“You’re Fired!” 5 Ways To Spot the Danger Signals & Deal with It

“You are fired!”

These are the words that business tycoon Donald Trump was known for in his TV reality show “The Apprentice”. However in the real world getting fired can even be more subtle or ruthless depending on who is concerned. It is something that happens every day in the corporate world so just how does one read the hand writing on the wall and know ahead of time that the end may be near?

Here are five signs you could be fired from your current workplace. If you notice any of them you might want to find ways to stop your imminent departure from the organization.

  • You are Cut out of the Loop

In the past, you were always involved in all the issues arising in your department. You were kept abreast of policies and development, but you’ve noticed some changes now. Perhaps you are a senior account officer who is privy to all sensitive financial information from management to senior officials such as yourself and then suddenly you get nothing. No briefings, no memos …. nothing of the level of importance you used to get. You get cut out of crucial meetings where you were vital.

What to do?

You should take the initiative and approach your superiors. Respectfully point out your concerns on the recent turn of events and make it clear you do not begrudge anyone because of the change in the way things are being run. In this kind of situation, it is better to confront issues and make it clear you are not on a warpath with anyone. This could ease some tension and even secure your job   

  • You Blow it Big Time

Mistakes are often made in business and your case is not different. However there are limits to mistakes some management can take. When you lose a huge client under your watch, through a fault or incompetence of yours, the management could come out of its next meeting with your sack letter. Nothing causes angst among senior management as an employee making a mistake that costs the business a ton of money.

Apologies can go a long way

When you find yourself making such costly mistakes or losing business you need to quickly send in your apology and meet with your management. Promise to make up your mistakes with better performances. Respectfully show your remorse at the bad decision but never appear desperate. A quick written and oral apology to the decision makers may save you from further sanctions they may have been considering.

  • New Hot Blooded Takeover of Your Department

Many times we have seen it happen where a new guy, straight from an MBA at Harvard or Lagos Business School, gets hired as the new General Manager or head of your division. You come to work one morning and discover everybody huddled in disquiet and some even cleaning away their desks.

The new guy in charge probably decided that the company was losing so much money paying all of you fat lazy snobs/ the company needed to get more competitive and the best way to do that is to sack half the staff gradually/  he doesn’t need so many hands in running the place/ he just doesn’t like the faces of some people in the division.

Then when you try as hard as possible to get in good terms with the new guy he seems not to have such high regard for you. He, however, seems to like your deputy or second and gives him far more responsibilities and duties. It could be a bad sign and you must not ignore the signs.

Prove yourself!

To try and turn things around when you find yourself in this situation, here are things you can do; be as civil and respectful as possible when dealing with the new boss, find out what he likes and how he likes his tasks to be carried out, volunteer to do things that will show him your experience is still important for the team.

He may not like you but if he thinks you are an asset to the firm you have a chance at keeping your place.

  • Mergers and Takeovers

People who work in the banking and financial services sector know the effects of mergers and acquisitions well enough by now. When your company gets sold or merges with another, there many dynamics that come into play and no matter how secure you thought your job was ,  you genuinely need to start making new plans.

Secure your place

During mergers and takeovers there may not be much you can do since certain decisions on who gets sacked after the merger may be taken in the board room. The only way to come out unscathed in this sort of situation is to be an A-star performer from the start. The real human assets rarely get sacked as a result of mergers. So when you hear rumours of mergers involving your company it’s time to buckle up and create top quality work if you have not been doing so. Make sure your accomplishments and tasks are completed within schedule.  Outstanding duties should be documented in your weekly report to your supervisor. Mergers and acquisitions do take some time to complete so you can build up evidence that you are a quality resource to have.

When mergers are completed the experts who are called in to recommend cost cutting strategies will look at files, recommendation letters and briefs of employees to help determine who gets sacked. Having a quality track record of efficient and stellar work will help impress your value on the troubleshooters when they make their list of staff no longer needed.

  • Sexual harassment

A few months ago a disengaged banker was lamenting about his sack for refusing sex offers from his manager (a fellow male). Stories as this incidentally form a sizeable number of the reasons why some people lose their jobs. Most times those who get sacked do not find it useful to disclose the reasons for the dismissal.

Looking handsome or beautiful certainly can be a hindrance. When you get advances from your superior (especially if she wields many powers) the clouds are certainly getting darker. When you do the right thing and turn down her advances she would most likely feel humiliated and come after you.

Talk to the right people about your situation

This situation can be very tricky for most people. If she has superiors it will be a wise thing to try and get your compliant across to them. Many times victims of sexual harassment in the office are afraid to speak out thinking they will worsen their situation by doing so. They get sacked despite their silence.

Getting your concerns about your job to your boss’ superiors is a better way to minimize your chances of getting the sack letter. Respectfully inform higher superiors that while you do not bear any grudges you feel she may be out to get you because of your refusal and state that you just want to be able to do your best work for the organization. Never squeal to your co-workers or juniors in the office. Since they are not in a situation to affect the outcome it is useless or even dangerous to talk to them about it.

What Next?

If you notice you are in any of the situations above follow the tips suggested for each situation. The key here is to take your destiny in your own hands and move to forestall any ugly decisions that may put you out of work. Be proactive with the steps suggested rather than stay at your desk and just hope things do not get worse.

Photo credit: myjobthoughts.com
Paul Eze is the Co-founder and Vice President at www.ngcareers.com  a top job search and recruitment website in Nigeria. He tweets via @paulemekaeze

20 Comments on “You’re Fired!” 5 Ways To Spot the Danger Signals & Deal with It
  • ejogene January 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    This article is so on point. Well done Paul Eze

  • dp January 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Thought provoking article and soooo soooo helpful. good job Paul

  • a victim January 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    my boss(MD) asked my out years back, i refused but he insisted or else i leave his company. the job is ok, good pay and incentives, a single lady i accepted. now i am scared of ending this relationship cos he rejected my resignation twice and said if i leave he will come after me no matter where. i know he can do that if he is determined. how do i do it. i am even more scared now cos he asked me to marry him as a second wife, i refused totally. GOD FORBID !!!!!!

    • Sonia January 22, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      He won’t do anything. Leave if you want to. You can’t show any fear. Do it for yourself.

    • Doll January 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      So you knew he was married before you got involved with him and you think you are the victim????? Sounds like you got urself into this…

    • lilz January 22, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      O.Y.O is your case.. Never ever sleep with your boss no matter what. do your job very well and make yourself indispensable and you will never get sacked. you put yourself in this and never make the mistake again. leave if you want to and he’ll do nothing. at least he didn’t put a gun on your head.

      that’s the problem with all these “one man” businesses. my MD has been on my case and i have no intention whatsoever to give in even if my life is dependent on it which i know its not btw.

    • Tincan January 22, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      I would have thought that even if for whatever reason you felt you had to accept his initial offer, you’d have spent your time looking for a new job. Best thing to now is start looking for a new job. What he is doing is blackmail, however as I don’t know where you live and what your circumstances are, so I won’t judge but I suggest you find a new job and he tries to stop you from leaving, report him to his superriors. Don’t threaten, just hand your resignation in and if he tries to stop you, go straight to his superiors. The embarassment alone should deter him from his threats, I hope.

    • Damie January 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

      My goodness. You are Nigerians are the worst. Always so quick to condemn. None of you has been sexually harassed that is why you can insult the poor woman. It is scary. You feel like you cannot escape and there is no one to report to. You are scared that people would not take you seriously and the harassment would intensify. It is a miserable feeling and there is never support for victims as we can see now.
      What does him being married have to do with anything? This man coerces her into sleeping with him and she is the evil one? The man is the one with the commitment and the power. Getting a job is hard.Ugh! Nigerians (especially women) are a frustrating lot.
      Sorry victim, I know no one would be sensitive to your plight right now. Best thing would be to leave the job and if possible relocate. The situation has already degenerated and we cannot count on the Nigerian police or courts to bail you. You may try to sue but it would honestly be a long and difficult process. Talking to a good feminist/labour rights lawyer should help. My sincere apologies.

    • Paul Eze January 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      Your initial mistake was to accept such relationship with your boss at work. It muddles up things and can get out of hand. You will have to decide if you have had enough and take the risk to leave. Talk to close friends or family you trust about the situation and take it from there. He could be bluffing as regards his threats and you may find out that when you leave he may be busy running his company to come after you. Still you can never be too careful

    • zainab January 26, 2013 at 1:01 am

      so u can sleep with him but suddenly its God forbid to marry him now abi..smh

    • Hafsah February 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Tell him you’ll send a letter to the chairman if he doesn’t leave you alone or expose something that you know lol #Blackmail

  • Opsy January 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    @a victim. You are not a victim at all. you walked into it yourself. You has the option of leaving but you decided to stay. You might have gotten something better if you left.

  • Omonike Odi January 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Spot on! Great advice


  • a victim January 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Thank u all for ur blames and advices. my decision is to just stop going to work. i cant report him to anyone, he owns the company.

  • Igbe January 23, 2013 at 9:40 am

    @ victim being brave is not the absence of fear. it isdoing the right thing inspite of fear. you need to go back to that place and tender your resignation properly. you will need a referal when you do get another job. why do we always say getting a job is hard. Are the people being hired everyday ghosts? if working for someone does not give you peace of mind. get out quick.

  • Bimby January 23, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Dear victim, you have to take your destiny in your own hands. It happened to me 2ce I refused, walked away and found another job. Reconcile yourself back to your maker, ask for HIS forgiveness and respectfully resign from that work place. I’ll advice that you start looking for another job from this minute. Once you are at peace with God, there’s nothing ur boss would do to you. Run form him as fast as your legs can carry you, please. It is well with u and may God guide you aright in Jesus’ name.

  • Bimby January 23, 2013 at 11:14 am


  • Bimpe January 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    This list seems to apply more to Nigerians……..In yankee it is so difficult to fire people. items on the list above are grounds for a lawsuit

  • HOPE February 22, 2013 at 5:17 pm


  • reggy March 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    sexual harrassment is getting outa hand in nigeria and we ar nt doing anything abt it

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