As a project manager, one thing you can do is get yourself ready is to shop around. Update that resume, become certified as a project manager through the right training program and take the exam now with no more procrastination.
There are often times a few signs here and there that it may be time to dust off your résumé, tweak it with your most recent accomplishments – like PMP certification training and maybe that $850,000 successful project you just finished - and start shopping it around. With that thought in mind, here is like to consider five signs I've noticed through the years in a few organizations that I've worked with who started to struggle. Please consider...
No new faces and old faces are disappearing. You knew that two new certified project managers were supposed to be starting last Monday but you don't see any new faces. In fact, a couple of old faces disappeared and your PMO director is now out on the road managing a new project. Get the message...something bad is about to happen...or it's already in progress. Act now before others act for you.
The dreaded restructuring. Sudden departmental changes or the combining of departments and restructuring of leadership can be an impending sign of jobs and faces disappearing. Don't be caught off guard. If you are ok with shopping yourself around, then now might be the time. Be proactive.
Changes, changes, changes. Sudden changes in policies could be a sign that a buy out or take over is in progress. That doesn't mean your job will be eliminated, but it could and at the very least your position will be scrutinized for necessity and possible rightsizing. I was working at one of the largest casino and gaming giants here in Las Vegas as their corporate application development manager leading a staff of 18 developers. Rumors started to fly of a merger and I assumed the changes would be big – and I was right - so I bailed first. Be proactive like that if you can.
Going from hot to cold fast. I was working as a consultant being paid well and even courted by the CEO to come on board and help run a portion of the company. Two weeks later - as I was still considering - I was told I would be going on the shelf for at least a couple of weeks to make them look more profitable as they worked with a venture capitalist to get a large injection of cash. Ummm. Ok. That was enough for me to consider that this wasn't as stable and long term as I was hoping for or being told. I looked elsewhere and moved on.
Your CEO gets in trouble. From the “this actually happened to me files” I had a CEO who was fraudulent but no one knew it – and he made a very dramatic exit. But most don't do that...they are just shown the door. I ended up getting two job offers from the clients I was leading projects for while working for this professional services organization, but something like this can really shake an organization and the remaining legitimate employees up and potentially damage the reputation of the innocent if they don't move fast. When it's time to move on, it's time to move on. Just do your best to look for the right signs, don't sugar coat the situation, and move on before it becomes an emergency.\
Summary / call for input
If you are confident and proactive then I say act in advance of any major company change. Get training, get certification if you don't already have it, and start shopping yourself. Especially if you have skills that are in demand. You don't want to be caught off guard or included in the mass exodus when everyone will be looking for the same five available positions. Be open to change. It's not always a bad thing. Many times it is the best thing.
Readers - any thoughts on this topic? Have you witnessed any of these similar signs in your organization? What tips would you add to this list?