My company has many offices in USA and the rest of the world. Many teams or individuals work partly or fully remotely in this company. Many people have quit the company over the last few years and some were laid off recently in my time zone. Our stocks are not doing well and the image of the company is bleak overall. But, we are developing new software products to replace our old ones and the new products are somewhat ready to release to the market. Most of the work for maintaining the old ones has been moved overseas. The work for the new products was mostly given to overseas to begin with, but we are trying to get a large part of it back back onshore.

I work in "IT" in one of the USA offices, but the rest of my team works in an office which is in a different time zone in USA. I have recently been moved to this team and I am in the process of getting KT or knowledge transfer i.e. learning about the systems and work of this team from another teammate (call him Rick). Another teammate (call him James) who has the knowledge has been moved to another team and is giving KT to an offshore team in parallel. Unfortunately, my manager suddenly announced that Rick has been moved to another team and won't be available long enough. The rest of the team complained that the move is too soon. Moreover, my manager mentioned that he is getting someone (call him Nikhil) from offshore soon to replace Rick. He will work in my team's office.

It seems that there would not be enough work for both me and Nikhil. I am not sure if my manager wants to keep me only until Nikhil comes to the USA and becomes productive. But, I'd like to know. How can I ask my manager this question in a diplomatic way, without sounding like I am worried about my job ? Thanks.


Whether or not you'd get an honest answer, which is really what you're looking for, is a function of how well your manager trusts you to keep your mouth shut, and how likely your manager is to need you so you can (probably) be reassigned to another team.

First things first -- unless I didn't care about my own job security, I wouldn't tell you anything if I were your manager. Most likely I'd be vague -- "Sorry, RG, but personnel decisions are very sensitive and I just can't tell you that one way or another." Because, whenever I've been a lead, my response to such things is "I will jealously protect the interests of the company."

Secondly, now that you've asked me the question I dodged, I'd tell my managers that you're likely to bolt without a good answer, and we'd discuss whatever it was we had planned for you. And if that meant "You'll be moving to a new role in 6 months", I'd call you into my office and say ... "Please hang-tight -- we'll be moving you to a new role in 6 months."

  • Your not suggesting you would tell one of your employees that they were going to have a job in 6 months, not saying one way or another is one thing, literally saying an employee will be moving to a new project would suggest they will have a job (which would be a bold face lie).
    – Donald
    Aug 23 '19 at 23:46
  • There's also the question whether the manager knows. At one place my manager was told about layoffs one hour before me, and his manager was told one hour before him.
    – gnasher729
    Aug 24 '19 at 10:46
  • @Donald - Sorry if that was less than clear. Typically when an employee makes comments which indicate they are likely to leave, a manager will speak with their management about the possible situation. So, if RG came to me and indicated he might be concerned and considering a departure, I'd speak with my upline. If my boss cleared me to tell him he'd be moving to a new project (or would be retained), I'd pass that along. I have pretty strict rules against lying. Now I hope you'll un-down-vote me ;) Aug 26 '19 at 4:53
  • 1
    @gnasher729 - In my experience that's pretty unusual. I've never been a 2nd line manager so I don't know all the details, but I have been high enough the food chain (1st line and "team lead") that i've been through a few. Normally there's a general idea, and some discussions about who and how many. Before I was laid off the last time, we knew about a month in advance there was going to be a "major resource action." My attempt to move failed, so I felt I was likely to get the axe. I was pretty much "done" so I didn't go to my boss. Aug 26 '19 at 5:02
  • @JulieinAustin - Voting is anonymous for a reason.
    – Donald
    Aug 26 '19 at 5:30

Before asking your manager anything I would suggest that you work on your resume and start applying to new companies. The situation at your company does not look good from what you have described and you need to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Also, asking your manager likely won't be helpful. If you are going to be laid of and he knows it, he probably has an idea of the time frame as well and would want to keep you doing work as long as possible before that time. I have been in a situation where a whole department was going to be eliminated, the manager knew and kept assuring the the employees that no major changes would be made. Unless you have a great relationship with your manager on a personal level it is very unlikely that they will truthfully answer your question. At the end of the day, the manager's loyalty is usually towards the company and his own job security and not an individual employee.


You can ask. Probably will not get a 'real' answer.

It's been my experience that position eliminations (which is the HR friendly term for laid off) come from levels above a team lead or manager.

I've had happen twice in the last three and a half years. In the first case back in Jan 2016 my supervisor knew of a pay raise and promotion I was to get but not of my being laid off. The raise was significant (8½%) and went into effect on the 1st paycheck of my 12½ month severance.

The 2nd layoff was last November. My supervisor did not know beforehand. I was scheduled for a new project starting in January. This was after it was announced in September by the CEO of the company that acquired us that "the integration is complete". He lied.

In both cases the decision came from outside my team.

Now for the good news. In both cases I found a new job in less than three weeks with a 10% bump in pay. I'm still getting calls. IT (at least as a developer) is hot right now. As of right now, in the St Louis market they are more development positions than experienced developers to fill.

Update the resume. Talk to recruiters. trust in your skills.

  • 1
    Acquisitions are weird because they bring in a huge amount of skill. The acquiring team may have a rough idea of who does what that they no longer need. At one place, "resource actions" were the regularly scheduled way of dealing with under-performers and trouble-makers. The manager might not have had the exact list of names, but they knew they were going to lose one or more people off the bottom. In some cases the non-managerial lead will be asked about one or two people. I had to give feedback on a friend I'd helped get a job and it was a pretty shitty life experience. Aug 26 '19 at 5:10
  • @JulieinAustin - Thanks for introducing us to the term "resource action". I am googling this now. Any synonyms for it ?
    – RemoteGuy
    Sep 4 '19 at 4:46
  • 1
    @RemoteGuy - "Lay off". Usually a "resource action" is a wide-scale lay off which affects some percentage of employees. Sep 4 '19 at 11:57

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