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12 signs you are about to lose your job

Call it denial. Call it turning a blind eye to what’s going on. But even the most business-savvy manager can fail to see when the job is in jeopardy. People think it will happen to everyone else but not to themselves. Managers might be observing negative goings-on in their medical offices without cluing in that their jobs are on the line.

The only way to stay safe is to keep the antennae up. Watch for signs the job could be in jeopardy and know what to do to get back into the physicians’ good graces. Always be prepared to move on.

The nothing-personal items

The signs of doom are many, some less subtle than others.

1 On the nothing-personal side, it’s time to duck when the physician who brought the manager into the practice is no longer being included in the big matters or is getting a lesser share of the profits—or getting pushed out of the office entirely.

If that physician loses stature, the manager may end up in the same boat.

2 It’s bad news too when several physicians leave within a short period of time. The practice may be financially unsteady and looking at downsizing.

3 It’s further bad news when the physician partners start shifting the allocations in the budget. They may be trying to save a buck, and the next buck might just get saved by eliminating the manager’s position.

4 Be wary too if there’s a stop to invitations to participate in budget planning. Take it as a sign that the picture is gloomy and the physicians don’t want the manager to know what’s going on.

The very personal items

The more personal hits are seen in the manager’s job responsibilities.

5 An ill wind is blowing when duties start getting distributed to other people.

6 The wind blows even more sickly when the physicians hire and fire without consulting the manager or take away the hiring authority altogether.

7 And it’s especially ominous when the manager is suddenly not invited to the physician partner meetings.

The obvious question is, “Why? Are they talking about me?”

8 Be especially wary of the cold shoulder. Avoidance behavior is a big sign. If the physicians stop communicating as often as they did previously, give it more than a passing thought.

9 One shun that happens all the time when the job is on the line is a slow response to emails. If there’s been a quick response in the past but now it takes two weeks to get one, there’s a reason for that.

10 The same is true if the physicians stop coming in for personal conversations and previously informal chitchat turns into formal communication.

Time to take it to the bank

The situation is at its pinnacle when the hits become direct.

11 When physicians start criticizing little performance mistakes that until now they’ve not mentioned, they are likely positioning themselves to get rid of the manager.

12 And the final ax is indeed falling when the manager gets put on a performance improvement plan or when the office hires an outside consultant to look at the how the manager is doing. That is not a sign. That is a blatant indication that firing is nigh.

What to do about it

Once those signs appear, it is time to reaffirm allies and enhance the connections.

Be assertive. Set up a meeting with the boss—whether it is the managing partner or the physician who brought the manager in—to talk about personal performance as well as the office’s direction.

Don’t mince any words at that meeting. Use this script: “These are the things I’ve been noticing. I am hoping you will give me some insight to whether they are in direct relationship to performance and also if there are changes going on that I need to know about.”

Then give examples of what’s going on, whether it’s loss of authority or being left out of the meetings.

If the problem is performance, the managing partner will likely admit it. If so, get the specifics of what the issues are, and find out exactly what can be done to correct them.

Ask the managing partner to put in writing what needs to be done to improve the performance.

Afterwards, set up an action plan to make the improvements. Write out each issue and the steps that will be taken to resolve it.

As each step is completed, update the physicians in writing, for example: “I just wanted to confirm that you have seen my report showing that have reorganized the billing process.”

Hopefully, they will acknowledge the improvement. What if the meeting isn’t productive and the manager disagrees with the physicians’ perception?

Don’t argue. Be professional. But at the same time, get the resume updated and start taking action behind the scenes.

Always keep a bag packed

Never sink so far into one job as to lose the prospects for getting another, because in an organization, it’s impossible to foresee what changes may happen.

Always be watchful for new opportunities. Keep a professional network alive. Keep the resume up to date.

Do that even if everything is rosy.

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