I have a feeling that I will soon be fired. I’ve been working at this company for 10 years, am a top performer, meeting all my targets and have received only positive feedback from my manager. However, I am being excluded from a major “change management” project that was recently implemented here, without any explanation.
Can you point me at some possible signs that I should be looking out for at my workplace that would indicate that I might be out of a job soon?
Signed: Fear of the Unknown (FOTU)
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The best advice regarding the “telltale signs” that the pink slip may be coming is from Paul Michael’s blog, WiseBread. Below, you’ll find a long list of questions you can ask yourself — Michael suggests that if can answer “yes” to at least three or more of the questions, you might be on the “chopping block” and it’s time to look for another job:
- Are you finding that you are suddenly being left out of the loop? If you used to know what was going on in your firm, and now you have to learn company news from outside sources, it’s time to move on.
- Did you recently make a huge mistake? Did you lose money for the company or team? Only you can decide if you messed up. If you know, HR knows. Michael calls this the “final nail in your coffin”.
- Do people seem to be avoiding you at all costs, no longer doing that fun small talk in the halls or at lunch, whispering around you, and avoiding eye contact?
- How well did your last performance review go? Does it read like a train wreck?
- Has your company recently been sold or merged? This is rarely good news for about 90% of the staff. Being sold means new management, and they often have new plans for the company that include cutbacks and layoffs.
- Are you being given impossible jobs that seem to have little or no chance of success? This is a very popular action, although underhanded. The company may need a big reason to give you the boot, especially if you’ve done everything right and are the life and soul of your department — enter the impossible task.
- Are your responsibilities shrinking to the point where you now have less responsibility than the intern?
- Has your office, cubicle or working space recently been down-sized?
- Do you get a sense that people are talking about you — whispering more around you, or changing the topic as you approach?
- Did your recently receive a pay freeze or, worse still, a pay cut?
- Have you seen a job posting for your company that matches your job description?
- Does it seem like everyone really dislikes you?
- Have you recently been asked to take some time off?
- Are you noticing that more communication between you and your superiors is being conducted on paper or email, thereby leaving a clear paper-trail?
- Are you finding it almost impossible to get approval or ‘buy in’ on projects that your propose?
- Have you recently been asked to work on a “special project”?
- Are your successes and accomplishments being glossed over or taken for granted?
- Are you currently being ‘retrained’ or have you been told to take coaching sessions?
- Has your immediate boss or mentor quit or been terminated?
- Have you recently been promoted to a position of less responsibility?
If you find that you have answered “Yes” to 3 or more of these questions, it my be time to move on, regardless. These experiences can seriously impact on your day-to-day experience on a job — it may be time to find an employer where you are appreciated more and where you can start enjoying your work better.