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Signs to watch for BEFORE you get FIRED


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Have you ever had the feeling that you were getting fired from your job but never wanted to say anything for fear of looking paranoid? What are the obvious signs to watch? Please feel free to share your personal stories or insight to this unfortunate and often devastating situation.

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I did have that feeling -- once -- and in fact, I was right, I DID get fired. It was the one and only -- and hopefully last -- time. I have always worked really hard at whatever job I've been in, and I had never even been reprimanded on a job up until that point. I had always gotten good evaluations at other jobs (I'd been working since I was 15), and had a good work ethic. No problems, EVER, until I worked for this company.


The job I got fired from was a small company -- only a few employees -- and my boss was a crazy micromanager. Example: She once asked me to take her typewriter in to be fixed, and when I got it fixed, the typewriter repair guy told me that she really should keep her typewriter covered, because there was tons of dirt and dust built up in it, causing it to malfunction. Soooo...I told the boss this, and she told me to order a typewriter cover. So, I ordered one. They told me it would take 7-10 days. On the seventh day, on the dot, she asked where her typewriter cover was. I told her they had told me it would take up to 10 days. She insisted that I call to find out where it was. Right then. Well, it was after closing for the place I had ordered it from, and I told her so. She insisted that I call anyway. I got a hold of the warehouse somehow, and, after being on hold for like 15 minutes, the guy told me it was not there but was scheduled to arrive in a few days. I told the boss this. She made me call EVERY day until it was in. Seriously. A typewriter cover. That she didn't even know she needed until I told her she needed it. She did the same thing with a spare key to her Mercedes (she lost a set of keys and needed a spare). They said 5-7 days. On the 5th day, she started making me call EVERY day until they told me it was there. Yeah, she made me do her personal errands too. And she insisted that I eat my lunch at my desk (totally illegal in California -- I was not given an actual lunch break). And she didn't pay me overtime (totally illegal in California). And she wrote me paychecks that she had no money to cover and told me not to cash them for a few days. Again, totally illegal -- I think it's called "check kiting." You get the idea.


Not only was she a crazy micromanager, but she had ridiculous expectations. She would come to my desk and say, "Do this now, it's hot." So, I'd start doing whatever she asked. Maybe twenty minutes later, before I was finished with the first task, she'd say, 'Put that aside for now and do this. It's hot.' ("hot" was her codeword for "very important.") She would repeat this process ALL DAY. So, you can imagine what happened to the first "hot" stuff -- it wouldn't get done.


I worked for her for about 2 1/2 months before I decided I wanted to quit. I was overwhelmed, she was breaking the law left and right, and I felt like she was totally exploiting me -- keeping me late, no breaks, no overtime, etc. So, I told my mom I wanted to quit. She said "You can't quit. You need to give it a chance." A few weeks later, she fired me. Her reason? "You just can't keep up with the pace of the business." Ooooooookkkkkkk. I was never given ANY warning whatsoever, except for her telling me that my desk was a mess and lecturing me about it being disorganized. She also insisted that I had gotten several of her clients' phone numbers wrong, and that I wasted her time giving her the wrong numbers. Interesting, considering that at the last job I'd had (as a receptionist at a medical office with a dozen doctors), I'd taken hundreds of phone messages a day and had NEVER gotten a phone number wrong. Just those comments alone, along with feeling overwhelmed and my boss' increasingly precarious financial situation, made me feel like I was going to get the ax. And, I did. On a Friday morning, after a staff meeting, she pulled me aside and canned me, telling me that I was a great person, but that I just wasn't cut out to work for her. No kidding. She was right, actually, and looking back, it was a huge compliment!


I was devastated over losing my job at first. I had hated the job, but I felt humiliated. I didn't want to tell people I had been fired. Gradually, though, I got over that, and after a few months I got a new job and got my confidence back. MY new job paid less, and I started at the bottom, but I built my confidence back and went on to better and better jobs.


Do you want to share some of what you've been experiencing at work? Do you think you may be about to be fired? Maybe if you share some things that have been happening, people can give you more insight into what's happening. We'd love to help.

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I was not fired from my last position (in my situation it's hard to actually get "fired" unless it's a last resort), but professionally, I was not developing and my project was going nowhere.


I knew it was time to look for something new when I would discuss the project with my boss and I would not get any good concrete feedback about how to proceed, and any ideas I had for changing the project weren't seriously considered. I wasn't given any new responsibilities (which I have read many times is one of the number one signs you may be dismissed from a job) whether I asked for them or not, and I was never chosen to meet visitors who were supposedly collaborators on our project, with similar interests to ours. I felt completely stymied in my growth in that workplace with that set of colleagues and the boss--and since I felt I was making efforts to help my own situation and for some reason wasn't getting the support, it was time for me to go.


I've since found a more suitable and supportive situation.


Here is an article from CNN a couple of years back about signs you may be fired: link removed


It's a bit of a laundry list, but do you relate to any of these signs?

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I've never been fired per se, but I did pretty much stop working for a long time on one job and it pretty much just faded away since I wasn't developing my skills or learning anything new (which was usually when I look for a new one). I'm now freelancing, which I heartily recommend to anyone in the tech field who's interested in maybe starting their own business some day; it's pretty easy to build up a network of clients if you find the right website (try link removed) and the pay can be much better.

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  • 1 year later...

I did get "let go". Apparently my work was flawless (accounting & administration) because I was too shy and reserved. They needed a PR person for the position and my personality was not a suitable match. Again, my intuition was bang on.


I was crushed and my self esteem took a HUGE hit. It has taken a long time to recover. On a postitive note, my supervisor from that job has given me raving references for other jobs. She said I would do an amazing job!


To be shy and reserved is not a bad thing...but in the working world people like me are held back from ever achieving the success we truly deserve because this trait..it ALWAYS gets in the way. I feel doomed all the time and hate myself for being this way.\

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When I have been fired, it has been completely without any warning or notice. In fact, no reason was ever given for the two jobs I got fired from. I worked hard, poured my heart and soul into my work, loved my jobs, believed in what I was doing, but was fired suddenly without any explanation.


It's difficult to predict what a boss may do or why they may do it. Just work hard at your job so that if you do lose it, for any reason, you have developed your skills enough to be successful at the next place you work.

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Bad written performance reviews. It's a legal chess move. Companies fear getting sued for wrongful termination so if the boss sits you down and gives you a negative review and then asks you to sign something, that's a problem.


It happened to me and I resigned two days later.

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Can they just fire you without writing you up ever at all? Or does there have to be a paper trail?


Depends on the business. I was laid off working as a server at a restaurant and at a retail store without signing any papers (got to love downsizing). They simply told me to go home and don't come back.

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