10 Signs that your job may be on the line

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Everyone gets fired at least once in their career, it seems, but how do you know if you're next?

Consider these 10 signs that the end may be near:

  1. You hear the phrase knowledge transfer. If you're asked to train a new employee with a job description that sounds familiar (like your own), consider it a red flag, said Robert Graber, founder of WallStJobs.com, a recruitment resource for financial professionals, in MarketWatch.
  2. You're a senior executive and your company hires a new CEO from outside the company. A study in the Harvard Business Review says turnover of top management is 33 percent in that situation.
  3. Your BlackBerry contract has lapsed, and the boss does not renew your trade magazine subscriptions or professional memberships.
  4. You're getting snubbed. Your boss is never available by phone. Co-workers stop making eye contact. You're left out of social events. Graber said it's natural for people to distance themselves from employees whose days are numbered.
  5. You hate your job and let everyone know it. If you're looking for another job, don't tell anyone. Otherwise, "you may make your job search a full-time proposition," said Richard C. Busse, author of Fired, Laid-Off or Forced Out.
  6. You're bored. If you suddenly have less responsibility than the intern, with no new big projects scheduled, "a light bulb should go on in your head," Graber says.
  7. You're a careless blogger. It's not a good idea to use a pseudonym to post company comments on an Internet stock-message board. Especially if you get caught.
  8. You're a careless e-mailer. Never put anything in an e-mail that you wouldn't want the whole world to read. Never divulge personal identities or financial information. MarketWatch reported that nearly a third of companies said they've fired an employee within a recent 12-month period for violating e-mail policies, according to a survey of 294 U.S. firms with 1,000 or more workers.
  9. You try to keep up with your hard-drinking supervisors at social events. "If you do something crazy, and they have to put you in a cab because you're throwing up on everybody, it won't advance your career," said Brad Karsh, president of a Chicago-based career-consulting firm, in The Wall Street Journal.
  10. You notice paper trails that never existed before. If all communication is suddenly done by memos or e-mail messages, when a phone call once did the trick, it could be because the HR department is required to produce written evidence of your messups before a firing.

Experts advise a direct approach if you're really worried about your job. Ask your supervisor for a sit-down to discuss your performance, how you can improve, and what project you can take on next.

You could also brush up on your workplace etiquette. Lower your voice, for one. According to Forbes.com, of 2,318 people surveyed in March 2006 by Harris Interactive and Randstad, 32 percent say a loud talker is their biggest annoyance in the office. Second place, at 30 percent, is using an annoying cellphone ringtone; and 22 percent said speakerphones are their No. 1 peeve.

If you're someone that other people can't stand, you could be viewed as a morale problem. Try to keep a good attitude, even if you fear the axe is about to fall, and update your resume, just in case.

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