“The number one sign that your job is in trouble is if you get a new boss.”
Imagine that it’s a rainy Friday afternoon. Your boss calls you into his office.
The human resources lady, silent and stone-faced, is sitting next to him. The boss tells you that this is the toughest part of his job. Then he says that the company is “letting you go.” He says that he “did all he could for you” and that you would be a “better fit” somewhere else.
Being fired is an awful shock to your system. You’re too numb to react. A big part of your personal identity is connected to your job, not to mention the source of economic livelihood for you and your family. You might not have liked your job very much but at least you had a paycheck.
But it’s not the end of the world. Many, if not most, working people have been fired. You have plenty of company.
However, it’s amazing how many folks had no idea that they were going to be fired. If you were more skilled at reading social situations you would have already been looking for another job. The following are a few things to look for.
The number one sign that your job is in trouble is if you get a new boss. Even if you like your new boss, and you think your new boss likes you, it’s still the biggest warning sign that you will be fired. So if you have a new boss make sure you attend the office Christmas Party and any other social events. Demonstrate that you are a dependable subordinate and a loyal team member because if you don’t you will soon be looking for another job. It will take at least a year and maybe two years before you can feel free to regard your “new boss” as just “your boss.” It might take even longer to establish trust if the new boss is a co-worker who got promoted ahead of you.
Other signs of trouble at work include being cut out of the usual meetings and group activities, a downturn in revenues of your employer, any type of reorganization or restructuring, consultants walking around the office who spend time at your desk learning about your work, co-workers being assigned to do parts of your job, any mention whatsoever by the boss of your shortcomings, and not getting your expected annual salary adjustment.
Some public employees and union employees have illusions about their employment security. Sure, public employees and union members have more security than they would have as an outsider in a small family run business. But public employees and union members can most certainly be fired, or at least have their position eliminated, downgraded, or transferred to a remote location.
Sometimes, if you tell somebody that you were fired it’s easier to get used to the idea yourself. An understanding group of friends and family can be very helpful for emotional support. You should include an employment lawyer as part of your support group.
Many employment lawyers will discuss your potential legal matter over the phone and some will even meet with you in person for free.
“Do I have a case?”
It depends on many things. Employment law can be complicated. And every factual situation is different. Most employees are in employment “at-will” situations. That means that they can be fired for almost any reason or even for no reason at all, except they can’t be fired for an “illegal” reason, of course.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of folks who think they have a claim against their employer don’t have an employment case worth pursuing. However, an attorney can at least help you to get unemployment compensation or negotiate a severance package with your employer.
So you should make a call and find out. After all, you have lots of extra time on your hands.