How to Approach a Boss Who Wants to Get Rid of You


It's often possible to tell that your boss doesn't want you. Classic warning signs are that he ignores your requests to talk, leaves your name off group emails or doesn't invite you to team meetings. He may micromanage you and question your decisions. Your performance reviews may be unreasonably negative. If you want to keep your job, you'll have to perform well and probably need to talk to your boss about the problems.

Think Things Through

  • Confronting your boss in the heat of the moment is often a mistake. Wait until you've calmed down and look at the situation objectively, asking a friend for input if you need it. If you're overreacting to a single bad day or a heated argument, you may be better off letting it drop. You should also compare your treatment with how your boss handles your co-workers. If he micromanages everyone, the problem doesn't lie with you.

Talk It Out

  • If you're certain your boss wants to get rid of you, bring it up with him. Rather than making vague generalizations about his feelings, talk about specific signs you're noticing -- being removed from a prestigious project, for instance. Ask what you can do to restore his confidence in you. You might be able to reach a solution and turn things around by taking this direct approach. However, it's always possible your boss is past the point of wanting to work with you.

Research and Document

  • Make notes about how your boss responds to your overtures. Many companies have a formal disciplinary procedure for criticism, punishment and firing. Research your company's policies, and document whether your boss follows them. If you have evidence that some of his complaints are inaccurate or unfair, document that too. Showing that your boss singled you out unfairly gives you a defense in a disciplinary hearing -- and possibly grounds for a lawsuit.

Negotiate an Exit

  • If it doesn't look like there's anything you can do to keep your job, you can approach your boss to try to negotiate the terms of your exit. For example, you can offer to stick around long enough to train your replacement in return for severance pay. Promise that once your replacement is qualified, you'll go without fuss or argument. If your boss wants you gone, he may agree to this or negotiate a mutually agreeable compromise offer.

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