I work for a company that values self-starters and does not value feedback. We get code review and bi-annual formal feedback, and that's it.

My history is that I was hired to do X, and have since been on X, Y, Z, P, Q projects, often without notice or training. I've asked to avoid a certain kind of tech, which was ignored. I haven't been perfect and I haven't pushed back enough against unreasonable requests. I've also botched some estimates based on too many responsibilities, changing priorities, burn out, and other things.

Recently co-workers have been praising me for small achievements and saying things like "if you're not too busy" and "I know you're busy". I believe they were put up to that. It's uncomfortable and worries me about the security of my position.

How can I ask if I'll still have a job after this project? Is it common for employers to carefully document performance and ensure I'm not pulled in a lot of directions to be able to fire me? I'm pretty sure I live in a "right-to-work" state where they don't need a reason.. but maybe unemployment insurance would come into play if they didn't have a reason?

Or should I ask co-workers if they were told not to bother me?

  • 1
    Even if someone tells you that your job is safe, a job is never safe, things out of your control can change that could put your job in jeopardy. – sf02 Jun 15 '20 at 19:06
  • Fair enough.. I guess I'm looking to see how urgent it is I start looking or not. How safe it is, relatively speaking. – guest372946 Jun 15 '20 at 19:27
  • ...but maybe unemployment insurance would come into play if they didn't have a reason? The rules vary by state but even if they had a reason to fire you doesn't mean that you wouldn't qualify for unemployment insurance. I was recently looking up the rules for CA for another question and there an employer would have to show that you did something criminal, negligent, or committed misconduct. Being unsuited to the job isn't enough to deny unemployment. – BSMP Jun 15 '20 at 20:57
  • Doesn't necessarily mean; I'm not claiming to have knowledge of the rules for all 50 states. – BSMP Jun 15 '20 at 22:26
  • I am almost in the same situation. What I do is work normally as if I noticed nothing weird. From time to time, I look for jobs on linkedin that might interest me. I don't apply yet, but at least if I'm fired, I'll know where to apply. Of course, I do not look at other jobs in front of my coworkers and I just do it during my free time. Maybe you're right, and they might fire you, or maybe you're looking too much into it, and your coworkers are just trying to be nice and helpful. In both cases, I think that working normally and looking for jobs in your free time is the best solution. – Doliprane Jun 16 '20 at 12:23

Would you trust an answer even if you got it?

This does not answer your specific question, but I would place no value on the answer anyway even if they did give one.

If they told you that you were going to be fired, what might you do? Spend all your time focused on getting a new job rather than doing your current one. I have seen that happen to consultants. It was relatively well known among the employees that X consultant was not going to get renewed, but they stuck the possibility out like a carrot to continue to get their best work from them.

You could probably bring this up in a one on one with your boss, but the answer is not going to be something you can make decisions with.

You probably need to assume the worst.

  • This is kind of what I figured... I guess maybe the second question is more relevant. It has a similar issue though.. if a co-worker was told to not bother me or praise me.. would that be the same bad sign as a PIP? Or are they just trying to recognize me now? – guest372946 Jun 15 '20 at 19:16
  • @guest372946, No, the second question has the same answer. You can not trust what they tell you. And no, nothing is as bad as a PIP, but then again, they can fire you without a PIP and there is currently a pandemic going on. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 16 '20 at 5:31

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