Just how hacked off at your job are you? I was idly surfing the web the other day when an item caught my eye, entitled “The Number One Sign You Are About to be Fired”. It tweaked my interest if only because, in retirement, “being fired” doesn’t actually apply to me. That’s a big change from the near thirty years of my previous working life. For most of those years, being fired was a risk you lived with.
The core of the article boiled down to this: if you hate your job, it will be noticed and inevitably management will take action. Making it obvious that you hate your job is the Number One reason people are fired. Which is no surprise when you think about it. The surprise – if it happens to you – is possibly that you weren’t concealing the hatred of your job too well!
When I left my job, I was in the fortunate situation that the severance was professionally handled. For a variety of reasons, it was clear to both my employer and myself that I’d come to the end of that particular career, and neither of us had further options we felt were worth discussing. Neither of us had done anything “wrong”, and so I was “looked after” with a fair settlement. I was a “good leaver”. The word “fired” didn’t come into it – it just lurked unsaid between the lines. Lucky me, I was treated well. Had I stayed longer, things might have turned out differently, because I was pretty fed up with the job and seemingly wasn’t disguising it too well.
Once I had left the role and the company, my friends from work whom I kept in touch with started telling me that it had become very obvious that I “wanted out”. I had been “switched off”, “demotivated”, “highly critical” and “in withdrawal” during the previous year of work. Reading my journal from that time, I have to hold my hands up. All true. Unfortunately, nobody was giving me that feedback when I was there! Okay, things turned out alright for me in the end, but losing your job isn’t a recommended course of action that I’d advocate for anyone. If you’re worried that you might be heading down this road in your career, it would be valuable to ask for some personal feedback from trusted friends and colleagues and think hard about what your options are.
One of the most appealing exit routes would be to try and engineer a departure from a company with some compensation – but you’ll be a highly skilled negotiator if you’re a thoroughly hacked-off employee trying to get out with a “package”. Try not to let things get to that stage. Can anything about your employment improve? Working part time? Moving to a different function? Reporting to someone else? What would make it better? Do you know? Have you really thought about it? Or are you stuck in a negative rut that only flags up everything you hate about the job? It’s an easy mindset to fall into and there will be no shortage of people happy to back up and reinforce your discontent. Very few, if any, will ask you to question it.
There’s plenty of advice out there on the internet that will help you find strategies to move on from a job that’s getting you down. A good start would maybe be to consider the general advice given out by Sam at Financial Samurai who has thought a lot about the process (albeit from an American perspective). I didn’t guess what “The Number One Sign You Are About to be Fired” was, so I wrote this as it offered me an interesting insight from an employer’s perspective that might also benefit others. It strikes me that many people are drawn to the idea of FIRE perhaps because they’re unhappy with their current career. It could be deeper than that though. As ever, the answer to a lot of difficult questions can only be found through understanding what it is that’s really bothering you, as opposed to finding something or someone to blame. It’s worth doing the work before someone else decides for you.