• Sometimes, you'll see that you're getting fired from a mile away — other times, it'll be more of a surprise.
• In order to avoid getting caught unawares, keep in mind the signs that your job is at risk.
• Everything from bad performance reviews to recent mergers can prove to be warning signs.
Getting fired from your job can be a real shock to the system.
But there are usually signs that you're about to get fired. You've just got to know where to look.
Maybe your boss is out to get you. Maybe you've been embroiled in some recent controversy at work. Or maybe your organization is undergoing a massive transition or merger.
Either way, it helps to be prepared.
Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," told Business Insider that the savviest professionals always keep an eye out for the classic signs that their job is in danger. This way, if and when they notice red flags popping up, they can attempt to turn the tides before it's too late.
Here are some signs you may be getting the boot:
A negative evaluation is not always synonymous with being fired, but, in conjunction with other bad feedback, it can mean trouble, said Taylor. "Your employer needs to create a paper trail, so along with warnings, your employer will use a performance review to document the problem areas."
"Depending on how bad your first performance review was, you may be given a chance to make corrections and improve, but a series of critical performance reviews could be a major sign that your job is in jeopardy," Kerr told Business Insider.
If it's because of a lack of experience or lack of training in a certain area, then there's always a chance to fix it. But critical phrases to be mindful of during performance reviews include, "You're not a good fit for our culture," "You're not a team player," "Your personality or style doesn't seem to mesh with the team," or "You have a major attitude problem."
"If you hear any of these types of criticisms then it's time to break out your résumé, since it's often assumed that attitudinal issues are deeply engrained and unfixable," he said.
If it's suddenly hard to access important data that would help you perform well in your job, or you're not invited to important meetings or included on key emails, a pink slip may be coming your way, said Taylor.
"There could be other reasons for this happening, but certainly one may be that your leadership has lost the trust or confidence in your abilities, making you vulnerable when and if layoffs happen," Kerr said.
"When you first assumed the role, you had your marching orders and could accomplish them. Now it seems that you’re tasked with projects akin to climbing Mount Everest blindfolded," said Taylor.
"You're being set up to fail," Kerr explained. "Sometimes this is due to lousy leadership, but occasionally it can be because a company wants to get rid of you, but they need solid evidence to do so, and setting you up for disaster is one way of getting the 'proof' you longer belong there."