‘Can I Ask My Boss if Layoffs Are Coming?’

I am an admin at a large public university that has gone fully remote. Through the Covid-19 crisis, everyone is keeping their jobs with full pay, even if they can’t fulfill all their duties or find work for all their hours remotely. However, I am worrying about the fall, when the full economic impact of…

‘Can I Ask My Boss if Layoffs Are Coming?’

I am an admin at a large public university that has gone fully remote. Through the Covid-19 crisis, everyone is keeping their jobs with full pay, even if they can’t fulfill all their duties or find work for all their hours remotely. However, I am worrying about the fall, when the full economic impact of the coronavirus is felt, resulting in the possibility of fewer students enrolling. If significantly less students enroll, budgets may shrink and that may result in layoffs. I worry I may be among those laid off, as I am the newest hire in my office. To be clear, this is my own reasoning, not anything I’ve heard from higher-ups. When is it OK to start asking my supervisor about the possibility of layoffs? If I need to job search, I would ideally like to start now, as I have little savings and couldn’t make it work for very long without an income. So here’s the thing about asking your employer about the possibility of layoffs: Most of the time, you can’t fully rely on an answer that tells you your job is safe. Most employers who are considering layoffs don’t announce them until they’re ready to actually lay people off. They often won’t acknowledge that cuts are being planned, and even more often they won’t tell you that your job is one of the roles being targeted. That might sound heartless—after all, surely they should warn people so employees aren’t blindsided and can get a head start on job searching, right? But there are a few reasons employers so often play it close to the ves
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