Have you ever lost a job and thought, “I didn’t see that coming.” The truth is that all the warning signs you’re getting fired were probably staring you in the face… you just didn’t notice them. In most instances, you should be able to sense that change is in the air - if you know what to look for. Fortunately, there are some key signs that can help you recognize if your job is less than safe.
15 warning signs you’re getting fired
1. Your boss has stopped asking you for input
One of the clearest signs you’re getting fired involves interactions with your boss. If they make a habit of seeking employee input, and stop asking for yours, that’s bad. It shows that they no longer value your opinion. Moreover, it’s typically a sign that they’ve already decided your services are no longer valuable.
However, in some cases, your boss may be focused on other challenges, or you’re so involved in another project that they don’t want to distract you. Nevertheless, if you see that your boss stops relying on you, it’s time to take action. Either directly address the situation with your employer or readdress your resume and skills.
2. Your colleagues and supervisors are distant
The dynamic within an office can change without warning. If you find that peers and supervisors are distancing themselves from you, watch out. This is one of the signs you’re getting fired that’s the most frustrating because you’re likely to discover after being fired that everyone knew it was happening - except you. Take heed. If the office’s emotional temperature plummets when you walk in the room, your job may be in peril.
3. Everyone else is busier than you
Another sign you’re going to be fired occurs when you see that everyone in the office is swamped with work - and you’re not. This is a clear indication that your position is in jeopardy.
Work that might have otherwise kept you busy and anxious about deadlines is no longer being sent your way. Instead, you find that your superiors are giving you less and less to do.
The message: you’re on your way out.
4. You’re convinced you’re irreplaceable
Sometimes, our own attitudes can signal that something bad is about to happen. Do you believe you’re irreplaceable? Do you project that belief in the way you conduct yourself at work?
If so, you’ll probably find yourself looking at a pink slip sooner rather than later. No company wants employees who think they’re indispensable. Most bosses understand that those types of employees become more difficult to manage. To avoid this, they’ll just replace you with someone less arrogant.
5. The company is documenting all interactions with you
When it comes to learning how to tell if you’re about to be fired, written communications can be a key indicator. If you’re accustomed to more casual encounters with supervisors, and then they begin to document all interactions in writing, chances are they’re building a case to fire you.
6. Your boss is giving you unattainable goals
If you’re used to success, then suddenly find your boss throwing seemingly impossible tasks at you, there’s a clear problem. Often, companies do this to ensure they have legitimate reasons to terminate employment. If your deadlines seem to be shrinking or you’re being asked to accomplish herculean feats, break out your resume. You’re probably going to need it.
7. Your duties are transferred to co-workers
One of the signs you're getting fired relates to workload and responsibilities. Has your role in the company changed without a clear direction? Are your work duties being assigned to others? These are all indications that the company is getting ready to replace you.
8. You receive a pay cut
Sometimes a company that’s struggling has to reduce salaries in order to stay afloat. But if the company slashes your pay while others receive theirs in full, it can point to an imminent dismissal.
9. You’re no longer invited to important meetings
Like a relationship that’s on the rocks, when the other party starts disassociating themselves from you, it can imply they no longer want you around. If you stop receiving notifications or emails of meetings you used to attend, your exclusion is probably intentional.
10. You recently got into trouble
If you’ve committed a mistake that might have severe consequences for the organization, such as any misdemeanor, fraud, or the leaking of confidential information, the likelihood is you’re going to get fired if you’re found guilty.
11. There’s a job opening for your position
Uh oh. This is a real red flag and a massive sign you’re getting fired. Normally, jobs are only advertised when a position becomes vacant. If management is looking for someone else for your role, it’s time to act.
12. You’re asked to train up a new employee
This could be seen as a sign of your experience and extensive knowledge of the role. But if it’s your job you’re forced to teach them to do, it’s a sure sign you’re getting fired.
13. Mistakes you make don't matter anymore
Part of a superior’s role is to ensure that subordinates realize their errors, and correct them swiftly to improve productivity. It also shows that the company still values your input and supports your growth. If you notice that your superior keeps ignoring your mistakes, especially the obvious ones, it’s a sign that they’ve resolved to replace you with someone else.
14. Your requests for improved benefits are rejected
Usually, it’s the employer who determines what benefits an employee receives, such as a pay rise, an all-expenses paid holiday, or a company car. But employees can request these benefits if they believe they deserve them due to having a decent record, securing new clients, or playing a part in an increase in revenue.
If senior management keeps rejecting your request for a pay rise, perhaps the company no longer needs your services. Companies will only invest in people if they want to associate with them long-term.
15. Your performance appraisals are poor
Performance appraisals or work reviews are regular ways of assessing an employee’s performance. Having occasional unpleasant reviews with regards to your performance isn’t sufficient reason to worry.
But if you’re constantly receiving negative appraisals or complaints from superiors about your professionalism or work performance, chances are that this is a sign you’re getting fired.
What to Do About It
If the signs are you’re getting fired, you need to have a back-up plan.
Start networking to identify other opportunities that may become available to you just in case you do lose your job
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile, keeping in mind that most companies now scan resumes using an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) so make sure you use a standard format and optimize your resume with keywords and phrases
Taken on their own, these 15 signs you’re getting fired could be relatively meaningless. But if you see several occurring at once, it might be time to accept that your position is about to be terminated.
Do you need to get your resume in top shape if you do get fired? Check out ZipJob’s free resume scan.
Elizabeth Openshaw, Editor & Content Writer, Elizabeth Openshaw, Editor & Content Writer
Elizabeth Openshaw is an Elite CV Consultant of 11 years based in Brighton, UK, with an English degree and an addiction to Wordle! She is a former Journalist of 17 years with the claim to fame that she interviewed three times Grand Slam winner and former World No.1 tennis player, Andy Murray, when he was just 14 years old. You can connect with her at Elizabeth Openshaw | LinkedIn.