Nearly everyone who has ever worked for an organization has experienced that sinking feeling, “My job is about to be over. They’re going to fire me.”
Even if you hate your job, most people would rather leave on their own terms. But let’s take a realistic look at what’s going on here. Maybe there’s some writing on the wall, but what does it really say?
(1) Your boss is probably looking for a way NOT to fire you. The company has invested in hiring and training you. If you’re in a big company, your boss’s reputation suffers if she’s known as someone who can’t keep good people. Finally, your department’s budget may allow keeping current employees but not hiring anyone new. If you leave, somebody else has to do your work.
(2) Hang in there unless your physical or mental health gets threatened. (That’s beyond my scope.) Once you leave voluntarily, you may lose claims to file for unemployment and severance. I’m not a lawyer. I cannot give legal advice. But from anecdotal evidence I’ve seen people file unemployment claims and win. Your employer probably doesn’t want to go there.
(3) Work on your style. Are you communicating confidence, verbally and non-verbally? The best way is to follow the maxim, “Be brief and be gone.”
When you answer a question, practice beginning with confidence. Starting with the word “Well …” communicates nervousness or uncertainty.
When your boss says, “You should have known not to do X,” don’t get into a discussion. Just say something like, “You are right. And now I would like to ask you a question about doing X .. ”
If you’ve made a genuine mistake, just say, “You’re right. I’ve set up a process to prevent future re-occurrences.” And stop.
(4) Do some reality testing. How is the company doing financially? Where does your boss stand in the formal and informal hierarchy? If your company is more secretive than the Kremlin in the Cold War, your organization is one big danger signal! No need to panic but consider your options.
(5) When you believe you’re interpreting the signals correctly, reframe your priorities. Now it’s time to focus on what you can do to get to your next job. This is not the time to offer extra work or invest time in anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to keep your job. Don’t give your company cause to terminate your employment, but don’t toss in extras either.
If you’re seriously wondering how to interpret the signals of your own job, you might need a second opinion. Check out http://budurl.com/careersession