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10 Signs You Are About to Be Fired

Something's just not right and you can sense it. Perhaps there's been a recent acquisition, or your manager keeps talking to HR. Almost everything you say is now documented. If you notice some or all of the following signs, stay on your guard. You may be shown the door soon.

Something’s just not right and you can sense it. Perhaps there’s been a recent acquisition, or your manager keeps talking to HR. Almost everything you say is now documented. If you notice some or all of the following signs, stay on your guard. You may be shown the door soon.


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1. You are not getting along with your manager.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

If you are a new employee and the manager has been there a while, this is a sure sign that things will not go your way. Your manager and team have already proved themselves to the management and it’s up to you to show your worth. But if you start on the wrong foot and have constant disagreements with your manager, your attitude may be viewed as insubordination, and it’s a slippery slope from there. Ego clashes, documented performance records, discarding your ideas, ignoring your presence, communication only via email — all are tell-tale signs that your manager wants you out.

If your manager is new and you are the only subordinate who has issues with her, she may be more comfortable hiring someone she has worked with than try and win your trust. While you could explore different roles, if you have a proven track record in the organization, the only other possibility is moving out, if you are unable to get along with your manager.

2. Your company is being acquired.

This may not always mean that you will be out of a job, but if the acquiring company has a well-established team that does your job predominantly, then they would much rather keep their own team and get rid of your role.

3. You see a decrease in your responsibilities.

Suddenly your work is being split among multiple people; you are given the chance to “relax” or are asked “not to stress.” You end up feeling under-utilized. That’s a sign right there that work is being taken away from you.

4. You are being micromanaged.

Your day-to-day work is monitored, or you are asked to submit your daily schedule. Almost all the work you do is reviewed and analyzed closely. You are asked to explain delays or changes in status, even before the project is due. Your presence and absence from your seat is closely monitored and questioned.

5. You do not deliver on your Performance Improvement Plan.

While I do not think a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) is in itself a reason to panic, failure to deliver per the plan surely is. Typical PIPs are designed at the target level of achievement — not higher, and not lower. An average-performing employee should be able to clear a well-intended PIP. HR is generally involved to check on the administration of the process. So if you are not comfortable with the targets, let your HR know, so they can investigate further. However, once you accept the PIP, failure to deliver results can lead to termination.

6. You are kept out of the loop or are not invited to meetings.

You see a lot of buzz, a lot of meetings that your teammates and manager seem to be involved in. You, somehow are not being included in the meetings and aren’t given convincing reasons why you are not involved — “it is confidential,” “you have other important projects to focus on,” etc.

7. You are assigned a mentor to “succeed in your role.”

If you’ve been in the job for a while but are suddenly assigned a mentor, when nobody else in your role is, there’s a problem with your performance and you are not meeting your management’s expectations. This is a support the organization is offering you to see if you will improve.

8. Nobody’s asking for a project update from you.

There are no status update reports or progress charts asked of your work. Your work is nowhere in the radar and all your meeting requests are rejected.

9. You are being given impossible projects and deadlines.

You know the scope of the project is too broad and the deadlines are unrealistic, yet your manager won’t budge and will hold you accountable for it. You obviously will not be able to deliver and that is reason enough to say you are not meeting your goals.

10. HR is marked on most of your manager’s communication with you.

If HR is getting involved in your regular day-to-day work, and you are nowhere close to a promotion or an org-wide recognition, then a complaint has probably been lodged against you and they are being kept in loop. Ideally, you should be aware of the issue, but if this is not the case, then HR’s involvement is not good news.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you ever been fired, and if so, were there warning signs? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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14 Comments on "10 Signs You Are About to Be Fired"

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My son read these comments and started circling typo/spelling mistakes—he is 6.

I had an immediate supervisor that was very childish and insecure. “Denise” disliked the fact that people were friends with each other but, not with her. I was one of her targets. I believe she was jealous of my friendship with an employee she worked most closely with. She told a huge lie about me and I came close to being fired until her boss and another manager figured out she was lying. Up until then it was her word against mine. She was fired 2 days later!! If the other people wouldn’t have pieced together the info, I would… Read more »

Some of these signs are also string hints the boss is hoping the employee will quit.


I should have added – he took his case to the employment court and eventually was awarded $10K.


Not me, but this happened to my late husband back in 1993 – all the signs were there, every single thing listed here, in the end it was a relief when he was ‘terminated.’

Another terrible experience I got hired on with a Nursing College and the Regional VP of Operations who hired me was Fired then a project I was working on which I wasn’t properly trained on didn’t meet the deadline so the Manager admitted to me she didn’t train me well and that she would after I returned from trip out of the company to attend a funeral. After I returned I was fired. So I asked what was the reason for termination and she said I did not notify her when I was going to return even after I emailed… Read more »
A few experiences I’ve had which altered my life: Company A – I worked for a German Company for 3 years and the Manager rated me low on my review for something that wasn’t a part of my job description. I followed the chain of command and went to her about it first and that didn’t work so I decided to challenge her and instead of going directly to her boss who was the Director, I went to HR. Now why did I do that for? Well I won and she had to remove it from my review but she… Read more »
S. Ball
Yes, alot of your comments stem from childhood including having depression because the parent first ignores or is not around from age 2 – 5. An individual remembers better from age 5 than age 4. Point: That depression can stay with a person for years until the “bully or depressed person starts yelling”. Yelling is an anger that each one of us builds up because very “few people want to figure out and listen what is wrong”. #1 rule, “do not yell back just listen and know to keep listening”. Your boss may have several issues so do not treat… Read more »
I recently started a job a month and half ago! My boss is starting her bully tactics on me. I am not even out of training yet. She is not happy that the policy is, while new employees are in training, the supervisors are to monitor the trainees cases. I am fed up with work place bully supervisors. I have been down this road and it caused me nothing, but anxiety, stress ad loss of sleep. I refuse to do it again!! No amount of money is putting up with a work place bully! Thank goodness my other half is… Read more »
There are plenty of incompetent bosses, but there are even more incompetent/ unmotivated/ lazy employees as well. I’ve got a dept mgr who is unable to complete 25% of the work her predecessor was. She can’t complete any projects to basic standards, makes constant messes, works at a snail’s pace, and a host of other issues. I’m not her direct supervisor, but since I was in her position years ago, I’ve been staying 1-2 hrs past the end of my shift for over a month and giving her hands on training, but she has yet to implement most of it.… Read more »
Of these 10 signs I have experienced at least 8 recently in my current job. The only thing is, I didn’t get fired, nor do I think I soon will. Since I have quite some seniority at the company, they face a 15 month notice period for firing me, which is money they currently cannot do without. It is funny that actually I or personally developed or had a very big stake in the development of ALL the products the company is selling. Now they’re amusing theirselves in having countless meetings, trying to understand the products, instead of doing some… Read more »
Our company had a new National Sales Manager and he brought on a new Middle manager and they both came from the same company. With them they brought their previous companies attitude and culture with them. They tended to have a “lets clean house attitute towards the sales force of about 25. The middle manager was introduced to her team and it was obvious within days that she was more inexperienced than the rest of the team and didn’t know what she was doing or how to manage a team, suffice to say the level of respect for her and… Read more »

Too many Bosses think their authority gives them free reign to be a jerk. My boss is an irrational control freak and she’s the HR Manager. She is rude and mean to our emoyees yet is a ray of sunshine to the owners and leadership.

Tired of managers with horrible attitudes pushing out great employees.

Fed up

To bad we live in a world of incompetent bosses.

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