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How to know when you’re on thin ice at work

How to know when you’re on thin ice at work

It can be tough when things don’t seem to be going your way at work anymore, and you are beginning to get a horrible feeling that you may be skating on thin ice. Your boss might have been riding you more than usual lately, or your colleagues have been acting strange. Is this just a rough patch you are temporarily going through, or are you in real danger of losing your job? Many people have felt this way at one time or another during their careers, but it can be difficult to know for sure just how bad things have started to unravel at work. In this article, we will discuss some of the red flags that could be a warning sign that your job is in jeopardy.

Your boss stops dropping by your desk with suggestions

You used to be on friendly terms with your boss, and he would always drop by your desk or office to chat or to discuss projects, offer suggestions, or give you encouragement. Has your boss stopped coming by like he used to? This could be one of the warning signs that he is disappointed in your work performance and that he is no longer interested in you, your input, or what you can contribute to the company. This is often one of the first signs that an employee is in disfavor. If you have noticed that your boss has been avoiding you, it could be time to start looking for a new job.

You’re left out of important meetings you used to attend

You find yourself suddenly excluded from important business meetings that you used to attend. That is another sign that you are in management’s bad graces. If you had regular one-on-one meetings with your boss and those have stopped or become perfunctory, you are in trouble. Especially if you used to be included in weekly or monthly decision-making meetings with key members of the team and are no longer invited. This is a definite red flag that your role in the company has been seriously downgraded. If you are concerned about this, the best thing to do would be to talk to your boss directly and ask why you are no longer being included in these meetings. This will at least give you some clarity on the situation and tell you where you stand.

Once-friendly colleagues start to avoid you

One of the most telling signs that you may be in trouble at work is if your colleagues start giving you the cold shoulder. If people who used to be friendly with you are now avoiding you, or their attitude towards you has obviously changed, it is a sign that something is wrong. There are several possible reasons. Either they have heard rumors along the office grapevine about you being let go and are trying to distance themselves from you, or they could have been told not to associate with you because you are on your way out. Whatever the reason, if your colleagues are avoiding you, be aware that there is trouble looming. No longer getting along with your co-workers is definitely going to make things difficult and unpleasant for you to move forward.

Your responsibilities have shifted in a major way

Another red flag to indicate that you might be on thin ice at work is if you start getting passed over for assignments or opportunities that you would normally be given. If you are being left out of the loop, your boss has probably lost faith in your abilities and your days could be numbered. When companies are planning on letting someone go, they often shift their responsibilities to other employees so that when that person is fired, the company’s day-to-day operations are not disrupted too much. On the flip side, if you are suddenly being micromanaged by your boss or they are constantly looking over your shoulder and watching your every move, it means they no longer trust you to do your job and have gotten disenchanted with you.

You never get any feedback

If you are used to getting regular feedback from your boss, but they’ve stopped giving it to you or acknowledging your efforts, that is a clear sign that they are not happy with you. Your boss obviously doesn’t have anything positive to say about your work performance of late. Are you at fault? Have you let your work slide? Has your attitude towards your job changed? If you used to receive regular feedback from your boss or department head, and now there is nothing but a deafening silence, the only inference to be drawn is that they are not content with your work. When this happens, it is important to try to find out what the problem is so that you can fix it before it is too late.

You keep hearing negative feedback

In case you have been getting a lot of negative feedback at work lately, it could be a flashing red sign that your position in the company is in serious danger. If your boss or clients are constantly riding you about your work, or if you are getting more criticism than usual, it is time to act. Talk to your boss about your concerns and see if there is anything you can do to improve your situation. If the feedback is coming from other people at work, try to find out why they are dissatisfied with you. Negative feedback is never good unless it is constructive criticism, so it is important to address the issue as soon as possible.

Your desk or office location is downgraded

The size of your office or the location of your desk is often seen as a direct correlation between your value to the company, your standing within the company, and your boss’s appreciation of you as an employee. If your office has been downgraded to a dingy cubbyhole, or you have been moved to a smaller desk in a less desirable area, this could be viewed as a demotion and a sign that your employer has no longer confidence in your ability to do your job and may be planning to lay you off. This could be due to poor performance on your part. If you are not able to improve your performance, you could be in danger of being fired.

You’re encountering challenges every step of the way

If you’re feeling that you are constantly running into roadblocks, negativity, or opposition at work, it could be because your management no longer values your input and is trying to make your life difficult. If your colleagues are undermining you or making it hard for you to do your job, it is likely because they want you to quit voluntarily before they have to fire you and, as the saying goes, sometimes it is better to jump before you are pushed.
If you can’t improve your situation at work and your gut feeling tells you there is no way forward, then start looking for a new job before you find yourself being up the creek.

Date: 17 March 2022
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