With an emergency fund in place, the prospect of losing your job becomes a little less terrifying.
Singapore has been undergoing its slowest local employment growth since the Asian financial crisis hit in 1998. While Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say is reluctant to call this a downturn, it is a period of uncertainty for the Singapore labour market.
This is why we emphasize the importance of keeping an emergency fund made up of at least 3 months’ salary. No matter how stable things seem, there’s a chance you could lose your job when you least expect it. But with an emergency fund in place, the prospect of losing your job becomes a little less terrifying.
Here are some warning signs that your job might be in trouble:
1. You Attend Fewer Meetings
Are your co-workers really being more efficient, or are you being cut out?
2. Your Inbox is More Quiet
Less mail? You might want to follow up on the projects that seem to have quietened down.
3. But You’re Getting More Mail… From Your Boss
He or she seems to be emailing you about every little thing.
4. You’re Getting More Questions About Your Work
You seem to have to keep justifying what you’re doing these days.
5. You Get Poor Ratings
Your ratings have been going down consistently.
6. You’re Not Getting Feedback
No one’s giving you feedback on your work or your projects.
7. Your Input Is Being Ignored
More than once, your input has been brushed off or ignored, even if they were good ideas
8. You Feel Invisible
It’s not just at meetings; lunch time, break time and all the times in between, too.
9. You’re Asked to Hand Off Assignments
The boss says: “Would you mind keeping [insert name here] in the loop?” or asks you to pass on tasks to team members who don’t normally handle them.
10. You’re Given Fewer Responsibilities
Less projects and more time to have tea breaks? Don’t just keep sipping.
11. Your Colleagues Won’t Look You in the Eye
It’s possible they know something you don’t.
12. Management is Avoiding You
You can’t seem to pin down your boss, or your boss’s boss.
13. Your Company Has Just Been Acquired or Merged
When it results in “streamlining” or “restructuring”, these are just fancy terms for retrenchment.
14. Your Company is in Financial Trouble
Tough times ahead. There’s no sweet-talking this one.
15. The New Guy Has the Same Responsibilities You Did
Yes, you did come first. But you might be the next one to leave.
What Should I Do Next?
All is not lost if you find yourself in most of the above scenarios.
One of the first steps you can take is to talk to your Human Resources (HR) manager, or anybody in a position higher than you. Through HR, try setting up a meeting with your direct manager to discuss your feedback, what can be done to improve it, and what you can do to set things right. Keep the communication channels between you, your manager and HR open and continue performing your duties as you would normally.
This is also be a good time to find ways to build a side income if you don’t have an emergency fund in place. Set your side earnings aside and do not spend a dollar unless you really have to. Even if the worst happens, you’ll have cash to cover your expenses and tide you over until you find a new opportunity.