Changing Jobs

Are You About To Get Fired, Or Are You Just Paranoid?

Written by Peter Jones

It’s easy to think you might be on the chopping block, but sometimes you’re just jumping at shadows. How can you tell if you’re just being paranoid or if you really should be worried? Here are a few signs that your worry is justified.

1. You recently screwed up.

A screw-up isn’t necessarily the harbinger of doom. But if you did have a big mistake in your recent past, that’s probably one thing to consider.

2. You’ve been iced out.

You suddenly find yourself no longer in the loop. You’re hearing about company news from people well below your pay grade. Not a great sign. And if your supervisor or mentor recently left the department? Even worse.

3. No one will look at you.

None of your colleagues are making eye contact. You’re being ignored. People go out of their way not to cross you in the halls or meet you in the break room. And you find people seem to be whispering when they’re in your ear shot. You could just be a pariah, but it’s more likely that they know something you don’t know.

4. There have been mergers and acquisitions.

Your company just merged or got bought out. Layoffs are probably to be on the table at some point in the future. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be fired, but if it’s one of many of these symptoms, then you should probably start looking for another job.

5. You’re being set up to fail.

The last task you got assigned was actually impossible. Or maybe your responsibility has been completely curtailed. Either way, you can perceive that you’ve been fully written off.

6. You’ve been downsized.

Has your office just been moved somewhere pretty subpar? Or your cubicle split in half to accommodate another employee? They don’t value your space, they probably don’t value you all that much either. Or maybe your pay has just taken a cut—or been frozen.

7. They’re hiring your replacement.

You found a posting that matches your job description on a job search site or the company boards. That is… well… not a good sign.

8. There’s a clear paper trail.

Your boss doesn’t have any conversations with you now in either passing or about work. There’s always an email chain. As if they’re trying to cover their bases. Or perhaps your relationship is just getting weird. Either way, weird boss behavior is never a good sign.

About the author

Peter Jones