No matter how hard you work, there's a possibility you may someday be laid off or fired, often without much warning. However, after your boss has delivered the bad news, chances are you'll be able to look back and think of a few warning signs.
But what if you could know in advance that the hammer was about to fall? Those who have been fired multiple times often report similar experiences in the hours, days, and even weeks before they were let go.
Here are a few signs that you may need to dust off your resume.
1. Your boss warns you.
Your boss likely won't give you an exact date and time of your firing in advance, but many employees do get warnings. The first indication is likely your performance review, which will contain valuable insights into how your boss thinks you're doing.
Beyond that, you may receive verbal or written warnings about certain behaviors that could put your job at risk. If you ignore those warnings and refuse to make changes, your supervisor may feel there's no other choice but to terminate.
2. You commit fireable offenses.
Not every fired employee is guilty of an offense, but there are things you can do that will increase your risk. If you're chronically late, for instance, you could end up on the chopping block.
In fact, in a 2017 CareerBuilder survey, a whopping 41 percent of employers said they've fired an employee for being late. You'll also put a target on your back by having an affair with a coworker or client, blabbing about your company on social media, or behaving inappropriately.
3. The job is a bad fit.
When you landed the job, it may have been the right fit at the time. Or perhaps it was always a bad match, but you needed the money. Whatever the situation, if your job is no longer right for you, you may not be the only one noticing it.
Consider edging your way back into the job market by networking and keeping an eye out for opportunities that are a good fit. Otherwise, you're not only risking termination, but you're wasting time in a job that won't further your career.
4. You've been ostracized.
It usually takes a while for employers to fire someone, especially if HR brings pressure to document everything to avoid legal issues. During that time period, any employees who know the termination is imminent can tend to distance themselves from the person. You may notice people have difficulty making eye contact or you are shut out of important meetings. If you start to feel as though people are avoiding you, it might be time to get your resume ready.
5. Your boss's behavior has changed.
In the months leading up to a termination, an employee often finds his or her boss has a sudden change in behavior. I've seen this run in extremes. At one job years ago, not too long before I was let go, my boss began clamping down on me, micromanaging my every move. I've also seen it where a soon-to-be-fired colleague found themselves completely abandoned by the boss. Either way, this type of sudden behavior change isn't usually good news.
6. Your company has changed.
Layoffs and terminations often occur as a result of a company-wide change. It could be something as simple as losing a big client, cutting the business's income. Mergers and acquisitions also prompt unexpected staff changes, sometimes impacting large groups of people at once.
It's important to realize that not every company change will result in terminations. However, employers will usually expend a great deal of effort reassuring employees nothing will change, only to turn around and make changes soon after.
As a journalist and employee of television and radio stations, I saw this situation repeatedly because of the ever-changing media landscape and the layoffs that came with it over the years. You sometimes get a little too familiar with that feeling of dread that pops up before an expected layoff. The best remedy for this is to always keep your resume up to date.
Firings often catch people by surprise, even if there were warning signs. But if you begin to feel uncomfortable with your work situation, you can always meet with a recruiter or begin networking in your industry to make valuable connections. Once you are ready to begin looking for a job, you'll be in a position to quickly move on to something else.