Nobody likes to be fired.
But the new millennium has shown that the chances of being fired from a job have increased.
So what are the signs that you could be the next?
- Your boss tells you that you are distracted and not focused
Once in a while, your boss comes over to your cubicle and while chatting tells you that “John, nowadays I find you very distracted, not focused on your job”. While you are busy trying to turn over the monitor so that he can’t see your Facebook comments, he was actually laying down the ground for the further discussion which is going to come up.
- Every time you talk with your Boss he tells you how unhappy he is with your performance
You are doing a review of a recent assignment or have gone to him with a proposal. He gives his assessment but follows up with “Off late, I am unhappy with your performance. We had agreed on some clear deliverables and you are behind. John, you need to pull up your socks”. He stresses on the words “unhappy” and “performance”. He is making sure that you register that your performance is being evaluated.
- Your HR person has started talking to you
Generally your HR knows you as “employee code A321” but now, over the past one month, someone from HR has started talking to you and asking probing questions on “how do you find your work?” “How do you handle criticisms?” “How are you improving your performance?” “How do you keep on top of your assignments?” If this is done with everyone, then, it is different matter. But, if you find you are the only one or only one among a very few, then it is a sign that the HR department is making its own assessment.
- Key projects and assignments are going to someone else
In the past, Key projects were given out democratically or you were one of the few who were considered. Now none are coming your way. Even when you are best qualified or best experienced. This happens multiple number of times. When asked you are told “You were considered but looking at all factors we decided to give to Debra”. The organization is preparing itself and training other people so that when time comes, they will handle your exit.
- You are getting a mid-year appraisal when that is not the norm
Your boss calls you over or schedules a mid-year review when that is not the norm. There could even be a HR person in the room “for quality monitoring purposes” Both of them look very keenly at your answers. In fact, your boss was never so attentive in your appraisals before. You are carefully asked to explain what actions you took and why you did it. You are asked leading questions like “Did you consider collaborating with ….?” “What policy rules did you apply …?” “How did you make sure your performance was to the desired standards as prescribed in …?” They are building a case so that when the termination case is made, they can cite the “self-confession” you made.
- A senior executive in the organization who cares for you tells you to “Look Out”
There is always someone in senior leadership or in Exec Team who must like you. (If not, get yourself noticed). He would have a wind of what is coming. In an informal place probably in office party or an event, he strikes a casual conversation with you and says “John, nothing in this world is permanent. It is ever changing. You must keep your options open. Gone are the days when people used to retire in their companies. So, look out. Nothing to be done in haste. I am not asking you to leave the company, quite the contrary. But you know, keep options open”. What he is actually telling you is “I have been in a meeting where it has been decided to fire you. I can’t rat on the organization but I like you, so I am giving you a hint. Hope you are smart enough to get it”
- Your boss reminds you of an opportunity in the past you did not take up
In your journey of one year or ten years, you must have passed up a career move which the organization wanted you to take. The more the number of years, the more such opportunities. Off late your boss brings this up in the middle of an unconnected conversation “We need to close this sales number soon and it requires you to really step up your game. Get Marketing to give you a campaign soon. John, if only you had taken that stint in designing Performance standards seriously, you would not be in such a situation” The case is being prepared that the organization had given you all the opportunities to improve your game but you did not take them.
- Your discussion on your career path does not happen
You have been pressing for this discussion for past one year or six months on what are the next steps for you in the organization but nothing is moving. Your boss is stonewalling it by saying “We will discuss when the time is appropriate”. When you have approached the HR they have said “Talk to your boss” The situation is: the organization has no plans for you.
All of the above taken together is pointing to one door. Your Exit.
Take action. Engage with your boss and step up if you want to remain in the organization. Or start writing your resume, if you want to exit too.