Seven Signs You’re About to Be Fired and Seven Ways to Deal with It

Have you ever been fired? Have you ever been suddenly forced to look for a new job? Whatever your answer, you’ll need to learn of the early warning signs to avoid getting the axe, as well as several strategies that will help you to cope with job loss and to find a new occupation afterwards. Read on!

What to look out for to not get fired

Warning sign 1: Your boss warns you about your productivity or behaviour

„You’ll feel a chill in the air and notice many other firing signs,” says Lynn Taylor, an expert on the workplace. She adds, „You’ll receive negative comments in writing about your work. When this is further compounded by a couple bad performance reviews, the overall result is likely irreversible; your job is clearly at risk.” But the bad performance reviews and negative comments are not the only signs you’re about to be sacked. And it’s crucial to see these signs and do something about them, and fast.

Here’s a list of six more overlooked symptoms of being next in line for downsizing. Be honest with yourself: more likely than not, you also had these early warning signs, and maybe you’re receiving them even now. Usually we gloss them over as something par for the course, not realizing what they mean until it’s too late. Read on to check if your job is safe, as this may save you from a potential disaster!

Warning sign 2: You’re left out of the loop

Where before you were the alpha and omega of your department or team, now you find yourself a pariah, an untouchable – you’re not being asked for help, your subordinates receive tasks directly from your superiors, and you are no longer informed about the critical decisions in your company or division. No one asks you for important ideas or input regarding the way your part of the company’s business could be improved or streamlined. Should you suddenly find yourself in the dark about the important developments, and left without responsibilities, consider your future carefully – you might be heading for a firing.

Warning sign 3: Co-workers behave strange and talk behind your back

It’s usually chalked up to them being huge gossips and not focusing more on their work. But, if you hear your name dropped from time to time, you should get worried. When you’re the butt of the gossip and not someone who gossips, you should really try to get your act together.

Warning sign 4: There’re new people in the organization that you report to

Corporate structures are flexible enough to allow new blood in, but if you find yourself cut off from your previous manager because now a new hire is telling you what to do (and having to report to them) chances are you’re on thin ice. Tread carefully!

Warning sign 5: No-one seems to appreciate your work any more

Where just a few years back you got kudos from each department for job well done, now you seem to be ploughing the same lonely furrow day in and day out. If you’re a workhorse and not a prized racing pony, you’re probably heading for the glue factory soon – aka, being fired. Try to boost your profile and prepare a new project. Make yourself a star again, and they won’t be able to get rid of you that easily.

Warning sign 6: You’re being ignored or overly micromanaged

Two warning signs on two ends of the responsibility spectrum: either you’re completely isolated and no one cares what you do, or your every move is scrutinized and your boss is always on your case. In each case, try to talk to your supervisor openly. Don’t be afraid to get fired – you may already be and not know it yet!

Warning sign 7: You have less work and responsibilities

If you find that you suddenly have a lot more free time on your hands, it may be that the management is slowly reducing your workload, shifting it to other employees. It’s often a way of preparing for the inevitable chop, and if that’s the case, it may already be too late. But, crucially, you can also turn this situation around by going to the boss and cheekily asking for a raise or promotion. If you feel unwanted or with less work to do, you are practically guaranteed to be looking at being surplus to requirements, so you have nothing to lose at this point. In addition, some employers may simply be unaware of your plight, and discussing your dissatisfaction with them might lead to a better position, advancement or raise, instead of a firing. And if you’re indeed being fired? Well, then, read on what to do immediately afterwards!

What to do once you’ve been fired

There’s a ton of advice online on how to get hired, what to do at an interview and how to excel at your job (whatever it may be). There’s a suspicious dearth of articles explaining in detail the circumstances surrounding being fired and tips on what to do next. A column at Reader’s Digest gives a general idea on how to turn this quite obvious career defeat into a tool driving your next big career success. A very interesting piece at Career-Advice offers a slew of general, yet easy to follow steps to find yourself after the traumatic experience of being fired. Another article, this time at LifeHacker, gives practical rundown on things to do on an almost daily basis post-sacking.

Let’s start with their most useful piece of advice. At the very beginning, perhaps the next day after you’ve got axed, or maybe even a week later – you can’t really cope well with your reality, much less look for some bright light at the end of the tunnel. It’s actually a very good advice for any traumatic experience.

Take it one day at a time

It sounds so trite that for a moment there you may think it has lost any real-life applicability, sort of like saying „time heals all wounds” to someone who’s wounded at this particular moment in time. Luckily, LH provides more than just a simple cliché.

According to LH, you just need to do ONE thing every day. They continue, „And then do one thing tomorrow. And the next. That’s all. Just one thing a day… That’s all you need to do.” Trying to focus on easily achievable small victories does more than just provide you with a brief sense of accomplishment when you’re really in the dumps. From scheduling a meeting with someone you’ve not seen in a while to slashing your daily expenditure, LH’s „one things” range from extremely narrow, pinpoint advice for daily activities to general recommendations good for every situation.

We here at BEM blog took the liberty of collecting only the best „one thing” tips that are truly useful to someone recently out of work, so bookmark this article if you’re ever in the unfortunate situation of losing your dream job. Hopefully, you won’t ever have to come to read them… But as with all precautions, it’s good to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.

Try to stay positive and understand your emotions

This is a crucial piece of advice that men especially tend to overlook. Women are always thinking about their emotions and understand themselves a little better, but both sexes come equipped with a lot of tools to deal with difficult emotions. Start a journal, talk to your friends or a therapist. Get a dog or a cat and try to be social. Never close up and relive things, thinking what you could’ve done better. Instead focus on finding a new path and the future. This may be the sign that you’ve waited for to change your life completely!

Ask for reference

It’s really a no-brainer, but before you storm out (or walk out hunched and defeated with a carton full of personal items) you really should ask your boss for a reference. See, because of the way corporate world works nowadays, they cannot say no to you. Reader’s Digest writes more on the subject:

„These days, employers are so worried about possible legal issues that can result from giving a poor reference that you’ll find they’re generally very limited on detail. They will often just confirm your job title and dates of employment – and only occasionally give details of reasons for leaving. So unless you’ve been fired for gross misconduct – in other words, you’ve done something really bad, such as harassing a colleague – your employers will be loath to say anything negative about you in a reference.”

So don’t hesitate to ask (or demand even) for a reference. If you have a LinkedIn account, references are very easy to fill and show up immediately, saving your previous manager the hassle of having to respond to each new recruiter’s query with yet another copy of the references. And since it’s simple, easy and helps avoid time-wasting, there’s really no reason not to give it to you… Unless, of course, you’re so angry at your boss that you literally walk out on them.

Don’t burn bridges

Before you do walk out, try to think for a moment. Are you angry at them or at yourself? Is it worth staying angry at them and burning this bridge forever? Because if you do, this won’t just stop your resentment. You will probably spread that negativity further despite breaking all ties with your previous company. This will likely happen at your next job interview, when you are asked for the reason you no longer work there.

Folks at Reader’s Digest are quite on point with this one. They write, „Don’t plead your case. Don’t try to defend yourself with detailed complaints about what “they” did to you. Don’t be morose or express anger or bitterness over the situation. And, most important of all, don’t badmouth anybody.” And people at LifeHacker agree, advising to even go so far as to send an appreciatory letter to your previous supervisors or managers for their good work. You have to remember that most often the one who fires you is tasked with it, it’s not their decision – they’re not to blame. But, most of the time, neither is your boss!

This is why it’s important that you are honest when recounting your work experiences at the job interview. Burning bridges is not just slamming the door shut after shouting at your boss that you quit. It’s also badmouthing your previous employers and colleagues to your prospective bosses. After all, your new employer may one day also fire you, and the way you behave towards your previous boss is very telling.

But, of course, some bridges are not just burned; some are blown up by a resentful ex-employee.

Don’t be litigious just out of spite

„A lot of people are fired simply because they didn’t get along with their boss, and you can’t sue a company because your boss was a jerk,” says Paul Lopez, an employment lawyer about people who immediately decide to sue after being let go. It’s another no-brainer, but in our society it somehow seems appropriate to treat the reality of a job market as a personal insult. Unless there have been instances of mobbing, bullying or sexual harassment you won’t win, just cause more bad blood. „If you’re thinking about suing your previous employer, unless you have a very strong case, it’s not going to get you anywhere. My advice is to move on,” offers Dennis Nason, CEO of an executive recruitment company. Remember that people talk, and your litigious nature will out sooner than later, making bosses scared to take you on board regardless of your qualifications.

Show your next employer what you’ve learned from firing

And since you’re desperately trying to rekindle that love you had for your profession back when you’ve started, more often than not you may try to sugar-coat the whole thing, explaining it away as corporate downsizing or short-sightedness of the management. But aside from staying neutral and presenting the two sides of the coin (cf. above), you should also present this as a learning experience. Nothing is more enjoyable to recruiters than hearing that you’ve learned something from a horrible experience such as losing your job, because that means you’re not only saying you’re an optimist, you really DO have a positive outlook. In many cases you can simply tell the truth: you’ve learned how to present yourself a little better (which is inevitable when trying out for a new job), you understood the reality of a job market a little more (and you will appreciate any opportunity you’re given now accordingly), and so on, and so forth. Staying positive means you’re also mentally (and physically) healthier, so that’s a bonus too!

So now that you’re positive, learned not to badmouth your colleagues and understand your position, what do you do?

Start over and rebrand yourself

Very often if you’re let go from some job your instinct will be to get back on the horse, so to speak. You try finding as similar a job as you had before, to no avail. Most career advisors will advise you take a wholly different approach. SWITCH your career focus and try something new; if you were a software engineer, why not try a front-end developer for a change? If you worked as a financial analyst, how about marketing? Try to innovate yourself and use your previous experience as a starting point for something new, not a steadily growing number of years spent doing one thing. Rebranding yourself starts with you finding what other fields can benefit from your unique perspective as a newcomer – but a newcomer with a wealth of experience related in some way to your new career. You don’t change your image, you change what you think of yourself and uncover your new strengths – perhaps some you’ve not known you had.

The true secret to a successful career in the 21st century lies in being a versatile employee and not a cog in the corporate machine. Learn these lessons well and you’ll never find yourself out of a job – just ahead of an exciting opportunity to experience a new profession!


early warning sign – wczesny symptom, sygnał ostrzegawczy
to get the axe – zostać wylanym (pot., US)
to cope with sth – poradzić sobie z czymś
occupation – zawód
productivity – produktywność
behaviour – zachowanie (UK)
chill – chłodek, mróz
to notice – zauważyć
in writing – na piśmie
to compound sth – pogorszyć coś, dołożyć do czegoś
performance review – analiza wyników, ocena pracownika
overall – ogólny
irreversible – nieodwracalny
to be at risk – być zagrożonym
to sack – wylać (z pracy)
crucial – podstawowy, najważniejszy
overlooked – przeoczony, pominięty
next in line for sth – następny w kolejce po coś/do czegoś
downsizing – redukcja etatów
honest – uczciwy
to gloss sth over – zatuszować coś, przymknąć na coś oczy
sth is par for the course – coś jest do przewidzenia, coś jest oczekiwane
to realize – zdać sobie sprawę
to leave sb out of the loop – trzymać kogoś poza obiegiem, nie informować kogoś na bieżąco
the alpha and omega of sth – alfa i omega czegoś, najważniejsza instancja
pariah – parias
untouchable – nietykalny, najniższy z najniższych
subordinate – podwładny
superior – przełożony
division – dział
input – wkład, przyczynek
regarding sth – odnośnie (do) czegoś
to improve – ulepszyć, poprawić
to streamline – poprawić, uprościć
to be in the dark – być niedoinformowanym
developments – wydarzenia
responsibility – odpowiedzialność, zadanie
to consider sth – rozważyć coś
to head for sth – zdążać gdzieś, iść w kierunku
to talk behind sb’s back – obgadywać kogoś za plecami
to chalk sth up to sth – uznać coś za wywołane przez coś/skutek czegoś
gossip – plotkarz
to drop sb’s name – wspominać o kimś (w rozmowie)
to be the butt of sth – być przedmiotem czegoś (żartu, plotki) (pot.)
to get one’s act together – wziąć się w garść, zebrać do kupy
flexible – elastyczny
new blood – świeża krew, młody narybek
to cut sb off from sth – odciąć kogoś od czegoś
new hire – osoba, która została właśnie zatrudniona
to be on thin ice – stąpać po kruchym lodzie
to tread – stąpać, kroczyć
to appreciate – doceniać
kudos – gratulacje, wyrazy uznania
to plough the lonely furrow – działać w pojedynkę/samemu, pracować w osamotnieniu
day in and day out – codziennie, cały czas
workhorse – wół roboczy, koń pociągowy
prized – cenny
racing pony – tu: konik wyścigowy
glue factory – fabryka kleju
aka (also known as) – znany również jako, inaczej zwany
to boost one’s profile – zwiększyć swą widoczność, stać się bardziej popularnym/znanym
to get rid of sb – pozbyć się kogoś
overly – nadmiernie
to micromanage sb – zarządzać wszystkimi działaniami kogoś (w pracy)
to scrutinize sth – bacznie obserwować, przypatrywać się czemuś uważnie
to be on sb’s case – wiecznie komuś truć, cały czas się kogoś czepiać
to have sth on your hands – mieć coś pod ręką, mieć coś do dyspozycji
workload – obciążenie pracą
inevitable – nieuchronny
(to get) the chop – (zostać) zwolnionym (pot.)
to turn sth around – obrócić coś (na własną korzyść)
cheekily – bezczelnie
raise – podwyżka
promotion – awans
to be surplus to requirements – zostać zwolnionym (przez redukcję/nadwyżkę etatów)
unaware – nieświadomy
plight – los (zły), niedola
indeed – w rzeczy samej, istotnie
immediately – natychmiast
to excel at sth – celować w czymś, przodować
suspicious – podejrzany
dearth of sth – brak czegoś, niedobór
circumstances – okoliczności
tip – porada
column – felieton
defeat – porażka
to drive sth – napędzać coś, zasilać
a slew of sth – masa czegoś
to follow some steps – wykonywać polecenia, działać zgodnie ze wskazówkami
traumatic – traumatyczny
rundown on sth – podsumowanie czegoś, wykaz
on a daily basis – na co dzień
post-sacking – tu: po byciu wylanym
to get axed/get the axe – zostać wylanym (pot., UK)
light at the end of the tunnel – światełko na końcu tunelu, promyk nadziei
trite – wyświechtany
real-life – w prawdziwym życiu (tylko przed rzeczownikiem)
applicability – zastosowanie
time heals all wounds – czas leczy wszystkie rany
to provide – dawać
cliché – banał, truizm
according to – zgodnie z, według
achievable – osiągalny, do zdobycia
victory – zwycięstwo
brief – krótki
sense of accomplishment – poczucie, że się coś zrobiło/dokonało
to be in the dumps – być w dołku, mieć chandrę
to schedule sth – zaplanować coś
to slash sth – obciąć coś, zredukować
expenditure – wydatki, nakłady
extremely – niezwykle
pinpoint – punktowy, jednostkowy
to range from sth to sth – zawierać się w przedziale od czegoś do czegoś
to take the liberty of doing sth – pozwolić sobie na zrobienie czegoś
to bookmark sth – dodać coś do ulubionych (o stronie)
unfortunate – nieszczęśliwy
precaution – środek zapobiegawczy, zabezpieczenie
it’s better to have sth and not need it, than need sth and not have it – przezorny zawsze ubezpieczony
to come equipped with sth – mieć coś na wyposażeniu
to deal with sth – poradzić sobie z czymś, dać z czymś radę
to close up – tu: zamykać się w sobie
to relive sth – przeżywać coś, odgrywać coś ponownie w umyśle
reference – opinia (o pracowniku), referencja
no-brainer – coś oczywistego, coś, nad czym nie trzeba się dwa razy zastanawiać
to storm out (of sth) – wyjśc skądś w gniewie (trzaskając drzwiami)
hunched – zgarbiony
defeated – pokonany, przybity
nowadays – obecnie
to result from sth – wyniknąć z czegoś
limited – ograniczony
to confirm – potwierdzić
gross misconduct – poważne wykroczenie
to harass sb – dręczyć kogoś, napastować
to be loath to do sth – absolutnie nie chcieć czegoś zrobić
to hesitate – wahać się
to demand – zażądać
to show up – pokazywać się, pojawiać
hassle – kłopot
to respond to sth – odpowiadać na coś
query – zapytanie
time-wasting – marnowanie czasu
literally – dosłownie
to walk out on sb – zostawić kogoś (ot tak), opuścić
to burn bridges – palić za sobą mosty
resentment – uraza
to spread sth – rozprowadzić coś, roznosić
despite – pomimo
to break ties with sb – zerwać z kimś kontakt/więzy
on point – do rzeczy, sensownie
to plead one’s case – bronić się, dowodzić swej racji
complaint – skarga
morose – ponury
to express sth – wyrazić coś
bitterness – rozgoryczenie
to badmouth sb – obgadywać kogoś, mówić o kimś źle
appreciatory – z podziękowaniami
to be tasked with sth – dostać jakieś zadanie
to blame sb – obwiniać kogoś
to slam the door shut – zamknąć z trzaskiem drzwi
to shout – krzyczeć
prospective – potencjalny, przyszły
telling – znamienny
to blow up – wysadzić w powietrze
litigious – skłonny do pieniactwa
out of spite – z czystej złośliwości
to get along with sb – być z kimś w dobrych stosunkach
to sue sb – pozwać kogoś (do sądu)
jerk – drań (pot.)
to let sb go – zwolnić kogoś
society – społeczeństwo
appropriate – odpowiedni
insult – zniewaga
instance – przypadek
bullying – znęcanie się
bad blood – waśń
to move on – przejść nad czymś do porządku dziennego, zostawić to (i iść dalej)
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) – dyrektor naczelny
sth will out – coś się ujawni, coś wyjdzie na jaw
to take sb on board – tu: zatrudnić kogoś
regardless of sth – niezależnie od czegoś
to rekindle sth – rozpalić ponownie
to sugar-coat sth – tu: podkolorować coś, starać się coś ukazać w lepszym świetle
short-sightedness – krótkowzroczność
two sides of the coin – obie strony medalu
learning experience – coś, dzięki czemu ktoś się czegoś nauczył, cenne doświadczenie
outlook – perspektywa, poglądy
accordingly – odpowiednio
and so on, and so forth – i tak dalej, i temu podobny
to rebrand oneself – odnowić/odmienić swój wizerunek
to jump back on the horse – wskoczyć z powrotem na konia, powrócić do czegoś (o czynności)
to no avail – bezskutecznie
wholly – całkiem
approach – podejście
software engineer – informatyk, programista
for a change – dla odmiany
starting point – punkt wyjścia
steadily – stopniowo, stale
to benefit from sth – skorzystać na czymś
newcomer – nowo przybyły
a wealth of sth – ogrom czegoś
related to sth – związany z czymś
strengths – silne strony
versatile – wszechstronny
cog – trybik

by Prochor Aniszczuk

Komentarze są wyłączone.