Other than the obvious of knowing where your next paycheck is coming from, there’s actually another really good reason for being able to read the warning signs and know when you’re boss is going to drop the axe on your current employment situation.
Can you guess what that reason is?…
So you can get out and get another job! Pronto, before your employment history is sullied by that first (or yet another) termination. I like to call these ROT’s or “Records of Terminations”. While a ROE or “Record of Employment” is a great thing to have for tax and government benefits reasons, an ROT is utterly useless to helping you find your next gig.
Tell prospective employers you were fired from your last job and your chance of getting hired are slim to none.
Here are a few signs that might indicate you’re going to be having an unpleasant date with HR in the coming days or weeks – one that will most likely end with security escorting you out of the building!
Sign #1: The water cooler is a graveyard whenever you walk up to it
Come on now. You know if this is you or not. People used to gravitate to the coffee room when they saw you heading there for a coffee or lunch break. Now, it seems like everyone around you is doing their best to avoid more than passing contact with you. They may still like you, but knowing your performance isn’t up to management’s expectations has left your former work buddies without a clue what to say to you anymore.
Sign #2: You’ve cost the company MAJOR money
This one should be a given, but few people heed to the obvious when it comes to making a huge, massive, profit-hemorrhaging mistake that has everyone, especially management, giving you dirty looks. If you just cost the company big cash, just go up to your boss and ask them what gives now that you’ve exposed this big chink in your armor. Tell them you know this is a big deal, and that you understand why they might be considering ending your employment. They’ll at least respect you for understanding the severity and potential consequences of your mistake and may give you another chance if they were, in fact planning to end your employment.
Sign #3: People are looking and pointing at you a lot
Unless you have a massive goiter emerging from your neck, there’s no good reason for people to aim their focus directly at you constantly. This goes double if the boss is one of those people. You see that look of contempt she’s projecting at you from the glass walled office she sits in 10 feet to your left or right. You know something’s not right. At this point, you’ve become an outsider, no longer in the office loop.
Sign #4: Company has been sold and/or new people are moving in
Whenever a company has been sold, there’s always a really good chance that the new owner has interest in ridding themselves of any dead weight they may have acquired in the sale. This is natural. Sometimes it isn’t fair, but it’s reality. Keep your eyes peeled for old employees suddenly disappearing and being replaced by new blood. This goes double for new management, particularly if they seem hesitant or downright uninterested in forming a relationship with you.
Sign #5: Nobody seems to care about mistakes you make
Don’t take this one lightly. If you’re held accountable for your mistakes and given constructive feedback on how to avoid them, your job is still usually safe. Once you cross over the threshold into “next to be handed the axe territory,” coworkers and managers will stop trying to help. Perhaps even to the point of just laughing and saying things like “I wouldn’t expect anything else from YOU,” or similar. At this point, everyone around you has come to the conclusion that you’re helpless and beyond saving.
What to do if…
If the proverbial axe does fall without you noticing the warning signs around the workplace ahead of time, ask your employer if they’d consider laying you off. Better yet, ask them if you can represent yourself as still employed with them on your resume for a short time, while you look for a new job.
Already employed people fetch at least 10% higher salaries than those who have a large gap on their resume since they last worked, which is what your employment history will look like if you can’t use your current job in your employment history.
If you’ve already been fired, you really have nothing to lose, except perhaps a little more of your pride.
Still, the best advice I can still give you would be to watch out for the warning signs (without being a paranoid schitzo type who thinks everyone on the planet has it out for them!) When it seems that you’re likely next on the boss’s chopping block, get out while the gettin’s good, before that termination notice lands on your desk.
In the great words of businessman, educator, speaker and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey:
“Everyone must be proactive and do all they can to help themselves to stay employed.”