Hello CIOs... Think your job is secure? Think you could never get fired? Hmm -- You might want to check out these signs that you are about to join the ranks of the jobless!
Been getting funny looks from co-workers? Odd glances from the CEO? Asked if you enjoy your time off? Been given a box and told that personal items are not allowed in your office? Yes, CIO, you may be about to lose your job.
Meredith Levinson has written an article for CIO magazine on the subtle and not-so-subtle indicators that a CIO may have an imminent meeting with the Director of HR soon. Also included are some "job-saving tips" with each warning sign. Here are just a few of my favorite ones. For a complete list, go to her article. And I'll throw my own color commentary along the way...
1. Your company gets sold. Pretty obvious one here. The first thing the acquiring company does is get rid of any redundant job positions -- usually from the acquired company. The job-saving tip here? "Always have your slide deck ready that shows the value you are providing to the firm... so that you are johnny-on-the-spot ready to explain your value." so says Karen Rubenstrunk, a recruiter with Korn Ferry International. Who the heck has that ready? But what is true -- if you wait until the fateful meeting with new management, you are probably too late and your future with the new company has already been decided.
2. Your company is not making money -- well, duh. Something's gotta give unless you have endless angel backing or VCs who have taken on charity cases. Job-saving tip: I dunno -- do you really want to continue working for a company that is going down hill? Here is the suggestion from the article: Pay particular attention to the way your department is viewed by the rest of the company. If it is thought of as a bunch of losers or as a commodity service, you could be looking at being outsourced or replaced by a new CIO. In either case, blow the dust off your resume and get familiar with Monster.com -- your job is short-lived.
3. Your company pursues a strategy that your didn't support. Oh yeah, you are done for. If your recommendation was not chosen regardless of what it was, you can bet that your job is done for. Job saving tip: Make a list of companies that are going your way -- centralization or decentralization, grow through acquisition or from within, whatever direction you advocated.
4. Your span of control just got reduced. Yep -- reduction in responsibility is a sign that you are on your way out. Think Peter Principal. Job saving tip: None -- just start looking for a new job.
5. You have to fight like crazy to get anything done. If your peers and colleagues ignore your suggestions, rebuff your ideas, or simply don't listen to you, you are in trouble. Job saving tip: start or renew a subscription to TheLadders.com.
6. You can't hire top-flight IT resources. If so, your reputation may precede you... In addition, if your best people start leaving in droves, you can bet it's because they are frustrated, angry, or see the writing on the wall better than you do. Job saving tip: Ask current and departing employees what gives -- what can you do to be a better boss. Oh yeah, and take their recommendations VERY seriously.
7. You screw up big time. Enough said. Job saving tip: I suggest a name change and moving to another country.
8. You run afoul of the head of the best revenue-generating department -- say the VP of Sales -- who starts squawking to the CEO. Kiss that job goodbye! Job saving tip: Fix whatever problem is preventing the sales guy from meeting his numbers -- ASAP!
9. Your boss asks you to work on "special projects". OMG -- you are cooked. Job saving tip: None -- it's too late to save face. The best you can do is milk the special project until you land another job...
10. And my favorite one -- You see a confidential search ad that describes your job perfectly. Job saving tip: Apply for the job and see what happens...?
There are 8 other warning signs in the article that may be of interest to you. Here are a few that I think should have made the list:
1. Your office just got moved to a closet in the basement.
2. The locks to the building got changed and no one gave you a new key.
3. Your "Executive" parking spot is now located in the convenience store lot next door.
4. You report to the facilities manager now.
5. And finally -- you find a pink slip in your suggestion box.
If any of these sound familiar, you could be in trouble. Time to start blowing the dust off the resume, becoming friends with the executive search companies, and familiarizing yourself with the job websites. And good luck!
If you have your own set of warning signs, by all means, share them with the rest of us through the comments.
Yours in BI (and job hunting) Success!
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