How to Avoid Being Fired

how to avoid being fired

How to Avoid Being Fired

When I’m not coaching organizational leaders on how to improve their managerial and leadership skill sets, I mentor through the Chicago Bethel New Life Entrepreneurship Program. A question one of my Mentees asked me last night was: How can I avoid getting fired from my current job?

My response:

You need to know some of the warning signs that your manager/team leader might be thinking about firing you.


If you are an engaged employee – a Core Employee or a Steady Eddie/Ellen – some of those signs are:

  • You feel the change in the “temperature” of the relationship with your manager/ team leader – it will be more “frosty”.
  • You are excluded from activities/meetings you were formerly included in.
  • You are no longer delegated meaningful tasks by your manager/team leader.
  • Team Members will avoid you and no longer engage you as a team mate (there are no secrets in the workplace – others will know you are “on the bubble”).

BTW: If you are one of The Walking Dead (an employee who should have been fired yesterday) you’ll be tone deaf to any of this and should be fired.

Is it possible to save your job once you know you are going to be terminated? 


While anything is possible, it is not probable. Once a manager/team leader has decided to “pull the trigger”, the deliberation process is over and the opportunity for you to change their already made up mind is minuscule.

Though the odds don’t favor a reversal if the decision to terminate you has been made–since fortune still favors the bold and if the job is worth keeping–you can attempt to avoid being fired.

Once the change in the temperature of the relationship is noticeable: 

  • Immediately approach the manager/team leader and request a review of your performance.
  • Immediately approach the manager/team leader and ask for additional work (if there is a big project underway, ask to help on it).
  • Review your recent behavior to determine if there is something specific you have done to cause your terminate and, if there is, resolve the issue that has influenced your behavior and let your manager/team leader know the issue has been resolved.

The Bottom Line:


Being terminated for cause should seldom come as a surprise to an employee. But your perception of how you are performing may not align with your manager/team leader’s perception. By periodically checking in with the manager/team leader about how you are doing–yes, I know they are supposed to be checking in with you, but being proactive is still the best approach–and paying attention to what he/she says, you will decrease the odds of being fired.

Do you have any other suggestions about how to avoid being fired for my Mentee?

Thanks for reading. And, if you are on the other side of the firing equation, check out a related blog post – Tips for Better Hiring and Firing.

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