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Has your boss gone off you?

One of the biggest reasons for people quitting their job is that they feel unappreciated.

One day you feel valued and happy in your role at work; the next, your boss displays some disconcerting signs that you are no longer flavour of the month and that your employment may be coming to an end sooner than you expected. What are the signs that your boss no longer likes you and how should you behave?

Lynn Taylor, workplace guru and leadership coach, says: “People come to work for more than wages. They want to feel that their contributions are making a difference. If an employer cares about your long-term growth and happiness, you’ll feel a much greater sense of purpose, and reward.”

Michael Kerr, international business speaker and author of “The Humour Advantage,” says that Google’s internal research into what makes a great leader found that one of the key ingredients was “expressing an interest in employees’ well being.” He says Facebook also conducted a similar study to seek out the key qualities that made their managers so good and again, one of the top factors was “caring for their team members.”

We are human and we need to be loved.

Taylor says: “It can seem paradoxical when a company invests so much time in hiring and training an employee, only to eventually squander that asset. It’s important to be sure your employer cares about your success and job satisfaction, because without that genuine support, it’s hard to stay motivated, feel that you are part a larger team, and produce your best work. It’s a downward spiral. You could stagnate in your career — unless you notice the signs and take decisive action.”

So what are the signs that your employer doesn’t care about you?

Your boss doesn’t offer any support, guidance, or feedback

If your boss doesn’t take the time to offer any feedback, guidance, or support you as you work toward achieving your goals, it can be seriously detrimental to your career, says Kerr.

Taylor says that if your boss seems primarily concerned with the tactical aspects of your job and project completion — and less so with whether you’re advancing your skills or being challenged by your work — they probably don’t care about your success.

Yes, he or she may just be a bad boss, but if you see that they do positive things with your fellow workers, but not you, it’s a bad sign.

You are not compensated fairly

This is one of the most tangible pieces of evidence.

An employer that’s not concerned about what you can offer won’t compensate you properly or fairly. Even if you request a performance evaluation, you may be told it’s not necessary and if there is one, it may be suggested that you take a pay cut.

Monetary signs like this can be blatant red flags that you should start job searching, or you can hurt your long-term career advancement, not to mention experience distress.

You’re passed over for a promotion you deserve

This is another obvious indication. You are an excellent worker, better than your your colleagues (even though you are a great team player) and if you get overlooked for that deserving promotion and some selfish, scruffy slacker gets it, then it’s probably time to put your cards on the table or leave for pastures new.

They never ask you for input or ideas

This one can really smart. Essentially, if your employer doesn’t care about your ideas or opinions, they probably don’t care much about you.

Your calls for help or resources are ignored

A company that doesn’t care about your well-being will largely ignore your requests for assistance or tools you need to deliver the best results or perhaps they may just make it difficult by making false promises, or dragging out the process needed to address your needs.

There’s a lack of inherent trust

If, for example, your boss is more concerned about getting a doctor’s note to justify your absence from work rather than asking about your health and what they can do for you, this obviously reveals concern for you only as a commodity.

Key projects no longer come your way

You may suddenly lose a project you were handling, or you may no longer get those that relate directly to your expertise and these are never good signs.

Your boss bullies you

When bullying tactics or ultimatums are given, you may have a problem on your hands. Any threatening or intimidation style of behaviour that is dismissive of your emotions and reactions means they really don’t care about you as a human being.

You rarely find out about project outcomes

If you contribute to a project, but after it’s completed, you don’t know what the results were, but perhaps do through the grapevine, you will not feel part of the bigger picture.

You are not included in the decision-making process

It’s an especially bad sign when your boss is making decisions regarding your career or workload without first consulting you.

You get important company news after everyone else

If you feel that you’re the last person to hear about major company developments, you can easily feel that you don’t count. This will irreparably bruise your morale.

Your boss isn’t interested in your personal life — at all

Some managers try to keep work relationships very professional and avoid talking or asking about your personal life — but if you notice your boss asks your colleagues about their weekends, kids, or hobbies, then this is definitely a bad sign.

You hear only from your boss when you screw up

Here’s a big sign: You never hear praise from your boss when you do things well — which is 99% of the time. But if you make just the smallest error, you get an email or invited into their office. This indicates that they may be taking you for granted and only concerned about your work production.

Nobody wants to accept your help

It is natural that if you sense these signs, your initial reaction may be to contribute more and perform better, but this may be met with resistance. So, perhaps your boss seems to be circumventing you with no apparent cause. Unfortunately, when there is no explanation, the cause can be due to posturing or a land grab by managers who are rising stars, who want to see their own team members advance. Without the support of your manager, it’s hard to swim upstream.

It is best to take action through direct communication, while you seek pastures new.

Your boss turns down your requests for a more flexible schedule or better work-life balance

If they consistently demonstrate a lack of concern over how working overtime might be affecting your family life, or immediately dismiss requests to switch schedules in order to attend an important family function, this can be a huge sign that they really don’t care about your personal well-being.

You don’t know where you stand

Taylor warns: “At companies that are political or more concerned with the bottom line, you will languish in a state of the unknown. You can’t get prompt answers. Employers may either be complacent, expecting your long-term loyalty, or they may be on the fence as to whether to keep you on the team. The circumstances may be related to cost savings, politics, market trends, or other factors.”

Still, she says, the result can be maddening: “Studies continue to show employees would rather know they’re under-performing than remain in the dark.”

They make demands of you during holidays or your time off

Does your boss not respect your weekends or holidays? Requesting that you stay in constant touch or finish a project without any concern for how it might affect your time off is a bad sign that, once again, they don’t care about you.

They blatantly tell you they don’t care about you

Things have got bad. There are still old-school managers out there who will constantly remind their employees that they can be easily replaced or that other people would kill to have their job. Any comments such as these that treat you only as a commodity reflect a lack of genuine interest in your personal well-being.”

They don’t fight to keep you

The final sign is this: When you tell your boss that you’ve been offered a job elsewhere, or that you’re exploring other opportunities, they don’t fight to keep you.

Like being in a bad relationship, sometimes even an abusive one, if you recognise that your boss is treating you in one or more of the above ways, it is time to polish up your CV, lie about the references and get the hell out of Dodge.

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