your organization, especially as hiring freezes take hold, heating up the job competition across the IT industry.

“If your company is headed for a fall, it’s usually better to jump than to be pushed,” Tynan advises hopeful IT survivors. “Don’t let yourself be blindsided by quickly dwindling company prospects.”

Outlining the eight surefire indications that it’s time to update your resume and start networking, Tynan provides sage advice for those IT pros whose employers are quickly feeling the effects of uncertain times — or worse.

After all, timing is everything when it comes to jumping ship.

Sign No. 1: Closed-door meetings

If all the conference rooms are booked or doors keep closing, the tide may be shifting toward cuts at your organization. “Pay attention to what your gut is telling you,” says John Baschab, senior vice-president at Technisource. “A lot of the time it knows what’s going on, even if your brain doesn’t.”

Sign No. 2: Strange faces

If you look around the lunchroom and all you see are strangers, your company may be surreptitiously replacing permanent staff with temps.

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Sign No. 3: Bad press

Forget the cliche about there being no so such thing as bad publicity. Bad press is a harbinger of tough times ahead.

Sign No. 4: Back-burner fever

If projects previously billed as vital to the future of the company are being scaled down or put on hold, it’s a good sign the future isn’t as bright as it once was.

Sign No. 5: Major decisions are delayed

“When decisions that used to take a few days now take one or two weeks, that’s a strong sign things are going badly,” says Simon Stapleton, a tech careers coach and chief innovation officer at Skandia Investment Solutions.

Sign No. 6: Your boss acts like she owes you money

She may know the axe is going to fall and can’t tell you yet. It’s usually better to ask if something is up, openly and calmly, says Nicholas Lore, career coach and founder of Rockport Institute.

Sign No. 7: Slashed training budgets

If your organization is no longer planning for the future, it may not have one.

Sign No. 8: Slimmer sales force

If your company is losing big clients or the sales force is being cut, that’s a sure clue your employer is taking on water, says Tom Hart, executive vice president at staffing firm Veritude. “You don’t want to be the last rat off that ship.”

InfoWorld (US)

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