Reasons Why Most People Lose Their Job

Obviously nobody wants to lose their job—but sometimes it pays off to spend a little time thinking about what you shouldn’t be doing and not only what you should be doing if you want to keep yours. A lot of people don’t realize this, but if you’re in an “employment at-will” situation, your boss can fire you for any reason without ever telling you what it is—and it is entirely legal. In fact, there doesn’t actually have to be a reason. That doesn’t mean that most of the reasons people get fired aren’t fairly predictable however, and many are easy to avoid. If you’re aiming for a pink slip, here are 5 surefire ways to get one:

1. Too many questionable sick days.

Everyone takes a “sick day” now and again when they are not sick—and employees with identifiable health issues may regularly take sick days and get away with it if they perform excellently on the job. But don’t abuse sick days; just because you’re going without pay doesn’t mean you aren’t inconveniencing the company. They have to find someone to fill in for you. Use some judgment when you take sick days, whether they are needed or not. Likewise, don’t use vacation days when the company really needs you.

2. Fail to compromise.

It’s one thing to be confident and firm about your ideas, but it is another to be pigheaded and oblivious to other people’s suggestions and requests. Even if you really are smarter than everyone else, nobody is going to care if you are rude and don’t know how to appreciate others. On that note, respect the chain of command, even if you have issues with your higher-ups.

3. Be grateful for what you’re given.

When you can’t get a raise or something else doesn’t go your way, don’t attack your boss for it. You don’t know whether your boss necessarily has the power to give you the raise, or whether the company has the money. Plus, these days it’s tough to find a job at all, and if you are not thankful for the one you have (and demonstrate that), you will be out before you know it. Most bosses would rather have grateful, happy employees.

4. Guilt by association.

If you hang out with other people who complain, miss deadlines, are under scrutiny, or cause any other sort of trouble, even if you are an excellent worker, your name will be associated with theirs—and thus with their negative traits. You will lose trust in the office, and eventually may lose your job as well.

5. Never stand out.

It may be instinct for you to lay low (plenty of people do this for various innocuous reasons), but never standing out at all may actually mean that nobody pauses to think of you twice before dumping you in a layoff. Does standing out mean taking a risk? It does, but it is the only way to be noticed for your achievements. Over-perform now and again; put in some extra time to help out during difficult times. Speak up when you have an idea. Help others work more efficiently, and be a team player.

Getting a job is really difficult these days, especially one that pays well, so you want to do everything in your power to keep one and not lose it. Replacements for your position are a dime a dozen, and employers will happily kick you to the curb if you aren’t delivering to their expectations or exceeding them.

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