A cop turned on his flashing red lights. He pulled me over and told me they just put up new “No Left Turn” signs. I got a ticket for $105. It wasn’t even 7 a.m. yet and he ticketed me for turning left during a prohibited time. I got upset. It wasn’t fair. I complained to my daughter. She mentioned she had seen the signs. My wife said she had noticed them too. So I went back and checked. There were actually three signs including the one 100 feet before the intersection. And I found out the signs had been up for 3 months. I guess maybe it wasn’t “sneaky no good cops” setting a trap. It was me. I didn’t see the warning signs.
I am amazed at how many people don’t see the warning signs at work. Hiring authorities and Human Resources (HR) departments often tell outside recruiters months before they fire someone so we can keep our eyes open for replacements. We always ask them, “What are you doing to let the person know they are in trouble?” The most common warning signs are:
- A raise below the inflation rate
- Lower annual review scores
- Closer supervision and more reviews by their boss
- Being told EXACTLY how to do something they commonly do
- Passed over for promotions
- Passed over for requested lateral transfers
- Taking away people or geography they oversee
- Giving major parts of their project to someone else
- Sometimes written probation
Formal written probation is last on the list on purpose. People are often fired without formal written probation. One reason is that it is easier for them to find a new job if they are not on probation. Another is that they are expected to be sensitive enough to pick up on other signs and fix the problem.
“I never saw it coming”, is a moan we often hear. When we go over the last 6 months of their job, the signs are always there. Lots of them. When we check references their coworkers usually saw the signs.
Don’t let those sneaky no goods set a trap for you. Watch for warning signs.
Something To Do Today
A little paranoia can be healthy. What signs do you see that your performance is below expectations?
Only allow reality on your desk.