So I've been working for a small company for a little over two years - two owners, 3 employees.

Recently, a major source of our income was disrupted - it was supposed to be our bread and butter until at least the end of Q3 or early Q4.

After the news came in, one of the owners told an hourly employee that he wasn't going to have any hours for the rest of the week.

I was moved to another internal project, which we generate no revenue from.

One of the owners (the more senior one) expressly told me that he expects to get new work in soon, but he was talking about how he had to cold call as well the other day.

Should I be worried for my job and look elsewhere?


Only you are going to know for sure; it's possible this is only a momentary blip on the radar, but could also be a storm rolling in on the horizon.

I like to say that everybody should always have an open job search ongoing. Whether it's passive or active depends on your situation; but there's no harm in knowing what's out there.

  • I'm not too worried about finding a new job. I've had plenty of offers in the past year, but I typically like to put in at least a decent chunk of time at each company, to show employers I'm reliable. – Joe Smentz Jul 17 '15 at 21:12

Should I be worried for my job and look elsewhere?

Tiny startups can go through rapid ups and downs.

Many terrific companies went through extremely tough times in the early years of their existence. Some went through many ups and downs before they settle into a stable life.

I worked for a slightly larger startup that "reinvented" itself several times before finally becoming stable. They eventually got purchased by a much, much lager company. Those of us who stuck around through the tough times were rewarded with a very nice acquisition bonus.

There's no way for anyone outside the company to know if this is a death-knell, or a momentary blip, or a chance for reinvention. It's likely that even the 5 of you in the company can't know that for sure, either.

You need to decide what kinds of risks you are willing to take, how much you trust the judgement of those in charge, and how you want your professional life to progress the next few years. You need to decide how much advance notice you would need in order to find your next job, and if you were averse to accepting that you might not know until it happens. You should consider your overall marketability, as well as your professional network.

Startups can be a ton of fun, and a great experience. But they can be quite a "thrill ride", too.

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