Being fired can be one of the most earth-shattering events of your working life, no matter the cause. It can leave you financially and psychologically devastated, and it can seriously harm your career.
This is why a key skill that all workers must have – if they are to preserve their financial, emotional, and career stability – is the ability to spot the signs that they may soon be fired. If you can catch these signs early, you can take action to possibly prevent the firing and put together a contingency plan that will help you land your feet, should the firing come to pass.
Firings happen for a variety of reasons – bad performance, downsizing, restructuring, etc. – but no matter the cause of the firing, there are a few signs that tend to appear before you are actually dismissed. Here are five such signs that you should look out for:
1. Your Company/Industry Is Looking at Automation Technologies That Can Do Your Job.
This 2013 study from the Oxford Martin School predicts that 47 percent of jobs performed by humans today will be automated away in whole or in part by robots or computer programs in the next 10 years. The researchers prepared a very helpful table of 700 jobs, showing the likelihood that each would be replaced by robots. Some of the most at-risk jobs include:
- Data entry (99 percent chance of being automated in the next 10 years)
- Telemarketers (99 percent)
- Tellers (98 percent)
- Cashiers (97 percent)
- Dental laboratory technicians (97 percent)
- Secretaries and admin assistants (96 percent)
- Postal service clerks (95 percent)
If you find that your company/industry is looking at or beginning to use technologies that can replace your job, then there is a real chance that your job will be gone soon – and so will you.
2. You’re Not Stacking Up to Your Peers
While missing goals and targets is clearly an issue in itself, it really becomes a problem when you are performing poorly relative to those around you. If you notice that your colleagues are consistently making their numbers while you always seem to be falling behind, there a strong chance that bad news may be coming your way soon – unless you do something about your performance, that is.
3. You Are Being Frozen Out of Activities You Used to Participate In
Do you find that meetings, informal meetups, and maybe even after-work activities that you normally used to be invited to are now taking place without you? Does it seem like people who used to consult you before making decisions no longer are? These could be signs that your value in the team has plummeted. Once that happens, your superiors may start thinking about giving you the ax.
4. Your Manager Seems to Have Soured on You
Your manager used to give you a lot of freedom and responsibility – but now, they seem to be micromanaging your every move. That could be a sign that they have lost faith in you. And if they seem to be growing frustrated with you, this could be a sign that their patience has run out.
Similarly, you may find that your previously hands-on boss has become distant and seems to be avoiding you. This, too, could be a sign that your manager has given up on you. They may even be emotionally prepping themselves for the eventual firing.
5. New Employees Are Being Promoted Above You and/or Your Peers Are Getting New Responsibilities, But You Aren’t
If you are finding that new hires who joined after you are being promoted above you, you are falling behind. If your peers are being given new responsibilities while you have not received any new challenges in years, the likelihood is that you are being cut out of the loop and are being ignored by management. There’s a chance you may soon be considered surplus.
If you do believe that you may be on the brink of being fired, don’t freeze, fight, or run. Instead, your best option is to face it head on in an assertive way. You have many constructive options open to you. You may even find that you can take steps to turn things around and avoid the ax, or use your predicament to find a brand new opportunity at another organization.