Career Derailment: The top 5 warning signs that you’re about to get fired.

Posted October 19, 2010 in Career Management, Latest News & Insights

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s much easier to see train wrecks about to happen to other people’s careers before your own?  I just finished reading Lindsay Lohan’s interview in Vanity Fair where she insists she can rebuild her career and achieve the potential that everyone thought she had.  It got me thinking that when you’ve been a superstar performer it’s hard to face the reality that your career is off the rails (and that most people saw it coming way before you did!).  I began to reflect on the warning signs that your fast tracking leadership career is about to end with an escort to the door.  Here they are:

  1. You’re no longer in the loop.  You used to be the go-to guy or gal and now, other people seem to know more than you do.  Ramp this up to red alert if one of those people in the know is the part-time office cleaner.
  2. Your boss stops dropping by your office to chat.  In fact, he seems to avoid walking past your office all together.  Double alert if he’s lunching with that “friendly” new guy that’s been nosing around your department.
  3. The “friendly” new guy is getting in your business.  Citing his “prior experience”, he makes a business case to take over part of your department…and wins.  Yup.  Definitely a sign that there’s a new golden boy in town.  Once you start losing scope, it’s a good guess that something’s amuck.
  4. Your inner circle peers stop making eye contact with you in meetings.  You notice that your suggestions seemed to be passed over and subtly (or not so subtly) ignored.  Oh, except for when that friendly new guy makes them.  Tick tick…
  5. They add a new position to your team… that you knew nothing about… and the person they hired seems WAY too qualified.  Chances are this guy’s your successor and is just waiting to learn the ropes before you get shown the door.  Guaranteed if he went to school with “friendly new guy.”  Might as well start packing your box at this point.

So… there you go.  If you see some of these signs happening around you, my advice is to go and have a heart to heart with your boss to see what’s real and what’s  just your own paranoia. Afterall, isn’t it worse not knowing where you stand and tanking out your self-esteem while you wait for the axe to fall?  Wouldn’t it be better to just secure a nice severance and move on to your next big opportunity?

Happy leading!

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