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What are the signs you're about to be fired?

Everybody has a little job anxiety from time to time, but there are some big clues that you're about to be shown the door that you notice.

Knowing what to look for allows you a couple of options. If you're pretty sure you're about to be fired, you can start looking for another option or make plans for your finances during any off-work period that may develop. If you feel like your treatment is unjustified, now's the time to start thinking about the possibility of a wrongful termination lawsuit. It's best to gather your evidence while you're still employed.

Here are the signs that a pink slip is imminent:

Everything's suddenly in writing

It's one thing if your boss was always putting everything in an email or a memo. However, if a boss that was fine with verbal communication before suddenly starts documenting every conversation -- assume there is a problem. Be careful to acknowledge every email and do so in a professional way. Two can play the game of creating a paper trail that supports their case.

A plan is put in action

Performance improvement plans, or PIPs, are the red flags for many employees that something is wrong. On one hand, your employer could genuinely be frustrated and trying to help you improve -- so be honest with yourself if you could be the problem. On the other hand, the goal of the PIP might really be to embarrass and frustrate you, saddle you with unreasonable expectations and create that all-important paper trail that human resources wants on any firing.

You're dropped from something important

If you walk into work to find that you've been reassigned from an important job to something less critical, that's a good indicator that you're gradually being eased out of prominence. That makes it easier on the rest of the staff once you're replaced. If your boss knows that your time is just about up, he or she won't want you in any indispensable positions.

If you believe that you're being targeted for removal because you've recently been a "squeaky wheel" about something improper happening in the workplace, including safety hazards, you may want to start considering your legal options as well. A well-prepared defense often beats the offensive game played by unscrupulous employers.

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