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Are You About to be Fired?
You Have a Gut Feeling Something is Wrong
You have an uneasy feeling at work. Something is not quite right but you can't put your finger on it. Could it be, nah, there's no way they would fire you. You're indispensable, right?
Your boss comes in to work and sees you heading toward her office. She quickly ducks inside and closes the door. There might as well be a do not disturb sign posted. But you knock anyway. She looks at her watch and frowns. But you ignore it and plod forward, inching your way into the room. She remains standing, blocking the chairs in front of her desk. She's been avoiding you lately, not returning your voice mails and never seems to have time for you.
The writing is on the wall.
What are the Signs?
Five Indications You're About to be Fired - One
Your relationship with the boss has deteriorated over time. While you used to be the go-to person she called on for everything, the golden child, now she no longer gives you the time of day. The two of you were like sisters. Why, you even invited her to your wedding and she attended. What happened?
In the good old days, you fetched lunch for the two of you and shared a bit of gossip while you ate in her office at the round table. Now, your offers to pick up lunch and bring it in are accepted, but she conveniently forgets to reimburse you for the expense, thanks you politely and tells you that she'll eat her lunch later. She's got a meeting to attend and you're not invited.
You're About to be Fired - Two
You walk by the conference room and the door is closed. As you pass the glass window beside the door, you notice there's a meeting going on inside. The key people you generally interact with on projects, your team, are sitting around the conference table. They avoid any eye contact as you peer through the window.
Back at your desk, you frantically check your Outlook reminders to see if you missed the invitation. Nope, your calendar is free all day long.
Later, you know your manager is in their office and you phone their extension. The call goes directly to voice mail. You decide to walk over to their area when, suddenly their phone line lights up and you can see they are on the phone. You stand at their door waiting to be acknowledged. They spin around with their back toward you and speak in hushed tones to the person on the line.
Looking for Upward Mobility
Three, Four, Shut the Door
There have been rumors of a merger with a larger company. You feel certain that your qualifications would outweigh those of anyone with the same function at the other company. Your boss doesn't feel the same way. In fact, you're getting a new boss. It's someone from the new company who has their own team and favorite people. Your old manager is set for a promotion and has decided not to take you along to the new department.
The people you formerly went to lunch with, shared birthday parties, wedding showers and birth announcements with in the past no longer include you in their gatherings.
The boss has started leaving work on your chair when you vacate your cubicle even for a moment, rather than interact with you.
Proud Mary - Ike and Tina Turner 1971
Observation - Five
Your boss's window faces the parking lot. You pull into your normal spot and glance at the clock on the dashboard. Uh, oh, you're fifteen minutes late and she's at her desk glaring at you as you gather your things from the car and make your way inside.
Your computer boots up as slow as Christmas. Everyone else in the department got a new laptop but you're still using the old model with a monitor the size of a Subaru. When you're finally signed in, an appointment reminder pops up on your calendar. Today at two o'clock you've been scheduled for a meeting with your manager. For a brief moment, you think things might be getting better until you read the subject line of the memo: Performance Evaluation.
At the meeting, you discover that your boss has invited the Human Resources representative to join you for this intimate, closed-door chat. The manager pulls out a familiar looking form and hands it to you. It's a performance improvement program (PIP). This is your first written notice that your work is not up to the company standards.
Top Ten Getting Fired Movie Scenes
Was it Something in Your Cubicle?
Your cubicle may be your workplace during the day, but it still belongs to the company. Their guidelines rule when it comes to bringing things to work.
Bringing your pets to work is generally not acceptable, unless, you work for a company that allows pets in the workplace like the SPCA. People have allergies and sensitivities to birds, turtles, fish, dogs, cats or other household family members with dander.
Storing bottles of alcohol in your desk drawer at work can sometimes result in dismissal from your duties. This may seem far fetched, but from personal experience I can assure you it isn't. A director at a former workplace was dismissed for frequent trips to his car for nips of refreshment. The mints and chewing gum couldn't conceal his on-the-job drinking habit.
Putting up posters that reflect any sort of discriminatory message is also discouraged. Swastikas, nude photos, risque magazines, flyers, or material that denigrates people of a different race or culture may be in violation of the company policies.
People seem offended for the most mundane of reasons in today's work environment. If you choose to bring food to the office, pungent, offensive odors (aromas to you) may not be appropriate in a shared space. Strong smells like pickles or onions, raw fish (Sushi) or other foods that impart an odor that lingers long after the meal need to be rethought. Strong smelling perfume falls into this category as well.
It needs to be said that items which are considered weapons should not be brought to work unless you are in law enforcement, have a concealed weapons permit or the company allows and encourages such items at work.
The Office Manipulator - Is this You?
Euphemisms You Might Hear from Your Former Boss
When they make the decision to fire you, there are a number of ways they might choose to tell you. Here are a few classics. Perhaps you've heard one or more that aren't included. Share these if you will in the comments section.
- You're not a good fit for the company
- We've decided to let you go.
- We're going to let you train your replacement from the new company.
- I'd like you write a job description of all your duties with the company, with a list of your passwords and sign-ins to all internal systems.
- It won't be necessary for you to finish out the day. You can leave right now.
- Be sure to pack up all your things in this convenient storage box.
- The guard will escort you out of the building.
- Turn in your badge and identification on your way out.
- Your job has been automated.
With all sincerity, I hope none of these scenarios apply to you or a coworker. Believe it or not, each one of these situations are familiar to me whether as recipient or as the manager in question. Some of these things can be avoided and some may not. My advice: Always have a Plan B.
© 2015 Peg Cole