4 Signs You’re Being Pushed Out of Your Company

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.

Being ExcludedThe 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.”

24 Responses to “4 Signs You’re Being Pushed Out of Your Company”

  1. I have experienced this on more than one occasion. In one of those instances, since I could see the ‘writing on the wall’, I just quit. I spoke to my manager and after I spoke my peace it was as though they regretted their treatment of me but by then it was too late. I found a better paying job in less than a week.

  2. Interesting article, but sort of thin on strategy or ways to approach this situation. I’m inclined to be much more direct now than I was at the beginning of my career. One time, I was in my office, working on debugging some code on a Sunday morning, and my boss walked by and didn’t even acknowledge me. I should have recognized this clue given the circumstances. Anyhow, I was fired a few months later for taking a much needed vacation.

    I suspect that other professions, especially lawyers and human resources types, get much more training with regard to the more squishy and less well defined human resource issues that always happen in organizations. Engineers are at a real disadvantage when it comes to these issues unless they pursue their own training or somehow get enlightened. Perhaps its just easier to quit and get a new job.

  3. Being Pushed Out: Men in prime working ages don’t have jobs

    More than one in six men ages 25 to 54, prime working years, don’t have jobs—a total of 10.4 million. Having so many men out of work is partly a symptom of a U.S. economy slow to recover from the worst recession in 75 years. It is also a chronic condition that shows how technology and globalization are transforming jobs faster than many workers can adapt, economists say.

    The trend has been building for decades, according to government data. In the early 1970s, just 6 percent of American men ages 25 to 54 were without jobs. By late 2007, it was 13 percent. In 2009, during the worst of the recession, nearly 20 percent didn’t have jobs.

    Men without jobs stand apart in a society that has long celebrated work and hailed the breadwinners who support their families. “Our culture is one that venerates work, that views work as good for its own sake,” said David Autor, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist.

    • Actually, there is a female lawyer on my twitter who made a comment a few months ago about how she showed up at their regular lunch place but the guys weren’t there. She went back to the office and found out they had changed the location without telling her, just this past month (April 2020) I find out she lost her job due to Covid. Right. Then one of her colleagues told her straight out on twitter that he was disgusted that her former firm contacted him for her job! Which makes me wonder if this is just clearing women out of jobs and replacing them with men because a lot of my female associates have been laid off yet the same companies are hiring. .

  4. oregon111

    some truth to this, but watch out for ‘false positives’…
    when I first started, I heard rumors that I was out…

    and 10 years later, it finally happened — so it was all BS in the beginning,
    and when it did happen, all was fine with the sheeple

    best bet, do your job and stay out of all the gossip

  5. At one really terrible small company I found my current job advertised online! It was clearly to replace me, so I gave my two weeks notice the next day.

    At previous firm, my boss retired. They brought in a new guy who replaced many people with people from his prior company. I made it through that round. A year later he was promoted to a larger division, and a year after that he was fired. The next new boss was a woman who had worked at our company before, been demoted, left, and came back. In her prior role she disliked me, so I knew my days were numbered. Three months later my position was “eliminated”. I did get a year of severance pay though.

  6. I’m going through what feels like “being pushed out”… Been used to get others trained to do the job I’m assigned to then get thrown on an another assignment nobody wants only to have the new hire show up and say ” are you the one that is training me, I was told to come here for my training. ” I’m so hurt and embarrassed because my loyalty means nothing and I guess I don’t deserve the respect to have knowledge of my job security. While taking FMLA due to family surgeries, I came back to no hours on my job for the month. I’m surviving off my paid time off but its not enough forcing me to take a part-time job and waiting to see if another full time position will become available. I’m truly tired of waiting but I am.

  7. I wish I had read this earlier. I have been pushed out of a position that I really like. When my boss and I talked about moving me to another department, she said, all of our clients love me and think I am very smart and easy to work with, but know one in my area likes me. I knew it was getting bad at the office, but I didn’t know it was that bad!

  8. Being pushed

    Yeah, started feeling like my department was expecting me to leave a few months ago. It all started with a few bad personal jokes. When I brought it to management attention was told to take it as a compliment. Then I was given amount of work 1/2 my workload.. In addition only to my failure to be called into the office and embarrassed so the whole office could here. It was not until racial asked started coming up that I realized the didn’t want to proceed with me in the position. I asked for a meeting with my supervise and asked if o want a good fit for then to just tell me and I could move on. Which is if course what she told me.. after I gave me resignation, everything went back to m normal. I only regret not looking for other employment ahead of time..

  9. This also happen in human resources and what’s worse is because the HR people know all the laws, they know right where to step without worrying about reprocussions. It’s very sad because it seems like everyone bands together and you are the odd man or woman out. I realize that most states are at-will states but how about just some decent conmon curtosey? If it’s performance based I understand but sometimes it’s just nothing more that your manage doesn’t like you and wants you out of the way. I wish there was some law that protected employees from that and it was defined very clearly

  10. Since this happens frequently to me (no, it isn’t my fault and I’m not imagining this.) I will talk of my last position. Well, to put it lightly I was in a small room with three lovely people. (yeah right). One was very berate to me like she had a lot of personel issues and was prejudiced against me. A spit fire person, next a younger gal whom thought she. was. the. [expletive]. Acted like a gang member and a [expletive] no it all. Third was the [expletive] manager. A real gem. Always judging me based on nothing other than her I’ve been here 12 years and her “race card”. STOP HIRING THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE THEY ARE THE CANCER OF YOUR WORKFORCE!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh I’m so tired of it!!!!!!!!!! and yes. I came in everyday, on time and was friendly and happy at the job.

  11. Deborah

    why are so many people being pushed out of their jobs these days? It seems like workplaces have babies working there who can’t learn to cooperate or get along with other types of people. I
    am having a hard time wrapping my head around the lack of maturity and integrity out there. You should see the people I’ve put up with and still been kind to, and even came to understand their viewpoint, even though they were awful to deal with! Come on people, it’s not that hard to develop your own personality to be more tolerant!

  12. What can i do? Because for applying for a new job they are going to ask for my last employer references. If they are pushing me out, I don’t think they are going to say nothing nice.

  13. If decisions are made, then they are made. All you can do is continue to do a good job. Prepare financially as best you can, and actively search for another job. If you find something better, then go. Else, ride it out. There’s a chance it’s just a self-confidence issue especially if you see more talented individuals being brought in. Prepare for the worst, and expect the best.

  14. MissDisplaced

    Definitely this happens, and especially if you are female and over 50 years old.
    1. You may be told to give up your office (even while there empty ones used for visitors).
    2. You are omitted from good high-profile projects and made to do grunt work.
    3. Travel is curtailed or you are not permitted to go the way you used to.

  15. PatrickInBama

    I’m not sure if this is happening to me or not but our company has hired a consultant to help identify and resolve our processes and have several meetings to discuss the next steps. I’m in just one of them, the primary meeting with all engineers called Engineering kickoff. There is a meeting beforehand called Strategic Kickoff that of the 3 software architects in the company, I’m the only one not in the meeting. Our senior architect I understand because he’s been there for 12 years, but the other software architect was hired a month after me 2 years ago.

  16. The Conqueress

    I’m going through it right now. I just started at the company and my boss shown some aggressive behavior towards one of my coworkers. I figured if she did that to my coworker I was sure to be her next target. I went to HR and wanted out. At first I didn’t plan on saying why I wanted to leave but the HR rep said she was disappointed and I felt bad so I told her how I felt. My intent was to leave in peace and not say a word. Now I feel like the HR rep tricked me into telling her why I wanted to leave because she’s my bosses friend or something. I’m not sure what my boss is telling people but I know she’s lied about the entire situation with my coworker. She’s also spreading lies and gossiping about me to others. So, now the coworkers who were nice in the beginning are now rolling their eyes at the sight of me. THIS IS THE EXACT REASON WHY I DIDNT WANT TO SAY ANYTHING! Now, I’m screwed. The HR rep ripped me a new AH for what? I’m questioning her motives now because I do recall my boss in her office a lot. After the first meeting I decided to stay. Once I stayed the next week, my bosses started acting weird and I would be looking for her and find her talking about me to others. My boss and I had a meeting she cried and I told her why I wanted to leave my first week. No apology for her behavior by the way…
    She told me to NOT got to HR but to only talk to her. I agreed. The next week we had another meeting and now she wants to go to HR out of the blue. We get to HR and shes telling flat out lies. I was frigging done with this lady. The next day I called out and emailed HR and asked for a transfer. The next day, I got to work and the rumor mill was “she ran out of HR crying”, she got fired and its your fault.” WTFranks is happening? Why would she be crying or why would she get fired because I no longer want to work with her? Now I’m being iced out by a lot of people. Even the others who were friendly with me have heard the BS and now they don’t want to be seen near me at all. WtFranks? Clearly, my boss isn’t being honest about wtfranks is going on. As I said before, shes lying on me to cover up her behavior. WTF grade are we in?
    Now, Ive been applying to different locations and I find it funny that I’m restricted on the company website and no one is calling me. The two people I talked to sounded very excited to meet me but the second time around they sound angry. Are you frigging kidding me right now? The mean a** chic has ruined my reputation. This is exactly the reason why I wanted to leave in peace the first time. So she “F’d” me and the HR rep “Fd” me at the same time. This is exactrly the reason why people dotn say anything. So if I quit, who the hell is gonna pay my bills? If I get fired whos gonna feed my children? Whos gonna explain to me why am I being treated like the villain when I am the friggin victim here. F**K

  17. Astute observer

    If you are reading this because this is happening to you, you must put in your two weeks notice. Do not talk yourself out of it. I saw the writings on the wall and ignored them because I convinced myself that I was competent and the company I worked for was more than decent. Long story short, my self and 2 close colleagues were left out of an email chain for a baby shower of another coworker. The created of the email thread was part owner of the company and a former friend. I should have known.

  18. Canadian Crazy

    I have a sneaking suspicion this is happening to me as well . Been at my company for 4 years . Managed a store and 3 other employee by myself for the first 2 years . Finally burnt myself bad around 2 months ago and mentioned to my boss about how i was having to shoulder my workload as well as the our other office which is significantly larger . Long story short he hires a person that has the same skill set as me , the last 2’weeks I’ve basically just been sitting in my chair while the new person has taken away 85% of my duties .. I feel very slighted by this , I have accepted a new position in January and will be giving my notice then, it’s a terrible feeling thinking that all I’ve done is gone up in flames .

    • I’m actually in Toronto, and in my former career, I worked at a company about 3.5 years. I was a very hard worker and was making good money. However, when they hired people they hired them at my pay. So I complained and got a raise. Then came in another girl who one of the guys liked and she got promoted within a month to the job I had been working for. Then, she gloated to me saying that a lecturing type meeting they had was really directed at me. She’d been there less than 6 months. But she was dating the guy and she thought it was secure. I was pushed out. And when I was looking for another job, I found out they had been giving me a bad reference. I suppose they look like the idiots for keeping someone so ‘horrible’ on for 3 and a half years but it still made me angry because I really worked hard there. One of the last few friends I had there told me that a long-time rival ‘found’ a bunch of unfinished work under my desk. (Don’t ask me why she was rummaging through my desk) And I asked him to tell me what exactly the unfinished work was. It turned out it was from her department and dated after I left. I finally got another job but it still bugs me to this day that I just didn’t have what it took to work well with people. And that people knew they could straight lie about me and nobody would have my back.

  19. On the way out...

    My experience with this issue has been a little more complex and hard to explain. I was once the hub of my current company, wearing multiple hats and doing too much at once. It was satisfying to feel needed, but also exhausting, so I requested a more focused role in the IT department working as a product designer for our application. At the time, it seemed like a great move that would help me to better focus my career path and keep my sanity.

    Well, when I started the new position, it immediately became clear that management didn’t really have an idea of how I would fit into the IT team on a full time basis. I had only helped them out as a small part of my job before (basically chipping in every few weeks or months with some design work or advice). I requested more work, but was told “remember what happened before, we want to keep you focused.” I explained many times that I didn’t have enough work to keep me busy, but no one seemed concerned. Over time, as the team grew, my responsibilities became even less as we hired new people with some skill set overlap. At this point, I was even more disconnected from the department’s workflow on a day-to-day basis. It’s currently devolved to the point that I’m literally just showing up to work, sitting in my chair on most days, and then heading home after sending a few emails.

    However, here’s the strange thing: I have a long-term working relationship with my manager and he runs the department. He doesn’t see an issue and wants me to stay as long as possible. I’ve told him it’s not good for me to just sit around as I’m not gaining valuable experience or skills and it’s difficult for me psychologically to feel like an afterthought. He’s not worried and claims I’m still “critical” to the team. It is incredibly bizarre. So I’ve essentially been 90% phased out, but I don’t feel that my job is threatened. I’m not sure if my manager is showing me loyalty just because I’ve worked with him for a long time or if he just values our friendship, but I have never experienced anything quite like this. It’s definitely difficult to feel like you’re no longer part of the team and stay motivated. Also, I’m starting to feel like I’m some sort of nepotism “bozo” case who is employed just because I’ve know the boss a long time.

    I’ve been trying to stay in this role (what is left of it) for financial reasons until I finish a college degree I’m working on in another year or so, but it’s hard to stay positive. I think for anyone else, I would offer this advice: It’s important to pack up your stuff and head somewhere else where you’re valued as soon as you become convinced this is happening to you. Sticking around until the “bitter end” just hurts your confidence and development, plus it’s then harder to find your next job.

  20. Bill H

    My sister-in-law has worked for her employer for over 30 years, she has been promoted, then they do away with her position. Then change the title so it appears her position has been done away with. The problem is she makes to much money. Because I worked for their competition I know they are in financial trouble. We have tried to get her to hire an attorney but she is determined to stick it out until she turns 66. She is overworked, they keep stacking and stacking more responsibilities and then her super comes in and chews her out for not getting the job done. They will not allow her to work extra hours to get caught up. We have tried to tell her it isn’t worth her health to continue working for these people. I have walked away from my own business because of my business partner. It was hard walking away from my own company and taking a $40K lost. I fear she will be fired, but I think they would rather push her out the door to reduce paperwork. I told her to just tell her supervisor she was going to seek legal advice and if they ask her if this is a threat tell them no. I need to know what my rights are and what are my responsibilities.

    • OMG. That happened in my insurance office where all the male managers had a title as a certain manager and the females were another ‘type’ of manager. Then they got rid of the latter titles and the women lost their jobs! I knew it seemed strange but now I know it’s a thing they do.