With a recession on the horizon, job security may be a concern for many professionals in the UK. Losing your job can be a stressful experience that can significantly affect your self-esteem and put you in a difficult position. Therefore, you must be able to recognise the signs that you might be getting dispensed in the near future. Knowing that you’re about to lose your job will allow you to plan accordingly and get another position more rapidly.
1. You’re being set up to fail
Companies can not simply get rid of people any way they want without a concrete reason and need proper ground for dismissal otherwise they could get sued for wrongful termination. A common way to set employees for failure is to significantly increase their workload to the point where you can’t reach your targets. As well as impacting your work-life balance, this can also cause serious stress issues and burnout. If you feel like you’ve been given an excessive amount of work and little explanation, this could be a sign that you’re about to be let go. At this point, do not try to keep up with the workload if you feel it’s impossible, instead you must have an honest conversation with your manager to discuss the issue.
2. You’ve been put on a PIP
If you checked your inbox this morning and found out that your boss put you on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) to “support you and give you the opportunity to improve in some areas” then you should start looking for a new job right away. PIPs are commonly known to end up in employment termination, they’re more or less a gentle way of letting you go. Although you might be able to meet the goals set up in the PIP, it’s not very likely you’ll be able to keep your job. Moreover, even though you miraculously manage to survive a PIP, your image within the company will ultimately be tarnished and this will limit your career growth within the company.
3. Your coworkers start avoiding you
People tend to talk a lot and rumours spread quickly. This means that some people may start acting awkward around you or even avoid you. If you’re used to having great conversations with some of your coworkers, but you realise that they’re behaving differently around you, or that HR is completely avoiding you, it’s probably a red flag and you’re about to lose your job. People may either feel guilty or be afraid to slip up when talking to you.
4. Your workload shrinks
Although this may sound counterintuitive, taking away your responsibilities and tasks, is a common sign of termination. The company will usually tell you to instead focus on some sort of “special assignment”. This is in fact a way to progressively reassign your work to other employees and make it easier for the department to get rid of you. If you’ve been pulled out of an important project and have been asked by your manager to focus on something not important, this could be a sign your company is thinking about letting you go.
5. Your company just laid off a bunch of people
If your company just laid off 500 people over a pre-recorded zoom call, please use your common sense and start looking for new employment ASAP. This happened to many organisations post-pandemic and will keep happening. Companies run short on money, decide to outsource their workforce, and even go bankrupt. Don’t be delusional and start doing what’s right for your future. There’s no such thing as being “faithful” to a company or a “family culture” and when they need to let you go, they certainly will!
What to do if you’re about to get fired
If after weeks of negative feedback, excessive workload, and awkward conversations with your coworkers, you’ve just realised that you’re about to lose your job, don’t panic! The best thing you can do at this point is to secretly start looking for a new job and try to keep a healthy relationship with your boss and coworkers. Try not to tell anyone that you know about your termination as this could quickly backfire, just keep doing your everyday tasks while applying for new jobs. Most importantly, don’t quit as soon as you get a new job, let the company fire you and negotiate a severance package.