Getting axed, sacked, canned or fired hurts. It does nothing for your self-esteem and it doesn’t look great on your resume. You’re always better leaving your position on your own terms. But how can you tell when your job may be on the line. Here are 10 things to look for.
1. There’s a path worn in the carpet between your cubicle and the corner office.
If you’re always being called into the principal’s office, something is wrong. Either you don’t get it or your boss doesn’t get you. When there’s this kind of communication breakdown, it’s time to start looking through the help wanted classifieds.
2. They’re storing urinal cakes in your office.
When they start storing janitorial supplies in your office, your days are probably numbered. That’s not the way a good employer treats a valued employee. If your work is truly valuable to your employer, expect compliments, good reviews and an annual raise. Maybe even a performance bonus! But definitely not urinal cakes.
3. Your parking spot has been rented out to a hotdog vendor.
A definite sign you’re on the way out. Oh sure, you might chalk it to pure coincidence, but you’re in denial. When things like this (and #2) start happening to you, get proactive and get out.
4. Your boss keeps calling you Skippy when your name is Bob.
Oh, yeah, you’re a goner. When your boss can’t remember your name, or starts calling you by the wrong name, consider the obvious. Also, when you’re no longer asked to join department meetings, your boss is definitely trying to tell you something about the future.
5. Your co-workers start avoiding you like the Ebola virus.
Office gossip spreads like wildfire and, all-too-often, everybody knows before you do. Sure, it’s unprofessional, but it happens all of the time. So, if your workplace friends start to shun you, ask people if they’ve heard anything. A good friend will tell you. A lousy friend will run screaming from the room. Either way, it’s time to move on.
6. The HR director knows the names of your spouse, kids and pet dog.
Unless you work in a small office where the human resources director is also the CEO, custodian and customer service rep, you have to wonder why, all of a sudden, the people in HR have pulled your file. Be suspicious.
7. You read a help wanted ad describing your job placed by your company!
This has actually happened more than once. Employers don’t like to be left with holes to fill in the company roster, so many hire replacements before the hammer falls. If you happen to run across your job description in the classifieds, in an ad placed by your company, keep looking. You’re probably in the market for a new job – which was why you were reading the help wanted section in the first place.
8. Your supervisor warns against taking that second mortgage.
She’s trying to do you a favor. She doesn’t want to see you left holding the bag. The decision to let you go may be made at the supervisory level, or by some faceless bigwig back at HQ. In either case, take the hint when it’s offered.
9. You’ve been calling in sick a lot, but only on Mondays and Fridays.
Your employer expects you to be there. When you aren’t, productivity falls and someone has to cover for you. Good employees go to work and do their jobs. Ex-employees take a lot of ‘mental health’ days.
10. Your boss invites you to attend the resume prep seminar in the cafeteria.
Not very subtle, but there’s nothing subtle about losing your job. It’s a life-altering experience, and it can take its toll on your confidence. You can avoid trouble when the axe falls by being reliable, trustworthy and just plain invaluable.
Getting sacked rarely comes as a complete surprise. There are usually signs that things aren’t right at work – signs that you may choose to ignore, but shouldn’t. Keep your eyes and ears open for signs of trouble. A change in company ownership, a new supervisor, a new set of company procedures – dramatic changes can often lead to layoffs, belt-tightening and lots of ‘Good Luck’ parties.
Get proactive when you see the writing on the wall. Get your resume updated by a professional. Get listed with a couple of headhunters, start networking and start reading the help wanted ads. Read more about Surviving a Layoff or Downsizing ... or being fired! If you can leave on your own terms, with your new job already in place, the transition from one job to the next will do a lot less damage to your ego and your bank account.
Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and resume wizard. She’s authored several books, including How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer, and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales ... includes sample pharmaceutical sales resumes.
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