It’s an unfortunate fact of professional life: Sometimes, your company makes it clear that they want you pushed out the door. Oftentimes, their desire to boot you out has nothing to do with your performance; it could stem from a personality clash with your supervisor, for instance. If you’re over a certain age, you have to consider whether ageism is a factor, as well.
Whatever the case, here are some signs you’re being shoved from your job—and what to do about it.
You’ve Been Reassigned (and It’s Not So Great)
It’s one thing for your manager to shift you onto a cool project, especially if you’ve asked for it. It’s entirely another if you’re dumped into a team or division that’s clearly a dead end for your career at the company.
Sure, some people want to do nothing all day—you’re still earning a paycheck, after all, and chances are good that nobody will talk to you. For most folks, though, a dead-end gig is psychologically trying; even if it seems like fun to watch Netflix on your work computer for eight hours a day (interspersed with web-cruising and maybe some discreet game-playing), boredom will inevitably set in.
If you find yourself in such circumstances, you can always try speaking up. But if your supervisor seems unconcerned about your concerns, it’s likely time to hunt for another job.
There’s Blatant Favoritism
Let’s say your team is developing a new app for iOS—and you’re the resident iOS expert. If your supervisor suddenly brings in someone from another division or team to work on the app—even after you voice your interest in putting the project together—that’s a clear sign you’re not valued.
Nobody Cares About Your Goals
Most companies have some kind of “check in” system that absorbs and aligns individual employee goals with the work of their division (and the entire company). If you go through those regular evaluations, but management isn’t making much of an effort to ensure they’re being met, that’s a bad sign. Why would you want to work at a place that’s not fulfilling your professional targets?
Inexplicably Poor Performance Reviews
In a similar vein, if you’re doing objectively good work (i.e., you always fulfill or exceed your targets) and yet you’re scoring poorly on performance reviews for unexplained reasons, it’s probably because management wants you gone.
What to Do About Being Pushed
If your company clearly wants to push you out, there’s a straightforward solution: Leave. The upside of your supervisor not caring what you do is that you have more leeway to search for new gigs.
Before you start sending around your applications, though, take some preliminary steps to ensure your head’s in the right place, and your eventual transition is as smooth as possible.
Record everything: Did your supervisor write you an insulting email? Do you have written evidence that your performance reviews were skewed against you? Make sure you save all those materials; they might come in handy later.
Have a Sounding Board: Most of the time, if your instinct tells you that you’re being pushed out, you’re likely right. Nonetheless, it can pay to explain your situation to a trusted third party, such as a relative or a former manager; they can tell you if your instincts are correct, and often provide advice on what to do next.
Consider a Lawyer: If the effort to push you out of your company is paired with blatant discrimination (for example, your boss repeatedly tells people that you’re “too old” to be working here), consult an attorney with a history of pursuing discrimination cases; they’ll tell you if there’s something to actually pursue.
List Your Accomplishments: Even if your tenure at the company has been a tale of misery and stress, you no doubt managed to accomplish something while you were there. Before you begin assembling your materials to apply to new jobs, make sure you itemize your accomplishments (and the hopefully positive results); you can use those to demonstrate your aptitude to potential employers.
Good luck! And remember: Even if your current company is trying to push you out, you definitely still have value.