Have you suddenly been offered an additional week away from the office, despite having already used up all of your vacation days on an extended tour of your home Xbox library? If the higher-ups are encouraging you to go sip piña coladas with your ol' pal Jimmy Buffett, don't celebrate too soon - this could be a ploy to get you out of the office so that the team can better prepare for your more permanent vacation to come. Take special note of how much work is waiting for you when you return from your "gifted" free time. If there isn't much, your managers have either begun to reassign your duties elsewhere, or hired a prospective replacement to test the waters while you were out. Either way, neither bodes well for your job security. Remember: a boss can only know for sure just how essential you are to the company when you're not there.