You can do everything right, and things can still go splat in your career.
As much as we’d like to think that our careers are entirely in our hands, there are many factors over which we have no control. Keeping your current job may be one of them.
Even if you work hard, keep learning and take responsibility, you can still get fired.
So if you find yourself asking “Am I getting fired or just paranoid?” take a moment to evaluate your situation. You may not be able to control what happens next, but you can be prepared for it.Even if you work hard, keep learning and take responsibility, you can still get fired. Learn what to look for in new post by @debraenton "Am I Getting Fired or Just Paranoid?” 6 Signs Your Job May Be At Risk Click To Tweet
You Can Increase Your Job Security, But You Can’t Guarantee You Won’t Be Fired
There are things you can do to increase your job security. Working hard, continually learning, and taking responsibility are all critically important.
So are people skills, such as getting along with colleagues above, below, and alongside you; being a positive, encouraging presence; and dealing with others honestly and tactfully. Also important is professional self-promotion – that is, making sure that your talents and accomplishments are recognized appropriately, without being boastful or pushy.
But even when you do everything right, your job may still be in jeopardy.
Cynics say, “Your job is only as secure as the emotions of your immediate supervisor,” and while this is an exaggeration, it’s true that bosses sometimes let employees go for reasons that are more related to their own managerial or psychological shortcomings than to the failures of the worker.
Further, you may be doing superb work in a company or an industry that is floundering.
As John Elway, two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, says, “Not only do you have to be good, but you have to be lucky.”
But even if you aren’t lucky, you can still be proactive and prepare yourself for your next step.
“Am I Getting Fired Or Just Paranoid?” 6 Key Indicators To Consider
These six warning signs can help you determine if your job is at risk. The goal in evaluating these is not to be defensive but offensive in managing your career.
- You sense disregard for your authority by those above, below, and around you.
- The number of people who report to you is significantly reduced; budgets are cut.
- You increasingly feel that your energy, enthusiasm, and smarts are getting you nowhere.
- You experience notable indignities, such as being ignored in meetings, being left out of the loop on key decisions, or being omitted from the circulation lists for important e-mails.
- You have frequent run-ins with peers.
- You are repeatedly passed over for the most interesting, important, or prestigious assignments.
Dan Coffey is a consultant with Spherion who helps executives who’ve recently lost their jobs find their next one. According to CIO, he estimated that 50 percent of people fired are caught completely off guard when they should have been aware of the evidence against them.
It’s smart to pay attention to your gut feeling on this, but before you get panicky, you’ll need to ferret out feelings vs. reality. Be as objective as possible reviewing these six signs.
1. You sense disregard for your authority by those above, below, and around you.
Has there been a shift in the way people treat you? Is there less respect for your insight and requests than there was when you started?
If your requests are repeatedly ignored or if people blow off what you have to say, you may be right to be concerned.
2. The number of people who report to you is significantly reduced; budgets are cut.
If your company or industry is going through a significant upheaval, a loss of resources and responsibility may be a sign that your job is next. Fewer employees means less reason for you to remain in your position.
3. You increasingly feel that your energy, enthusiasm, and smarts are getting you nowhere.
Do you feel stuck in your career? If you aren’t moving forward, then you likely haven’t made a favorable impression on those higher up. If you aren’t giving your boss or CEO what they want, then they may see little reason to keep you at all.
4. You experience notable indignities, such as being ignored in meetings, being left out of the loop on key decisions, or being omitted from the circulation lists for important emails.
Are you always the last to know when something in your company is about to happen? Are you frequently blindsided by decisions that impact you?
If you aren’t being involved or notified, you aren’t being seen as an important part of the team and that’s a dangerous position to be in.
5. You have frequent run-ins with peers
Do people seem to enjoy working with you or are you often in conflict with those around you?
If you are constantly in relational turmoil at work, you may (unfortunately) be the problem, one your boss may be considering solving. You should do your best to connect better with those around you and be more personable and personal, but it may also be that you don’t fit in well with the company culture.
6. You are repeatedly passed over for the most interesting, important, or prestigious assignments.
Are you only given boring, easy, or mundane assignments? This is a sure sign that you are not considered trustworthy and/or capable.
Maintaining the status quo will eventually result in your irrelevance, so if you aren’t being given big assignments, you might be given the pink slip soon. (And do you really want to be in a job where you don’t get to do the “fun stuff”?)
Make A “Getting Fired” Plan
Regardless of where you think you are today after reviewing those six signs, prepare for being “unlucky” someday. No job is 100% secure.
Keep your resume updated. Step up your efforts in expanding your network of contacts so that you have a safety net to help you if/when you do lose your job.
Prepare emotionally and financially, so you regain a sense of control in your destiny. If you have a plan in place before you are fired, you will be better able to move on to your next opportunity.
Fired or Paranoid? How To Handle Both
“Am I getting fired or just paranoid?” As scary as a question as that may be, it’s important to ask it… and then answer it as objectively as possible..
You may realize you are about to get fired or laid off. It happens to even the best employees and is much more common than it used to be.
While you can’t control what happens to your job, you can control how you respond to being fired. If you do, you will find that you not only survive getting fired, you thrive through it.
On the other hand, if you are living in fear of being fired but have no objective reasons for that fear, consider working on your self-confidence. You didn’t wind up in your position by accident. Give yourself and your abilities a little more trust.
If you are facing a challenge in your career or are on the hunt for a new job, I am here to help. Contact me to discuss executive coaching, or if you have a group of emerging leaders, for a speaking engagement.