Wednesday, June 16, 2010
“You Now Report to the Summer Intern” and Other Sure Signs You’re About to Get Fired
Well, it was bound to happen. At least that’s what everyone tells me whenever I get fired. But sometimes you can be truly blindsided by your sudden unemployment. You’ve been coming into the office early every morning, getting your work done on time and successfully masking your alcoholism with Altoids. But still you arrive to find security standing by your desk and everyone else claiming your belongings.
Only weeks later do you start to see the telltale signs. You recall those six weeks you were out of work due to your hysterectomy and didn’t receive a single card, visit or paycheck. You remember that time your supervisor told you to stay behind to “man the whatever” as the rest of staff celebrated a successful year by going to the Super Bowl and the Oscars. And you now look back with the less fondness on that day HR drove you deep into the woods, pulled you screaming out of the car and spared your life only because your deep, wet, echoing sobs were starting to attract the attention of distant loggers.
In the end, getting fired is never really a surprise to those who are always on the lookout for harbingers of doom. To those who know all too well that good fortune runs on a short lease while bad news is free range. But if for some reason a full-time job has not quite yet turned you into a full-blown pessimist who sees a a possible paper cut where everyone else a winning a winning lottery ticket, then here are a few hints that your days are numbered and your dismissal letter already signed:
• You receive a critical review during your birthday party.
• All one-on-one meetings with your immediate supervisor conclude with him or her saying, “I’ll be so glad when we no longer have to do this.”
• When a new employee is introduced to coworkers your supervisor refers to you as “and the rest.”
• You now receive department announcements by postal service rather than email.
• You are encouraged not to do your usual long-term planning, start any new assignments or even take your coat off.
• When you offer a suggestion at a brainstorm meeting you are told “Too little, too late.”
• Your request for an office chair after yours is stolen is greeted with “That won’t be necessary.”
• Your supervisor is genuinely surprised to see you at a meeting, only to comment, “Oh, that’s right. It isn’t Thursday yet.”
• When you mention your future with the company your boss does a spit-take.
• You're neither informed nor invited to flee the building during a fire.
• Your direct superior has stopped saying “Good morning” to you in favor of “Four more days and counting.”
• Your expense reports are returned to you with a refusal to pay all expenditures and a charge of $10 for “cost of review.”
• During your PowerPoint presentation you can actually hear your manager booing.
• All your projects have been reclassified as “unnecessary,” “discontinued” or “a sad, sad joke.”
• When you email your vacation request your boss responds, “I can do you one better.”
• Every time your supervisor passes you in the hall he shakes his head, lets out a long, exasperated sigh and mutters, “Pitiful. Simply pitiful.”
• Recent office gossip seems to consist solely of your name and the phrase “The fool doesn’t even see it coming.”
• You show up to work Monday morning only then to realize the company has moved.