Getting fired and losing one’s job is one of the most traumatic experience one can go through. Sadly, there is nothing much one can do if something like this does happen. However, you can do everything in your control to get a heads up for sure.
I did have a conversation with a good friend of mine yesterday evening. It went something like this. Satish, I have put in my blood, sweat and tears to this job for the last couple of years and today I was called by my boss and bluntly told that I have 2 weeks to resign from my job.
This was something which I never expected will happen to me and frankly I have been incapacitated since yesterday. He also did mention that he never saw it coming.
However, working with executives who have lost their jobs or are just about to has given me some deep insights. There are always some clear indicators when your job is at risk and you should be ignoring some of these which I am about to highlight at your own peril.
1. Your Boss Is Cold-Shouldering You
The first signs to notice if your job is on the line is and always ends with your boss. Yes, I am aware that some bosses also are asked to go along with their whole team, but that is another topic for discussion.
However, if you notice that your immediate boss has become tense suddenly, there is hardly any communication and he/she does not see you in the eye while having a talk, it is something to be really concerned about. Let’s accept one thing – Letting go of people is never an easy job and when I had to do these, it was the most disturbing nights for me before I had to announce this to the teams.
Believe me it is never an easy thing to do and very few people can do it without any emotions attached to the decision. However, for most of the people like you and me,they tend to avoid these kinds of situations (firing people) and are working on how to go about that. So, observe your bosses’ behavior closely and work on the next area which I am discussing.
2. You Are Not Acknowledged Anymore
If you noticed that no one especially your boss is not acknowledging you for the good work you are putting in, then it is obvious sign that they have other agendas on his/her plate. Any organization or a leader will have a process of their own developed in acknowledging good work or employees.
If your boss is not making time for it then the clouds are beginning to form over your continuity in the role. I would suggest anyone in this situation to dig in little deeper and see if you can find something.
3. You Are Operating In Denial Mode ON
Last week while playing golf I noticed that It was a perfect weather for a game of golf. However, within 2 hours on the course things began to change drastically. It became windy and soon the course was completely covered by dark menacing clouds.
I looked at the dark clouds and sensed that it was going to rain any moment. I did read the signs of an impending downpour and headed back to the club house even though I had not finished the game. The moment I went into the safe confines of the club house, it began to rain very heavily.
If I had not recognized the warning signs early and continued to be on the course, I would have been completely drenched and probably even caught a fever. Something similar does tend to happen with many executives when they are so fixated with their professional goals.
I have personally come across quite a few high-profile executives over the years, who do recognize the warning signs at their work but tend to brush it under the carpet. In my experience as an executive coach this is a tactical error, which most tend to do sometime during their career which can have a cascading effect.
The moment they choose to not acknowledge the fact that they are in the firing line and take corrective actions, it just a matter of time before things turn for the worse.You can refer my previous blog Are you living your life in denial mode to get some deep insights.
There is a thin line between being confident about your own ability and recognizing the warning signs but working with the denial Mode ON attitude. It’s difficult to notice this on your own, it does help if you have an independent set of eyes seeing through your situation.
You have had warnings from your boss: Just step back and ask yourself an honest question. In the last Six months have you been warned by your immediate boss.? Remember the warning can be through in any of the following ways.
- Verbal warning
- Documented email
- Sarcastic remark
- One to one meeting
- Castigated in front of your team
Now if any of these incidents has happened then be prepared mentally that you are not in the good books of your boss. If you have given him/her an opportunity to get through your defenses and flag you out with a warning be rest assured that your boss is just about looking at your next slip up.
4. You Have Been Set Up To Fail
I worked with a CTO of a company during the early part of this year and during our interventions he was taxed with responsibilities which was almost next to impossible to execute. The management and his immediate boss who was the CEO of the company was certainly working towards setting him up for a disaster.
We quickly realized this and began to also actively look at options outside his present organization. In a couple of weeks as expected he was given an ultimatum either get the task done by end of the quarter or look at alternate options outside the organization.
Since we had a heads up of 4 weeks he did manage to play his cards very well and did join a better company well before the end of his notice period.
If you job has become overwhelming suddenly and you are fighting against all odds then it’s time to brush up on your resume and actively spend some time looking at options outside your vertical or even the organization.
Some managers or organization does believe in making it extremely hard for an employee to stay in the organization. This article The set up to fail Syndrome in Harvard business review is worth a read.
5. You Are Working In Extreme End Of The Spectrum
Have you heard of helicopter Moms? Now think of a boss like that. If you are working with a boss who is always micromanaging you and checking on you couple of times a day then it’s time to be concerned.
The opposite end of the spectrum is a boss who is not connected to you professionally, nowhere to be found and do not have time for you or to consider your key metrics then it’s equally concerning in my book.
Both these kinds of bosses can be extremely critical of you when it matters. You must operate with your immediate boss somewhere in the middle. Yes, I am aware that not everything is in your control.
However, looking at an alternate option is in your control for sure. That is where you should be focusing and channeling your energy to a certain extent, rather than getting worked up by the attitude of your boss.
You can refer my previous blog How To Channelize Your Emotions To Achieve Any Goal That You Want to help you work on your focus and energy in the right direction.
6. You Are Being Phased Out
If you are beginning to know what’s happening in your team or the company only from the water cooler talk’s and not being included in any important discussions pertaining to the future, then it’s time to do some introspection right away.
I did work with a Sr executive couple of years back who in the initial years of her career people used to listen to her when she did give her perspective on the topic in hand. However, in a few months she began to get a hunch that she was not being heard and acknowledged.
She was kept out of official emails and not invited for important meetings. When she did confront this to her boss she did not get a convincing answer. She ignored all this thinking that it was the work culture before it was too late. She had failed to notice the fact that she was being phased out.
7. Your Gut Feeling Can Never Be Wrong
How many times have you felt something in your gut and realized that it was true. Well it is not for any reason that this is called as the second brain or enteric nervous system (ENS). There is enough research which does prove that the feelings in the gut are the strongest.
This is one of the reasons some of the most successful people be it in sports, business or even profession work on developing their gut feeling.
If at any point of time you feel deep down in the gut that you might get fired, then do not ignore it. Most do the mistake of brushing it down the carpet with false motivation psychobabble to themselves.
Listen to your own gut feelings and begin to seek other positions that will improve your growth curve. Do not for a minute hesitate to disregard your own instincts. If you feel you might be in the line next, then believe me it will mostly be right for a strong reason.
You can refer this brilliant article Gut Almighty by Carlin Flora in Psychology Today to know more on this topic.
8. You Are Made To Feel Less Important
When you are made to handle lesser responsibilities without asking for it or a big chunk of your responsibilities been diverted to another colleague then it’s an obvious sign that you are no more important in the present role. Yes, if this is done to accommodate you for a bigger role then there is nothing to worry.
However, in my experience I have hardly come across anyone falling in the latter category. You feel that you are sidelined for someone else then that’s a red flag for you to be given a thorough look.
If you feel you can relate to these thoughts then its time to be proactive today before it is too late. You can take the first step right now by signing up for a Free 20 Minute Introductory call with me and discuss your area of concern with a professional Executive Coach with years of experience.
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- Manage subordinates more effectively
- Co-operate with colleagues efficiently
- Accomplish stretch goals faster
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