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Warning signs that you’re about to lose your job

Peter Harris|

Do you ever get that sinking feeling that you’re doomed at work, and you might be about to get fired? It happens. Companies sometimes go through cutbacks and lose people or shut down all together (Hello Target Canada), and sometimes your bosses just seem to have you in their sights for other reasons. Either way, there are some clear signs that you can watch for to help determine if you’re just being paranoid because your manager snubbed you in the elevator or if the end really is nigh.

    You are suddenly in charge of fewer things. Decisions that used to be yours are now being made by other people. Responsibilities are being taken off your plate. This implies that your influence is on the decline, and that the company is ready to move on without you.

    Similarly, you are invited to fewer meetings than usual. This also indicates that your input is no longer valued or required in group discussions – plans are being formed and decisions made without you.

    Your company is suffering financially and there are talks of cutbacks and projects being cancelled. Companies generally only cut staff as a last resort, but when the bottom line is on the line, reducing staff is one way to cut costs and overhead.

    Your manager starts avoiding you. If a manager who used to spend time with you suddenly becomes distant, avoids eye contact and stops mentoring, it could be that they know you’re on your way out. In that case, coaching becomes unnecessary, and socializing awkward. It could also indicate that they have impending bad news that they are not prepared (or authorized) to share with the team yet – and so are avoiding all contact.

    Be careful not to let paranoia about someone else’s behaviour become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stay friendly and upbeat with your boss. Look for chances to small talk. Book a one-on-one meeting for feedback or advice on a recent project. A change in someone’s attitude may actually have nothing to do with you – or the future of the business.

    You start to receive written warnings about minor infractions. This could be a sign that your employer is planning to let you go and that they want to protect themselves from wrongful dismissal claims. They can do this by building up a paper trail of official warnings about workplace behaviour or performance in advance.

    While no one likes being micromanaged and constantly criticized, you should accept constructive criticism gracefully and use it as an opportunity to learn. But keep your eyes open, if this really is turning your workplace into an unpleasant place to be – start your job hunt. Also be sure to document all of your success and achievements.

    You’re suddenly asked to document everything you do – or train someone on things that are normally your sole responsibility. This can indicate that the company doesn’t expect you to be around much longer – so they’re making sure that someone knows exactly what you do and how to do it. You could also be being groomed for a more senior position – but you can usually tell which way the wind is blowing. Be alert to the signs.

    If you suspect that your company is actively trying to replace you – you should actively (but quietly) be looking for a new job.

    A new manager being brought in is always a risky sign too. New leaders are sometimes put in place to make changes – and this can include a change in staff. Managers often want to bring in their own teams that they have worked with before, and people naturally feel more loyalty to workers that they hired rather than inherited.

Remember, this isn’t the end of your career, just one job along the way. For most of us, there will be plenty of those. Most Canadians can expect to work 15 jobs over their careers. Start preparing to make your exit as soon as the signs become clear. It’s often easier to line up a new gig while you already have a job.

And if the axe does fall before you make your getaway, be sure to leave gracefully, be polite and professional. You have your reputation to think of, and anyway – these decisions are made for business, not personal reasons. Don’t let it get you down.

See also: Exit strategy: How to land on your feet when you lose your job


Peter Harris
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Category: Career Dilemmas
  • wapcaplets

    Good warning signs but the last paragraph is false. Firings are almost always for personal reasons.

    • Alexander Maclean

      Exactly. The lawyered-up executive will have dressed it in a veneer of job suitability, project management/goal meeting and performance-speak, but it usually comes down to the high school level when al the b.s. is peeled away.

      • Adriana Pepe

        So true, it is like high school and I wish I were rich enough or had a good business venture idea so that I could get away from the horrible corporate world.

      • jay

        Yea, you can get fired if you’re “too good” or become a threat to your boss in terms of a future promotion by someone higher up. If you’re gone, there’s no more threat to his or her job security.

  • Nina Milova

    Thanks for reminding me one more time about how happy I am not to be part of that business world anymore, where noone admits that people should be treated as humans, and nothing personal, but managers will suck juices out of you and treat you like crp, yet you have to take it gracefully, because you know what, any cruelty and unfairness sould be tolerated for the “business” saked, business being the private and personal interest of the big bosses. All those are the kind of concepts, that I never could grasp and live with.

    • Alexander Maclean

      I’m convinced this is why so many of us secretly dream of wining the lottery. Not because we’re lazy – I’d rather do stuff than sit around and drink – but because we do’t wish to deal with those people who haven’t figured out how fleeting life is and how important to actually be happy with yourself for the third of your life you spend at work.

  • eliza

    Same thing was done to me; I’d be written up for the smallest things then when the company was sold after 11 years with them I am told my job will be “terminated” due to re-structuring…in other words I am fired but they are using different language. It also makes it hard for me to get a new job since I have to stay on until the end of the year or lose my benefits, EI and incentives….this is happening to close to 100 people at all levels but the new hires all appear to be safe….

    • Gisele

      I too am being replaced by a cheaper worker in this way –are the new hires ( the safe ones) all at lower pay scales?

      • eliza

        The new hires get paid a little over minimum wage but then they don’t earn any commission until they pass their 3 month “probation”. Then after that they wait at least another 3-6 months before they sell enough to start earning commission. When you think that the senior agents start making commission every year after 1-2 months think of how much the company is saving by getting rid of the senior agents and hiring the newbies at a lower wage and getting to keep all their commission for around 6 months!

  • culture

    Typically, It is about year from souring to firing. Be clever see the signs. Jump.

    Acquire skills and trades that are unique, needed (read: not easily replaced) and can be transformed into self employment. Sadley that is not retro-active.

    The real answer is simple. (unfortunately, it too is not retro-active). Squirrel your money away form an early age. Invest it. Make sure it grows. Do not foolishly spend it….another words, YES, be cheap. Be careful of your family life and your circle of friends. They will be a huge assest in moving on. A partner with a good job will ease the burden. A well placed friend can help!!! As for money and its importance. Remember Humphry Boggart: The beauty of being rich is to be able to tell someone that really deserves “he is an A-hole”.

    • LaszloZoltan

      but then you die on the way to work one day, one mans loss another bankers gain…

    • Roustam

      Rich to give and sustain, or rich to take and sustain?

    • sunbeamcatcher

      in other words – be a an A-hole, use and abuse your family and friends, hopefully you are a psychopath so it will not affect you emotionally – great advice there bud

  • robis_c

    I know that some of these are certainly ‘signs’ but can there be exceptions? The reason I am asking is that I have had two excellent job reviews but the last one was not and I did not agree with everything. My boss does not get very close with anyone he works with, especially at our plant. He and I have had words but it has been sometime ago. He indicated in writing that he wants to help me get to where I want to be so I can sustain my employment with the company for 20 years, while short term working on a master’s degree. There is one new guy who is the “superman” of the plant. My boss likes him too. He is sending him to an expensive training course this month but I am going again (as last year) and my boss is as well. I get the feeling at times I have something to worry about but other times I feel it is okay.

    My boss has used HR to reinforce his way of thinking and I have wondered if after our session I was going to get fired or not? My boss and I used to have weekly progress meetings but we have not had one in sometime now. My job is not very well understood by he and my colleagues.

    I dunno? Do I have something to worry about?

    • LaszloZoltan

      are you capable and confident in yourself ? yes ? nothing to worry about….but you don’t sound so confident, so you are there not by your own doing, but at anothers pleasure, receiving a pay you dont fully earn, for a job you don t entirely fulfill. better start sending out those feelers.

  • Kcybulskk

    In Canada, we have laws protecting employees from this kind of practice. It was legislated due to an increase in harassment or work place bullying by leadership. I recommend that if this is happening to you, certain steps must be taken to protect your rights as an employee. 1) Document everything. All conversations and witnesses.
    2) If you are getting frozen out of your responsibilities, contact you provincial ministry of labour or union for lodging a complaint. Be prepared for questions remember just the facts. 3) Contact a labour lawyer how can give you a consult on this case.
    Companies will often rethink their strategy when faced with criminal charges and huge fines and settlements. If proven that the employer created a toxic workplace, they violated labour law and criminal law.
    How do I know this,
    It happened to me!

    • Trish Hamelin

      I was “constructively dismissed” i contacted thé labour Board for advice and was told that – after more than 20 yrs with thé company – as long as they followed minimal guidelines there was nothing I could expect from thé labour Board – very disappointing.

    • Nina Milova

      Same story here. Been there, done evefything, called everywhere including Human Rights and Labour board. Nobody gives a damn. And contrary to what you think employees have almost no rights. Well, in some severe cases, where they really suffered a lot they can receive they can receive a compensation of up to ten thousand dollars, but the lawyer will take it all. Ah and if you worked for a company for less then a year, then forget it. You habe no rights whatsoever and they can di whatever they please. This is why employers like it so much in our days to hire people for shirt-term projects and rotate their staff annually.

      • Kcybulskk

        Amazing comments, you see if employers are not willing to change, then how do we expect our children. Even though there are laws, employers still show a real arrogance to them. It is only when labour boards apply them that things will happen. Every time I hear stories of violence in the workplace, I think about the mitigating factors leading up to the events. Our legislators have to take a more forwarding stance to safe guard workers.
        Subject: Re: New comment posted on Warning signs that you’ re about to lose your job

      • LaszloZoltan

        you are right- nobody gives a damn. go find a willing lawyer, and you’ll likely go into debt over your eyeballs…so, forget it, move on. this is why your first and only loyalty should be to yourself and your family.

        • Argo Dave

          Wrong!! I was fired without warning written or verbal, after almost 10 years of good service. I consulted a Toronto Labour Lawyer for free, he took the case, threatened to sue my old Boss and got me 9 Months Severance instead of 2 months, and his costs were paid by my old Boss too, didn’t cost me a penny and I got justice I never would have otherwise. Simply because my Boss didn’t even follow his own Company Handbook or Common Law in his arrogance and didn’t want to face other disgruntled ex employees in court I would have brought in as witnesses.
          The ONLY way to legally hurt a rich guy is take his money!

      • Rita

        There is no regard for good work in the workplace. Especially if they think you were not born in Canada, they think they can get away easy with it. They think employees don’t know any better which is far from true.

    • Kathryna Dobrick

      been there done that….took my employer to employment standards and it did me no good….he was abusive in more ways than one AND he owed me over $15000 in back pay….what did I get out of it? Nothing!!!! The mediator told me to walk away with the thousand bucks they offered me as otherwise It would be tied up with them for years….I was stupid enough to listen to him….I guess he was concerned as apparently he could see that I was about to become really sick or have a heart attack after all the lies my boss was telling about me including forcing all employees to write damaging letters about me in order for them to keep their jobs. He also made sure after the fact that I have been blackballed in the field where I work….I went from making almost $70,000/year to working for minimum wage in a slightly different field and only being able to get less than 20 hrs/wk.

      • Rita

        It is impossible to believe that for no reason employees are facing harrassment at the workplace. The managers don’t know the meaning of hard work and dedication and success. These things are foreign to them. It is all about corruption.

    • Chillin Villan

      What part of Canada are u from can you contact me by email with some information or can we hook up on Facebook somehow I really need more info

    • Manny Crisostomo

      How can I find a good Labour Lawyer that would take percentage of what ever I will get instead of paying him from my own pocket? I know Lawyers are expensive and I have no money to pay. I’m from Toronto would you mind of sending me the Info through my facebook. thanks in advance.

    • Gisele

      in Canada??? you do know that you can no longer claim E.I. if you quit or are fired right?? the Cons made canada a country of indentured servitude –only if you have $ for a lawyer can you have rights and every site I have looked up about whistleblowing shows it is the whistleblowers that bleed …if you are Union member or have big $ backing you in canada you are protected –for the rest of us -not so much!!

  • Stella Hlad

    Very well written article: so true in all the respects. Congrats!!! If a person only knew how to behave during such harassment/mobbing by the bosses. Unfortunately, this emotional intelligence has brought us many disadvantages since the managers could really be witch hunters.

  • amir_saulat_jafri

    never even let another human write a report about your abilities…..own your business..or work for very small companies…where you can fight the boss rather than “nice”…Even the highest paid CEO type is a SLAVE….get out this thugg and gangster culture…always always fire the company…once you become slave of fashion and fad, you’ll always be bonded labor…who will always adopt the morality of the gangster bosses….learn to live outside the box (of corporate greed)

  • James L. Taylor

    Another sure sign..and you can try this if you have suspicions…the reduced amount of emails. If you usually do daily reports, try missing one. If they email you right away, your fears can be reduced. If you get no response, or remarks regarding the reports, good chance you are on your way out!

  • Alison Sutherland

    ‘Even the most ethical employers have to downsize sometimes – I worked for the administration of one of the finest and biggest protestant churches in Canada. They are becoming smaller, and have to be realistic about the programs they can support.

    It helps if management is transparent. Then the employee can wind things up responsibly, make arrangements for archives and transitions, ensure that the terminations are as un-damaging as possible.

    Also if the employee is courteously made aware that his or her position will become “redundant” in the next few months, he or she can make sure that management is aware of the implications and permutations of its decision. In my church organization, one person who was made suddenly “redundant” was the only person who had signing authority for a major fund. Another was in charge of $500 of petty cash. I myself had just undertaken a major project of re-organization of unique historical records, which I would not have done if I had been given advance notification. And so on.

    Being laid off or declared redundant is always hurtful. But when a good employee is included in the information flow and given lots of advance notice, the result for the employee and the company is always better than an atmosphere of paranoia and secrecy.

    • mrbrockpeters

      Couldn’t agree more Alison. Seriously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eleanor-Dorst/100000491554177 Eleanor Dorst

    I disagree with the last comment, and yes, I have been fired a few times so I know. I find a lot of firing are done for personal reasons and personality clashes. I know when the axe is going to fall when the employees and boss don’t talk to you anymore and definitely when they won’t make eye contact. If you forget the rest of the signs, remember the “eyes” have it.

  • Westy52

    The best indicator I found was coming into work on a Friday morning and seeing a security guard at your desk with two bankers boxes.

    • mrbrockpeters

      LOL! Yup. That says it all.

    • A.Hassan

      I came on Money early morning at 9:00 AM, I went to kitchen as usual to bring coffee, I met my manager, he ask me if we can talk in his office. I found that he was prepared my termination paper with smile on his face saying “We decide to let you go”, I finished my coffee at his office while I tried to understand why he decide to let me go. He follow me to my desk I got my stuff and impotent things and return the security access and keys. the he shack my hand with small smile with “Good Luck”. I found myself outside of company within 30 min of my day. I lost permanent job just like that without any valid reason. No even signs as the manager was doing all the opposite of the signs that mentioned in the articles. He surprised me with his decision .

      • LaszloZoltan

        the smile says he was happy to see you go. knowing that, would you prefer to continue working for such a fellow ?

      • Attiya Sajjad

        It is a very common practice around.Most probably he fired you for some personal reason.; discrimination might be the case.

      • jay

        Don’t dwell on it. You might of been fired for a character trait another company will pay you more for.

  • anon

    I made a run for it yesterday. The manager did not seem estatic of my
    decision and had a short talk but chances can’t be taken anymore. The
    team had been threatened with firing for 20 times. Company was in
    financial hardship or as far as project fund goes and the manager
    continued to want to fire but keep the team. The client adjecent to our
    office had made notable cut backs. Promises made from start of employment have not been kept and many statements made during employment was not executed. We kept staying over time to finish project and hope and trust eventually deteriorates.

  • Coco

    I would read the last part as the decision made with gracefully and being polite to remain a good reputation for your future business to come, it’s not that matter whether personal reason or not. just don’t let that piece get you down. I may be wrong about the writer’s original meaning , but that is the point I like to take from.

  • Coco

    I totally understand all your feelings because I’m the one on this life journey too. taking that point , discard those unpleasant feelings or let it fade away, then I can carry some worth on and on.

  • LaszloZoltan

    F- it…life is meant to be lived, not lost at work. moving on is always always better than staying doing the same thing at the same place for the same people. dont look for warning signs that you are about to lose your job, always be looking for opportunities to go on to a new job. glengary glen ross, alway be closing…always be moving

    • Nick


      You hit the nail right on the head!

      Instead of waiting to be fired, which these days is inevitable (it not “if”, but “when”), you should always be looking… constantly hunting for the next opportunity. Never, never presume a job is permanent! There’s no better feeling then walking into your boss’s office and quitting for a better job. In other words firing yourself.

      • sunbeamcatcher

        or firing your incompetent boss

        • Nick

          If that makes you feel better (firing someone) then I feel sorry for you and those around you. Why would you want to fire someone? Is it a power trip thing? Why not look after yourself and leave what has become an unhealthy situation?

          • sunbeamcatcher

            nicki, you are a little soft in the head, aren’t you?

          • Nick

            WOW what a insightful comeback! I certainly didn’t see that coming from you! I’d rather be “soft in the head” than “angry and bitter” as you are. Imagine wanting to spend your energy trying to fire your boss? How many here would win that battle? Life is too short to be fighting battles about what at the end of the day is really not worth fighting for (Who on their deathbed ever wished they had spent more time at work?).

      • eliza

        I totally agree

  • Walt

    This happened to me not to long ago. I was working for a company that I had no intentions of leaving and I received a phone call for another job offer. I took the job and when I got there I realized that they had had a few of the management get banned from site just a week before. I worked for a couple weeks and they laid me off. Was so dirty. Now i’m stuck looking for a job, wish there was something that I could do.

    • LaszloZoltan

      hey s happens man. deal with it.

      • sunbeamcatcher

        hey man – this is not a videogame, but peoples lives – learn empathy

  • smscamp

    Problem is what they write about you can stop further employment.

    For instance, when my supervisor noticed I had alcohol on my breath, I told him it was a result of having one glass of wine at lunch, which at 200 lbs, would not have made me even tipsy, but later found out they wrote down as me being inebriated on the job.

    • LaszloZoltan

      challenge them. have them prove what they say about you is true. if you do not contest it, and as soon as you learn about it, you are accepting the information as true and accurate.think of it- cops have to run a breathalyzer test to charge you on when driving on the road, whats the worst harm from being drunk on your job ? a mis-typed letter ????

  • Emmanuel

    Simply pass all the requirements in the allocation for a processing to get into the system in program logic controller.

  • artsycreation

    These are great points and been through many but, your final paragraph 90% of the time is bull. If it was for business reasons they would fire the person who makes the most, not the hardest worker. Jealous bosses are the worst.

    • sunbeamcatcher

      most unionized places care not for profits, and hard working employees are perceived as a threat not a bonus

      • Rita

        I agree. People with good reputation and excellent skills are a threat to them. You are not suppose to do better in your life

  • Laurie Fisher

    Leave gracefully?? Be polite and professional??? For 10 months I have been dealing with a new manager who has harassed me, bullied me, taken away responsibilities, and oh yeah, sent me home 1 day for no concrete reason. Unlike most, I chose to report this behaviour but to date, nothing has been done to correct it. I have been a loyal, dedicated employee with my company for 14 years, with excellent performance, and I am supposed to give up everything I’ve worked hard for because the new boss is jealous and insecure? Being forced out is extremely personal, and please remember, not all of us are at an early stage in our career where it is easy to “line up a new gig” – nor should we have to. When I leave this company, it will be with pride and dignity because I chose to speak up for what I believe in, and simply, for what is right.

    • sunbeamcatcher

      just awful, but unfortunately very very common – more people stand up for themselves it will be more difficult for those a-holes to bully employees. Unfortunately, financial crises created by those a-holes are here precisely for the sake of them – so we are kept in fear and do everything and anything to keep our job

    • Gisele

      the last two years I have had to do the work of two (literally!) while a very pretty & flirtatous manipulator came in & cherry picked out the few fun aspects of the job & now our job is ending soon (in a few months) & I am being forced to train her how to do those jobs that she refused for the last two years –so that she can pad her resume – and so that I (the senior employee) can be laid off first… I used to think being reliable, having good work ethic & keeping up with technical changes mattered –but apparently young &flirty trumps that anyway!

  • Roustam

    Who is in right mind would ask incompetent worker to train the new employee? I know that some certainly do.
    Also – new manager being brought to the company – call the trouble. Not necessary it all depends on manager. New manager could be much more friendlier and open to you than the old one. However, something opposite could happen as well.
    Your manager start avoiding you – yeah specifically you, but nobody else. Yeah, it sounds like trouble indeed. You indeed can lose the job any moment.

    • sunbeamcatcher

      or the manager can lose the job – have you ever fired a manager? I have.

  • eddie

    All the emotions we feel here will come to nothing, when we realize that ‘Work is NOT Worship’ and we’re working in an ‘organization’ because the organic structure of society exists no more. So keep your hopes low and your spirits high and all days will seem bright to you.

    • sunbeamcatcher

      you sound like slave who internalized what the puppet masters wanted you to internalize ( that is you are a slave) – I am sad for you

  • linda

    What about. those really bad laces of work that bully people but play games with your job by thretening it all the time but do not want you to leave?

    • sunbeamcatcher

      sounds like unionized non profits – you might have to muster up some self confidence and decide what is the next step

  • aabbs aabbs

    I really need advice & help in this as I was working for a company for few years. While I was working one senior guy started to create bad impression about me in the company even though I did my work well in projects, but the company let me go (wrongful dismissal). I didn’t go legally due to some personal situation. When I am in an interview with my prospective employer, what should say…should I say that company down-sized or let me go and tell them the whole reason. What happens when they do the reference check. Can I avoid this company as I have previous experience?

    • sunbeamcatcher

      you should contact your community legal clinic lawyer – they are free and deal with stuff like that all the time

      • aabbs aabbs

        hi sunbeamcatcher…thanks for your reply. But do you advice what I can say to my prospective employer. Please let me know…

        • Rona Wilkman

          I had the same situation happen to me. During my first job interview after losing my job, I fumbled my answer to that question. I later talked with this interviewer (I didn’t get the job) and asked for advice. she recommended that I just say “it wasn’t a good fit for me” and leave it at that. In this case ‘less is more’.

          I hope this helps.

  • Victoria

    Everyone seems to be commenting in a negative fashion. I know that I am very young, and have had limited experience in the workforce, but as a business student and an employee I think everyone brings up very good points. However in my experience people don’t get fired for personal reasons, they get fired because of business reasons and because they don’t like or respect the decision they take it personally. I understand the points they are trying to make as I have been fired from positions before, and I was let go because I didn’t fit into the team. But rather than taking it as a personal attack on me and my personality I chose to improve myself, and my teamwork and communication skills. I now feel like I can fit well into any team. I think this is the point that Peter is making, that when we loose these jobs that we need to keep our heads up and keep positive and improve….not blame or attack our employers.

    • sunbeamcatcher

      ay ay ay – you are a young thing

      • Victoria

        I really hope in 35 years I still think the same things. I love that I am a positive person and I hope I never let myself lose it! Thanks for the well wishes, I hope I do well for myself. And, from all of us young people who are trying to live apart from our stereotypes, thank-you.

    • Gisele

      ya Victoria –see you when you have dedicated 20+ years to developing skills & work ethic –to be replaced by a younger cheaper worker…

  • sunbeamcatcher

    so the employment actually translates to how much of abuse and exploitation can I take and for how long.

  • Kathryna Dobrick

    I experienced four of the warning signs and never saw it as such….guess I was too naive, but I also placed myself in the line of fire by allowing myself to get to close to one of the employees (my manager and her mother) and by talking too much about myself….lesson definitely learned.

  • Susan

    I experienced the same thing, & did not see it coming. I was in Brazil as I had won the Presidents trip for being in the top 1% for sales in North America. I worked for a Pharma company in Canada. My manager was always harassing me sexually. At meetings you would call my room to see if he could join me for a glass of wine? I said no. He would ask me to join him for lunch sometimes 2 to 3 times a week. His manager at the time sent me an email to access him. When my manager found out about this he asked me to join him for a breakfast meeting & to make sure I brought my computer. My manager said to me Susan I know that you have to assess me. Can I see the email? If not, I can make it very difficult for you. I let him read the email fearing for my job and he was the one who rated himself finishing the sentence by saying that he was the best manager I had ever had in my entire career. He then press send. I couldn’t believe that he had done this. I went to HR, but they did not believe me. He then started to write letters about me which were all lies. One example is when I had work the weekend conference in Niagara on the lake. I was so cold & had told my colleague that I was going to get a sweater. I was back in five mins. My manager was there and avoided me like the plague. On the following Monday he asked me to join him for breakfast on the next day. He presented a letter to me re: my conduct at the conference. In the letter it said that I had gone upstairs as I had ripped my dress (lie) & stayed in my room for the entire day (lie) he accused me of not being with my customers for breakfast

  • abc

    More reason to stop working for others, giving your all, only to be let go when it no longer suits them. Put up your own shingle, sell your talents to others who will pay you and appreciate you. It’s not as hard as it seems, heck if you can take 9 to 5 and put up with all that crap, then having your own business can’t be any harder.

  • Susan

    Thanks so much for your message. You make a lot of good sense..I never thought that my life would end up the way it did.. Having an MBA, Hons. BSc., Hons Bachelor of Business Admin. I live, love and breath interior design and architecture. However, I am going into my 3rd year of unemployment. I was engaged to a guy to get married. We were together for 13 years…I paid for most everything. Like trips to Maui, Costa Rica, France etc. When he needed a suit for one of my company business evenings, he went out, and bought an Armani suit with my money. I could go on but I Won’t. Imwas stupid. When I lost my job, I also lost my company car. My mother at the time was in her Last stages of Alzheimer’s. When my fiancé found out that I lost my job he broke off with me. He said Sue, you have a very sick mother and now, you won’t
    Have a car..I know that you are going to ask me if you can borrow my van and I cannot lend it to you. This isn’t going to work out so I am breaking off with you…I am glad that I found out now. But I have had to go into a lot of my RRSP money. There really isn’t a lot left to start the business that I so desired. My age is also a factor because companies do not want to invest in someone that is in their late 40s. I Love what I was doing, but can’t seem to get back into it again. I have applied to over 400 jobs, from construction, cashier, Chemicals, cleaning lady, factory work, and nothing. I just hope that I don’t lose my home. It’s basically all I have left. Thanks again for your comments. Susan

  • Tracy Larking

    I was let go in March and I am 99.9% sure it was because my boss had a personal problem with me. I asked for a reference but they say its against policy. I have had at least 15 interviews and not one offer. My old boss has blacked balled me so I can’t get a job.

  • caughy

    I used to be the star player at my former company. I went for 8 years with above expectations reviews. The death of the CIO meant a whole new team for the company’s IT department, a team with an aggressive and very political agenda. I found myself being reprimanded on nearly every annual review after the shakeup. The new manager was clueless about her job but attempted to hide her ineptness by taking credit for other people’s work. She even stole my idea for a programming solution and had the audacity to parrot word for word my idea back to me as though it was her own. The end was near by this time. I was sick most of the time from the stress. I resigned after my last bad review and bonus denial. I am still bitter at these people after 10 years even though the company has changed for the worst since then. But the lesson learned is to recognize when the job situation is becoming unfavorable and to look for another job before it current one becomes a crisis.

  • Chuck U. Farley

    Study social welfare and stop thinking about economics. The 70’s were great because they learned from the depression how to be human to one another again.. Then the conservatives got elected and destroyed the welfare state, and turned us all into corporate lackeys again, and now shit’s going down hill.. learn your history, study social welfare, and you’ll understand that the solution is investing in people, not in corporations.

  • Outtaworktoolong

    I took a job a few years back that, from the get go, I knew would be trouble. Against my gut instinct and better judgement, I stayed as I was too stubborn to believe I could fail.

    The company owner claimed they had rapid growth, and as a result needed an IT Director and/or a Chief Operating Officer. As I have had these roles, I assumed I was guaranteed the job for a long time.

    However, what the company owner claimed, and what was really happening, were 180 degrees out of phase. As time went on, this disconnect became unbearable.

    Just as I was about to launch a top-to-bottom business process analysis, along with an investment in Microsoft Dynamics, the business owner pulled the plug and brought in a new Chief Operating Officer. A church buddy, as prior experience he was a host at a small restaurant.

    I immediately started a job search, which paid off as I had lined up a new position the same week the new COO called me into his new upgraded office, and started with “sorry to have to do this …”.

    I disagree with the last comment of the article. Often, especially with small companies, personal reasons factor quite heavily.

    In hindsight, I should have quit shortly after all the shortcomings became apparent.

  • Alawiye

    It happened to me too back in February 2007. I was hired to take up a key position in a small companies IT section. Within days, the directors who owned the business and hired me wouldn’t even have any interactions with me. Of course I got home from work and there was a message waiting in my personal email, they had to let me go cos a contract they were pursuing had falling through.
    I hated the whole experience, I had to kind of start all over again.

    • Opinyun8ed

      What a tacky way to let a person know their position is gone. Didn’t have the stones to tell you face to face, I guess.

    • Outtaworktoolong

      That sounds very similar to a situation I went through a few years ago. A small family owned business claimed to be “rapidly growing” – a huge lie – and wanted to setup a new IT department and new Financial department.

      They had vaguely complained about “high turnover” which is also a warning sign. After the fact, I contacted some former employees there and they had related similar experiences: bizarre owner mind games, emotional drama, etc.

      I would bet when they let you go, they brought in a family member or somebody from their church.

      That job experience at least had karma. Several years after I was let go, they folded.

      • Christina

        Hi Katherine,
        I just came across your post and I have to agree that many bosses are not very good and it’s hard to deal with that person when you have to deal with him/her every day. I have been in corporate for over 30 years and have seen all the different shades of employers and bosses.
        My advise to you is, do what is right for you. I think that ultimately, we all want the same thing, we want to be appreciated for our hardwork. It’s also important that you do not “sell yourself short” and be confident in yourself and your skills. I am sure there are companies out there that will truly appreciate you and your dedication. At the end of the day, we are not there to change our bosses, I think we either accept them and try to make the best of the situation or move on and look for a better place to work. Remember, we spend a lot of time in the work place and it’s important to enjoy that we do, the people we do it with and the workplace environment. Lastly, it’s almost good to be familiar with the jobs that are out there in your industry.

        • Outtaworktoolong

          When you add up the hours, you spend just as much time at work as you do with your family.

          I have encountered terrible management far more often in family owned businesses, and small businesses. But no matter the size, if you are unfortunate enough to be under a bad boss, especially one who is truly sociopathic or psychopathic, you will suffer.

          Our business culture prizes the very attributes that make up sociopathic and psychopathic behavior. Such an individual can and will advance within a corporate culture, and can hide problems until everything implodes.

          The book “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work”, by Dr. Paul Babiak and Dr. Robert Hare, is a very precise examination of upper management populated by disturbed individuals.

          This problem will not change until our society in general, and the corporate culture in particular, view this behavior as disturbed, NOT as “highly desirable” attributes.

  • Justme

    I was let go couple of weeks ago,(While still on probation) I saw all the signs coming and was already looking for another job before it happened. The work environment was very uncomfortable for me, when I started the lady training me was the company owners daughter and had a very negative attitude,was always swearing (F-word) and gossiping about other co-workers. Looking back I am glad I am longer with the company…It was a crappy one man business company.

    • Outtaworktoolong

      I think the proper term is “toxic” work environment. I went through that, a family owned business four years ago now.

      We try our best to find a job, give it 100%, and get pushed out so a family member can burn the business into the ground. At least that is what happened in that place I was let go from.

      • esseka

        I went through that at a large Corporation. People working there were all friends of friends and spent great part of the day gossiping.
        They thought o themselves as super human beings unable to fail, simply because they had been in the same place, and in the same position forever… never changed jobs, and never saw any different than the Corporation they have been working for.

        In retrospect, it is amusing how petty, and blind they’ve become by the time I was there. Really small things, such as a pass holder were reasons to complain….
        I will never shake off the fact that I saw a Higher Management lady taking away a retractable badge holder clip from a guy who was collecting his things while he had been fired, and this happened under the presence of an HR representative. Wen the Manager saw how the HR representative was looking at her, she commented, “it is that these are very hard to come by…” with a half backed smile.

        Anyway, I believe that in the US there is a VERY LARGE HOLE in employment jurisprudence. This unfortunately falls on we the people. I believe that a way to show Corporation that at will contracts are unreliable, it would be nice if people began to quit without notice AS IT IS A RIGHT EMBEDDED IN ANY AT WILL WORK RELATIONSHIPS. Also, if your previous employer would mention the 2 WEEKS NOTICE NOT GIVEN to prospect employers, that could be used against them as it is a right to be able to QUIT AN AT WILL EMPLOYMENT WITHOUT ANY REASON OR WARNINGS. IT IS NOT A MISBEHAVIOR, IT IS A RIGHT.
        Employment should be an equal relationship between employer and employee, and not something that resembles more and more to a DICTATORSHIP REGIME.

        I do not believe that any changes will happen during my professional lifespan.


        • Outtaworktoolong

          I completely agree with your comments.

          Especially the fact it won’t change in our lifetimes!

          • esseka

            After some serious thinking I came to conclude that the reason of all the heartache related to job security has to do with the employment “at will”.
            Especially since there is no buffer between employer and employee. Once there were unions. Unions made “at will” more bearable.
            Now that unions are essentially gone no buffer exist between employer and employee.
            Yes, at will works both ways, but how many people can afford to just quit and look for another job without the stigma of not having provided the employer with the appropriate notice –even fit is not required by law?
            On the other end, how many people question the termination of an employee without proper notice?
            The culprit from my point of view is that according to the legislation at will, the employer can terminate an employee in any moment for any reason OR NO REASON AT ALL.
            If that does not sound frightening and responsible of fostering a negative atmosphere, then I guess that little else can be considered scary if related to it.

          • Outtaworktoolong

            Completely agreed. They don’t even need a reason anymore

          • Jony Boy

            Termination without a reason , above all , if you have a bully boss and he or she decided to show you as unqualified employee in front of the upper management , he will simply do. so with reason or not it doesn’t matter , termination is not a big deal anymore , we have to admit , being employee is the modern slavery

          • Outtaworktoolong

            Yep, at will they can just walk up to you, say “too bad so sad”, and out you go. About all that is left out there is demeaning temp agency work. If you complain, they stop giving you “nice” 1-2 week assignments.

        • Jony Boy

          I can tell from my experience , all you have said are true , and above all , HR in most companies are useless , I was under impression that that HR should do the right thing and push everyone to be accountable for their actions , but unfortunately this is not true , it’s all about who can play the game and who is not , it doesn’t mean you are right HR will be beside you and protecting you.

          • esseka

            This is what I observed. Since the last recession that reduced the US workforce, companies have continued to outsource jobs.
            Outsourcing further restricts job availability making it increasingly harder to secure a job.

            Once jobs are in high demand, and several people are attempting to be hired, employers can apply their “cleansing of the human race”, by using at-will work agreements to punish and brand people a useless. The effect of this is a creation of 2 classes, the “super-humans” worthy of being employed, and the “inferior-humans” who will be out of job, money, and die soon as the effect of homelessness,poor nutrition, and poor healthcare will have the best of them.

            Unless “we the people” demand and oversee a change in the rules for outsourcing and at-will work agreement the consequences will be that we will find ourselves too poor to even think about any changes. And we may instead try to survive. We will be separated, afraid, and unable to take care of ourselves. Letting people without a job is a capital punishment. It is a slow agony through a descent in poverty and illness, with the unfortunate and unavoidable consequence of a painful starvation.

            What is the difference between being confined to a ghetto, and then to a concentration camp, and being left with no job and no income in favour of a selected few?
            Isn’t America hinging on the pursuit of happiness? Wasn’t the following from Thomas Jefferson?
            “We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are
            created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they
            derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the
            preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness;”

            So, how comes that Companies discriminate, and the GOVERNMENT does not do a thing about it?
            I say, it’s time to petition for a change. I say, it’s time to hold Companies seriously accountable for removing jobs from the country. I say, it’s time to re-establish that Companies are ALLOWED to operate in the US, and to operate in the best interests of the country, and for this reason the GOVERNMENT should have the last word in terms of job elimination and outsourcing, firing, and how much a CEO should receive.

            I agree that a CEO may become far richer than I, but in times of hardship, He who can contribute more needs to be compelled to do so. Nevertheless if jobs are lost, and the economy crumbles it is all fault of those in command, why should “the majority” suffer while the minority who created the issues enjoy themselves?

          • Outtaworktoolong

            As far as America, I live in Winnipeg and trust me, the same thing is happening here in Canada.

            I wish I could disagree with the points you have raised, but I cannot.

            My folks saw this back in the 1990’s, and became very uneasy about my future. They had retired in 1982, and would in fact be gone in 2005-2006, so the changes that were happening had little to no effect on them. That said, they could still see these changes happening.

            We have turned the clock back, not years but a century. The middle class is shrinking, and may in another decade or two be wiped out. We will go back to that “classic” economy of the 1% who have everything, and the rest who toil away.

          • esseka

            This is what will become:

            A pyramid with, King, Nobles, Knights, and peasants.
            In between the 1% and the peasants there will be the military (knights). That is why they are pumping war and military action so much. You always hear praise of the heroes who go to war…. I respect them, but doesn’t it come a bit overbearing?

            Once again we will have tribes. The difference is that before it was about where a person lived. The town, the state, and eventually the country.
            Now it will be where a person works for.

            I believe I also noticed that respect is turned into condescension at best. I cannot avoid but to think, what went wrong?

            I am unable to pinpoint the cause(s). Is it human nature? is that the reason why in the past we were mostly organized in tribes/clans, so that one person could rule over others and settle caprices and tantrums, or we can actually have a democracy based on family, respect, and work?

            Anyway… again, I will just have to wait to get at the end of the line without seeing any positive change –most likely.

          • Outtaworktoolong

            I completely agree with your analogy.

            There is no “respect” anymore, like you said a very condescending attitude at best.

            What went wrong? I have my theories on this.

            The middle class grew in size, indeed exploded in size, after WW II. Most jobs were union jobs. Suburbs were built. Tax rates against the wealthy increased, in some cases dramatically.

            The 1% realized that you do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT require a “healthy” Middle Class to sustain an economy or a nation. The 1% also grew during this time, but in their view, why share any of it? So began the war against the middle class, and ironically they used the middle class itself, against itself.

            Remember Ronald Reagan? His made up, completely false “welfare queen” story? People responded to that made up crap, probably because education standards had been lowered, and people no longer had to think for themselves, thanks to the boob tube.

            We now have a couple of generations of ignorant people who eat up whatever neoconservative crap they are fed. It’s ironic, and sad, that the people who will be most hurt by neoconservative policy, support that policy.

            During the 1970-2000’s timeframe, we also saw religious institutions co-opted by the same neoconservative movement. What does being Republican in the United States, or Conservative here in Canada, have to do with religion? NOTHING. Indeed, both parties have atheists, fascists, etc, who have contempt for sheep who bleat in church.

            So, is it human nature? In the end, it probably is. We always eff it up. Every civilization throughout recorded history has imploded at some point.

            Why should this one be any different?

          • esseka

            Yes, I remember reading about Regan and the “trickle down” effect. Needless to say that little or nothing ever trickles down. Perhaps loss of jobs does.

            Then, I more clearly remember when Clinton announced that China would have been included in the WTO 2001. Things spiralled from there.

            It is not about what party should be elected. I am convinced that there is no substantial difference between Republican or Democratic party. It is about how to stop Corporations from fiddling with the government, the legal system, job stability and outsourcing.

            No candidate speaks of the above as issues, it is as if they are just temporary inconveniences. At best, they talk about living pay-check-to-pay-check. Unfortunately to live pay-check-to-pay-check a person’s gotta have one.

            I agree that the 1% does not require the middle class, in fact, the less middle class the more cash is concentrated in that 1%. It seems sensible to me that the poorer a person is, the more that person spends as compared to income. If I only have 200 cash a week, I will have to decide if that would go for food, gas, or clothings.

            Cash is a resource. Economics teaches that every resource is scarce/limited. If a person has more, another has to have less. So I wander, how many people takes to allow a person to become a Billionaire or a multi-Millionaire? Why should people put up with it?

            I hope “we the people” will be able to find a solution and stop this reversion to tribal status as soon as possible.

          • Outtaworktoolong

            To further your comment on loss of jobs trickling down, I would like to add this:

            Profits have become privatized, but risk/loss is socialized. These “free market capitalists” are only Capitalist when they make profit. If there is a loss, then everybody is supposed to pay for it.

          • Outtaworktoolong

            As far as your last sentence, “it doesn’t mean you are right HR will be beside you protecting you” it has been my experience just the opposite happens.

            Stick your neck out, be prepared to have your head chopped off.

  • Justus Nathan

    This is just so true. I had similar experiences over a one year period and noticed that my employer wanted to release me. They had been building evidence about my performance, making unreasonable demands that were not being required of my other colleagues, and my manager never seemed to acknowledge my achievement of agreed performance targets….she instead kept bringing new issues that were not performance related. I had been quietly job searching, so when I one day chanced on a secret managers’ meeting in which I was the subject of discussion, I sent in my resignation immediately. Fortunately for me I was already negotiating with my new employer so did not suffer the agony of either being fired, or being jobless.

  • Katherine Emilyy

    I am in a situation now where I feel like I am going to lose my job.
    I have lost a job once before on probation for no reason accept for the fact that the manager didn’t like me. Now i work for a small family owned business and I feel like they are going to lay me off for no reason. I work really hard, understand my work, am willing to learn. I am never late, I never take a day off, I work back if I have to take any time off and I am passionate about my work. Despite all of this, I feel like I am still not good enough. I have no idea what to do. I don’t know whether to look for another job or not.

    • Outtaworktoolong

      One should ALWAYS be on the lookout for a job!

      Things are far too uncertain out there to hope something lasts. Especially in your situation, if you have a bad vibe you had better listen to it

    • Efrem

      “…I feel like I am still not good enough.” That’s because your boss MAKES you feel not good enough, a typical proceeding of manipulators.

      • Outtaworktoolong

        It has been my experience that a sizable minority of bosses are outright sociopathic!