Part 1 of two parts. Can you tell if your job is in jeopardy? Would you know the signs? We all like to think we would, but thousand of employees...

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Part 1 of two parts.

Can you tell if your job is in jeopardy? Would you know the signs?

We all like to think we would, but thousand of employees are blindsided by layoffs, reorganizations, and downsizings every day.

There are millions on unemployment right now who most likely never thought they would be the one left holding a pink slip.

Your career is in danger right now, simply because you have no way of knowing what to look for, no way of finding the true agendas that determine whether you are seen as an asset or a risk.

Do you know what opinions your company has of you right now? Those opinions are actively determining your job security.


From the book “Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know — And What To Do About Them”

by Cynthia Shapiro, St. Martin’s Press,

Copyright © 2005 by the author.

Reprinted with permission and available wherever books are sold.

Those opinions are built on the secret agendas within your company. If a company wants you out, there is always a way they can maneuver around the law. You could be making career-threatening mistakes right now. What you don’t realize is that your company will never tell you when you’ve made one of these mistakes for fear of legal exposure.

Since an employee is much less likely to sue if he thinks the job loss was due to impersonal business factors outside of his control, companies spin the rhetoric we’ve all heard: “We’ve had to reorganize your department,” “We just can’t afford to keep you on right now,” or “We’ve decided to go in a different direction and are eliminating your position.” Those lines are rarely the truth. The truth is, your company knows exactly why some employees are kept while others are let go, and now it’s your turn to learn those same secrets.

First, you need to know what you’re really up against.

Secret No. 1: The law cannot protect your job.

Many employees mistakenly believe the law will provide them with protection from retaliatory or unfounded job loss. In many of today’s workplaces, this is nothing but a false sense of security.

With all their expensive attorneys and consultants, most companies have found many pathways and gray areas around an employee’s “legal rights.”

Companies have learned to protect themselves fiercely from those they feel are out of alignment with what they value.

If unfavorable judgments and opinions are allowed to progress, they can take you from someone the company has interest in, to sentencing you to the sidelines, all the way to full persona non grata.

Yes, companies do have blacklists.

One of a human resource department’s secret objectives is to remove these unwanted employees while legally protecting the company. And most are very good at it.

About the author

Cynthia Shapiro, a former Seattle resident and human-resources executive, now lives in the Los Angeles area, where she works as an employee advocate and workplace consultant.

Shapiro says she became disillusioned with the way most corporations are treating their employees and switched sides to blow the whistle on these tactics while exposing some of the “best-kept insider secrets” affecting job security and career advancement. Some of the “secrets” Shapiro writes about in the book include:

• Layoffs aren’t what you’ve been told.

• HR is not there to help you, but to protect the company from you.

• Employees who deserve raises aren’t necessarily the ones who get them.

• Promotions often are lost in the asking.

• Ageism is alive and well.

There are ways a company can remove you so you never know what hit you or what you did that cost you your job!

Companies don’t say “you’re fired” anymore; it’s too risky. The removal process is now much more subtle.

You need to know what those subtleties are so you can tell when your career might be in jeopardy.

One of the preferred methods of removal is the one no one talks about: managing an employee out. It can provide the most protection for a company with the least amount of paperwork.

The basic concept is simple: make the employee’s work life so difficult and unsatisfying he leaves on his own.

If the company can get an undesirable employee to quit, they won’t have to deal with the complexities, costs, and potential liabilities of firing him.

No severance, no unemployment issues, little or no potential for liability.

Most employees never see this one coming because in many companies it has become an art. The signs are always there, if you look for them.

Too many employees keep their head in the sand because they don’t want to believe their company could lose interest in them. That’s a good recipe for being blindsided with job loss.

Here are just a few signs that you might be in the process of being managed out:

Danger sign 1: You’re feeling grossly ignored, overworked, underpaid, or set up to be unsuccessful.

Danger sign 2: Your boss doesn’t seem to like you or pay attention to you the way he does to others.

Danger sign 3: Your office is moved to an undesirable location or you are regularly given the assignments no one else wants.

Danger sign 4: You’re being given impossible tasks with unrealistic deadlines.

Danger sign 5: Your boss surprises you with a scathing performance review.

Danger sign 6: The company brings in someone to “help” you with your work and you find yourself training her in the nuances of your position and tasks.

Danger sign 7: Your company moves you from department to department so you never have a chance to complete anything.

Next week: “Secret” steps you can take to become the indispensable “fireproof” employee.