Career

8 Signs You’re About To Lose Your Job

It’s important to know when the axe is going to fall at work, though you probably can’t change the outcome. Heed these warning signs and you’ll buy yourself time to find another job. If you’re lucky, you’ll have the satisfaction of quitting before they push you out the door. 

#1 They’re just not that into you

No light chitchat in the lunchroom? Boss doesn’t laugh at your jokes? Unless they’re known for their lack of facial expression and/or social involvement, if you’re getting the vibe that the boss doesn’t like you it’s probably because they don’t, and a frosty wind from management is the earliest sign of impending doom.

At best, you’ll struggle to progress because the gatekeeper to your success thinks that you suck. At worst, your boss will fire you to avoid hearing your god-awful jokes.

#2 You’re under the microscope 

Feel like you’re being watched? Are you asked to explain your every move and given zero leeway when it comes to managing your time? Are you asked to file reports that weren’t necessary six months ago? Is your process being scrutinised as well as your results?

If you’re sweating like a petty thief under police interrogation, it means your boss doesn’t trust you. And if your boss doesn’t trust you, you’re on the way out.

#3 No one cares what you think

Your boss wants to bounce ideas around but you’re not invited to the meeting; you’re not on the team for key business projects; every time you try to offer an opinion you get crickets in response. Does this sound like you?

A valued employee doesn’t stand outside the boardroom with their nose pressed to the glass. If you’re out of the loop, your days are numbered; it’s time for a fresh start.

#4 Your workmates are acting weird 

If your workmates get wind of your impending sacking before you do, you’ll feel it in the air. You might notice hushed conversations and furtive looks, or evasiveness when it comes to discussing future work projects.

Some co-workers will avoid you like a fart in an elevator, afraid of guilt by association. The kinder souls will treat you like you’ve been diagnosed with something and offer to make you useless cups of tea.

#5 You’re on a plan

The alleged purpose of a performance management plan is to help an employee who has strayed from the path to get back on track. But if you don’t improve, the actual purpose of a performance management plan is to tell if you should be eased out the door.

Like written warnings, these performance management plans are a paper trail to protect employers from unfair dismissal claims. They are building a case, with documented evidence, that you are an unsuitable employee – if it wasn’t that serious, your boss would have a normal human talk with you about lifting your game. Written warnings are the dogs of war from the human resources department.

#6 Your company is merging

The first thing that happens when two companies merge is that senior management looks for ‘efficiencies’ – cost savings that come from streamlining two businesses into one. Staff redundancies are a common fall out from a merger as there are usually people in each company whose jobs overlap.

It’s hard to know if you’re vulnerable, especially when you don’t know what goes on in the other business, but this is not a great time to go out and buy a boat.

#7 Your industry is under threat 

Sometimes you need to step out of your office to see the writing on the wall. The guys who lost their jobs at Channel [V] recently might not have seen it coming, but the tectonic shifts in the media landscape should have been a clue. As well as this:

If you work in a dying industry, your job will be dead sooner or later.

#8 You f**ked up

Did you make a catastrophic mistake that cost your company a bunch of money and ruined its reputation? Like when you hate tweeted about Obama’s dead grandmother from the company account? Or did any of these unbelievable things?

If you screwed up royally, it may cost you your job. Let’s be honest, you’d sack yourself too.


Simone Ubaldi is a ghostwriter, music journalist, film critic and has co-authored four books, including memoirs of Bon Scott and Mark ‘Chopper’ Read.