My title is the "Vice-President of Technology", but that's mostly just to look good on a business card. I've actually been the entirety of my IT Department for most of my nearly fifteen years with the company, handling the jobs for everything from SysAdmin, to Network Admin, to Database Admin, to Help Desk, to Software Engineer (officially, my "main" role). I often get bogged down in little issues to the point where I get to do very little actual programming, but I act as a point of contact between my company and our clients and partners for anything technical (data definitions, file transfers, client portal user management, etc.).
Over the past several years, my company has been downsizing. We were at around 50 employees about five years ago, for the past few years we've been at 10 and, as of today, we're down to 8 after an employee who had been with the company longer than I have was let go for lack of work for her to do. Additionally, the company's owner and president made a decision to hire an MSP (Managed Service Provider) to handle much of the "basic" IT load that I've been responsible for managing - and, to be honest/fair, haven't always been the best at keeping up with due to all of the various responsibilities and tasks that tend to come up with little to no warning. As a part of the onboarding with this MSP, they requested admin access to pretty much all of our systems, which I've gladly provided. I've been told that the primary goal is to take those things off my plate so that I can focus on the programming tasks that have been put on hold so many times.
Additionally, the company's business model has shifted considerably from when I started. So much so that I'm not sure that they still need a full-time programmer. I'm sure that they could purchase "canned" software packages that handle some of the applications I've built over the years. They could have someone come in and do a one-time data migration to whatever retail system they chose and not have my (relatively meager for my position) salary as an ongoing expense.
All of this to ask the question: Should I ask my boss if they intend to continue my employment or if they are planning to phase me out? I honestly love working here for a number of reasons, and I've often said over the years that it's my intention to work for them until I'm ready to retire one day. However, I also fully understand that this is business. The owner and president have to make whatever decisions are best to keep the business operational, even if that means letting people go.
I don't want to be confrontational by asking such a direct question, but I also don't want to be blindsided by a "pink slip" (notification of termination) and have to scramble to find other employment to support my family. We've always had a very good working relationship - just the right blend of friendly and professional - so I don't want to jeopardize that either. At this point, I don't have any intention of leaving, but I am thinking of polishing up my resume, just in case.
Thank you all for the input. I'm not sure why this question is attracting down-votes, but I appreciate the answers and comments.
One point of clarification: The initial reduction in employees (from 50 down to 10) was due to the company outsourcing most of our data entry staff to a 3rd-party company. As I mentioned, the business model has changed over the years and what used to be our "primary" products have given way to products that don't require as much manual input and intervention. In the past, quite a bit of the data we use for day-to-day operations had to be entered and validated by one of our employees, but that's no longer the case. Most of the data points we use now are less detailed and can be handled by more automated processes and routines. That automation is a significant part of my position, which is why, I think, I've felt "comfortable" in my position and job security up till now.