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7 Signs that a Pink Slip is Coming!

7 Signs that a Pink Slip is Coming!

It was my first ‘real’ job and after only nine months and one quick promotion, I thought I would be there forever.  To say I was blindsided when I was “let go” is an understatement.  I was beyond shocked.  I never saw it coming.

I spent the rest of that day wandering around in a fog.  I kept going over and over the whole nine months and wondering what I had missed.

Well a couple more “lay-offs” in my professional career and I started to realize that there are always signs when you’re about to be fired.  I noticed it with other people – I just wasn’t aware of when they were happening to me.

So along with a few excerpts from an article on msn.com, I want to share with you what I think are the top seven signs that a pink slip might be coming.

1 – Are you no longer in the loop about, well, anything?

This is a huge telltale sign. Suddenly you’re finding out about company news from the cleaning lady or the new girl in accounting. If you were formally in the know about all things business related, but now suffer from “the company’s doing what??!” disease, the writing is probably on the wall.

2 – Did you recently screw up big-time?

We’re not talking a minor faux pas here. Did you lose money on an account that was previously bulletproof? Were you caught having “relations” on the boss’s desk with the boss’s sister? That’s probably not a career-enhancing move. Unless you’re a real neophyte, you know you have screwed up. And if you know, HR knows. It may not be the final nail in your coffin, but it’s a nail in the coffin nonetheless.

3 – Are people avoiding you at all costs?

Eye-contact is difficult to make with someone if you know his or her head’s on the chopping block. Small talk is just as tough. It’s best just to avoid that person altogether. So if people are no longer doing that fun “stop ‘n’ chat” in the hall, or the coffee room empties when you arrive, then guess what…you may be a marked man or woman.

4 – Did your last performance review read like a train wreck?

Most of the time, a performance review is a whole bunch of general niceties. The boss really doesn’t want to say anything TOO good, because everyone has room for improvement. But generally, they praise within reason and avoid anything too negative. So if your assessment of your performance reads “exceeds expectations” and your boss’s reads “has not met expectations”, well, that tap on the shoulder is coming.

5 – Has your company recently been sold or merged?

This is rarely good news for about 90% of the staff. Sure, management is fine. After all, they negotiated the deal. But whether you were sold or merged, the outcome is the same…changes will be made across the board. A merger means duplication of many jobs. Duplication = redundancy. Being sold means new management, and they always have new plans for the company. New plans that includes cutbacks and layoff. Basically, pay attention to the other signs if there’s a new name on the front door.

6 – Are you currently being ‘retrained’ or are taking coaching sessions?

Again, a tricky one. Retraining or coaching is often a way to try and save an employee who has lost his or her way. It shows that the company or your boss still cares. BUT, it also can have a flip side. It may be another one of those ‘cover the company’s butt’ scenarios, in which HR demonstrates they did everything they possibly could to make things work. And alas it didn’t, so they had to let you go. Not a major warning sign on its own, but combined with a few others, this has danger written all over it.

7 – Has your office, cubicle or working space recently been down-sized?

Remember poor old Milton in Office Space being moved from one small space to another, until he was eventually sat in the dark, in the basement, dealing with pest problems. Well, this is not so far from the truth. When employees are in the firing line, it’s a lot easier to move them around and downsize their environment without worrying about their morale. If you are reading this in your new 6ft by 6ft cubicle with no lights on a 1999 PC with a 200MB hard drive, you’re not exactly a valued employee any more.

Remember, THREE or more and you’re more than likely heading for the unemployment line. Take a long hard look at your working life, and do something about it. You’re career is in your hands.

The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember:  Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career! ~ Earl Nightingale, author, speaker, motivator