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It’s funny how the words “you’re fired” always come as a bit of a surprise. Most people tend to be shocked, like they weren’t expecting it at all. Which is quite strange, seeing how many red flags preceded the actual moment. But as with many other things in life, sometimes you can only see clearly when looking back.
It doesn’t have to be like that. Once you know the signs you should be looking for, at least you have a chance to turn things around. These are top 20 warning signs you’re about to be fired. Good luck!
1. Work just got a lot easier.
In a functioning company, new tasks hardly ever stop coming. Ever. So if you feel like you have little to do, your boss probably hands your work over to someone who can do it better than you.
2. Or perhaps you feel in over your head.
Other tactic employers use to fire people is to swamp them with impossible tasks. Sometimes managers do it as if to give you a chance to redeem yourself. Other times, they want to set you up to fail.
3. Did you screw up big-time recently?
Depending on the size of the incident, you can get fired for this alone. Mind you, we’re not talking about minor faux pas here. If you spilled coffee on your boss’s new tie, that’s fine (just don’t do it too often). But perhaps you’ve made a major mistake that cost your company a lot of money. Or worse—caused an external embarrassment.
4. Your boss wants to meet you one-on-one suspiciously often.
If you think that’s a good thing, think again. The they want to check on you this often because they’ve already lost all confidence in you. For what other reason would they feel the need to micromanage everything you do?
5. Yet, you feel your boss has become strangely distant…
Whether your boss decides to watch your every step or ignore you entirely, sudden changes in behavior rarely mean anything good. So if you feel that your superiors get tense whenever they see you, take it as one of the signs you’re about to be fired.
6. …and you coworkers seem to avoid you.
The same goes for your coworkers. A bit like children avoiding outcasts on the playground, co-workers tend to steer clear of sinking colleagues. After all, they’ve probably found out about your dismissal already.
7. They even stopped inviting you to important meetings.
When you’re about to get fired, managers no longer see any advantage in having you present. After all, if they still valued what you have to say, they wouldn’t want to fire you. Moreover, at this point they probably prefer to keep all sensitive information proprietary.
8. Your performance reviews are at best mediocre.
Mediocre performance reviews are a lot like being told you’re “nice”. Although it’s not a terrible thing to hear, it basically means you’re disposable. Bosses often give mediocre reviews to people they don’t plan on keeping around.
9. They encourage you to go on vacation.
If you’re looking for signs you’re about to be fired, it doesn’t get any clearer than this. Provided it’s not a a reward for a huge project you’ve just finished, your boss is probably telling you they’d rather not have you in the office. (Btw, ignore this point if you have a financially critical job. There might be other reasons for this if you do.)
10. Sadly, someone with the same skillset has just been hired.
Unsurprisingly, your company doesn’t want to fire you without having someone to fill your shoes. It’s quite common to have your job listed on the Internet months before you get fired. They might even ask you to train the replacement yourself.
11. Your boss goes directly to your underlings.
At some point, your boss begins to go directly to your subordinates. Sometimes it can be the same person they’ve asked you to train. If that’s the case, it means they’re going to replace you very soon.
12. Your deadlines just moved up and they’re all around the same date.
If having all your deadlines stacked together sounds stressful, don’t worry, it’s about to end. At least now you know the exact date of your dismissal. It’s a common practice to make people clear their to-do list before letting them know their services are no loner required.
13. Your mistakes or slacking off no longer matter.
Why? Because it’s your actual mistakes and slacking off that made your boss want to fire you in the first place. They already know about it. On the other hand, suddenly they look at your minor poor behavior under a microscope. After all, the longer the list of transgressions, the easier it’ll be to justify your dismissal.
14. You hear about the company having financial troubles.
When a company suffers from financial troubles, anyone’s job can be on the line. During hard times, both individual jobs and entire departments that fail to generate profit are the first ones to receive cuts.
15. A new boss is brought in.
Since your previous boss was probably let go for not performing well enough, arrival of new leadership is often accompanied by massive restructuring. Unfortunately, even if you’re perfectly willing to play along with the new guy, he might still perceive you as loyal to the old regime. And hand you a pink slip.
16. You’re denied a transfer, raise or promotion—with no explanation.
If you’re a solid performer and your track record is good, you should be rewarded. If you ask for a raise or promotion, at the very least your employer owes you an explanation. When they don’t give you an explanation, you can expect the worst.
17. Your perks begin to evaporate.
Remember that corner office you used to have? Or perhaps you were the only one not invited to that conference in Barcelona last month. Perks are the way your company says you’re a valued employee. If they begin to disappear, you have every right to worry.
18. They never praise you for your accomplishments.
This one’s a bit tricky since most bosses will happily play down your role in order to make themselves look good. But what if you used to be the golden boy or girl? If they ignore even major accomplishments that benefit the whole company, it’s time to start panicking.
19. You feel burnt out and you hate your job anyway.
In today’s economy, people usually get fired only after they’ve already resigned on their job anyway. If you already know, deep down, that you hate your job, try to be honest about it. It’s only natural that you’d underperform in a job you don’t enjoy. And that’s unfair to your employer as well as yourself. Check out the top 5 signs you should quit your job right now.
20. You’re looking for signs you’re about to be fired.
Not only have you clicked on this article, you’ve almost finished it too. The chances are you already begin to suspect the end is near. Don’t ignore your gut feeling, it’s probably telling you something important.
The best thing you can do right now is to start looking for a new job while you still have the current one. With a bit of effort, you can easily make the between-jobs period relatively painless. And if you don’t know where to start, check out The Jobseeker’s Guide To the Galaxy—our ultimate guide to job hunting. Good luck!