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I work for a government contractor in the DC area. I was blindsided recently when my PM informed me that the prime on our contract had declined to renew my company's contract and that the contract is going to expire at the end of this month, therefore I should start looking for another job asap. This came as a complete surprise to me. They had just hired me a month ago as a full time employee working under this contract that my company was a subcontractor on. My company has been working for the client govt. agency for over 15 years and the client has always been happy with my company's work (at least as far as they had always told me before). So, between that and the last-minute nature of the news, I feel like something is fishy going on. Is it possible the company could be fabricating this scenario because they are unhappy with my work and want to get rid of me for some reason... without the indignity of outright firing me? Is there any way to confirm this is truly what happened? The others in my group (who have been on this contract for years and have worked for my company for 10+ years) don't seem particularly concerned about it or the prospect of losing their jobs. I don't know if behind my back the company has made arrangements to continue their employment with the company while letting me go.

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    This happens in subcontracting, especially government contract subcontracting. I don't think there is any reason to suspect more than they've told you. – keshlam Sep 6 '16 at 3:00
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    Also, what can you do with this information really? It won't get you your job back. The best thing you can do is let it go, polish your resume and move on to the next job. – Jane S Sep 6 '16 at 3:08
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    The 10+ year employees may be more likely to be retained and reallocated than someone hired a month ago. – Patricia Shanahan Sep 6 '16 at 3:09
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    A company may be perfectly rational in spending saved cash keeping an experienced, valuable employee ready. There will be another contract some day, or there won't be a company anyway. That's unlikely to be true for a noob. – jimm101 Sep 6 '16 at 18:14
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"I'm sorry, CB32, but I don't think you are going to work out. Here's your final paycheck, including two weeks pay in lieu of notice. I wish you all the best in your future career."

That is all your manager would have to say to get rid of you reasonably politely, assuming they are not trying to document a for-cause dismissal.

So why would they waste their time creating an elaborate cover story?

There are several differences that could be making the long term employees less worried:

  • They are more likely to have skills and knowledge that can be used on other contracts.
  • The employer is more likely to keep them on until the next contract comes in, rather than risk the high cost of hiring a senior employee.
  • They have networks that will help them find other jobs, and skills that make them in-demand workers.
  • Someone who has worked for an extended period for defense contractors has probably seen contracts end suddenly before this one.
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Being a contract officer in the Army and moving into PMCs/Govt Contracting in the private sector this can happen - I do not want to make an assumption about how far along they were, but sometimes Subs can be kicked off Projects/Programs - I have done this, and seen it done.

If you are really suspicious just go onto FBO, you can look up the RFP and/or Contract award, typically they will list the Prime and other Subs but it is not all inclusive to whether they will be there or not.

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