4 Quirks That Could Get You Laid Off

November 01, 2013 by Raymond Lee

Let’s clear something up first; Most of the time lay offs are inevitable. They are a hard fact of business, and are often unavoidable. However, there are some employees who will be more likely to wind up on a RIF list than others. There are some qualities that management will look to cut first.


The “That’s Not My Job”

Boy, oh boy is this every manager’s most hated phrase! When employees refuse to help out outside of the confines of their specific job description it speaks volumes to everyone around them. No matter how politely an employee turns down work outside of their normal responsibilities, it puts a negative label on them.

When layoffs are on the table, management will keep those employees who can diversify and pick up the slack. When workers have to leave their post, there will need for a team effort to keep the ship running smoothly. Managers will definitely get rid of the “That’s not my job” employees right off the bat.

The “Reviews Are a Crock”

We get it, most employees and even managers think that reviews are a crock. “They make us do it”, “No one revisits these” and “They’re unfair and a total waste of time”….so you think.

When it comes time for management to sit down and evaluate who needs to go in a RIF, documented performance is the first place they will look. Turning to documented reviews and reprimands is how companies safeguard themselves against legal action during a RIF or routine termination.

Although reviews are widely despised, they are in fact completely necessary and completely relevant.

The Silo

Different from the “That’s no my job” in one simple way; some workers won’t take on responsibilities in other fields or departments unless prompted, and some are never prompted. Whether or not you are asked to train in other fields or do work outside of your job description, you should take the initiative to do so.

Prove that you’re an asset in more areas than just your own and do it on your own. When a RIF takes place, they are often targeted at a certain department (or departments) to align the workforce with industry needs. If you happen to be in that department, it would be very beneficial to have already proven that you’re an asset in more areas than one.

The Wallflower

All of that hard work and those proven results that you produce mean mud if no one ever sees or notices them. Some companies are great at doling out recognition and some need a good tuck on the sleeve every once in a while. There are great ways to make your presence known without looking like a jerk.

Stay in the loop. Know exactly what is going on with products, clients and services. You should be like the office news ticker.

  • Provide feedback and solicit it.
  • Get social, even if it is just the office intranet or social media networks, hash tags or handles.
  • Lend a hand and make yourself available for advice or favors. This always comes back to you when you need it most.
  • Acknowledge your higher-ups, even if you don’t work with them on a daily basis.

While having an awareness of these things can help safeguard employees against winding up on the RIF list, these tips make for general good business practice. Each of these things to look out for will do more than keep you employed, they could be the reason you get that raise or promotion. Simply sticking around shouldn’t be the goal.

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee

Raymond Lee is the President of Careerminds, a global outplacement company based in Wilmington, Delaware. He has over 20 years of human resource, outplacement, and career consulting experience. He has his bachelor’s in psychology and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University. He is active in SHRM and ATD. Raymond’s been featured on SiriusXM Business Radio, CareerTalk, and the Wall Street Journal and he’s published a book titled, Clocking Out: A Stress-Free Guide to Career Transitions.

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