Ed Hunter: How To Tell If You’re Being Managed Out

Hi, welcome back to another Ed Hunter article. How’s it going?

No, you personally, I’m obviously talking about your job. Done a deal this week?

How about this month?

This quarter?

If the answer to, specifically the last question, is no, and you’re reading this article at your desk, you’re either pretty brave, or have a seat out of the line of sight of your boss. Or, you potentially have a boss who knows how educational this article could be… sounds like a legend.

You’ll know when things aren’t going your way. Sometimes, the writing’s on the wall.

If however, you’re new to this fair sector, or the writing on the wall’s obstructed by large vinyl laminates of words like Inspire, Ambition and Winning, (obviously) representing your business’s unique core values, here are some tips you might be about to be ‘managed out’.

1. It’s been 18 months since you’ve done a deal

This is the number one key motivator for your boss looking at the trap door button on their desk.

Most decent companies will give you time before they give you the elbow. Especially if you’ve had a good track record of billing previously. If however, the photo of that car on your desk as inspiration has become more likely as a track day experience, than viable possession, you either need to downgrade your aspirations, or start audibly moaning about that old recurring sports injury.

That way you can book in morning ‘physio appointments’ without raising suspicion.

Which happened more recently? Your last placement or the invention of email? If the latter, start limping.

2. You get ‘Maybe’ replies to calendar requests

Your boss isn’t the only one who’ll know you’re about to be ‘dehired’. Your colleagues will know too. They’ll be expecting it. Any enemies you’ve made will raise an expectant eyebrow and a smile any time you walk past the boardroom.

Meeting requests will all of a sudden receive a plethora of negative responses. Anyone the same level as you will respond ‘tentatively’. Anyone more senior just won’t respond.

This is for all invites with titles ranging from “pre PSL-meeting chat” to “pub lunch”.

‘Maybe’ as an email response is the equivalent of the ‘I’m on the phone index finger’. It’s not that they’re “not sure” they can attend. They’re 100% sure they really don’t want to and will avoid you at all costs until you’ve been booted out.

3. Your boss laughs at your forecasts

Boss: “What you got on that will drop this month mate?”

You: “Urrrm yeah a few things looking good. Probably be towards the end of the month though.”

Boss: *smiles. checks emails on phone. makes solitary mark on pad. walks off*

Hold tight friend, there’s a downsizing on the way concerning your niche. And you’re the only one in it.

You should never look directly at the sun, or risk instant blindness. The same goes for your boss when you’re light on the placements. Head down, mild grimace and speed up your canter into the kitchen.

Oh and ask the friendlier Director for time off. You know, the one who’s always drunk first on a company incentive and seems to have given up ironing their shirt.

4. Everyone goes for beers, you’re just not sure where

Thursday’s the new Friday. Not that that matters in recruitment, some days a beer’s needed simply to maintain sanity.

Do your colleagues leave on the dot on Fridays? Have they recently gone all health conscious? It’s possible they can see into the future.

“Oh, I’m doing a dry month this month mate otherwise I’d have loved to” they’ll say. Despite looking haggard every Monday morning surrounded by coffee, orange juice, bacon sandwiches, berocca, water and dioralyte.

Hearing crickets after your social suggestions? Stuck listening to Sue in Accounts talk about her back in the pub? Your time’s probably up.

5. None of your logins work

The password for your job boards is probably the name of your company and a year. This won’t be 2017, that’s too obvious. The thought process is more complex than that, so as to put off would-be hackers. It’s probably 2014.

If it’s not, it’s likely you’ve been offered an early retirement opportunity, and no one’s managed to tell you yet.

You’ve got two choices here…

1. Try and persuade Boris in IT Support to hack you in

2. Take up golf and embrace your new retired status

6. A new hire gets introduced to everyone, but you

Looking up expectantly when the hot new employee gets paraded round the room will do absolutely nothing in this scenario. Much like the winning parade at Crufts, when owners take their pooch around the ring to show off their shiny coat, the hottest new acquisition will be given ‘the tour’.

This is NOT to introduce them to people. They’ll forget your name as soon as it’s left your mouth.

This is Management’s way of showing everyone else what a superb job they’re doing of internal hiring.

“Yeah, we got them. They’re proven, experienced and yes, they do look as good as their LinkedIn photo. Hey everyone, come and look at what your legend of a boss has done!”

“Everyone except you mate, I actually need to see you in a minute please. Bring your things.”

7. You find your CV online

If you find your CV online, and you didn’t post it, it means someone wants you out of the business so much they’ve written it and posted it for you. They may also be taking calls on your behalf and smashing telephone roleplays.

Also look out for your strap line on LinkedIn changing to ‘Looking for opportunities’. Especially if you’ve just handed over your password so they can ‘upgrade your account’.

8. Your boss drops Rec 2 Rec business cards on your desk

Boss: “Oh, how did that get there? That’s strange, ah well, just keep hold of it for now”

The art of subtlety is lost altogether on most recruitment bosses, despite their positive intentions.

Keep an eye out for faulty wiring and trip hazards.

9. The office dog’s turned against you

If the once friendly mutt is now snarling and snapping at your heels, even he knows you’re done. Your Boss would rather put their dog through a police level training course for a few weeks than have ‘that chat’… it’s bad news.

Try sprinkling pepper into your socks before putting them on first thing. Or, if possible, coax in a stray cat to help you get to the kitchen unharmed. Then add ‘animal handling’ to the CV they posted.

10. Your key fob doesn’t work any more

There are two reasons your key fob might not work.

1. The key fob is broken or out of date.

2. There’s been a ‘personnel realignment’ and admin were in before your boss this morning.

It’s most likely the latter. Even if the fob is merely broken however, turn around and head home. Safe in the knowledge you tried your best to work today.

This is what’s known as ‘the fob off’.

11. The office is full of another company

Don’t recognise your boss? Is the logo on the wall different? Is the office dog responding to a different name?

Chances are you’ve been ‘un-recruited’.

Don’t panic though, just start recruiting for this company until someone kicks you out of here too. Top tip: Write down the new name on a post-it so you remember during cold calls.

12. “We’re relocating to North Korea”

Office relocations are the worst. It means upheaval and a change of commute. You also have to learn the names of the staff at a new sandwich shop all over again if you want that free Kitkat on a Friday.

If however your whole company is moving into a totalitarian communist state, to better align to their core values, to bypass a difficult boardroom conversation, it’s probably CV writing time.