Does Your Boss Want to Fire You?
April 25, 2016

Does Your Boss Want to Fire You?

by Brian de Haaff

You cannot shake that feeling that something is going on at work. And that something seems to have a lot to do with you.

Your radar is up and it has you assuming the worst — that your job may be on the line. You cannot ignore your spidey-sense, because it often proves to be right.

Plus, you see a few clues that you cannot ignore. After all, the boss has been short with you lately and spending more time behind closed doors. You think it all adds up to bad news for you and maybe for others. It could be your overactive imagination playing tricks on you. But, you also want to be prepared in case bad news really is headed your direction — and you cannot concentrate on anything else until you know for sure.

Hold on a second there. Before you reach for any more conclusions or do something really reckless, like jump ship, you need to step back. Way, way back.

This is not the time for rash decisions. Instead, you need to take a deep breath and think slowly and rationally. Here is what I suggest you do:

Second-guess yourself Your imagination is running wild with possible scenarios, but do not lose yourself to the more suspicious version of you. Consider that there may be other reasons the boss is irritable or pulled into closed-door discussions — none of which likely have anything to do with you. This time, your intuition may have it all wrong.

Examine the signs Look at the evidence that you do have — start with your own performance. Does management consider you to be a key player? Are you reliable and do you have a pattern of good work there? Unless you have a history of documented problems at the organization, the company is not likely to let you go without a very good reason for it. Sometimes that is not true, but most of the time it is right on.

Understand your boss Since your boss seems more stressed out than usual, try to see where she may be coming from. Maybe she is feeling pressure from her boss because her own job is at risk. Or, she is having a hard time at home and an equally hard time holding it together at work. Putting yourself in her position can give you a completely different perspective.

Find room to improve In the meantime, ask yourself what you can do better in your own job. You do not need to wait for someone to tell you to improve. Take the initiative to be more responsive to requests or add extra polish to your next project. Your boss will appreciate your hard work, and your efforts to improve can only strengthen your position at the company.

Consider your role Turn your thoughts away from speculation and focus on your own position. Since you were so quick to jump to the very worst conclusion, it bears asking — is this job still the place for you? Your lack of confidence could be a sign of uncertainty and general unhappiness with the job. (After all, you want to be happy at the place where you spend a good portion of your adult life — work.)

You may not think you have much control over this situation as it unfolds, but you can control how you react to it. And right now, you need to stop allowing fear of the unknown to impair your judgment.

Whatever happens in the days and weeks to come, the best thing you can do is continue giving your best.

That way, if your senses prove you are right and an unhappy conversation is headed your way, you can be proud of the way you handled yourself, and get going with what’s next (and best).

What else should people do in this situation?

Brian de Haaff

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability and The Startup Adventure newsletter. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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