You like your job. You need your job. Companies downsize, get bought out, declare bankruptcy, or go out of business altogether every day, but it could never happen to you—right?
Wrong. Nothing in life is certain, and it’s best to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Look for these eight signs that your company might be failing, and avoid going down with the ship.
1. Changes in Vision
Five days a week, we Navsters pull on our work boots to “materially decrease the death rate of small businesses in America.” It’s a great vision—pithy, righteous, and memorable.
An email announcing that we’re shifting gears to focus on chic yet affordable business cards would scare me. Sudden vision changes portend that your company is losing its way.
2. Clients Run for the Door
Researchers in Florida have shown that sharks retreat to deeper water before a hurricane arrives. Big-name clients herding toward the exit is a sign that something bad’s about to happen.
3. Executives Run for the Door
Researchers in all 50 states have shown that bodies without heads function poorly. It’s also a safe bet that an executive will be able to read disaster in your company’s tea leaves long before you can.
4. Talent Runs for the Door
Are your best and brightest colleagues leaving for greener pastures? Such departures could indicate that your company is floundering—especially if they’re not promptly replaced.
5. Where the Hell is the Red Bull?
The devil is in the details. If the company refrigerator, which has been stocked with cold drinks as long as you’ve worked there, now shows naught but cobwebs, take it as a warning.
There’s nothing wrong with a company tightening its belt in service of its mission, of course. But employee perks disappearing without explanation is a cause for concern.
6. Souring Media Coverage
It’s unrealistic to expect that every news report, review or article about your company will be 100% positive. A steady barrage of bad press, on the other hand, can kill it dead. Even a steady trickle of negativity can seriously hurt its chances of continued growth.
7. Weird Vibes
Sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. An increase in workplace tension, frequent high-level, closed-door meetings from which everyone emerges gloomy and silent, and an overall decrease in openness and communication are all harbingers of doom.
8. Slumping Business Credit Scores
Want an instant, insider’s look at your company’s overall fitness? Check out its business credit score. Companies with low business credit scores are considered untrustworthy about managing their payments. Slumping scores can hurt your company’s chances of obtaining financing in the future, and thus your chances of obtaining a paycheck.
This article was originally written on October 12, 2017.