“Am I Getting Fired or Just Paranoid?” 6 Signs Your Job May Be At Risk

Besides the fact that they are all wildly successful in their fields, they are all also big worriers. Elon Musk has talked about the “terrible lows and unrelenting stress” of his work and life. Serena Williams has shared her experience with self-doubt and anxiety. And Leonardo DiCaprio has said he’s worried about the future of his career.

Surprised? Don’t be. Exceptional achievers tend to worry more than others — about failing, disappointing others, not meeting their own high expectations, and yes, even losing their jobs.

If you’re just starting out in your career, it’s likely that you worry about these things too. According to a 2019 study, younger generations are struggling with anxiety at work at higher rates than their predecessors. Gen Zers are three times more likely to experience anxiety-related symptoms at work. For millennials, that multiple increases to four.

My advice for you is this: First, know that worrying is not necessarily a bad thing. Worrying about your performance can often encourage you to improve and learn. And as I’m sure you’ve heard, we are living in a very unpredictable world. Being prepared for a variety of different possibilities and outcomes, like getting fired or laid off, is probably a good idea.

At the same time, too much worrying, to the point of catastrophizing, can be dangerous for you and your career. When we focus too much on the worst-case scenario, we lose our sense of reality, which can impact our relationships, productivity, and mental health. The key is to find a balance, and to do this, you need to create enough distance from your circling thoughts to see things clearly.

Here are some questions that will help you determine whether or not your fears are grounded in reality, specifically when they surround losing your job.

You sense disregard for your authority by those above, below, and around you.

Has there been a shift in the way people treat you? Is there less respect for your insight and requests than there was when you started?

If your requests are repeatedly ignored or if people blow off what you have to say, you may be right to be concerned.

Your Boss Starts Putting Everything in Writing

With my loved one’s situation, the ramp up of putting everything in writing was nearly ridiculous. And it wasn’t just that the boss suddenly began hyper-documenting everything, she also began cc-ing the universe on correspondence (including their client, when doing so was unnecessary and arguably damaging to the relationship).

Few things scream, “I’m setting up a case for HR” louder than sudden acceleration of email documentation. If you’re dealing with this, be sure to create a paper trail. Because If HR is reviewing documentation, you want to ensure that your messages make you look like the professional that you are. (This is extra important if you think your boss is in the wrong.) Oh, also consider freshening up your resume ASAP.

Your Boss Has Told You They’re Not Happy with Your Work

This is a more direct sign that you’re going to be fired or pushed out.

If your boss has told you outright that they’re not happy with your work, it’s a sign that they’re looking for a way to get rid of you.

It’s a horrible feeling, but it’s better to be prepared than to be blindsided by getting fired without any warning.

If you’re absolutely sure that there are no grounds to what they’re saying, this is also a sign that there are some other motivations for getting rid of you.

Signs You’re About To Get Fired – 8 Things To Look For


How do you know if you’re getting fired soon?

The main signs you’re about to get fired
  1. Work just got a lot easier.
  2. Or perhaps you feel like the work is impossible to manage.
  3. You screwed up big-time recently.
  4. Your boss wants to meet you one-on-one suspiciously often.
  5. You feel your boss has become strangely distant.
  6. Your coworkers seem to avoid you.

How do I stop worrying about getting fired?

Some people feel better by taking a break, setting aside the worry at hand and focusing on something else such as a walk with a friend (maybe a social distance one via a call). Some people value being direct and getting more information.

How common is it to get fired from a job?

40% of Americans have been fired from a job. Firing an employee that will be replaced costs between 16.1% and 20.4% of their annual salary, rising as high as 213% for senior executives. The layoff and discharge rate across private industrties was 1% from February to June of 2022.

What getting fired feels like?

The first reactions to being fired are usually anger and pain, followed by feelings of confusion and disillusionment. Unless these feelings are aired out with a spouse, friend or counselor, your self-esteem can become shaky. You can be overwhelmed by a crippling sensation of powerlessness, depression and fear.

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