Journal is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
If you're self-employed, there's a chance you've been asked by family, friends, or complete strangers whether or not you've tried looking for a more "stable" job. While annoying, this question is still well-meaning, as freelancing requires constant marketing and scouting. Work can dry up quickly, and clients can be unreliable when it comes to paying on time. Having a regular 9 to 5, on paper, seems like the simplest way to ensure security and constant income.
Yet, despite what we'd like to believe, no job is ever completely stable. We may arrive on time every day, do our very best, and even take on extra tasks without being asked, yet we could still be unemployed tomorrow through no fault of our own. Whether it's due to company mismanagement, a lack of demand, or even illegal activities, a failing business usually comes with a host of warning signs. If you've noticed any of the following at your place of employment, now is the time to restart your job-search.
1. Disappearing Benefits and Raises
Vacation days are getting slashed left-and-right. Health and dental Insurance is no longer being offered. Years have gone by and you have yet to receive a raise, even when you ask for one. If a company is no longer putting in the effort to make sure its employees are taken care of and want to stick around, then it's time to start looking elsewhere.
2. Unusual Workload
You may feel as if you're being underutilized and wonder why you're even there anymore. Or you might be forced to take on more work than you had initially signed on for without any additional pay. Either way, this is never a good sign. And it becomes even more frustrating when additional training is required yet never given.
3. Insane Turnover
You know things are really unstable if, by your first work anniversary, the staff is mostly filled with new faces. While it's typical for companies to lose and replace between 20% and 50% of their employees yearly, and this is especially common in industries such as retail and entertainment, it becomes much more alarming when the company in question is small in size.
4. Secrets, Secrets
You don't learn about major changes, such as a relocation or resignation, until just before they occur. When you ask for updates, you're either ignored or given a very vague answer. This is usual done to preserve the company's image and prevent a mass exodus of employees. Those who can read between the lines, however would be more than wise to plan their own escape.
Your boss demands constant updates from everyone. They fuss over the tiniest details, from the milk in the fridge to fingerprints on the glass door. They may interrupt you in the middle of a job and change up your routine or even write an important business email for you and ask you to send it out yourself. A truly good boss will hire capable employees and allow them to do their job completely and competently.
6. Late Payments
There's no logical reason for why you should not be paid every single day day. And there's definitely no reason why your boss should be fussy about how and when he gives you your pay check. If you're paid late, and later harassed when you ask for a reason, take it as a sign that you should leave immediately.
7. Bills Are Piling Up
You may notice that utility bills aren't being paid on time, if at all. If you rent out your office space, your landlord may be contacting you frequently over late payments. Your vendors regularly complain that they have yet to be paid as well. Of all signs of a failing business, this combined with late employee payments are easily the most telling.
8. Lack of Updates
Your internet set-up is years behind your competitors'. Your phones are out-of-date, even falling apart, and your printer constantly needs to be rebooted. Yet, despite constant complaints or suggestions from you and your coworkers, nothing is ever replaced. If anything, you're either told to clean up what you have or replace certain parts. As a result, jobs are made more difficult and money is wasted on constant repairs.
9. No Replacements
Your company once had an HR department, but it's since disappeared. You once had an accountant or even a sales manager, yet once they left they were never replaced. This is also when you'll notice the heavier work load with no additional pay, or that your boss is now playing more roles than usual.
10. A Toxic Environment
Company morale has gone down the drain. Everyone hates coming to work, and gossip and infighting are constant. Even worse, your boss is becoming verbally abusive and lashing out at everyone. They may insult your intelligence or remind you that this is "their company" when you politely make suggestions. You might even be forced to come in when you're sick or during a family emergency.
You may have been thankful for your job at one point, but there's no need to go down with a sinking ship. The moment you recognize any of these ten signs is the moment you should plan your way out; revamp your resume, visit job boards, contact staffing agencies, and save up as much of each paycheck as you can. It's easy to become complacent or assume that things will eventually get better. Take all of the necessary steps that you can to avoid paying the price for someone else's bad decisions before it's too late.