The workplace dynamic is complicated at times, and one of the worst places you can find yourself is being forced out by your boss.
It’s hard to get rid of an employee without good reason, so often a boss will put the squeeze on or make life difficult to try and make someone quit.
If you find yourself being pushed out, however, you can go down the correct legal routes to protect yourself from being treated unfairly.
Here are 15 signs your boss wants you gone and what you should do if you’re in this position:
15 Signs Your Boss Wants You Gone
1. They’re Ignoring You or Are Irritated by You
If your boss used to be chatty with you and now they’re giving you the silent treatment, I’m sure you’re aware that it’s not a good sign.
This is especially true if they start to get irritated or dismissive when you try to talk to them.
If your boss is treating you like this, it’s a clear sign something has changed and it’s likely they want you gone.
Related – 21 signs your boss has the hots for you!
2. They Are Micromanaging You and Questioning Little Things
If your boss starts to micromanage you or question your every move, it’s a sign they don’t trust you and want to catch you out making mistakes.
This is usually done in an effort to build a case so they have justification for getting rid of you.
If you’re not slipping up, your boss might just think that by making your life a misery you’ll voluntarily leave.
3. They No Longer Greet You or Make Small Talk
If your boss suddenly stops greeting you or making small talk, it’s a sign they are trying to distance themselves from you and make you feel isolated.
This is often because they feel uncomfortable around you or because they think you might try and confront them about being pushed out.
It’s also just not a nice way to treat someone to whom they are supposed to provide support, and will make your days pretty miserable.
4. They No Longer Give You Challenging Tasks
We all need to be challenged with our work, or it quickly becomes mundane, boring, and frustrating and will make you want to quit.
Which is exactly what your boss wants if they’re making sure you’re not stimulated by your work.
If you raise this concern with your boss and they ignore you or make no effort to do anything about it, it’s a strong sign that they’re trying to push you out.
5. They only Give You the Jobs No One Else Wants to Do
Another way to make someone’s work life miserable is by only giving them the jobs no one else wants to do.
This will quickly lower morale and motivation, and you’ll start to dread coming into work each day.
If your boss is doing this it’s a sign they want you gone but are maybe not quite ready to pull the trigger or can’t do it lawfully.
6. They Exclude You from Team Meetings
If your boss starts to exclude you from team meetings or events, it’s a very clear sign they’re trying to make you feel like an outsider.
This is often done in conjunction with other methods of making someone feel isolated at work, and the aim is to make you so miserable that you’ll want to leave.
It can also be a way of your boss trying to get rid of you without having to go through the legal process.
7. They Say Your Performance Is Poor When It’s Really Not
If your boss starts to say your performance is poor when you know it’s not, it’s a way of them trying to set you up.
This is often done in an attempt to get rid of someone for ‘underperforming’ without having to give them any notice or pay.
It can also be used as leverage to make you leave of your own accord if you think you’re not able to meet your targets.
8. You Can See the Company Is Making Plans that Do Not Include You
If you’ve been with a company for a while, you’ll likely have a good idea of how things usually operate.
So, if you suddenly see the company making plans that don’t include you, it’s probably because they don’t intend for you to be around much longer.
This could be hiring new people for your team or department, assigning tasks to your coworkers, or even being as bold as to leave you out of key communications.
9. You’re Being Isolated from Your Coworkers
If you’re suddenly being isolated from your coworkers, your boss is likely trying to make you feel isolated in the hope you’ll eventually quit.
This is usually done by making you feel like an outsider or by excluding you from team events and meetings.
Your boss may even talk with your coworkers and ask them not to interact with you to add more pressure.
10. You’re Not Given a Bonus when Your Coworkers Are
This one hurts, and I’ve spoken to a few friends who have found themselves being treated like this so I know how it affects people mentally.
If your team members and coworkers are receiving bonuses but you’re excluded at your boss’s discretion, it’s a very clear indication of what they think of you.
Try not to let it upset you, but you’ll have to accept the fact that things might get worse.
11. They Criticize You in Front of Others
This is a really low blow, and I’ve seen it happen too many times in my career.
If your boss starts to criticize you in front of others, it’s a way of them trying to undermine your authority and make you look bad.
They might do this in front of your coworkers, during team meetings, or even in front of clients, it never feels good.
12. They Don’t Ask for Or Value Your Input
If your boss never asks for or values your input, it’s a sign they don’t think you’re worth much or are at least trying to make you feel that.
This is often done in an attempt to make you feel like your work is unimportant, and it’s a way of them trying to devalue you.
It’s another clear sign they’re trying to push you out of the door. It’s unfair but is all too common.
13. You Can Tell You’re Being Treated Differently from Your Coworkers
Sometimes a boss will be very careful about how they push someone out so as to not break any employment laws.
It might be that you can just sense or feel like you’re being slowly edged out without any single sign – but this is still just as wrong.
14. Your Work Is Being Sabotaged
If you find yourself in a situation where your work is being sabotaged, it’s likely because someone wants you gone.
This might be done by making it harder for you to do your job, by setting you up to fail, or even by physical sabotage like hiding things or breaking equipment.
If you also feel like your boss doesn’t want to help resolve this, you know there is a target on your back.
15. Your Coworkers Are Telling You They Know Your Boss Wants You Gone
If your coworkers are telling you they know your boss wants you gone, it’s likely because they’ve seen, heard, or have been told this is the case.
I know this will only make you feel even more anxious as you’ll feel like everyone is ganging up on you.
Try not to take it personally, and take into account that your coworkers probably have your back if they’re telling you this.
What to Do if Your Boss Wants You to Quit?
If you think your boss wants you to quit, it’s important to take some time to assess the situation and decide what’s best for you.
You might feel like you can’t just up and leave, or maybe you want to try and fix things first.
It’s a tough decision, but if you’re being pushed out it’s probably not going to get any better.
If you decide to stay and try to fix things, the first step is to have a conversation with your boss.
Try to stay calm and level-headed, and explain how you’re feeling.
Listen to what they have to say, and see if there’s anything you can do to improve the situation.
If you decide to leave, don’t do anything rash and start by looking for another job.
It’s important to have something lined up before you hand in your notice, as it’s always better to leave on good terms.
It’s also a good idea to speak with an employment lawyer.
If you feel like you’re being pushed out, it’s important to know your rights and what you can do about it.
No one deserves to be pushed out of their job, and you shouldn’t have to put up with it.
I understand you’ll need to leave a toxic working environment for the good of your own wellbeing, but it’s best to get legal advice first as you may lose out financially if you act first.
Image credits – Photo by Louise Viallesoubranne on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.