The White House is readying a plan to relieve the Secretary of State of his job, according to reports. Here’s how to determine if you’re headed for a similar fate.
It may be rock bottom at Foggy Bottom.
The White House is on the verge of ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replacing him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo in the coming weeks, according to reports from CNN and The New York Times. (When asked about it Thursday, Trump merely told reporters: “He’s here. Rex is here.” And White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said in a statement that “there are no personnel announcements at this time.”)
Tillerson — who was previously the chairman and chief executive of ExxonMobil — has allegedly had a strained relationship with President Donald Trump, since the latter invited him to join his administration in late 2016. And Tillerson may have had a sense this firing was coming, as his relationship with Trump made headlines recently when Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron” at a meeting of senior cabinet officials in July.
Tillerson isn’t the only high-profile individual who may have predicted getting fired. In 2013, Charlie Sheen threatened not to show up to work for his FX show “Anger Management,” if disgruntled actress Selma Blair — who had complained about Sheen’s “work ethic” and “menace” on set — was there. Blair was later given the boot.
Many of us try to read the tealeaves at work to determine if we’re on good footing with management, but sometimes the signs of whether we’re on the chopping block are opaque. These are some of the signs your job may be in danger:
Management has marginalized you. “Being left out of the loop,” is a big indicator that you could be on thin ice, says author and executive coach Dr. Marc Dorio. “It may not happen that dramatically, but… you see a sudden erosion, not being included in certain meetings, not being copied on certain emails, not included in certain decisions.” While these slip-ups can indeed be by oversight, if they happen more than three times, it’s likely they’re not. Dorio says it’s then fair game to approach your boss and ask what’s going on.
The boss has iced you out. “If your boss is not talking you anymore, if your boss is not being available to you,” that’s a surefire indication that you’re not in good standing at the office, says New York career coach Susan Ginsberg O’Sullivan of Go Coaching.
Budgets are being cut. “Openings in your staff and not replacing them, not getting the resources you need to do your work anymore… [or] are you reading in the Wall Street Journal or MarketWatch that all of a sudden the numbers are down,” at your company? Dorio says these are all red flags that widespread layoffs could be coming that may be outside of your control. In such a case, your job performance — good or not — may not save you.
You’re getting passed over. Are you no longer getting special projects, or is some of your workload being taken away? If you hear your boss say, “Have Andrew do this,” instead of you, it’s fair to wonder why, Dorio says. “Are other people or the people under you getting more advancement and training opportunities?” Or, were you exempt from the annual bonus while others received it? These could also be warning signs.
Even if you notice these signs, don’t panic. These signs don’t always mean you’re getting the ax. O’Sullivan cautions that many of us can get paranoid at work trying to divine what everyone else — including our managers — is thinking.
But if you feel paranoid, it may be worth trying to learn more. If you’re hearing rumors about company troubles, for example, O’Sullivan recommends engaging with the boss directly. “I’m hearing all these rumors going around the office. Is there anything you can share with me?”.
It may also be worth chatting with the boss if he or she is icing you out, passing you over for promotions, or otherwise marginalizing you — ask to speak about how you can work together to enhance your performance and make a plan to meet your goals, O’Sullivan suggests. And throughout this process, she recommends that you keep your head down and “do the job you were hired to do” — rather than letting this distract you from the tasks at hand.
Dorio still says there’s merit to bracing yourself if you sense that your termination is coming. “If you get enough of these signals, my advice is: Get your resumé ready.”
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