How do you know when the end of your job is near — when the company you used to love, and may still, is pushing you out the door? Every case is different, of course, but experts say there are some common signs to look out for.
The most-cited is when you find yourself shunted away from critical path projects. While it may not be happening because someone’s trying to point you to the door, if it goes on too long, you might find yourself labeled expendable the next time your company’s looking for jobs to eliminate.
Another sign: When your relationship with management changes. For example, “the relationship moves to less cordial and more professional. Workload increases and timelines are pushed up,” says a former Apple executive. “They’re getting your desk cleared. Or workload goes away, depending on the situation. You’ll feel it and you’ll know.”
Still another one, from a self-described “turnaround CEO”: “When your boss, who works in another city, flies in for meetings and walks by your office without looking at you… repeatedly. This was an inexperienced boss who I knew was gonna fire me on Tuesday at 10.”
The boss arrived in town at noon on Monday.
HQ visitors shared a conference room next to my office. I said ‘hi’ as he walked by the first time, and he mumbled something unintelligible instead of his usual hearty greeting.
So I kept getting louder and more demonstrative every time he walked by. By Tuesday morning people could hear me across the floor.
Tech job counselor Gerald Corbett warns about when “you notice an unusual change in behavior from either your boss or co-workers, including not being invited to meetings, lunch partners fall way and there is an eerie silence in the hallways as you pass.”
These things suggest that co-workers may be more aware of your fate than you. You can inquire of those you are close to, but be aware that even friends might be unwilling to share the truth. “What if you don’t end up leaving?” some may worry.
Some workers are actually told they are on the way out, perhaps as a way for the company to avoid an expensive and potentially nasty firing.
A somewhat cynical view comes from author and executive coach Michael Jay Moon. He says the reason people may be concerned about getting pushed out is because sooner or later many people indeed are or will be. “Of course you’re being edged out of your job,” he says. “It’s only a matter of how soon and how little advance notice you will get.”