5 Symptoms your Employer is Cheating on you or Thinking about it

There are symptoms that point to an employee losing favor in the eyes of an employer. If you are paying attention, the breadcrumbs will lead you back to their original intentions. Also, as in any relationship, the people around are the first to see the symptoms that something is wrong.

We are creatures of habit and have a tendency to emit clues. You should always look for feedback and indicators on how well you are performing on the job and be able to spot the precise moment when things are drifting off course. If you are quick to respond, you may be able to up your game through an intervention. For example you may get training in an area to increase a particular skill. Or if the case is hopeless, engineer a soft landing where you can land on your feet in a better situation.

There are instances where organization indicates they are looking for someone else as a temporary or permanent replacement. You must be aware of these symptoms to protect yourself. You may have to lash out in self defense if your stability is threatened. There are at least 5 symptoms to indicate there is trouble in paradise. Your employer is either cheating on your or thinking about it.

1.    Interviewing your replacement

They bring someone from the outside as a consultant and ask you to train them. This is innocent enough until you find out they are gunning for your job. You train them, but realize they are looking at your strengths and weaknesses and may be taking them back to your boss. You ask the right questions, but there is not a lot of transparency around the person’s next job and why they were hired in the first place. Your co-workers give you their point of view which is to essentially watch your back.

Eventually, you decide the company is grooming your replacement behind your back, not as part of transparency associated with succession planning. You have to decide what to do which means to gain insight into how you are perceived within the organization and think of an alternative route outside of the company. You cannot afford to be career naive when it is true, other people want your job.

2.    Broken Promises

Your boss promised you a position and gave you extra work to prepare you for the transition to the new role. This causes you to get your hopes up high and work harder. What is unknown to you is they have no plans to give you the assignment. They brought in someone, whom you find out through the grapevine was promised the same job. How do you respond? It is a delicate situation. Should you confront your boss about the rumors or the grapevine laden conspiracy? It is appropriate to ask for a meeting to ask about your performance and if you are on course to assume the promised assignment. There response will determine your next move. I believe in expecting the best, yet preparing for the worst. This mindset will enable you to be very professional if things don’t go your way.

3.    Change their disposition toward you

You begin to detect a change in your bosses’ reaction to you. For some reason they become aloof and unavailable. You internalize the reaction and wonder what you have done wrong. You instantly think it is work related and begin to work harder and longer hours, but there is no change. You want to ask if you have done something wrong, but it may not be you.  Promotional decisions are sometimes changed by Upper Management. If your boss promised you the job, but headquarters or his boss thinks it should go to someone else, they are between a rock and a hard place. A true leader will sit down and talk to you, but their hands may be tied. Some leaders will tell you that the decision is no longer in their hands and leave it at that. A transparent leader may say, this particular job is off the table, but they will work with you on the next available position.

If your supervisor told you the whole story, you may confront his manager and put your boss in jeopardy. Many managers will dodge their responsibility by finding fault in your performance.

  • Suddenly you can’t do anything right. The amount of critiques escalate, even when you do things the way they taught you to do them
  • Reduction in your rating without warning – you need to improve, but they can’t tell you how or why… They will know it when they see it is their response

4.    Unprecedented candor

Some Managers have a reputation for not providing feedback until or unless something is wrong with your performance. There is a raging debate in managerial sectors about the level of transparency around career upward mobility.  Some would prefer to hold back information that indicates that you have reached your peak and have gone as far as you can ascend in the organization. One reason for reluctance is the subjective nature of many of these opinions. Management could change and the new manager may see untapped potential, so they are reluctant to give the definitive word on your career possibilities. However, if your manager would like to replace you with a newer or a different model they will not hold back. They will:

  • Let you know that the promotion or position you aspire to will not be given to you in the future.
  • You are told you have gone as far as you can go and if you want to stay at your current level the job is yours
  • They may suggest that you are safe for now, but at some point they may decide you are blocking a position which could be a primary training ground for another upwardly mobile employee

You know when someone has made up their mind about you, but they will not tell you the truth. They hope you will quit, thereby making it easy on them. They try to make it hard on you so it is difficult for you to stay. You have to keep your performance fresh and in shape through continuous improvement and exercising your mind.

5.    Rewriting your job description

A common means to displace or replace an employee that a company wants to leave or take out of contention for a key role is to rewrite their job description. This new and improved job description contains education requirements, experiences and duties that you do not currently perform. They tell you they are upgrading the job to attract better talent in the future when the job becomes vacant. Sometimes they ask you to start writing the job description if one is not currently on file. Once the job description is rewritten the company may announce a downsizing and the new job description will be the basis for the interviews. You find yourself in a position where you are interviewing for your job. They bring in candidates from the outside whose experiences and education match the new standard. 

It is imperative in this competitive marketplace to always strive for excellence and elevating your performance. You may be in style today, but it is imperative for you to keep up with the knowledge and technological skills necessary to compete. It is reasonable for a company to want the best employee for their jobs. As long as you are growing, your familiarity, intellectual knowledge and intellectual property should give you the inside track. However, you must be observant in case you run into these 5 symptoms which is indicative that your employer is bored, has a wandering eye and is looking around and holding auditions for your replacement. 

Copyright ©2012 Orlando Ceaser

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