Losing your job is never a pleasant scenario, and when it happens without you having the warning to prepare for the hard days to come, it becomes a living nightmare.
But the reality is that there are often many direct and indirect ways in which the workplace around you starts telling you that somewhere something isn’t right, says Tonya Lain, regional vice president of staffing giant Adecco Staffing USA. If you look closely and carefully enough, you will find that the signs are right there in front of you, and it’s time to take charge of your professional life. Although these signs don’t always mean that you are going to be fired, they are often pointing to the fact that things aren’t as smooth as they should be, she says.
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THERE IS A CHANGE IN YOUR INTERACTIONS WITH YOUR BOSS
Are you interacting with your boss on a less regular basis now? Does he give you the cold shoulder too often when you run into him in the kitchen or the hall? That is your boss’ “not very subtle way of indicating” that somewhere his expectations from you are not being met, says Stephanie Daniel, senior vice president of Keystone Associates, a Boston-based human resources consulting firm.
“Humans, no matter how polished and experienced they are, if they are uncomfortable with a situation, will start to shun it subtly,” she says. So if your boss has plans of showing you the exit door shortly, he is probably going to have a hard time hiding his true motives. Some of her clients have told her that, they couldn’t explain what changed with their bosses, but something seemed different.
YOU HAVEN’T BEEN MEETING YOUR GOALS
This is the most obvious reason but then if your downfall rate is really small, it will hardly be the case that you’ll have noticed that. Still, if you’re not meeting your deadlines, commitments, sales quotas, or other performance measures, you may be tending to become unessential for your boss, even if he says otherwise, Lain says. She observes that if people are unable to meet deadlines, they usually opt for finding excuses or blaming others rather than owning up to their mistakes. If you are underperforming, it’s time to take a look at the reasons behind it.
YOUR COLLEAGUES’ WORKLOAD HAS INCREASED
All of your colleagues have new projects and are working overtime, and you don’t have the same amount of workload, not even close. That’s usually not an indication that something is wrong, says Lain. Neither is not being involved in key projects or meetings. “If your participation in different activities, whether it’s a meeting, a project, a new focus group is encouraged or you’re views and opinions matter to your supervisors, that’s a good sign you’ll still be around,” Daniel says. “When you are not asked to take on projects, you’re clearly qualified to take on or projects that affect your line of business and your team, that’s a red flag.”
YOU ARE TRAINING SOMEONE
Very often companies like to train their new employees by the likes of people they’ll most probably replace in the future, says Bob Hadick, president of Russ Hadick and Associates, Inc., a Dayton, Ohio, recruitment firm. If you suddenly are asked to train someone in the same field as yours and if he isn’t an apprentice or a protégé, you might be looking for your future replacement, he says.
YOU’VE BEEN ASKED TO GIVE A REPORT OF HOW YOU’RE SPENDING YOUR TIME
Hadick says that bosses often like to look real closely at your daily activities if they plan to fire you. He might ask for more detailed reports on your tasks. “If I’m ever thinking about getting rid of an employee, I will get more detailed and in-depth knowledge of what they’re doing and of what process they’re working on,” says Hadick.
THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP
In situations when a company is taken over by some other company and a new boss steps in, it usually isn’t necessary that you’ll get fired but then there are very high chances of that happening, Daniel says. The new boss might trust his people more and hence would like to keep a familiar face for the job that was once yours. Staying updated on the present activities happening inside your company and staying in touch with your supervisor on a regular basis can give you important clues.
So, what do you do if you suspect you’re about to lose your job? The experts recommend a few key actions.
SIT DOWN WITH YOUR MANAGER
Meet with your supervisor and understand how you can stand up to his expectations. Having an open discussion with your boss will help you understand what exactly it is he requires from a person at your position in the company and would also show your boss that you do wish to work sincerely with him, Daniel says.
BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR ROLE AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Do not boast about your achievements now and then but then never let your contributions to the company go unnoticed, Lain says. Make sure that the people in charge know your capabilities through the hard work you put in into all your successful projects.
START LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB
There are times when nothing would be enough to save your job. Catching onto the signs at an early stage and getting your boss’ opinions can give you a good head start to search for new jobs, Hadick says.