Hey! You Are About to Lose Your Job?
Is it possible that you can lose your job and not see it coming? Of course, this is possible as made manifest by reports and incidents.
Take for instance, did you know that as an employee, you could lose your job for misusing the internet?
In some cases, people lose their jobs over things like how they use the internet as exemplified in the case of 20 people who were fired because of their social media posts.
However, in a lot of situations, it is not restricted to social media. Rather, people often lose their jobs because they fail to take cues from hints from either their colleagues or bosses that strongly suggest that they are on their way out of the organisation.
Sometimes, these signs are mere hunches; a gut feeling that you are on the verge of getting kicked out.
At other times, the signs manifest in the form of rumours and warnings from colleagues who appear to have more information than you do.
This article will share 14 signs that might mean you are about to get fired. They should not be taken for granted when noticed.
We have also highlighted 21 things you should do and should not do after you spot signs of a looming sack.
Be reminded that in the signs below, you have not been sacked. There are things you should do if you eventually get sacked but this has not happened yet.
The moment an organisation you work for begins to have a hard time reconciling its expenditure with its revenue, this is clear sign that the days ahead might be turbulent.
To get a better perspective of how this could lead to causing you to get fired, we will look at a scenario.
One of the reasons a lot of companies engage in massive downsizing is to reduce the labour force and cost in a way that doesn’t adversely affect profitability.
A lot of companies are forced to downsize when they are faced with declining revenue, rising costs, poor economic conditions, bad profit forecasts, elimination of divisions and for strategic reasons.
Therefore, when you learn that your company is in financial troubles, bear in mind that there is a possibility that you could either get laid off or be asked to resign if the organisation wants to give you a heads start.
Exclusion from meetings
If you ever notice that managers at work whom you work with begin to leave you out of important meetings without any logical explanation, it is a good sign that you should begin to explore other job options.
When managers deliberately stop inviting you to crucial meetings that you used to be a part of, it is a strong indication that they believe your days at the organisation are numbered.
Their thinking at this point in time is that the more distance they create, the better for the organisation as they believe you would soon be given the marching orders.
Managers also believe that since you would be laid off, there is no point sharing strategy and technical information with you.
Less Work on Your Table
Within an organisation, there should be a regular workflow that sees you taking on tasks and projects on a steady basis.
If you, however, observe a sharp drop in tasks and responsibilities being assigned to you, this is something you should pay a lot of attention to.
When the management of an organisation decides to sack an employee, there is a decline in the number of tasks assigned to the individual in question.
When this happens, it is a sign that the days ahead have a strong inclination to be gloomy as it most likely means you are about to get fired.
Successive moments of hostility
We understand that there are times when manager-employee relationships are not particularly cordial and this is completely normal.
It is normal because in some cases, there might be a sharp disconnect between the temperament of an employee and a manager or a member of management.
However, if this disconnect suddenly begins to deteriorate into a face-off where voices are raised or the employee is repeatedly sent home from work over petty issues, then there might be a cause for alarm.
When it gets to a point where you find yourself spending more time dealing with hostility than doing actual work, you should read the writings on the wall and do the needful.
Mergers and acquisitions
When a company goes through a merger or gets acquired by a bigger company, it is not uncommon to find workers getting fired.
In some cases, the employee is reassigned for relevance of role. By this, an example is an employee occupying a senior role suddenly asked to take up a designation that is lower in the scale of hierarchy.
Mergers and acquisitions sometimes happen like an organisational cyclone; ripping stability and job security to shreds.
If you find yourself caught up in the middle of such an organisational shakeup, it is a sign that your days as an employee might be ticking to an end.
New managers are also often known to come into a company with new ideologies, a different plan and might call new hands to drive the organisation forward.
Extreme negative criticism
Within an organisation, it is absolutely in place to have your boss or manager whom you report to, point out errors during the review of your job and performance.
However, if these reviews begin to come with as much detail as pointing fingers to how your performance is jeopardising the future and existence of the brand as a whole, your job might be on the line.
As earlier stated, criticisms are a part of growth but when the criticism borders on your alleged inability to do anything right, it might take a miracle to keep the job as you might be on the verge of getting fired.
Taken off email list
If you are experiencing a situation at work where everyone else receives an official mail except you, it could mean that your days as an employee are numbered.
The exception to this would be if there is a technical glitch that see the emails landing in your spam.
However, if this is not the case and you are deliberately excluded from official emails, the management might be trying to hint that you have outlived your usefulness within the organisation.
One way to you would know this for sure is when your colleagues are having conversations and you find out that you have not been copied in several emails upon which the conversation is built.
Your boss becomes elusive
Picture a situation where you have a boss who is very friendly with you and largely approachable for conversations.
Now, imagine that this suddenly goes cold, deliberately avoids opportunities for dialogue, becomes elusive, refuses to give you a listening ear. These are strong pointers that it is time to take a closer look at your CV.
If you are having a hard time understanding why this should raise red flags, imagine that the management mounting loads of pressure on you and giving you impossible targets.
Now, this would be a good time to reach out to your boss, right?
Well, now, picture trying to call your boss but he never picks or returns your calls.
You send your boss an SMS but he does not reply or acknowledge receipt of the message.
You send an email, which gets ignored.
What is happening is that your boss has opted to take the easy route by avoiding you as a confrontation proves difficult.
Colleagues treating you like a plague
Have you ever noticed how children avoid a fellow child who has been branded an outcast?
Well, this is the same way co-workers treat employees who have been marked to get fired or have been flagged to be sinking professionally.
Truth is, no one wants to be seen spending time with that employee with whispers of getting sacked around him/her.
As an employee should naturally feel good when managers begin to ask a lot of question and requesting for updates on tasks and projects that you are working on.
However, when they keep asking these questions without any kind of feedback, then there is a great cause of concern.
Under normal circumstances, when managers ask probing questions around your work, you should get a feedback of sorts.
If this fails to happen, then you are being asked one-way questions and there is a strong possibility that they are trying to find a way around getting you replaced or letting you go.
Mistakes are no longer corrected
When employees make mistakes, it is the responsibility of managers or the management as the case may be to correct them in the hope that they will learn from these mistakes and corrections.
If, however, management begins to let things slide, this is a good reason to worry about the future of your job.
When mistakes that were once, always corrected are allowed to go unmentioned, management might have finally decided what you do or fail to do no longer matters as your days on the job are numbered.
Management interviews or hires someone who can do what you do
Let us, for a moment, imagine that you are a graphics designer. You decide to take a lunch break and you see your company’s HR interviewing about 4 graphic artists.
How would you feel at this point?
Let’s even take it a step further and imagine that the company hires a new graphics designer without any recommendation from you for an additional hand to be hired.
In this scenario, what we are looking at is a situation where someone with the same skillset as you has been hired.
This is a sign that there are perilous days ahead and it could easily mean that the company is strongly on the verge of taking you off its list of employees.
Tasks and projects get transferred
If you are asked to transfer important tasks and projects you are working on to another colleague with a who has the capacity to get the job done, then there is a possibility that you are about to get sacked.
A feeling of not existing
If you get to a point in an organisation where you begin to feel like you invisible, nonexistent, as if you are not even there at all, then it is strong sign that you must take very seriously.
Have you gotten to a stage where your boss does not acknowledge your completed projects or the status of these reports?
Are you beginning to feel like you would not be missed if you did not show up at work especially because no one is bothered about what you do or don’t do?
Have you taken the pain to write a 40-page business plan only to find out no one is interested in it – Not even when you seek their thoughts on the document?
These are clear signs that your days as an employee are on the verge of coming to an end.
Things you Should and Should Not Do When a Sack Looms
If you ever find yourself with the gut feeling that you are about to get fired, or if sources from the grapevine also point in this direction, there are a number of things you should do to tackle this problem.
Below are things you should do and should not do if you have a feeling you are about to get sacked:
- Play it cool: Remember that it is just a feeling and not an outright letter or email from management that you are about to be fired so play it cool
- Don’t give them a reason to fire you: In some cases, employees become paranoid when they see these signs and begin to act in ways that leave management with no other choice than to fire them. An example of this would be to suddenly delete all important files on the PC assigned to you and walking out of the office during working hours. This is not the path to tread. You should never give your employer a reason to fire you.
- Draw up an exit strategy: Whether it is a feeling or a colleague whispers to you that management is considering firing you, it is important to begin to work on an exit strategy. You have to start looking for another job while you are yet to be fired.
- Play the card of advantage: When searching for a job, you have the power of advantage when negotiating salary with your potential employer when you still have a job compared to if you no longer have a job. Therefore, ensure you start searching for a job early enough so that your job interviews would happen before you get fired.
- Don’t get desperate: One of the worst things you can do when you feel you are about to get fired is to let the desperation show to your potential employer when looking for another job. Avoid looking or sounding desperate to keep the cards in your favour
- Look and sound convincing: When you feel your job is on the line and you begin to attend interviews to get another job, you have to ensure that you sound convincing to your prospective employers else they might begin to think that you do not have actual plans to work for them and merely using them to negotiate for better remuneration where you currently work.
- Is it too late: In some cases, there is a chance of redeeming your image and rectifying the problem. If this is the case, it is important to reach out to your boss to clarify things. You should seek to know where you stand. However, in some cases, by the time to see the sign, it is an indication that it is already too late. Make an attempt to know how bad the situation is. Communication is key and truth is that sometimes, you can spin a challenge into an opportunity.
- Speak to your mentor: Mentors are called mentors for a good reason and this is one of the best times to speak to a mentor. He/she is bound to have crucial pointers and practical career advice for you. Things even get better if your mentor sees a need to recommend you for a new job.
- Hammer on achievements: There is a possibility that your boss might be unaware of the feats you have accomplished for the organisation. Now would be a great time to show off the amazing things you have done when given the chance.
- Shoot for perfection: When you notice things are taking a plunge, you should begin to put in 120% effort into your work and ensure your performance is as close to being flawless as possible. There are no guarantees that this will always work but it helps you cut down the guesses around what you could have done differently to save your job.
- Spend more time around the right people: Being at work does not always mean sitting at your desk and keeping to yourself and your work all day. Sometimes, it pays off to move around and interact with people a little more. Doing this would create avenues to get more information on the true situation of things as well as an opportunity to speak with your bosses and others who can give a clear voice on the direction management is looking in terms of whether you are about to get fired or not.
- Don’t hide: There isn’t a worse time to hide than the moment you fear you are about to get sacked. Hiding will prove counterproductive. Instead, offer more help to those in related departments and become more visible at work. Be eager to make more contributions.
- Keep your fears to yourself: If you are thinking of speaking with co-workers about your observations, fears and uncertainties, do yourself a favour and don’t go that route. It will come back to haunt you in ways that you would regret. Just keep your thoughts and fears to yourself.
- Look at the bigger picture: For many people, getting fired actually closes one door but then goes on to open many other doors. Reminiscing a few years from now, it might be the best thing that ever happened to your career.
- Don’t make hasty decisions: Some people consider signs of an impending sack as an opportunity to resign before they get sacked. However, the truth of the matter is that their fears might be unfounded and a few days into resigning, they already regret doing so. Try not to make any hasty decision.
- Don’t beg for your job: The most pathetic thing you can do as an employee who fears a sack is on the horizon is to go begging not to get fired. This makes you lose respect in the eyes of your employer and boss. It does not make you more desirable.
- Avoid becoming offensive: When you see signs that you might get fired, you do not want to confirm the fears people might already have about you by being excessively aggressive or acting in ways generally deemed not to be civilised. What you should focus on is attempting to win people over and not worsen the situation.
- Put your emotions under check: Becoming emotional over fears of losing your job will not yield positive result. Rather, you would only put yourself under emotional stress that will affect your productivity and ability to see things objectively. Never let the fear of a job loss ruin your ability to nurture positive thoughts.
- Don’t put an evil tag on your boss: In situations where people fear they might lose their jobs, they are often quick to label their bosses, colleagues and management as being evil. Such verdicts are born out of anger and fear of the unknown. Rather than spreading negative stories about your boss, you should endeavour to be diplomatic in your approach. Keep an open mind and find a way to approach your boss directly.
- Get specialised help: Now would be a good time to get help from professionals in the job market. A good example is PlacementPlus, a service that guarantees you job interviews by recommending you to hiring companies and proactively applying for jobs on your behalf. While you still have the cushion of your current job, you will be contacted when your CV matches a role that suits your experience.
- Be discreet: When the signs become overly glaring that your days as an employee are numbered, you should commence searching for a new job but strive to be discreet about it. Never let your current employer know that you are searching for a new job. This will not be appreciated. Focus on jobs that have the capacity to advance your career. During job interviews, be very observant and take note of reactions.
Our final note…
Not everything that seems bad is actually bad. By this we mean getting sacked is not as bad as many people think it is. We have had several cases of people who reached out to their former bosses to thank them for letting them go.
Being asked to leave an organisation does not mean you will never work again. No! Rather, what it means is that you will not for that organisation again at that particular time.
There are instances of people who have been fired yet received an offer for employment from the same company some months or a few years down the line.
For some, it is a blessing in disguise and for others, it is merely a time to cast their eyes and minds on the bigger picture.
What is the first thing you would do if you ever found yourself in this situation?