According to recent research, roughly 5.5 million people were either laid off, fired, or discharged from their jobs in 2018.

5.5 million is a hell of a number huh?!

For some people, getting fired or laid off often comes as a surprise. It’s not always clear when you’ve reached the end of the road with your employer, but there are several warning signs that we tend to overlook.

Here are five red flags that your employer may be calling it quits with you:

1. You get removed from (or, left off) projects & emails

One day you’re the lead on a project, and then BOOM you’re removed or demoted with little explanation or forewarning.

When this happens, this could very well be a sign that your employer is preparing to cut the cord loose on you.

Consider asking (in a professional way of course) for reasons why you are being removed or demoted – reiterate to your boss that you’re hoping to know for professional development reasons.

2. Your boss starts putting everything in writing

Nothing screams “I’m setting up your case for HR” louder than a sudden acceleration of email documentation AKA those good ole “per our conversation” follow-up emails. When this happens, your boss will either CC their boss on the email or someone from HR.

If this happens, doesn’t loose your cool, just be sure to watch your email correspondence and email language.

3. You’re given unrealistic deadlines & expectations

Often times if your boss wants to fire you but doesn’t really have a “case”, an easy way to build a case on you is to prove that you’re not meeting their “expectations.”

If you start noticing that your boss is all of a sudden throwing crazy deadlines and laundry list of projects at you that are unrealistic, try talking to them to see if you can get assistance or an extended deadline (be sure to follow up with this request in writing for your own paper trail). Another idea is to hustle hard and complete their list of projects, and then figure out if their new expectations is something that you want to be apart of.

4. You’re put on a “Performance Improvement Plan”

Normally it’s not ideal to get placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP). In some cases for some companies, it means you’re failing or your boss feels your performance needs to be formally documented. Being put on a PIP is not the end of the world, but keep in mind if you’re given one and forced to sign off on it to indicate you agree to it, it could be a red flag.

5. The company isn’t doing well

If your company isn’t doing well, they may downsize some departments and you could be apart of it.

For this reason, it pays to keep tabs on your employer by following them on social media, setting up Google Alerts with the company name, and tuning in to their quarterly financial calls/emails (if it’s available to you). Keep in mind, not every bad mention in the press equals immediate lay-off to your, but you’re better off knowing how well your company is doing because their success (and failures) affects you.

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