If you are attentive enough, you can hear distant rumblings of a thunder before rainy clouds reach above your head to bring rains. Likewise, if you are watchful enough, you can definitely pick up disturbing signals to alert you if you are going to be fired from the job.
Getting fired from the job can be en masse at times. A severe recession, a major loss in the company, a dire need for downsizing for the sake of business survival, shifting of operations to a distant land for the sake of economics — there could be several reasons for you to get fired along with several of your colleagues, subordinates and supervisors.
Or you may get fired all alone, on account of your omissions and commissions or inefficiency.
In case the firing is going to take place en masse — a retrenchment, here are some warning signals:
When company is really in a bad shape and there are rumors floating around that there are going to be job-cuts, do not ignore the rumors lightly, even if your company’s official spokesman says the rumors are baseless! Smoke will not come without fire. Unless some talk has taken place at higher echelons of management about the likelihood of effecting job cuts, rumors will not be floating around.
Some management will intentionally float the rumor and deny it; it’s a way of creating the “right atmosphere” for declaring the bad news at a later date.
Serious economy measures
The penultimate step before effecting job cuts could be in the form of cuts in salaries, perks, allowances, free supplies (like uniform, office stationery, coffee/tea/snacks) etc. If you have taken some advances, you will get a notice to repay them earlier than schedule. Short lay-off coupled with pay cuts may become frequent. Those who submit resignations will be found relieved immediately without waiting for the customary ending of notice period.
The management’s tactics and moves will look as though they encourage employees to quit and leave the company, however important their position might have been in the past.
The immediate manager may suddenly start behaving too humane and kind to his subordinates who are in the firing list. He may start showing keen interest in the family and well being of the employees!
If you are going to get fired alone, on account of real or perceived omissions and commissions, look for the following signals:
Irritable and never-satisfied boss
Your boss will start picking holes in whatever work you do; he will shout at you for petty reasons; he will constantly show displeasure at your lack of performance and your incapacity to learn and grow.
Your boss may turn too cold with you. He may avoid meeting you and giving you guidance on you on-job doubts and problems. He may stop giving you promised assignments and responsibilities and divert them to a colleague to handle them as additional responsibilities. When you are desperately in need of help on the job, your boss, who would have given you guidance in the past under similar circumstances, will now direct one of your senior colleagues to give you instructions.
Important meetings in which you were normally a part in the past will now be conducted without inviting you. Important e-mail communications in which were usually copied to you will not be reaching you now. Some of your subordinates will be getting instructions directly from the big boss and they will try to avoid keeping you informed.
Weird behavior of colleagues
If you are going to get fired alone, it is a strange reality that the rumour mill will start working absolutely behind your back, without the news reaching up to your ears! Some of your colleagues may perhaps know about your fate already, but they will not reveal it to you. They will start distancing from you and avoid mingling with you during lunch time or in the canteen.
Some of your juniors suddenly may show a callous attitude towards you and a sense of respect or restraint seen earlier may be missing.
promoted, but …?
Getting “kicked up” as a prelude to getting “kicked out”
Kicking-up means a dubious promotion. A promotion, really? Yes. Strange it may look, but it is another dirty tactic played by some top management. Suppose you have served an organization for quite long, but somehow, currently your position has become redundant in the organization. It may happen on account of several reasons – your age and related arrival of inefficiency and lethargy, your specialty skills getting out-dated, your attitude of “taking the company for granted”, your constant criticism about new managerial policies being contradictory to “time tested” and old practices, your dislike towards your new and much younger boss etc.
By way of respect to your long service in the company, the management may not want to get rid of you the harsh way. So, they would move you out of the main line of activity by giving you a “promotion” and shift you to the new post and place. While you gleefully accept the new position considering that it is an elevation in recognition of your services, it will virtually be the death trap for your career in the organization!
The new post will have no clearly defined responsibilities; you won’t have any people to manage, but you may have to “co-ordinate” with many other managers who will not report to you (nor respect you) to carry out your unclear tasks! You will be given a cabin in a secluded corner of the building and you won’t have a Personal Secretary now, if you had one earlier.
None of your former colleagues will have time to spend with you. None of your erstwhile subordinates will give respect to you. You will collect your monthly salary for doing nothing and no one in the top echelons of management will bother about your existence, except perhaps for laughing at you behind your back.
If you are a sensitive person, you will quit on your own and that’s precisely what the top management wants. If you are too thick skinned, perhaps you will get kicked out in due course and the management will give enough good reasons by pointing out your lack of contribution to the organization in your current post!