Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 01, 2015
version 4, draft 4

7 Signs You’re About to Be Fired

Have you ever had the thought that you were being ‘managed’ out of your company? Below are seven reasons to be suspicious: signs that your boss is gradually setting the wheels in motion for your exit.

See also: How to Handle Getting Fired

1. The Electronic Trail

All of a sudden, you begin to notice a pattern: you’re suddenly being asked by various people for your views on controversial topics via email. Some conversations are best kept offline; be wary about using formal communication tools such as email to express a view that may not be universally approved of – it may be used against you.

2. The Enforced 'Time Off'

Your boss tells you to take a few days away from the office to “go and enjoy yourself”. And the surprising invitation comes despite the fact that you have used up all of your annual leave. Here’s a tip: if a pile of work awaits you when you return from your enforced holiday in Ibiza or wherever, you probably have nothing to fear. If, on the other hand, your work has miraculously disappeared, the chances are that the company has proven to itself that you are no longer indispensable. In which case, you’re on your way out.

3. The Performance Review That Never Took Place

You’ve been chasing Slippery Sally, your boss, for a performance review for months now but to no avail. Getting her to do anything for you is easy as nailing a jellyfish to a wall. You wouldn’t even mind if you were given a bad review, but no performance review really, really hurts. There’s only one explanation for this: you won’t be getting a performance review. You’re not part of the company’s future plans. The only review you’ll be getting is an exit interview. You’re fired.

4. Your Evil Boss Suddenly Undergoes a Personality Change

All of your sudden, your boss starts behaving like a human being towards you. They greet you with a smile when you get into work, going even further than that by asking how you are, in a way that suggests they really do care. What they are trying to do is assuage their guilt about doing the dirty on you behind your back.

5. The Menial, Pointless Tasks

There’s teamwork, whereby most of us are happy to muck in here and there in service of the greater good. But then there’s work that seemingly has nothing to do with the ‘greater good’. You’re suddenly told to supervise the bathroom, spend hours making photocopies, empty the waste paper basket, and perform a motley crew of other soul-destroying tasks that weren’t on your original job description. What your company is doing here is stalling – they are waiting for the right time to officially ask you to pack your bags.

6. The Constantly Relocated Desk

Your desk keeps getting relocated; it’s like you’re part of a living chess game. As far as you know, you’re not offensively ugly, you don’t have bad breath, and you don’t smell. So, why do you keep getting shuffled around? People in the various parts you get moved to wonder who on earth you are. You can’t concentrate on your work for the dizziness you feel. You’re away from those you are supposed to be working with, which of course affects your work. But the real problem is not that your desk is being moved all the time, it’s the fact that no one else has been asked to move. No one seems to... care. It’s all a game, of course, to see just how long you’ll last before you reach breaking point: the point at which you’ll resign out of sheer frustration and helplessness.

7. The Drastically Reduced Communications

Your invitations to meetings have inexplicably disappeared, meetings that you would typically have been invited to for your insights, etc. Moreover, your inbox is positively sparse. If this continues unchallenged for long enough, you’ll struggle to do your job properly. That, I’m afraid, is the point. And it is the most obvious sign that you are being ‘phased out’.

See also: How to get fired

Some bosses have the backbone of an éclair: rather than telling you face-to-face that your services are no longer required, they resort to Machiavellian tactics to ‘manage you out’. By being aware of some of the signs, you’ll be in a much better position to proactively seek the truth by articulating your observations, whatever the eventual outcome will be.

Are there any other signs you’d like to add? Use the comments box below.

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