Getting a pink slip in today's job market is like being evicted from your home in a hurricane. The horrific head winds facing job seekers today will make finding shelter with a new employer all the harder.
Not only is unemployment still stuck above 9 percent, it's also lasting longer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average length of unemployment has skyrocketed to 40.3 weeks in August this year compared to 17.7 weeks in August 2008.
The difficult labor market isn't lost on Americans. In The Conference Board's most recent Consumer Confidence Index, 44.1 percent of Americans said jobs are "hard to get," while only 5.1 percent said they were "plentiful."
In Bankrate's August Financial Security Index poll, nearly a third of Americans said they felt less secure in their job than a year ago.
"Companies right now are going as lean and mean as they can," says Linda Rolie, author of "Getting Back to Work: Everything You Need to Bounce Back and Get a Job After a Layoff." "They have absolutely stripped out all the fluff. Anything that's not totally pushing the coal or creating revenue or finding significant value for the company is getting stripped down."
While it's not always possible to know when you're about to be laid off or fired, here are some telltale signs that can help you prepare for, and possibly head off, a job loss.