Watch out! These are the 10 warning signs you might get fired!

Have you noticed that things have felt a tad “off” at work recently? Perhaps you've picked up on a strange, palpable vibe that you just can't put your finger on. Have you got a gut feeling that maybe your co-workers are avoiding you for no apparent reason? These things may seem small, but they all add up, and ignoring them is a mistake - they could be signs that you're about to get fired.

It's a scary thought. No one wants to be dismissed from a position, even if you felt your time there was coming to a close anyway.

What does being fired actually entail?

Sacked. Laid off. Let go. All these euphemisms really come down to the same thing… you're no longer wanted at your current workplace.

Being fired is probably the worst possible outcome, as your employment is terminated because you've done something wrong, or are not performing at the required level needed to do your job properly. Any pre-employment contract will list the terms in which conditions or behaviour could culminate in a dismissal. If you violate these terms, the likelihood is that you'll be fired. This normally means you'll be asked to clear out your desk and leave the building, with all access back in banned. While this might sound dramatic, it does depend on the reason why you've been sacked.

Let's look more closely at why you might get fired.

What are some of the reasons why an employee would be fired?

Most people don't go into a job thinking they're going to get fired. It's not like being made redundant, going on long-term sick leave, or taking the bull by the horns and actually quitting a role.

There are numerous scenarios where it could end up with you out on the street, unemployed, and rather the worse for wear. If the company you're about to not work for plays the game properly, your managers should give you fair warning, either verbally or through written communication, that your job is on the line, plus the reasons why. Armed with that knowledge, you could just turn it around and save your job.

Have a look at the reasons below, and avoid these at all costs if you want to remain employed!


If you're not good at your job, and don't perform to the standard expected, then you could be fired. Falling below the expected level can mean a very swift goodbye and exit on your part. Employers require professionalism and up-to-date skills from their staff, so ensure you close any skills gap so this doesn't happen.


You've got to play by the rules in the workplace… as in life… most of the time. That means not breaking any of the regulations set out by your employer, which guide members of staff on how to behave when at work. Misconduct is defined as, “behaviour, such as professional negligence, that is regarded as immoral or unethical,” in the Collins English Dictionary. This can be things such as harassment, fraud, and sexual assault.

Inappropriate use of social media

While many believe that what you do outside the workplace and in private has nothing to do with your job, you can get caught out by this. Most companies have strict rules on how staff use social media, even when not in the office. Any reckless endorsements, unfiltered use of language, or inappropriate behaviour online that could cause a scandal, might see you heading out of that door with no means of redress.

Being continually late

While this might seem petty, employers take punctuality very seriously and encourage workers to manage their time judiciously. Not only does being late mean you're working less time than your colleagues, but it can also decrease productivity, with team members having to take up the slack when you're not there. If you have a record of persistent lateness or absence from work, it could be one of the signs you're about to get fired.

Damaging company property

If you cause intentional damage to company property, this can lead to your termination and the potential for being sued for damages.

Unauthorised use of company property

This can range from using official vehicles to throwing a party in the office without permission. Any of these scenarios can be problematic, especially for insurance purposes, if something goes wrong or there's subsequent damage to a building or equipment because of your actions.


Undermining the authority of your superiors, by disrespecting and arguing against their vision or strategies, can send real signals of rebelliousness and disobedience. This can't be tolerated in a place of work where orders must be obeyed at all times! If you're one of those members of staff who hates authority, you might be out on your ear before you can say “entrepreneur”... which will probably be the road you'll have to take in this situation.

10 warning signs you're about to get fired

Now that we've established the reasons why you can be fired, let's concentrate on the warning signs you're about to get fired, so you can have a bit of a heads up before being booted out. Here are 10 red flags that you mustn't overlook. 

1. You're completely out of the loop

Looking for the warning signs of getting fired? Don't pass this one by. You're left off email chains, see everyone else gathering for meetings that aren't on your calendar, and feel generally out of the loop when it comes to day-to-day details. But it wasn't always this way. What's changed? Little by little, it feels as though you've been cut out of the core of the company. Perhaps your boss thinks you no longer need to know important details of the day-to-day machinations of the business. This is one of the worrying warning signs you're about to get fired.

2. Your workload has got a lot smaller

In any role, it's natural that you'll gain more responsibilities and duties as time goes on. But what if the exact opposite is happening? You might find that certain tasks are magically disappearing from your calendar or that you've been told to delegate. This could be a sign that your boss or employer is slowly preparing your co-workers to take on your responsibilities and shift you out of the way.

3. Your role isn't developing or growing

Worse still is that your role isn't growing or developing. For example, you're no longer invited to training sessions or workshops and it's been a long time since your boss took any interest in your position. Plus, you can see no clear progression path within your role. This could be one of the clearest warning signs that you're getting fired, because your boss has stopped keeping you in mind for the long term.

4. Chit-chat is a thing of the past

In the good old days, when things were going well, your work hours were peppered with general chit-chat and casual conversation. You gossiped with co-workers about weekend plans and your boss stopped by your desk to ask how your evening was. Those days seem to be over. Your boss sails past your workspace without a glance and the only communication you ever get is via email. Something is most definitely up.

5. There's a weird vibe when you enter the room

You enter the office each morning to a strange, uncomfortable vibe. It feels like the entire roomful of people stop talking the instant you walk through the door. Is it all about office politics? Perhaps they know something you don't, but nobody wants to tell you.

6. You've been asked to train someone up

Training up a new employee can be seen as an honour. Perhaps the management team or executives think you're senior enough to take on the responsibility of having a newbie under your wing. However, if you suddenly find yourself teaching them how to do your job, alarm bells should be clanging loudly all around. Could this be one of the warning signs of getting fired? You know the answer to that.

7. Your boss goes directly to your subordinates

In most workplaces, there's a clear hierarchical system in place. For example, you might be the head of a small team or responsible for another employee. In cases like these, your boss should come to you to find out information about your subordinates, such as how they're progressing. So if your boss starts to go below you for information, it could be a sign that you're no longer needed.

8. There's been a “shake up” in the management team

There are few phrases in the English language as terrifying as “shake up.” When uttered together, these two words tend to mean that people will be unceremoniously fired and new people will be brought in instead. If that's happened in your company's management team, don't be surprised if more changes are on the way, as it's one of the signs you're about to get fired.

9. Your performance reviews have been poor

One of the easiest ways to tell if your job may be in danger is to consider your performance. Have you been at your best? How have your recent performance reviews gone? Have you been put on a performance improvement plan (PIP)? If you've been scoring low in employee evaluations time and time again, it's probably one of the warning signs you'll be fired. These reviews are a chance to see whether or not you're on track, and to rectify any issues quickly. If they haven't been going well, you may not be satisfying those in charge.

10. You no longer get praised for your work

Can you recall the last time your boss praised you for your work? Has anyone recently said that you've done a good job or that you've contributed well as a team player? If this hasn't happened in a while, it could be a warning sign of getting fired. After all, there are only two possible reasons for not getting any recognition - either you don't deserve it, or your workplace doesn't deserve you, if praise is hard to come by when it's due.

What to do if you think you're about to get fired

If any of the above warning signs seem familiar, you need to take action… fast. It's vital that you remain proactive and on your toes, whether that's having an open and honest conversation with your boss, confronting performance issues, or looking for a new job.

Sticking your head in the sand is only going to make things worse.

Getting fired might be disastrous in the short term. There's no doubt it can be a stressful time of your life. But, on the other hand, it can open up opportunities and alternatives you hadn't thought of before, giving you the chance to re-evaluate your professional goals.

Next steps

There's nothing worse than living in fear, especially when it comes to your career. If you're worried that the writing's on the wall and there are signs you're about to get fired, it's time to take action. Rebuild your reputation at work or, if you agree that it's time to start anew, start your job search early and see what other opportunities are out there for you.

You could even think about hiring a professional CV writer to help showcase your skills in the best possible way or clicking on the following link for more workplace advice.

If it's time to start looking for a new job, your CV needs to be ready for the hunt. Is yours up to the task? As a starter for 10, take a look at TopCV's free review, and see where it takes you.This article was originally written by Charlotte Grainger and has been updated by Elizabeth Openshaw.

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