10 Signs You May Be Fired

Many people are shocked when they are fired. But then looking back, they realize there were signs that their job was in jeopardy. They just chose to ignore them.

As someone who has fired people, I know first-hand the signs are that you will lose your job.

Here are the indicators that you should seriously be thinking about getting a new job:

  • Your boss is on your case all the time. Are you constantly being asked for progress reports? Are you expected to meet unrealistic deadlines? Do you find that your boss constantly monitors your work?
  • You’ve been told that you are in trouble. At your annual evaluation there were scores of things mentioned that you need to improve. Perhaps you have been put on probation or been told to take a refresher course, which the company won’t reimburse. You have two choices. Throw yourself into your work and do everything possible to be successful or start looking for a new job.
  • You’re asked to provide detailed reports about time or expenses. Increased scrutiny is a phenomenon that is rarely initiated by the accounting department. The boss believes that you have wasted time or inflated expenses. Even if you are 100 percent innocent, it doesn’t matter. Find out if you are the only person being scrutinized. If you are being singled out, ask what the situation is in order to address it. Then send a constructive letter to the head of Human Resources detailing your concerns.
  • You have difficulty gaining access to the boss. Your efforts to schedule a meeting have failed. He is always in a hurry when you see him and has no time to talk. Meanwhile, you find out you haven’t been invited to a lunch he is having with your colleagues. If you can’t find a way to communicate with those in leadership positions, you can assume that you’re not in good standing and it is time to move on.
  • You’ve got a new boss. A new boss is a threat because he will want to bring in his own people. But you also have the responsibility to step forward and tell the new boss that you will do whatever you can to help him. If that doesn’t work, start looking because your days may be numbered.
  • You’re out of the loop. Essential memos are never sent to you. You find out about key meetings after they occur. When you complain, you’re assured it was an accident. But if it continues to happen – it is policy, not an oversight.
  • Your boss goes directly to your subordinates. Most organizations have a chain of command and when it is disrupted it is a clear indication that you are no longer needed.
  • Your boss asks you to do unreasonable or irrelevant tasks, often in out-of-the-way places. Have you been sent to distant places for non-essential meetings? Do you do research on a project that is immediately shelved. One or two assignments along those lines may mean you’re being eased out.
  • Your perks start to evaporate. Your colleagues are all sent to a conference in Marrakech, but you aren’t invited. You are told to fly coach after years of flying business class. Suddenly, you lose your corner office and are re-located to the bullpen. Perks are an important part of the job, and if you sense yours are being eroded, you have every right to worry.
  • Someone else is asked to do tasks previously assigned to you. If these are these important tasks that you value and produce revenue, or if they are an essential part of your job description, you could be in trouble.

You have a couple of choices if these red flags are waving vigorously in the breeze. I wouldn’t recommend asking your boss if you are in trouble. You may or may not get an honest answer. And if perchance you are not in trouble, your question introduces the idea.

I would advise you to document everything. Often a company wants to push someone out rather than fire them and have to pay severance or unemployment benefits. If you have a contract that stipulates what you will receive if you are fired, tough it out and don’t quit.

Finally, see if there is anyone you work with that would give you a good reference if you are fired. It doesn’t have to be your immediate supervisor. It could be someone you have worked with for many years who is willing to support you when you start looking for a new job.

If you are fired, don’t take it personally. Sometimes it is all about chemistry. Move on.

Robert L. Dilenschneider, author of 50 Plus!: Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life, has hired more than 3,000 successful professionals and advised thousands more. He is founder of the Dilenschneider Group, a corporate strategic counseling and public relations firm based in New York City. Formerly president and CEO of Hill & Knowton, he is the author of the bestselling books The Critical First Years of Your Professional Life, Power and Influence, A Briefing for Leaders and On Power. For more information please visit http://www.dilenschneider.com and Amazon.