When you’re in good standing at your firm, it usually isn’t hard to tell. But when you’re a target for layoff, or feelings about your participation have changed, the signs are often subtle. The Wall Street Journal reports this week that there are at least three clues. And when employers are laying more people off than any time since 9/11, reading the cues to your fate is especially important now:
Warning Sign #1. Non-verbal clues or passive-aggressive behavior. If you’re in good standing with your boss, you should be having frequent talks. But many managers resort to non-verbal clues or passive-aggressive behavior rather than confronting employees directly if they’ve got bad news or are dissatisfied with performance.
Warning Sign #2. A change in your boss’ interaction with you. Changes in the way you’re treated can be a signal that your job is in danger. For example, if your boss used to respond to your emails in the same day, but it now takes a week, consider it a sign.
Warning Sign #3. A change in how projects are assigned. Pay attention to how projects are doled out can give you a feeling for where you fit in. Are you being passed over on plum projects? If you’re repeatedly overlooked for high-profile assignments that you feel capable of handling, it might be a sign that management is preparing for your dismissal.
More parents face tough questions in the months ahead about whether to bail out their kids, and how to structure the aid if they do. So far the credit crisis has struck young borrowers “only a glancing blow”, reports the Wall Street Journal. The government has shored up access to student loans, and rates of forebearance and loan-deferral are up sharply, holding down defaults.
The problem is the number of undergraduates and young adults who are heavily leveraged as the economy weakens and starting salaries fail to keep pace. The stakes are high, including the risk of default, or ruined credit, or lost opportunities to attend graduate school or buy a home … even wage garnishment. Parents, too, are on the hook if they co-signed for loans, as lenders increasingly require. What to do? The Journal quotes the director of a credit counseling service, who says parents need to get their kids on a budget, and if necessary help out with a loan – not a gift – with a written repayment agreement. Your thoughts?
Each year, more than 300,000 Americans die of a sudden, fatal heart attack. This week, the Wall Street Journal reports that about a third of the victims don’t have the usual risk factors, such as family history of heart disease, abdominal fat, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. But there may be a new way to anticipate such attacks. The Journal reports that Prediman Shah, director of cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, is one of many experts who recommend a coronary calcium CT scan. Shah says the noninvasive procedure takes about 15 minutes and costs a few hundred dollars … but may not be covered by your insurer. At a minimum, says Shah, seeing a picture of the calcium lining your arteries can be a wake-up call to take your coronary/artery disease seriously, and to be diligent in taking medication, exercising, and making other healthy lifestyle changes. For more information on this procedure, go to www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease/HB0005.